23 April 2011
I hope the defensive line is this good more than it is the offensive line is not so good. I am not in red alert mode yet because I saw a number of times linemen looking at each other and talking to each other after plays. With all the moving around this spring, players in one position one day and another the next day, it could be a matter of not being in sync with each other. That is just another reason why I do not like all this moving around. I do not believe offensive linemen are that interchangeable, I do not believe a player learns to play his best position while he is repping at a position that he is not a good fit for, and the line does not find any continuity. That is three strikes for the versatile lineman theory. Three strikes your out.
Last week there was talk about having a two-deep on the offensive line. With only eight scholarship players on the roster I was skeptical to begin with. A two-deep with only eight scholarship players means you are depending on walk-ons. Not only are Blackman and St.John walk-ons, they are young walk-ons. Blackman may be able to help in time but St.John was beaten consistently. Tommy Brown was beaten almost as much. I don't know if he can contribute at guard but we really need to quit on him as a tackle. Experience will make him better but that will not be good enough. He lacks the athleticism to play out there. He looks so different bodywise from the player I saw at the end of his high school career. Put him inside and let him learn the position.
I saw straight 4-3, 3-4, odd man front, 3-3 and even the old 4-3 stack that John Cooper liked. If we can play all those different defensive fronts great. I am just a little nervous about trying to implement all of that. I still prefer to play defensive lineman at one spot but it bothers me a great deal less to see defensive linemen in different spots. We were moving players around a good bit. I think I saw Hankins play in three different spots, all highly effectively, before going out of the game after taking a knee to the head trying to tackle Miller.
Speaking of Miller, who was the best quarterback today? Miller, Graham or Guiton take your pick, Bauserman. If we are content to hand the ball off for the first five games okay, but based on what I saw today if we want to throw the ball Bauserman is the last guy we need in there. Miller was clearly the most effective. Graham has the problem of not being a very mobile kid. Based on what I saw from the offensive line mobility could be important. He threw a touchdown pass to TY Williams that was a thing of beauty. He spent too much time trying not to get killed, all the quarterbacks did, he just wasn't as effective at it as Miller and Guiton.
Take a back. Just pick one. Herron looked really good. I heard he had a good spring. We threw the ball to the backs. Jordan Hall was very effective as a receiver but just as effective as a runner. Berry ran very well. The least effective was Carlos Hyde but he was the first guy off the bench.
Receivers. Posey and Verlon Reed from game six on. I don't know what we do to replace Posey for the first five. Corey Brown drops balls. When Jordan Hall came here I thought he would move to receiver. He showed great hands in high school, catching balls for as many yards as he did rushing. He looked great when they split him out today. He is very effective in the open field. He is not as effective as Brown, but he catches the ball. We might want to think about that. I think we will over the summer.
John Simon was unblockable. Nobody could move Big Hank, until Miller took him out of the game with his knee to the head. J.T. Moore was very active and around the ball alot. I like what I saw from him. Nate Williams looked leaner than last year and was moving very well. It looks like he is going to be a stand-up end, a Viper. I did not see him with his hand in the dirt. Joel Hale is going to take some reps from a veteran. He is huge, a much underrated athlete, and relentless. We are only going to get deeper with some of the players we have coming in this fall. Love what I am seeing with the defensive line. Big and athletic inside. Fast and athletic outside.
The best linebacker on the field was Ryan Shazier. I had concerns about moving him back. It is not an easy transition. I saw him start the transition well in one of the post-season all-star games. He looks like he has played the position all his life. He was just as good in space as he was attacking. He missed Jordan Hall in the open field. That was the only negative I saw with him all day. The next best linebacker for me was a huge surprise, Jordan Whiting. He was very active and around the ball at the line of scrimmage and in coverage. I thought Sabino played very well at the line of scrimmage. Sweat too. I did not see much out of Bell early but he was in on some plays when the offense started to run the ball more. He is very athletic. I have heard good things about him all spring. Shazier looks even more athletic.
I don't think we got a really good look at the defensive backfield between pressure and dropped passes. I saw Dominic Clark have a few plays. We seem to favor him when we run a corner blitz. Jeremy Cash flashed into my view on a few occasions. I thought Orhian Johnson played well.
Overall the defense looks big and very fast. Dare I say it looks like an SEC defense. A very good SEC defense. That is a good thing as the offense needs some work. I think it could be prudent to name starters now and get on the same page, especially on the offensive line. I really think that could be a major part of the problem with the offensive line. I would also pick a quarterback and get him the most reps.
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