10 April 2011
I keep thinking about the news that Philly Brown continues to struggle with dropping the ball. I think it is way early to come to the conclusion that he will never have the hands that we need. Lets keep in mind that he was a high school running back. He caught the ball a good deal coming out of the backfield but he was not a receiver. He is only a sophmore now and was not getting as many reps last year because while definitely in the mix he was not the starter. These few practices so far is the first time he is getting starter reps.We need that element in the passing game. A kid who can turn a long hand-off or a slip screen into a big play. Just the threat a player like that brings to the game cannot be underestimated. The question is, where else can we get it? More than one option would be nice.
I had hoped we would be getting that out of Chris Fields. He looked capable coming out of high school. He was a very impressive open field runner. I am not hearing anything that says he is coming around yet.
What about the backs? Rod Smith looks like he is going to be the feature back. That leaves some awfully good football players sitting. The talent is being wasted which means scholarships are being wasted. I think it could not hurt to look at Jordan Hall and Jamaal Berry as options. Jordan Hall in particular seems like a prime option. He had as much yardage receiving as he did rushing in high school. In the film I saw he showed excellent hands. He has an excellent flanker/slot physical profile. He is quick and explosive. He is good in the open field. Speaking of quick, explosive and good in the open field, what about Berry? I have not seen him catch the ball alot. Maybe he would not be a good option but why not try him for a few practices?
One thing I like is backs in the open field. They are more used to trying to run through tackles so there is more yards after contact than with a receiver and the possibility of running through the tackle altogether is higher. If nothing else it gets both catching the ball more. Getting more used to running routes and catching the ball is nothing but a good thing for both of these backs, who have to understand that the better they show as a receiver the better the chance they get on the field.
It also opens up the running back depth chart. This offense is at its best with power backs. Hyde backing up Smith would be very wearing on a defense. Smith runs with excellent power. The defense sees him go off the field and thinks they are getting a break. In comes Hyde who runs even harder. I like having a change of pace guy but I like this better.
Things are unsettled with the NCAA decision on the possible punishments on the program pending. Other schools are going to be coming after our recruits. Bet the farm on that. I think finding a less stacked depth chart would make the commitments of Ball and Dunn all the more secure with a few less bodies on the depth chart. That is another fringe benefit of getting Hall and/or Berry out to flanker for the rest of spring.