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Do We Have the Talent We Need?


Mavric

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25 minutes ago, Mavric said:

 

We've had several freshman playing the last two years.  Keeping them there and not battling injuries and off-field issues has been the issue.

would this not be part of poor development at the position though? Inability to develop depth is so far a massive glaring weakness it appears. Granted I think several programs may be dealing with this nowadays thanks to the lovely free agency...i mean transfer portal that exists. 

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Just now, Hedley Lamarr said:

would this not be part of poor development at the position though? Inability to develop depth is so far a massive glaring weakness it appears. Granted I think several programs may be dealing with this nowadays thanks to the lovely free agency...i mean transfer portal that exists. 

 

I don't think so.  Last year we had a freshman show up late in the summer and be one of our most dynamic offensive players.  This year we had two different freshman lead the team in carries by a RB for a given game and a third that played pretty well in the first game of the year.  They couldn't stay on the field due to injuries but they were ready to play and showed it.  I don't think that is a development issue.

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3 minutes ago, Mavric said:

 

I don't think so.  Last year we had a freshman show up late in the summer and be one of our most dynamic offensive players.  This year we had two different freshman lead the team in carries by a RB for a given game and a third that played pretty well in the first game of the year.  They couldn't stay on the field due to injuries but they were ready to play and showed it.  I don't think that is a development issue.

Did these Freshman not play because we lacked warm bodies at the position though? Just seems like in year 4 we would hope to have a bit more of a stabilized position than a ton of Freshman backs. I know part of that is due to Mo Wash etc but goodness it hurts to not see us have a solid back like we were accustomed to for so many years.  

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1 minute ago, Hedley Lamarr said:

would this not be part of poor development at the position though? Inability to develop depth is so far a massive glaring weakness it appears. Granted I think several programs may be dealing with this nowadays thanks to the lovely free agency...i mean transfer portal that exists. 

 

I think we put a lot of eggs in the Mo Washington basket, and did not make the right adjustments when he flamed out. The injuries have been tough, because you'd think one out of Mills, Thompkins, Scott, and Morrison would be healthy enough to play. But (especially with how vague they are on injuries) that also seems like a bit of an excuse, and having no viable upper classmen behind Mills is on the staff. Tough to convince transfers to join up with how Mills finished last year and seemed poised to be a workhorse, and plenty of teams have freshman/sophomore backs take big roles. So I really don't know if it's just hindsight saying we needed another back before the year (people were calling for it, so that's a tough sell), or if they just couldn't close the deal on a transfer. Or really believed the guys we had would break out, and injuries got in the way. 

 

I'm optimistic about our depth for this year, since I'd be shocked if that amount of injuries happened again and they have a year of experience. I'm willing to wait based on what they did with Ozigbo and Mills progression, even though he was still way too  boom or bust. But I can understand not buying it, and there's a solid argument that real depth has more than 1 upperclassman RB. On the other hand, injuries are pretty random and it's quite possible that guy would've been banged up too. They had 5 guys (including Johnson) they were willing to roll with when healthy, that's some serious bad luck to have injuries to most of them at once.

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4 minutes ago, Husker in WI said:

 

I think we put a lot of eggs in the Mo Washington basket, and did not make the right adjustments when he flamed out. The injuries have been tough, because you'd think one out of Mills, Thompkins, Scott, and Morrison would be healthy enough to play. But (especially with how vague they are on injuries) that also seems like a bit of an excuse, and having no viable upper classmen behind Mills is on the staff. Tough to convince transfers to join up with how Mills finished last year and seemed poised to be a workhorse, and plenty of teams have freshman/sophomore backs take big roles. So I really don't know if it's just hindsight saying we needed another back before the year (people were calling for it, so that's a tough sell), or if they just couldn't close the deal on a transfer. Or really believed the guys we had would break out, and injuries got in the way. 

 

I'm optimistic about our depth for this year, since I'd be shocked if that amount of injuries happened again and they have a year of experience. I'm willing to wait based on what they did with Ozigbo and Mills progression, even though he was still way too  boom or bust. But I can understand not buying it, and there's a solid argument that real depth has more than 1 upperclassman RB. On the other hand, injuries are pretty random and it's quite possible that guy would've been banged up too. They had 5 guys (including Johnson) they were willing to roll with when healthy, that's some serious bad luck to have injuries to most of them at once.

What worries me more is it seems to be more of a systemic issue across multiple positions. I feel fairly decent across the board on defense but offensively our depth is rather worrisome and I anticipated the exact opposite when we hired Frost. 

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Just now, Hedley Lamarr said:

What worries me more is it seems to be more of a systemic issue across multiple positions. I feel fairly decent across the board on defense but offensively our depth is rather worrisome and I anticipated the exact opposite when we hired Frost. 

 

I think it has improved, but yeah not what I expected in year 4. I don't have to squint as hard to see depth at RB, WR, and OL (Tackle at least), but it is still a lot of young and unproven guys. Guard/Center depth looks abysmal, but I suspect we'll bump a tackle or two down so not as worried. But I think the depth options are better - I'm more optimistic about guys like Morrison, Scott, Betts, Grimes, Brown, etc contributing then our depth the last couple years - Williams/Woodyard, Nance/Houston, Mazour. But right now, there's not a lot of difference in the production between those groups.

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1 minute ago, Husker in WI said:

 

I think it has improved, but yeah not what I expected in year 4. I don't have to squint as hard to see depth at RB, WR, and OL (Tackle at least), but it is still a lot of young and unproven guys. Guard/Center depth looks abysmal, but I suspect we'll bump a tackle or two down so not as worried. But I think the depth options are better - I'm more optimistic about guys like Morrison, Scott, Betts, Grimes, Brown, etc contributing then our depth the last couple years - Williams/Woodyard, Nance/Houston, Mazour. But right now, there's not a lot of difference in the production between those groups.

would just be nice to be able to not simply feel optimistic about groups of players who have yet to show it. I agree with you and the optimism just getting tiring having to drink up optimism instead of production and results. 

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3 hours ago, Hedley Lamarr said:

Did these Freshman not play because we lacked warm bodies at the position though? Just seems like in year 4 we would hope to have a bit more of a stabilized position than a ton of Freshman backs. I know part of that is due to Mo Wash etc but goodness it hurts to not see us have a solid back like we were accustomed to for so many years.  

 

I mean ... that's why "development" is such a hard thing to really know.  People like to throw it around a lot but it usually means "we aren't as good as we should be".  But there's a ton of stuff that goes into that.

 

A lot of the issue is Riley's crew didn't recruit RBs any better than they recruited WRs - and they were abysmal at that.  After getting Ozigbo in 2015, they took a known injury risk in Tre Bryant in 2016, then a long-shot project last-minute hope in Jaylin Bradley in 2017 followed by having no one for 2018.  Frost's crew got Washington in a couple weeks be he turned out to be too much of a head case.  They also grabbed Bell but he had attitude issues.  In 2019 they got Mills and Rahmir Johnson.  Mills was solid but now gone after two years and Johnson has seen the field but not done anything spectacular.

 

But that means that Johnson is the only one left from four straight recruiting classes and he's just a freshman.  So I'm not sure how you can pin "lack of development" on that situation.

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2 minutes ago, Mavric said:

 

I mean ... that's why "development" is such a hard thing to really know.  People like to throw it around a lot but it usually means "we aren't as good as we should be".  But there's a ton of stuff that goes into that.

 

A lot of the issue is Riley's crew didn't recruit RBs any better than they recruited WRs - and they were abysmal at that.  After getting Ozigbo in 2015, they took a known injury risk in Tre Bryant in 2016, then a long-shot project last-minute hope in Jaylin Bradley in 2017 followed by having no one for 2018.  Frost's crew got Washington in a couple weeks be he turned out to be too much of a head case.  They also grabbed Bell but he had attitude issues.  In 2019 they got Mills and Rahmir Johnson.  Mills was solid but now gone after two years and Johnson has seen the field but not done anything spectacular.

 

But that means that Johnson is the only one left from four straight recruiting classes and he's just a freshman.  So I'm not sure how you can pin "lack of development" on that situation.

Would like to see more RB talent in the mix but frankly our OL challenges and QB downfield passing attack has more to do with the lack of RB production in my opinion than not having guys in the room who can get the job done.  Even prime AP from oklahoma would have difficulties doing work when the defense is stacking 8-9 defenders within the box because there is zero threat of a passing attack.

 

TL/DR: Want better RBs any day of the week but us learning how to throw the damn ball will make a lot of the guys we already have in the RB room look a lot better

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Just now, gossamorharpy said:

Would like to see more RB talent in the mix but frankly our OL challenges and QB downfield passing attack has more to do with the lack of RB production in my opinion than not having guys in the room who can get the job done.  Even prime AP from oklahoma would have difficulties doing work when the defense is stacking 8-9 defenders within the box because there is zero threat of a passing attack.

 

TL/DR: Want better RBs any day of the week but us learning how to throw the damn ball will make a lot of the guys we already have in the RB room look a lot better

 

To some extent I agree.  I think teams can focus on the run because we haven't been a threat to throw the ball down the field.

 

But I do think that guys that have more athleticism have been able to succeed, albeit in limited opportunities.  Maurice Washington was fairly productive and made some big plays.  McCaffrey had a few big plays from the RB spot.  And our QB run game has been pretty decent.

 

I just don't think Bell and Mills are explosive enough to really exploit what was actually there.  Mills didn't get a lot of help from our run blocking but he also almost never made the first guy miss either.  He got whatever the offensive line got for him, for the most part.

 

I think the younger guys have more potential to be a threat.  But apparently none of them could stay healthy this year.  So we'll see if they can do more next year.

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In regards to offensive talent....

 

QB: AM (4* in his 4th season), LMC and Smothers (4*'s with multiple years in system)

RB: Stepp, Sevy, Rahmir (all 4*s) 

WR:  Toure (FCS All American) - Betts, Omar, Brown, Martin (All 4*) 

TE: Allen (proven), Fidone (4* Top TE)

OL: Anchored by Benhart and Corcran (4* top 150 guys)

 

If the offense can't go with this group, IDK if it ever will. 

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9 minutes ago, Mavric said:

 

To some extent I agree.  I think teams can focus on the run because we haven't been a threat to throw the ball down the field.

 

But I do think that guys that have more athleticism have been able to succeed, albeit in limited opportunities.  Maurice Washington was fairly productive and made some big plays.  McCaffrey had a few big plays from the RB spot.  And our QB run game has been pretty decent.

 

I just don't think Bell and Mills are explosive enough to really exploit what was actually there.  Mills didn't get a lot of help from our run blocking but he also almost never made the first guy miss either.  He got whatever the offensive line got for him, for the most part.

 

I think the younger guys have more potential to be a threat.  But apparently none of them could stay healthy this year.  So we'll see if they can do more next year.

100%.... man we were incredibly spoiled with that run from 2009-2016 of helu, burkhead, ameer.  Got too used to having an upper classmen stud followed by an equally as intriguing young guy that was ready to step in when it was their time.  

 

Mills def lacks the break away speed you'd like to see, guy got caught from behind one too many times by a LB or lagging secondary guy when the hole was there to break one off. 

 

We also havent really placed OL talent into the NFL since Bo's prime days... I've got some confidence the young guys we threw into the lions den this past year will grow into that and the running game results will shortly follow 

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22 minutes ago, FrantzHardySwag said:

In regards to offensive talent....

 

QB: AM (4* in his 4th season), LMC and Smothers (4*'s with multiple years in system)

RB: Stepp, Sevy, Rahmir (all 4*s) 

WR:  Toure (FCS All American) - Betts, Omar, Brown, Martin (All 4*) 

TE: Allen (proven), Fidone (4* Top TE)

OL: Anchored by Benhart and Corcran (4* top 150 guys)

 

If the offense can't go with this group, IDK if it ever will. 

This offense can absolutely go.  But putting a bunch of 4* players together that are underclassmen still takes time.

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Do we have the talent we need? I'd say most likely "probably not," bordering potentially on "maaaaybe."

 

But we sure as hell don't have the coaching and culture necessary to win. We look like a program that's just going through the motions almost as bad as Riley's program.

 

Frost has the potential to be a great head coach - but I still think his supporting cast is lacking, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

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