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Author Topic: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES  (Read 6966 times)

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Warrior Way 22

EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« on: May 14, 2018, 03:16:48 pm »

Just seeing which position battles people are excited about. Obviously the QB battle will be the most talked about by the media, but are there any others that people think will be the key to our success? Maybe even backup battles that are intriguing such as the backup RB position. Let me know which ones y'all have your eye on.
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davehog

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 03:29:26 pm »

RG - Merrick or Gibson?
WR - Outside of Cornelius I don't have a clue who will be out there
TB - What is the real order? 1A, 1B, 1C?
Backup at both Safety spots - incoming FR or will Montaric Brown grab a 2nd team spot?
Backup at both CB spots - probably will have to be a true FR due to lack of depth
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jgphillips3

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 07:24:37 pm »

I think the defense is pretty well stratified between clear first team Wes and second stringers so I think the most competition will be on offense.  I expect the OT and WR spots to be wide open and the most dynamic position battle to be at RB because we have a lot of good backs with different skill sets so should be real interesting to see who gets to be the #1 back when the dust settles.
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TexHog188

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 07:51:34 pm »

Kicker

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 09:17:19 pm »

Kicker

 Prob gonna be a long year watching this position
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hogfan14

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 10:17:19 pm »

Prob gonna be a long year watching this position


I didnít think Limpert was too bad last year. He went 8/9 with a long of 48.
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rolyat_2008

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2018, 10:25:15 pm »

Punter, we need a good one and a few people to push Blake Johnson.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2018, 11:13:12 pm »



I didnít think Limpert was too bad last year. He went 8/9 with a long of 48.

Check out his kickoffs though and how many went out of bounds. Further, think about the context of his fg's. He had about half the work load of an average kicker, and about 1/3 of the attempts of a heavily utilized kicker.

We basically only attempted a fg under the absolute ideal conditions. Even still, he was an upgrade over Hedlund, but that's not to say that we actually have a good kicker.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2018, 11:23:39 pm »

Besides QB, to answer the OP, I'd have to go with RB.

This offense despite some of the ill-informed narrative, is not an air raid attack. Closer to Auburn's offense than Mike Leach's. So, the running game will be very important.

The Contenders:

Leading the pack is naturally Devwah Whaley. 4* high profile recruit out of HS. Was promising in a reserve role behind RW3 two years ago, last year in the lost season, he had the opportunity to be the top dog but never really took it and was eventually passed by the other back with initials DW. Whaley has good speed, and a n-s running style with little east to west motion. Not a super powerful or agile running, but has good explosion and vision and takes what is there.

Next come the two freshmen from last season. Chase Hayden is the speed back who has a surprising amount of power while Maleek Williams is a true power back with a surprising burst of speed. Injuries forced Maleek to redshirt allowing Chase to briefly shine before injury's too snapped his season short. Chase reminds me a bit of Felix with his skill set while Maleek reminds me a lot of Marcus Lattimore from SC. Whether or not either back lives up to those comparisons is a different story. However, but are exceptionally talented.

The last serious contender for significant playing time is incoming JUCO Boyd. He has some very good speed and some wiggle to him, but he doesn't dance too much. I wouldn't say he has any more skill than the players listed above. However, given his age and experience, could translate that into increased playing time. That said, him not being here in the spring puts him a bit behind the 8-ball there.

bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2018, 11:52:46 pm »

I think the defense is pretty well stratified between clear first team Wes and second stringers so I think the most competition will be on offense.  I expect the OT and WR spots to be wide open and the most dynamic position battle to be at RB because we have a lot of good backs with different skill sets so should be real interesting to see who gets to be the #1 back when the dust settles.

Yeah, I largely agree. Though I think on the OL, center will be an underrated position battle, given that it is the second most important spot on the OL.

On defense, I don't foresee any exciting position battles save for that if there are any new faces, then they must be pretty good to move up and beat out those that are in the two deep now.

At the DL: Agim, Bell, Taylor, and Richardson make for a talented two deep along with quality backups with Porter and 3rd down specialist Ramsey, and that's not mentioning Dorian Gerald joining the fray. Is Nichols or Fulwider break into that lineup or somebody else, then man, watch out. While there is still debate over who will be the starters vs second string and such listed above, the DL rotates enough that it's not a huge distinction. At DT, Capps, Guidry, Smith, Watts, and Marshall make up a formidable grouping with Agim situationally moving inside, likely on passing downs. Agin, who exactly starts is still up for grabs, but with the rotation, it's not so much a competition for playing among those as it is just improving. So, if the young guns end up competing for playing time over the veterans, then we really hit on a star.

At LB: We'll likely mostly only be playing two LB's. Greenlaw and Harris make up the best LB duo since Franklin and Nelson. Besides those two, the only remaining guy we have who has demonstrated on the field stellar play is Grant Morgan. However, pseudo newcomer McClure was one of the best players in the spring game and as a former WR, is extremely athletic. Hayden Henry also had a very productive spring and saw playing time last year. AJB and LaFrance showed a lot of promise out of HS and are coming into their third year while Walker was a bit more of a project, developmental player who has started to make some plays. Munson was listed as a starter for much of the spring in that third, hybrid spot as a guy too slow to be a S and too small to be a pure LB. He'll face competition from Edwards who was a true safety but has put on muscle and is moving to LB. Plus, with all of that, Bumper Pool with such an awesome name (not to mention being a blue chip recruit) has been here all spring. The starters here in Harris and Greenlaw are sewn up. Morgan IMO is the likeliest guy to take the 85th scholarship that Hall freed up given that he's easily our third best LB, though will likely not start at the third spot since he isn't really a nickel/S hybrid. There is some excitement about who will fill in the other backup roles and I'll be surprised if McClure doesn't see significant time.

At DB, Pulley and Ramirez are all-conference level players anchoring the secondary. Curl should have a breakout year at his natural position after performing adequately as a true freshmen corner. Challoway showed flashes last year too and has the recruiting hype to suggest a breakthrough performance in his second year. When we need more of a true nickel, Richardson will likely be that guy. There is a fair amount of uncertainty in the backups though. Brown and Smith are our two most talented backups at S IMO, but we are bringing in some some Curl/Challoway/Curtis/Brown level recruits this year as well. Tutt, Curtis, and McClellion are our top 3 backups IMO at CB, but they too are facing some tough competition from new recruits. Smith is an above average S in terms of physical ability, but not nearly at the same level of guys like Ramirez and Curl and could be passed up if his experience isn't able to compensate against the high levels of athleticism we've brought in. Brown is in a class above Micah, IMO, but definitely the slowest of the top guys, making up for it with being significantly harder hitting than anybody else. At corner, Curtis still reminds me of USC Adoree Jackson and I wouldn't be surprised to see him fielding punts and taking some snaps on offense eventually. McClellion is a notch below Curtis and Calloway, but not too far below and physical ability is only part of the equation. You never know how the mental half will develop. Tutt is a JUCO who is lightning fast but has struggled with consistency and with health. However, you never know when the mental part will click a la Spaight and with his speed, he could be very helpful at DB.

presidenthog

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 03:00:40 am »

You are forgetting about the freshman safety we brought in that is 6'2 and like 205 or something like that. Had an offer from bama, and was committed to MSU. His names escapes me right now.
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Warrior Way 22

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2018, 09:10:52 am »

I think WR is the battle I'm most intrigued by. I really want to see those guys take the next step, or at least a couple of them. I think they are a talented group but nobody has really pulled away from the pack. I think Martin and Jones are probably the most talented but Cornelius has the experience. Should be fun to see this play out.
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JIHawg

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2018, 10:24:30 am »



I didn’t think Limpert was too bad last year. He went 8/9 with a long of 48.

There you go again with the facts. 
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2018, 08:33:30 pm »

You are forgetting about the freshman safety we brought in that is 6'2 and like 205 or something like that. Had an offer from bama, and was committed to MSU. His names escapes me right now.

I forget his name, but I do talk about him above.
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Hogindasticks

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 08:53:15 pm »

You are forgetting about the freshman safety we brought in that is 6'2 and like 205 or something like that. Had an offer from bama, and was committed to MSU. His names escapes me right now.
Miles Mason
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VirginiaHog

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2018, 09:24:46 pm »

Besides QB, to answer the OP, I'd have to go with RB.

This offense despite some of the ill-informed narrative, is not an air raid attack. Closer to Auburn's offense than Mike Leach's. So, the running game will be very important.

The Contenders:

Leading the pack is naturally Devwah Whaley. 4* high profile recruit out of HS. Was promising in a reserve role behind RW3 two years ago, last year in the lost season, he had the opportunity to be the top dog but never really took it and was eventually passed by the other back with initials DW. Whaley has good speed, and a n-s running style with little east to west motion. Not a super powerful or agile running, but has good explosion and vision and takes what is there.

Next come the two freshmen from last season. Chase Hayden is the speed back who has a surprising amount of power while Maleek Williams is a true power back with a surprising burst of speed. Injuries forced Maleek to redshirt allowing Chase to briefly shine before injury's too snapped his season short. Chase reminds me a bit of Felix with his skill set while Maleek reminds me a lot of Marcus Lattimore from SC. Whether or not either back lives up to those comparisons is a different story. However, but are exceptionally talented.

The last serious contender for significant playing time is incoming JUCO Boyd. He has some very good speed and some wiggle to him, but he doesn't dance too much. I wouldn't say he has any more skill than the players listed above. However, given his age and experience, could translate that into increased playing time. That said, him not being here in the spring puts him a bit behind the 8-ball there.
TJ??
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Hopeful Hog

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2018, 04:43:17 pm »

Besides QB, to answer the OP, I'd have to go with RB.

This offense despite some of the ill-informed narrative, is not an air raid attack. Closer to Auburn's offense than Mike Leach's. So, the running game will be very important.

The Contenders:

Leading the pack is naturally Devwah Whaley. 4* high profile recruit out of HS. Was promising in a reserve role behind RW3 two years ago, last year in the lost season, he had the opportunity to be the top dog but never really took it and was eventually passed by the other back with initials DW. Whaley has good speed, and a n-s running style with little east to west motion. Not a super powerful or agile running, but has good explosion and vision and takes what is there.

Next come the two freshmen from last season. Chase Hayden is the speed back who has a surprising amount of power while Maleek Williams is a true power back with a surprising burst of speed. Injuries forced Maleek to redshirt allowing Chase to briefly shine before injury's too snapped his season short. Chase reminds me a bit of Felix with his skill set while Maleek reminds me a lot of Marcus Lattimore from SC. Whether or not either back lives up to those comparisons is a different story. However, but are exceptionally talented.

The last serious contender for significant playing time is incoming JUCO Boyd. He has some very good speed and some wiggle to him, but he doesn't dance too much. I wouldn't say he has any more skill than the players listed above. However, given his age and experience, could translate that into increased playing time. That said, him not being here in the spring puts him a bit behind the 8-ball there.

Really enjoyed this little break down. I'd like to read one for every position.
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MS_HogFan

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2018, 07:11:34 pm »

Really enjoyed this little break down. I'd like to read one for every position.

Second that

bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2018, 10:05:56 pm »

TJ??

I did forget about him, but I don't see him as a pure RB. I think his ideal role is as a Percy Harvin-lite.

I say lite not to diminish TJ Hammond, but just to give Harvin his due credit. Not only was he incredible in college, the guy totaled over 9,000 yards in just 75 career games (averaged right at 122 ypm). However, injuries of course shortened Harvin's career and is something Hammonds too has struggled with.

Further, the problem with a slash player is that they are typically a jack of all but a master of none. If you had a Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and Percy Harvin each in their primes, well, you'd rather hand the ball off to AD and throw to Megatron, but you look at Percy and you want to get him the ball too, just that you'd rather feed the other guys. Similarly, I look at our roster, and there are 2-3 backs I'd rather see with 20+ carries a game than Hammonds and 3-4 receivers I'd trust more in the passing game. Yet, like Harvin, I look at Hammonds and think, man that's a guy who would be great to get 5-10 touches a game as well.

But, how do you fit him in with all the other skill players? It can be done, but you need a creative playcaller to do it. Otherwise, you put him in on a handful of plays a game, and the defense is just going to key in on him and the plays won't work. IMO, the trick is not to force it, and with Morris's offense, it opens up a lot of room to do just that. Line him up in the slot. If he has a favorable matchup vs the defense? Just run a regular old pass play and take advantage him in the passing game. Motion him into the backfield and run the read option with Hammonds as the inside guy where he is surprisingly good of a runner. If the defense keys in on him, they'll be keying in on him as an outside runner. Or, line him up at the slot and run a read option sweep with the qb as the inside option. Again, you are using the defense keying in on Hammonds to your advantage. If they do, which they should, that'll free up Cole to pound it up the middle. If they don't, you as the playcaller just found a way to get Hammonds the ball in space and the rest is up to him. Third down? Bring him in as the RB and line up with 4 WR's spread out. If the defense lines up in man, that middle will be open and Hammonds could gash it for a first down. If the defense is in zone, motion Hammonds out wide on a slant pattern or something. He'll have a LB to beat in zone coverage which the slant isn't great at, but still better odds than nothing.

But yeah, in terms of being the RB, I don't think it would be a good idea for the coaches or Hammonds sake to have him carry the ball 20+ times a game. In contrast, Whaley and Maleek I'd both feel confident in doing that and probably also Chase, but that kid needs some more muscle to survive a full season.

bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2018, 10:06:26 pm »

Really enjoyed this little break down. I'd like to read one for every position.

Okie dokie.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2018, 02:10:03 pm »

Really enjoyed this little break down. I'd like to read one for every position.

QB:

Cole Kelley is the guy we have most seen play in the actual college game. He has a strong arm, isn't completely a statue though his large frame is a key part of his running ability. Think of a cross between Mallett and Tebow. Better thrower than Tebow, but not as good as Mallett. Better athlete than Mallett but not as good as Tebow. His play wasn't amazing last year, but keep in mind it was during a season where much of the team quit. Further, compare his stats as a redshirt freshmen to similar situations among our other qb's and his play was better.

Ty Storey is his top competition for the starting spot. Storey, if we are making comparisons, is closer to Wilson than Mallett compared to Kelley. Smaller body, weaker arm though still plenty strong, and better thrower on the move than Cole. Storey is also, iirc from coaching interviews, one of the smarter qb's in the room. He suffered from a less than ideal throwing motion early on but has improved that over time. His HS tape was very impressive showing skills you often don't see in HS players. Namely, throwing into really tight windows as his receivers were really bad and got no separation. Still remember a play where a defender was hitting Ty as he was throwing the ball, but he still launched it 30 yards on a rope (never more than 7 feet off the ground or so) and completed it to his receiver, hitting a very small window as the receiver was blanketed. However, while he had the skills to do that, the game in small school arkansas is much slower than in the SEC and he has taken time to adjust. IMO, he has a similar athleticism to Kelley, maybe with a bit more explosion. He's not going to bust a 50 yard run unless there's a massive window, but like Prescott, both Allens, etc... he is mobile enough to do some damage if given the opportunity.

Dualton Hyatt was a raw prospect out of HS. Good arm and good athleticism, but definitely a developmental player. We've only really seen a couple plays in a glorified practice with him, but it would appear that his development is coming along nicely. However, odds are low that he is ready to take on the above two yet.

Connor Noland: Brandon Allen 2.0. Probably not fair to Noland to not let him be his own player, but from his size, to his athleticism, arm strength, accuracy, blazing fast release, he is extremely similar to BA. The hope with him would be imagine having BA without the scarring from the 2012 season. Having the 2015 for a longer period of time.

John Stephens Jones: Like Hyatt is a developmental player. A bit of a risk. He is very undersized for the position and didn't face a lot of competition allowing him to put up large numbers in HS. His arm strength isn't anything to write home about, but at the college level isn't a liability either. He makes up for that by being deadly accurate with his passes, hitting receivers perfectly in stride. His athleticism looks to be about the same as most of the other guys we have, but will need to pack on some muscle if he wants to survive.
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Mo_Better_Hogs

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2018, 01:55:40 pm »

Nice work here, Benny.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2018, 08:54:43 pm »

WR I've talked about a lot on here, particularly last season, and we haven't had any changes. So no need to add much more.

We are stocked with 4* players at the position. Moreover, they are players with great offer lists from great schools.

However, last year was the first year most any of them had significant playing time due to Cornelius, Hatcher, and Morgan being the best and earning a lot of the snaps. However, last year was also a lost season, similar to 2012 where even great players like Knile Davis looked like crap despite having success before and after. Therefore, you can't put too much stock into what happened last year.

Further, WR is a position that takes more time to really master than other positions like RB. Childs, Adams, and Wright showed flashes in 2008, but Miller was still the leading WR, and Crawford was the still the go-to guy. Morgan, Hatcher, and Cornelius similarly took time to become consistent forces at the position.

However, to play the devil's advocate, those players still showed some flashes. While they lacked consistency, they showed potential on the field of play. Too often last season, the WR's simply struggled to get open, no matter the level of competition.

Cornelius is a known quantity going forward as the most productive slot receiver in the country in 2016. Nance had the highest qb rating when thrown too over the first half of the season in the country (or at least top 5) and finished the season as one of the most efficient receivers in the conference but was pretty quiet so far this spring. Jordan Jones flashed in the Missouri game last year, but has struggled with consistency still. Brandon Martin continues to be injured. Pettway flashed in the spring, but struggled in real game time so far. Stewart developed some consistency last season. Warren and Barned both have potential, but haven't realized that potential as receivers yet. Kolian Jackson looks to be a Cobi Hamilton 2.0 and is coming off a redshirt season. Woods is shaping up into that physical receiver role a la Hatcher. I'm sure I'm forgetting some important players, but we have a ton of options. Also, Gary Cross is somebody to note, with huge physical upside and played on scholarship last season.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2018, 09:25:47 pm »

Rogers and Heinrich leaving really hurt the team, but there is plenty of hope for the future.

Among the returning starters: LT Colton Jackson has been somewhat of a mainstay, but IMO has been the weakest link. He struggles on footwork in pass protection and lacks great strength to make up for that in the run game. In terms of being beat one on one as opposed to missing an assignment, Jackson's been the biggest culprit in allowing defenders into the backfield.

Froholdt at LG is projected on nfl.com to be in contention for a first round draft choice as one of, if not THE top interior OL player in the country. He's pretty unanimously considered a early round draft pick by those who aren't projecting him in the top round.

Gibson at RG is a pretty typical walk-on turned scholly starter. He lacks the athleticism you expect from an SEC starter, but has a bullish mentality and pretty good strength to back it up. He's not your ideal starter, but as we've seen, he's certainly good enough.

Brian Wallace has all the physical tools you could ask for in a tackle. Even the previous coaching staff recognized that. However, to date, he has struggled with consistency and the mental part of the game, and even the current coaching staff has commented on that. There's a reason why every school in the country offered him a scholarship, but there's also legit reason he hasn't started a whole lot here either. Hopefully this will be the year the lightbulb goes off for him.

Just going in alphabetical order now of the guys I think could compete for starting time/2 deep rotation.

Adcock: Out of HS, he looked like one of the smoothest linemen we'd have. In contrast to the bullish lineman who will take their guy to the ground but lose their own footing in the process, Adcock in HS frequently left his defender on their back while Adcock kept his footing, able to block a second person. Shows much better technique and strength, though lacks some in athleticism.

Clary is a guy that we'll see starting sooner rather than later. While perhaps it was a mistake to play him last year, I see that similar to playing Froholdt three years ago. I doubt Froholdt is today considered a first round prospect if he hadn't been thrown to the wolves some. Clary has a good blend of strength, intelligence, and athleticism and will probably be even better suited for Morris's offense.

Clenin: Closest comparison is Skipper, though he looks a step quicker. Clenin is a similar build, and similar raw aggression, though often ended up on the ground in the process of taking the defender down. Highlights didn't show a lot of pass blocking which could be troublesome as Skipper too wasn't the best in pass pro.

Dylan Hays appears in line to be the next starting center, but I don't remember much from him in HS and haven't seen him play really in college.

Jalen Merrick: Looking at his size on the roster at 345 (Morris had him apparently gain a lot of weight) you'd think guard, but his athleticism (at least before putting on 23 pounds in a few weeks time) suggested tackle. He also has the size and length to play tackle. Morris wants oversized guards, so his weight gain suggests that's where they want him, but unless they coaching staff castrated his athleticism with over-bulking, then Merrick provides that nice ability of being able to start at a lot of positions.

Last but not least, Dalton Wagner. The guy reports a 30" vertical and a 4.6 shuttle, which for his size is very impressive. He didn't have a lot of HS highlights I could find, but if those values are true, then he's probably in a similar boat to Brian Wallace physically, which would certainly match with Wagner's impressive offer list.

Hopefully all the true freshmen will get to redshirt. However, if not, then here's a quick take on each. Gatlin was truly a big fish in a small pond, pancaking the competition with a single arm. Not much meaningful can be gleamed from his tape other than he moves well in space and can find blockers in space which he did frequently. Silas Robinson is more in that aggressive mold, similar to a Skipper or Clenin, but less athletic than either IMO. Even in the highlights, you see him whiff on quicker rushers before moving on to block somebody else. Seemed he almost always lost his footing when trying to block, though admittedly, so did the defender usually. Ryan Winkle looks a lot like Adcock. Smooth footwork, usually bringing the defender to the ground, while keeping his own feet and being able to block a second defender.
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Hogindasticks

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2018, 10:53:58 pm »

Yeah, I largely agree. Though I think on the OL, center will be an underrated position battle, given that it is the second most important spot on the OL.

On defense, I don't foresee any exciting position battles save for that if there are any new faces, then they must be pretty good to move up and beat out those that are in the two deep now.

At the DL: Agim, Bell, Taylor, and Richardson make for a talented two deep along with quality backups with Porter and 3rd down specialist Ramsey, and that's not mentioning Dorian Gerald joining the fray. Is Nichols or Fulwider break into that lineup or somebody else, then man, watch out. While there is still debate over who will be the starters vs second string and such listed above, the DL rotates enough that it's not a huge distinction. At DT, Capps, Guidry, Smith, Watts, and Marshall make up a formidable grouping with Agim situationally moving inside, likely on passing downs. Agin, who exactly starts is still up for grabs, but with the rotation, it's not so much a competition for playing among those as it is just improving. So, if the young guns end up competing for playing time over the veterans, then we really hit on a star.

At LB: We'll likely mostly only be playing two LB's. Greenlaw and Harris make up the best LB duo since Franklin and Nelson. Besides those two, the only remaining guy we have who has demonstrated on the field stellar play is Grant Morgan. However, pseudo newcomer McClure was one of the best players in the spring game and as a former WR, is extremely athletic. Hayden Henry also had a very productive spring and saw playing time last year. AJB and LaFrance showed a lot of promise out of HS and are coming into their third year while Walker was a bit more of a project, developmental player who has started to make some plays. Munson was listed as a starter for much of the spring in that third, hybrid spot as a guy too slow to be a S and too small to be a pure LB. He'll face competition from Edwards who was a true safety but has put on muscle and is moving to LB. Plus, with all of that, Bumper Pool with such an awesome name (not to mention being a blue chip recruit) has been here all spring. The starters here in Harris and Greenlaw are sewn up. Morgan IMO is the likeliest guy to take the 85th scholarship that Hall freed up given that he's easily our third best LB, though will likely not start at the third spot since he isn't really a nickel/S hybrid. There is some excitement about who will fill in the other backup roles and I'll be surprised if McClure doesn't see significant time.

At DB, Pulley and Ramirez are all-conference level players anchoring the secondary. Curl should have a breakout year at his natural position after performing adequately as a true freshmen corner. Challoway showed flashes last year too and has the recruiting hype to suggest a breakthrough performance in his second year. When we need more of a true nickel, Richardson will likely be that guy. There is a fair amount of uncertainty in the backups though. Brown and Smith are our two most talented backups at S IMO, but we are bringing in some some Curl/Challoway/Curtis/Brown level recruits this year as well. Tutt, Curtis, and McClellion are our top 3 backups IMO at CB, but they too are facing some tough competition from new recruits. Smith is an above average S in terms of physical ability, but not nearly at the same level of guys like Ramirez and Curl and could be passed up if his experience isn't able to compensate against the high levels of athleticism we've brought in. Brown is in a class above Micah, IMO, but definitely the slowest of the top guys, making up for it with being significantly harder hitting than anybody else. At corner, Curtis still reminds me of USC Adoree Jackson and I wouldn't be surprised to see him fielding punts and taking some snaps on offense eventually. McClellion is a notch below Curtis and Calloway, but not too far below and physical ability is only part of the equation. You never know how the mental half will develop. Tutt is a JUCO who is lightning fast but has struggled with consistency and with health. However, you never know when the mental part will click a la Spaight and with his speed, he could be very helpful at DB.

Ferrell will be looking for time....too much there to deny.  He gonna be there.
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King Kong

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2018, 10:56:07 pm »



I didnít think Limpert was too bad last year. He went 8/9 with a long of 48.

That not even counting 2 of the game winners against Ole Piss that didnít count
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Hopeful Hog

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2018, 01:25:20 pm »

Rogers and Heinrich leaving really hurt the team, but there is plenty of hope for the future.

Among the returning starters: LT Colton Jackson has been somewhat of a mainstay, but IMO has been the weakest link. He struggles on footwork in pass protection and lacks great strength to make up for that in the run game. In terms of being beat one on one as opposed to missing an assignment, Jackson's been the biggest culprit in allowing defenders into the backfield.

Froholdt at LG is projected on nfl.com to be in contention for a first round draft choice as one of, if not THE top interior OL player in the country. He's pretty unanimously considered a early round draft pick by those who aren't projecting him in the top round.

Gibson at RG is a pretty typical walk-on turned scholly starter. He lacks the athleticism you expect from an SEC starter, but has a bullish mentality and pretty good strength to back it up. He's not your ideal starter, but as we've seen, he's certainly good enough.

Brian Wallace has all the physical tools you could ask for in a tackle. Even the previous coaching staff recognized that. However, to date, he has struggled with consistency and the mental part of the game, and even the current coaching staff has commented on that. There's a reason why every school in the country offered him a scholarship, but there's also legit reason he hasn't started a whole lot here either. Hopefully this will be the year the lightbulb goes off for him.

Just going in alphabetical order now of the guys I think could compete for starting time/2 deep rotation.

Adcock: Out of HS, he looked like one of the smoothest linemen we'd have. In contrast to the bullish lineman who will take their guy to the ground but lose their own footing in the process, Adcock in HS frequently left his defender on their back while Adcock kept his footing, able to block a second person. Shows much better technique and strength, though lacks some in athleticism.

Clary is a guy that we'll see starting sooner rather than later. While perhaps it was a mistake to play him last year, I see that similar to playing Froholdt three years ago. I doubt Froholdt is today considered a first round prospect if he hadn't been thrown to the wolves some. Clary has a good blend of strength, intelligence, and athleticism and will probably be even better suited for Morris's offense.

Clenin: Closest comparison is Skipper, though he looks a step quicker. Clenin is a similar build, and similar raw aggression, though often ended up on the ground in the process of taking the defender down. Highlights didn't show a lot of pass blocking which could be troublesome as Skipper too wasn't the best in pass pro.

Dylan Hays appears in line to be the next starting center, but I don't remember much from him in HS and haven't seen him play really in college.

Jalen Merrick: Looking at his size on the roster at 345 (Morris had him apparently gain a lot of weight) you'd think guard, but his athleticism (at least before putting on 23 pounds in a few weeks time) suggested tackle. He also has the size and length to play tackle. Morris wants oversized guards, so his weight gain suggests that's where they want him, but unless they coaching staff castrated his athleticism with over-bulking, then Merrick provides that nice ability of being able to start at a lot of positions.

Last but not least, Dalton Wagner. The guy reports a 30" vertical and a 4.6 shuttle, which for his size is very impressive. He didn't have a lot of HS highlights I could find, but if those values are true, then he's probably in a similar boat to Brian Wallace physically, which would certainly match with Wagner's impressive offer list.

Hopefully all the true freshmen will get to redshirt. However, if not, then here's a quick take on each. Gatlin was truly a big fish in a small pond, pancaking the competition with a single arm. Not much meaningful can be gleamed from his tape other than he moves well in space and can find blockers in space which he did frequently. Silas Robinson is more in that aggressive mold, similar to a Skipper or Clenin, but less athletic than either IMO. Even in the highlights, you see him whiff on quicker rushers before moving on to block somebody else. Seemed he almost always lost his footing when trying to block, though admittedly, so did the defender usually. Ryan Winkle looks a lot like Adcock. Smooth footwork, usually bringing the defender to the ground, while keeping his own feet and being able to block a second defender.

Another great read my man. Great job!!

bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2018, 12:56:34 am »

Now let's look at the DL.

I wanted to start inside out, but thinking about the story that our roster tells, it makes more sense to work outside in.

At DE, we are spoiled with options, though bereft of proven talent. Agim is currently our most balanced and experienced player at the position. He is strong enough and has enough control and smarts to be an effective run stopper and is athletic enough to provide a pass rush. However, as with virtually all freshmen DL players, he mostly showed flashes as well as plenty of mistakes. His sophomore season, he was in a scheme that asked him NOT to get penetration which obviously limited what we were able to see from him. This is the first year where he isn't a complete greenhorn and won't be asked to simply take up a double team/mind the gap but can be unleashed.

Our next two best players at the DE spot based on completeness would be Jamario Bell and Dorian Gerald. In previous years, I have compared Bell to Gronkowski physically when he was trying TE and Von Miller last year at OLB. Bell is a super freak of an athlete, but has struggled to see the field, in part due to injuries and personal reasons of finding a positional home and buying in to that position. The first time he really bought in was last off-season before suffering a season ending injury. This year, his buy in has remained the same, but he's finally been healthy. Watch the spring game again and focus on Bell. He is absolutely blazing fast, huge, and strong. If he can finally stay healthy, he could be a beast. Dorian Gerald hasn't even made it to campus yet, but as a JUCO, he shows top notch pass rushing ability, but also the size, strength, and experience/smarts to be an effective run stopper as well.

Outside of that group of three, we have some high talent players, but none of them are nearly as balanced. Ramsey has proven that he has skill in the SEC at rushing the passer. However, he is a major liability in the run game which a large portion of our opponents prioritize (Auburn, Aggies, Bama, LSU, and who really knows what MSU will be like). I only see him as a situational player, or else we are going to make some of our recent run defenses look like Bama in comparison. Taylor and Porter are both younger guys who are also pass rushing specialists that haven't mastered contain on run plays yet. However, they both dwarf Ramsey in size and strength and mainly lack the experience needed to not just try and get into the backfield every play (watch Flowers as a freshmen and sophomore and see him explode past the tackle trying to block him only to find himself 5 yards behind where the play having left a gaping hole. He wasn't a balanced player until his junior year). Lastly at DE, Gabe Richardson deserves mention. He's the most balanced guy we have outside of the top 3 listed. He's decent/solid at pass rush, but not great and a noticeable step behind the guys listed above. However, he is also much better than guys like Taylor, Porter, and Ramsey when it comes to stopping the run so he too will likely figure into the rotation.

I don't see any of the freshmen coming in and making any immediate impacts. There is promise for the future with them, but Gerald is the only newcomer that looks to be at that higher level. Let the freshmen redshirt and develop.

I talk about the DE's first because IMO, based on our options there, what the coaching staff have mentioned, and just general football logic, that will play into our interior rotation. We don't have any Jamario Bells here quite yet, but we are much deeper in solid SEC level talent than many realize.

Unlike at DE, there isn't a whole lot of separation among those likely in the rotation. Capps is our space eater and run stopper up the gut. As a true freshmen, the only players stronger than him were Ragnow and Bijhon. Farmers look at their Ox and say that it's as strong as a Capps. However, what he has in strength, he lacks in speed. At least relative to our other DT's. Guidry came in with the same recruiting class as Capps and was largely the opposite. More of the explosive DT who redshirted to add some more strength. Watts was a bit of a raw project coming out of HS. However, he was easily one of, if not THE, most impressive players on defense in the spring game. Routinely outpowering OL players, particularly Gibson who is more of a power specialty OL player while also showing great burst and speed. He showed a full allotment of moves from bull rushes, to spins, hand usage with the swim move, and just outright speed rushes from the interior as well as a "motor that's running" chasing down plays from behind. Expect him to have a breakout season. TJ Smith is a interesting player. Out of HS, he's a player that showed great burst relative to his large size, but at the collegiate level has been stuck as a kind of tweener. He doesn't have the speed of a good DE but doesn't have the size of a DT. He was one of the players that greatly benefited from the switch to the 3-4 where he is an ideal 3-4 DE. This year, he's bulked up a lot and very quickly to try and play on the inside. If he can keep the speed and explosion he had at around 270 now that he's 300+, he could be very valuable. If the coaching staff over trained him, he'll likely be a third string depth guy or mostly play against Bama or other run heavy teams. Last, but not least, Jonathan Marshall. I kind of group him similar to Gabe Richardson at DE. Marshall isn't as strong as Capps or as explosive as Guidry, but is more of that do it all kind of player. Jack of all, master of none. Makes some good plays, doesn't make too many mistakes.

As for freshmen, Billy Ferrel is the only one I see having the potential to make an impact. He appears to have good strength, but also being very explosive. Given the depth and the below discussion on moving our DE's like inside at times, he'll have a steep challenge to earn playing time, but of all the true freshmen on the DL coming in, he by far has the best shot to break through.

So, why did the DE's need to be discussed first? Depth and talent. While DT has more real time experience, we have greater potential at DE. Thus, the talk about having guys like Agim move inside somewhat frequently. Think JJ Watt. Agim isn't as fast or explosive as guys like Taylor, Porter, or Ramsey. But, he's able to be pretty big and strong and stay just as fast as he is when smaller. Giving him enough strength to be effective on the inside in pass rushing situations allowing more speed on the outside.

For example, picture Agim and Bell on the inside with Ramsey and Taylor on the edge. That gives just enough beef to still have some defense against the run if the offense goes no huddle and tried to switch to power, while providing a nightmare for qb's in looking at that pass rush.
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GuvHog

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2018, 08:22:45 am »

Now let's look at the DL.

I wanted to start inside out, but thinking about the story that our roster tells, it makes more sense to work outside in.

At DE, we are spoiled with options, though bereft of proven talent. Agim is currently our most balanced and experienced player at the position. He is strong enough and has enough control and smarts to be an effective run stopper and is athletic enough to provide a pass rush. However, as with virtually all freshmen DL players, he mostly showed flashes as well as plenty of mistakes. His sophomore season, he was in a scheme that asked him NOT to get penetration which obviously limited what we were able to see from him. This is the first year where he isn't a complete greenhorn and won't be asked to simply take up a double team/mind the gap but can be unleashed.

Our next two best players at the DE spot based on completeness would be Jamario Bell and Dorian Gerald. In previous years, I have compared Bell to Gronkowski physically when he was trying TE and Von Miller last year at OLB. Bell is a super freak of an athlete, but has struggled to see the field, in part due to injuries and personal reasons of finding a positional home and buying in to that position. The first time he really bought in was last off-season before suffering a season ending injury. This year, his buy in has remained the same, but he's finally been healthy. Watch the spring game again and focus on Bell. He is absolutely blazing fast, huge, and strong. If he can finally stay healthy, he could be a beast. Dorian Gerald hasn't even made it to campus yet, but as a JUCO, he shows top notch pass rushing ability, but also the size, strength, and experience/smarts to be an effective run stopper as well.

Outside of that group of three, we have some high talent players, but none of them are nearly as balanced. Ramsey has proven that he has skill in the SEC at rushing the passer. However, he is a major liability in the run game which a large portion of our opponents prioritize (Auburn, Aggies, Bama, LSU, and who really knows what MSU will be like). I only see him as a situational player, or else we are going to make some of our recent run defenses look like Bama in comparison. Taylor and Porter are both younger guys who are also pass rushing specialists that haven't mastered contain on run plays yet. However, they both dwarf Ramsey in size and strength and mainly lack the experience needed to not just try and get into the backfield every play (watch Flowers as a freshmen and sophomore and see him explode past the tackle trying to block him only to find himself 5 yards behind where the play having left a gaping hole. He wasn't a balanced player until his junior year). Lastly at DE, Gabe Richardson deserves mention. He's the most balanced guy we have outside of the top 3 listed. He's decent/solid at pass rush, but not great and a noticeable step behind the guys listed above. However, he is also much better than guys like Taylor, Porter, and Ramsey when it comes to stopping the run so he too will likely figure into the rotation.

I don't see any of the freshmen coming in and making any immediate impacts. There is promise for the future with them, but Gerald is the only newcomer that looks to be at that higher level. Let the freshmen redshirt and develop.

I talk about the DE's first because IMO, based on our options there, what the coaching staff have mentioned, and just general football logic, that will play into our interior rotation. We don't have any Jamario Bells here quite yet, but we are much deeper in solid SEC level talent than many realize.

Unlike at DE, there isn't a whole lot of separation among those likely in the rotation. Capps is our space eater and run stopper up the gut. As a true freshmen, the only players stronger than him were Ragnow and Bijhon. Farmers look at their Ox and say that it's as strong as a Capps. However, what he has in strength, he lacks in speed. At least relative to our other DT's. Guidry came in with the same recruiting class as Capps and was largely the opposite. More of the explosive DT who redshirted to add some more strength. Watts was a bit of a raw project coming out of HS. However, he was easily one of, if not THE, most impressive players on defense in the spring game. Routinely outpowering OL players, particularly Gibson who is more of a power specialty OL player while also showing great burst and speed. He showed a full allotment of moves from bull rushes, to spins, hand usage with the swim move, and just outright speed rushes from the interior as well as a "motor that's running" chasing down plays from behind. Expect him to have a breakout season. TJ Smith is a interesting player. Out of HS, he's a player that showed great burst relative to his large size, but at the collegiate level has been stuck as a kind of tweener. He doesn't have the speed of a good DE but doesn't have the size of a DT. He was one of the players that greatly benefited from the switch to the 3-4 where he is an ideal 3-4 DE. This year, he's bulked up a lot and very quickly to try and play on the inside. If he can keep the speed and explosion he had at around 270 now that he's 300+, he could be very valuable. If the coaching staff over trained him, he'll likely be a third string depth guy or mostly play against Bama or other run heavy teams. Last, but not least, Jonathan Marshall. I kind of group him similar to Gabe Richardson at DE. Marshall isn't as strong as Capps or as explosive as Guidry, but is more of that do it all kind of player. Jack of all, master of none. Makes some good plays, doesn't make too many mistakes.

As for freshmen, Billy Ferrel is the only one I see having the potential to make an impact. He appears to have good strength, but also being very explosive. Given the depth and the below discussion on moving our DE's like inside at times, he'll have a steep challenge to earn playing time, but of all the true freshmen on the DL coming in, he by far has the best shot to break through.

So, why did the DE's need to be discussed first? Depth and talent. While DT has more real time experience, we have greater potential at DE. Thus, the talk about having guys like Agim move inside somewhat frequently. Think JJ Watt. Agim isn't as fast or explosive as guys like Taylor, Porter, or Ramsey. But, he's able to be pretty big and strong and stay just as fast as he is when smaller. Giving him enough strength to be effective on the inside in pass rushing situations allowing more speed on the outside.

For example, picture Agim and Bell on the inside with Ramsey and Taylor on the edge. That gives just enough beef to still have some defense against the run if the offense goes no huddle and tried to switch to power, while providing a nightmare for qb's in looking at that pass rush.

Capps and Agim didn't play in the spring game because Chavis and Caldwell know what they have in those 2 and saw no need to risk injury. Also, Capps wasn't totally healed from an injury. I wouldn't be at all surprised if those 2 start the season at the DT spots with Ramsey at one DE spot while Bell and Gerald battle for the other one.
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Launcellous

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2018, 08:25:49 am »

Capps and Agim didn't play in the spring game because Chavis and Caldwell know what they have in those 2 and saw no need to risk injury. Also, Capps wasn't totally healed from an injury. I wouldn't be at all surprised if those 2 start the season at the DT spots with Ramsey at one DE spot while Bell and Gerald battle for the other one.

Agim didn't play because he was at a funeral for a family member. Otherwise, i bet he would have had a quite a few snaps early on in the game.
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GuvHog

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2018, 08:35:12 am »

Agim didn't play because he was at a funeral for a family member. Otherwise, i bet he would have had a quite a few snaps early on in the game.

Morris stated later after the spring game that he wouldn't have played even if he had been there.
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yraciv

Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2018, 08:53:35 am »

QB:

Cole Kelley is the guy we have most seen play in the actual college game. He has a strong arm, isn't completely a statue though his large frame is a key part of his running ability. Think of a cross between Mallett and Tebow. Better thrower than Tebow, but not as good as Mallett. Better athlete than Mallett but not as good as Tebow. His play wasn't amazing last year, but keep in mind it was during a season where much of the team quit. Further, compare his stats as a redshirt freshmen to similar situations among our other qb's and his play was better.

Ty Storey is his top competition for the starting spot. Storey, if we are making comparisons, is closer to Wilson than Mallett compared to Kelley. Smaller body, weaker arm though still plenty strong, and better thrower on the move than Cole. Storey is also, iirc from coaching interviews, one of the smarter qb's in the room. He suffered from a less than ideal throwing motion early on but has improved that over time. His HS tape was very impressive showing skills you often don't see in HS players. Namely, throwing into really tight windows as his receivers were really bad and got no separation. Still remember a play where a defender was hitting Ty as he was throwing the ball, but he still launched it 30 yards on a rope (never more than 7 feet off the ground or so) and completed it to his receiver, hitting a very small window as the receiver was blanketed. However, while he had the skills to do that, the game in small school arkansas is much slower than in the SEC and he has taken time to adjust. IMO, he has a similar athleticism to Kelley, maybe with a bit more explosion. He's not going to bust a 50 yard run unless there's a massive window, but like Prescott, both Allens, etc... he is mobile enough to do some damage if given the opportunity.

Dualton Hyatt was a raw prospect out of HS. Good arm and good athleticism, but definitely a developmental player. We've only really seen a couple plays in a glorified practice with him, but it would appear that his development is coming along nicely. However, odds are low that he is ready to take on the above two yet.

Connor Noland: Brandon Allen 2.0. Probably not fair to Noland to not let him be his own player, but from his size, to his athleticism, arm strength, accuracy, blazing fast release, he is extremely similar to BA. The hope with him would be imagine having BA without the scarring from the 2012 season. Having the 2015 for a longer period of time.

John Stephens Jones: Like Hyatt is a developmental player. A bit of a risk. He is very undersized for the position and didn't face a lot of competition allowing him to put up large numbers in HS. His arm strength isn't anything to write home about, but at the college level isn't a liability either. He makes up for that by being deadly accurate with his passes, hitting receivers perfectly in stride. His athleticism looks to be about the same as most of the other guys we have, but will need to pack on some muscle if he wants to survive.

Really appreciate the post Benny, but got to correct you on JSJ competition. He won a Texas 5A State Championship, which is extremely difficult to do and his team was going against D1 prospects on a nightly basis.  Granted his team had their share of prospects too, but his go to weapons on offense were two D1 Lacrosse commits, which makes the numbers JSJ put up all that more impressive.  Maxpreps ranked his team 51st in the nation last year, which factors in competition. You also can imagine the pressure of being Jerry Jones grandson playing games in the Dallas metroplex.
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Nashville Fan

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2018, 12:12:20 pm »

TE - Seems to be a focus for Morris. So who can play the way that he wants them to play.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2018, 09:34:46 pm »

Really appreciate the post Benny, but got to correct you on JSJ competition. He won a Texas 5A State Championship, which is extremely difficult to do and his team was going against D1 prospects on a nightly basis.  Granted his team had their share of prospects too, but his go to weapons on offense were two D1 Lacrosse commits, which makes the numbers JSJ put up all that more impressive.  Maxpreps ranked his team 51st in the nation last year, which factors in competition. You also can imagine the pressure of being Jerry Jones grandson playing games in the Dallas metroplex.

Nitpicking here, but there were at least 4 nights that he faced schools without any D1 prospects (Pre-post edit: I was basing that off of 2018 recruits, but it's very possible the schools had a 2019 or 2020 D1 player on the roster and I wasn't thinking about that) and most schools only had one prospect who was a low 3 * or so. Though two schools he faced were loaded with talent. Of course, compared most divisions out there, that is high competition.

So, I will admit that my statement was wrong and will modify it here to be more accurate. He put up big numbers, but HS competition as a whole is much, much weaker than anything he'll face moving forward. The top HS's in the country would struggle to beat a typical JUCO team, with the best JUCO teams in the country struggling to beat the worst 4 year collegiate teams.

I also freely admit that I do have a slight bias against Texas talent relatively speaking. They do produce a large number of D1 prospects, but players from Texas are much less likely to go to the NFL on a per D1 player basis than many other states. And I think that is in large part because football is so big there, the kids become arguably over-developed. What I mean by that is that usually, a kid coming out of HS still has a lot to learn and a lot more to grow. They are barely scratching the surface of their potential. Kids in Texas are a lot closer to maxing out their potential. Case in point, there was that RB several years ago in Texas. Ran for something ridiculous like 10k rushing yards over his 4 year HS career. Highly rated prospect. Signed with Texas, and did decently, but not amazingly. I think he did make it to the NFL for a short time. Johnathan Grey, that's who it was.

Namely, stat's in HS don't mean a whole lot, even when they are made in Texas. Perhaps especially if they were made in Texas. There's a reason that there were 8 qb's in Texas ranked above him, 153 total other players in Texas above him, and 73 other qb's in the country rated above him with SMU, Kansas, and maybe TTU as his only other offers. Not saying he doesn't stand a chance. I think he has perfectly adequate arm strength for the college game (a bit on the weak side for the NFL but not too much) and absolutely amazing accuracy. However, in terms of physical tools, he's the weakest of our group. He'll have to be smarter and work harder than anybody else as they all have bigger size and better arms than he does and he isn't any more particularly athletic than the others either. Tyler Wilson didn't have the arm strength or physical ability of his main competition at Arkansas either, so again, I'm not trying to knock him as a possible starter for us nor am I saying that the physical tools are all that matters.

Also, note that this response goes beyond merely responding to you so please don't think I'm posting this completely as a counter to what you posted. Your post got me thinking, and this is almost a stream of consciousness type of response. 
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2018, 11:19:15 pm »

TE - Seems to be a focus for Morris. So who can play the way that he wants them to play.

Damn, I did totally skip TE's. Thanks.

As for Morris' focus on TE's, I'm still on wait and see mode. Bad news first: Even with some top TE talent at Clemson, their good years were pretty much an average year for TE's at Arkansas under both Petrino and Bielema, and that was with Dabo commanding the offense. When Morris had complete control of the offense, TE production dropped to virtually zero at SMU. His OC complained about a lack of talent there the first season at SMU, but that was the highest production at TE all 3 years, meaning that they either tried and sucked at recruiting TE's or they simply didn't even try. Our past two HC's, Petrino and Bielema both used 2 TE sets extensively (something oft forgot about the Petrino years. Further, with a roster in need of young players at TE (Gunter will be our only non-freshmen unless a true freshmen is able to not redshirt with Patton, O'Grady, Cantrell, and Gunter in front of them...).

So, that's why I'm still hesitant on Morris and the TE position, but there's reason for hope too. With a top TE (albeit developed by somebody else), he was able to have a top TE in the country at Clemson. Morris is billed as an intelligent offensive coach which means he will scheme to fit the talent available. TE is one of the positions that not only do we currently have talent, but is a position he can easily maintain NFL level talent here if he will recruit for it. He has talked the talk about wanting to use the TE's that we have here. And lastly and most importantly, actions speak louder than words. While his previous history with TE's doesn't have me jumping for joy at the position, the most recent action we as fans have to work with is the spring game, and he used the TE's often. So, I will hope that this is the sign of things to come and there's good reason to believe it is, just based on the rest of his career, I'm not completely sold that it is.

As for what we have...

Austin Cantrell. Our most balanced/experienced TE. The guy has shown speed and power, along with being our best blocker at TE now that Gragg is gone. Even at a whopping 270 pounds, the guy had speed to spare relative to most TE's, and now he has trimmed down to 253 pounds. There's a reason he's been the guy to play the most for us as he's a size/speed/strength freak.

Chayenne O'Grady: Our best weapon in the passing game who has steadily improved in the blocking game. He's not quite to Cantrell's level there, but is better than a lot of other TE's out there who seem to focus mostly on the passing game these days and neglect the other half of their position. O'Grady, for being the biggest weapon in space, is still a solid 6'4 248, so he's noticeably larger than other receiving specialist TE's such as OM's Evan Engram.

Jeremy Patton: With the slimming of Cantrell, Patton at 258 pounds is now our heaviest TE. Patton is a bit more of a wild-card as he hasn't been on the field a whole terrible lot. However, he too is a relatively balanced TE, though favors the passing game in skill set over the blocking game. Somewhere inbetween Cantrell and O'Grady. More of a physical freak than O'Grady and a bit more balanced, but a more fluid player than Cantrell who is still a bit rough around the edges as a TE. If he stays healthy, he could take over as the top TE on the depth chart.

Grayson Gunter: A bit of a forgotten man, but is now just a redshirt sophomore. As a true freshmen, he was talented enough to see the field and make some plays in the process despite having Sprinkle, Cantrell, and O'Grady ahead of him (he had already passed Gragg on the depth chart). However, last year, perhaps luckily for him, he missed the entire season and was able to redshirt. Playing style wise, he reminds me a lot of Hunter Henry. Probably not quite as physically talented as the guys listed above, but incredibly balanced as a player with no real weaknesses and very fluid. Hunter wasn't the dominating guy at the combine, but he wasn't lacking athleticism either and was a true technician. That's what I see with Gunter.

Alas, we haven't signed any non-JUCO TE's over the past two recruiting classes, so Gunter as a RsSo is the youngest we have. While we have plenty of talent for an offense that will only use one guy for now, we could be sorely lacking in experience for the future. Hopefully Morris shows enough this season to lock in the next Henry at TE for us the coming season.
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SooieGeneris

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2018, 01:10:31 am »

Nitpicking here, but there were at least 4 nights that he faced schools without any D1 prospects (Pre-post edit: I was basing that off of 2018 recruits, but it's very possible the schools had a 2019 or 2020 D1 player on the roster and I wasn't thinking about that) and most schools only had one prospect who was a low 3 * or so. Though two schools he faced were loaded with talent. Of course, compared most divisions out there, that is high competition.

So, I will admit that my statement was wrong and will modify it here to be more accurate. He put up big numbers, but HS competition as a whole is much, much weaker than anything he'll face moving forward. The top HS's in the country would struggle to beat a typical JUCO team, with the best JUCO teams in the country struggling to beat the worst 4 year collegiate teams.

I also freely admit that I do have a slight bias against Texas talent relatively speaking. They do produce a large number of D1 prospects, but players from Texas are much less likely to go to the NFL on a per D1 player basis than many other states. And I think that is in large part because football is so big there, the kids become arguably over-developed. What I mean by that is that usually, a kid coming out of HS still has a lot to learn and a lot more to grow. They are barely scratching the surface of their potential. Kids in Texas are a lot closer to maxing out their potential. Case in point, there was that RB several years ago in Texas. Ran for something ridiculous like 10k rushing yards over his 4 year HS career. Highly rated prospect. Signed with Texas, and did decently, but not amazingly. I think he did make it to the NFL for a short time. Johnathan Grey, that's who it was.

Namely, stat's in HS don't mean a whole lot, even when they are made in Texas. Perhaps especially if they were made in Texas. There's a reason that there were 8 qb's in Texas ranked above him, 153 total other players in Texas above him, and 73 other qb's in the country rated above him with SMU, Kansas, and maybe TTU as his only other offers. Not saying he doesn't stand a chance. I think he has perfectly adequate arm strength for the college game (a bit on the weak side for the NFL but not too much) and absolutely amazing accuracy. However, in terms of physical tools, he's the weakest of our group. He'll have to be smarter and work harder than anybody else as they all have bigger size and better arms than he does and he isn't any more particularly athletic than the others either. Tyler Wilson didn't have the arm strength or physical ability of his main competition at Arkansas either, so again, I'm not trying to knock him as a possible starter for us nor am I saying that the physical tools are all that matters.

Also, note that this response goes beyond merely responding to you so please don't think I'm posting this completely as a counter to what you posted. Your post got me thinking, and this is almost a stream of consciousness type of response.

I have to agree with this and would offer as proof the Shorthorns having Top 10 recruiting classes nearly every year and under performing on the field. Many peak in HS and after being men against boys at that level are shocked upon seeing college talent that is as good physically as they are.
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redleg

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2018, 08:50:56 am »

1. QB - I think it will probably be Cole Kelley over Ty Storey. I won't be surprised to see the guy that doesn't earn the starting job decide to transfer. Hyatt has some good ability and intangibles, but he has zero college football experience. The same for Connor Noland. Both of those guys might end up being the Hogs starter in a few years, but there is no way either should get much playing time in 2018 (outside of injuries to upper classmen) with two older and experienced QBs on the team.
2. RB - I see Devwah Whaley earning this job. He has the frame, speed, and ability to be an every-down back. But, Hammonds and Hayden must get on the field! They both should get 5-7 carries per game, and be catching passes out of the backfield. Also, both of these guys need to be intricate parts of Arkansas' return game on special teams. Hammonds could be an All-SEC caliber punt returner, while pairing Hayden with De'Vion Warren on kickoff returns would be dynamic! Maleek Williams and Rakeem Boyd may be the odd men out. There just won't be enough carries to go around. Williams, as a redshirt freshman, has time though. Hopefully he will be patient.
3. RG - I think Jalen Merrick is more talented than Johnny Gibson, so I think Merrick may end up earning the job. Either way, Merrick will be the starter at right guard in 2019.
4. DE - Will Dorian Gerald come in and wow everybody? Will Randy Ramsey be able to gain enough good weight to with-stand the weekly pounding a DE takes? And what about Jamario Bell? Will he ever live up to the expectations everyone had for him coming out of high school as a 4* recruit? What about Gabe Richardson? Does he have the talent to start? And is it set in stone that Agim will be staying at DT?
I do not know.  :-\
5. SLB - This position is a bit of a mystery to me. Redshirt sophomore Derrick Munson, who hasn't started a game yet, was listed as the starter at the end of spring drills. Hayden Henry, a walk-on, or blueshirt, or whatever he is, was listed as his backup. So...is this really a strong-side LB position, or is it more of a LB/nickelback hybrid, so Coach Chavis can get more speed on the field?
I dunno this one either, so I won't make a prediction.  :-\
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Nashville Fan

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2018, 09:30:25 am »

Damn, I did totally skip TE's. Thanks.

As for Morris' focus on TE's, I'm still on wait and see mode. Bad news first: Even with some top TE talent at Clemson, their good years were pretty much an average year for TE's at Arkansas under both Petrino and Bielema, and that was with Dabo commanding the offense. When Morris had complete control of the offense, TE production dropped to virtually zero at SMU. His OC complained about a lack of talent there the first season at SMU, but that was the highest production at TE all 3 years, meaning that they either tried and sucked at recruiting TE's or they simply didn't even try. Our past two HC's, Petrino and Bielema both used 2 TE sets extensively (something oft forgot about the Petrino years. Further, with a roster in need of young players at TE (Gunter will be our only non-freshmen unless a true freshmen is able to not redshirt with Patton, O'Grady, Cantrell, and Gunter in front of them...).

So, that's why I'm still hesitant on Morris and the TE position, but there's reason for hope too. With a top TE (albeit developed by somebody else), he was able to have a top TE in the country at Clemson. Morris is billed as an intelligent offensive coach which means he will scheme to fit the talent available. TE is one of the positions that not only do we currently have talent, but is a position he can easily maintain NFL level talent here if he will recruit for it. He has talked the talk about wanting to use the TE's that we have here. And lastly and most importantly, actions speak louder than words. While his previous history with TE's doesn't have me jumping for joy at the position, the most recent action we as fans have to work with is the spring game, and he used the TE's often. So, I will hope that this is the sign of things to come and there's good reason to believe it is, just based on the rest of his career, I'm not completely sold that it is.

As for what we have...

Austin Cantrell. Our most balanced/experienced TE. The guy has shown speed and power, along with being our best blocker at TE now that Gragg is gone. Even at a whopping 270 pounds, the guy had speed to spare relative to most TE's, and now he has trimmed down to 253 pounds. There's a reason he's been the guy to play the most for us as he's a size/speed/strength freak.

Chayenne O'Grady: Our best weapon in the passing game who has steadily improved in the blocking game. He's not quite to Cantrell's level there, but is better than a lot of other TE's out there who seem to focus mostly on the passing game these days and neglect the other half of their position. O'Grady, for being the biggest weapon in space, is still a solid 6'4 248, so he's noticeably larger than other receiving specialist TE's such as OM's Evan Engram.

Jeremy Patton: With the slimming of Cantrell, Patton at 258 pounds is now our heaviest TE. Patton is a bit more of a wild-card as he hasn't been on the field a whole terrible lot. However, he too is a relatively balanced TE, though favors the passing game in skill set over the blocking game. Somewhere inbetween Cantrell and O'Grady. More of a physical freak than O'Grady and a bit more balanced, but a more fluid player than Cantrell who is still a bit rough around the edges as a TE. If he stays healthy, he could take over as the top TE on the depth chart.

Grayson Gunter: A bit of a forgotten man, but is now just a redshirt sophomore. As a true freshmen, he was talented enough to see the field and make some plays in the process despite having Sprinkle, Cantrell, and O'Grady ahead of him (he had already passed Gragg on the depth chart). However, last year, perhaps luckily for him, he missed the entire season and was able to redshirt. Playing style wise, he reminds me a lot of Hunter Henry. Probably not quite as physically talented as the guys listed above, but incredibly balanced as a player with no real weaknesses and very fluid. Hunter wasn't the dominating guy at the combine, but he wasn't lacking athleticism either and was a true technician. That's what I see with Gunter.

Alas, we haven't signed any non-JUCO TE's over the past two recruiting classes, so Gunter as a RsSo is the youngest we have. While we have plenty of talent for an offense that will only use one guy for now, we could be sorely lacking in experience for the future. Hopefully Morris shows enough this season to lock in the next Henry at TE for us the coming season.
Seems like you have to have the type of TE's that can create a miss match. That's the first step getting the right guys. Once you have that it seems like it is just a matter of moving them around until the defense makes a mistake. Coach Petrino definitely knew how to get the TE on the right guy. Seems like with the movement that Coach Craddock uses getting the miss matches would be easier. Hopefully spring is a better indication of the use of the TE in the passing game. I love watching those 10-15 yard passes over the middle with a big hit at the end on a smaller defensive tackler.
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lahhog

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2018, 04:01:04 pm »

Rogers and Heinrich leaving really hurt the team, but there is plenty of hope for the future.

Among the returning starters: LT Colton Jackson has been somewhat of a mainstay, but IMO has been the weakest link. He struggles on footwork in pass protection and lacks great strength to make up for that in the run game. In terms of being beat one on one as opposed to missing an assignment, Jackson's been the biggest culprit in allowing defenders into the backfield.

Froholdt at LG is projected on nfl.com to be in contention for a first round draft choice as one of, if not THE top interior OL player in the country. He's pretty unanimously considered a early round draft pick by those who aren't projecting him in the top round.

Gibson at RG is a pretty typical walk-on turned scholly starter. He lacks the athleticism you expect from an SEC starter, but has a bullish mentality and pretty good strength to back it up. He's not your ideal starter, but as we've seen, he's certainly good enough.

Brian Wallace has all the physical tools you could ask for in a tackle. Even the previous coaching staff recognized that. However, to date, he has struggled with consistency and the mental part of the game, and even the current coaching staff has commented on that. There's a reason why every school in the country offered him a scholarship, but there's also legit reason he hasn't started a whole lot here either. Hopefully this will be the year the lightbulb goes off for him.

Just going in alphabetical order now of the guys I think could compete for starting time/2 deep rotation.

Adcock: Out of HS, he looked like one of the smoothest linemen we'd have. In contrast to the bullish lineman who will take their guy to the ground but lose their own footing in the process, Adcock in HS frequently left his defender on their back while Adcock kept his footing, able to block a second person. Shows much better technique and strength, though lacks some in athleticism.

Clary is a guy that we'll see starting sooner rather than later. While perhaps it was a mistake to play him last year, I see that similar to playing Froholdt three years ago. I doubt Froholdt is today considered a first round prospect if he hadn't been thrown to the wolves some. Clary has a good blend of strength, intelligence, and athleticism and will probably be even better suited for Morris's offense.

Clenin: Closest comparison is Skipper, though he looks a step quicker. Clenin is a similar build, and similar raw aggression, though often ended up on the ground in the process of taking the defender down. Highlights didn't show a lot of pass blocking which could be troublesome as Skipper too wasn't the best in pass pro.

Dylan Hays appears in line to be the next starting center, but I don't remember much from him in HS and haven't seen him play really in college.

Jalen Merrick: Looking at his size on the roster at 345 (Morris had him apparently gain a lot of weight) you'd think guard, but his athleticism (at least before putting on 23 pounds in a few weeks time) suggested tackle. He also has the size and length to play tackle. Morris wants oversized guards, so his weight gain suggests that's where they want him, but unless they coaching staff castrated his athleticism with over-bulking, then Merrick provides that nice ability of being able to start at a lot of positions.

Last but not least, Dalton Wagner. The guy reports a 30" vertical and a 4.6 shuttle, which for his size is very impressive. He didn't have a lot of HS highlights I could find, but if those values are true, then he's probably in a similar boat to Brian Wallace physically, which would certainly match with Wagner's impressive offer list.

Hopefully all the true freshmen will get to redshirt. However, if not, then here's a quick take on each. Gatlin was truly a big fish in a small pond, pancaking the competition with a single arm. Not much meaningful can be gleamed from his tape other than he moves well in space and can find blockers in space which he did frequently. Silas Robinson is more in that aggressive mold, similar to a Skipper or Clenin, but less athletic than either IMO. Even in the highlights, you see him whiff on quicker rushers before moving on to block somebody else. Seemed he almost always lost his footing when trying to block, though admittedly, so did the defender usually. Ryan Winkle looks a lot like Adcock. Smooth footwork, usually bringing the defender to the ground, while keeping his own feet and being able to block a second defender.

The tackle positions are the biggest concern for me right now. The closest battle however is at RG, during spring ball neither separated themselves as the front runner. As for center, what I saw from spring was that Hays has more strength, more speed, and more accurate snaps than Clary, so I don't see Clary taking that spot. Also injuries aside, Heinrich had no shot at getting on the field. It just didn't seem to pan out.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #39 on: June 15, 2018, 12:49:26 am »

Seems like you have to have the type of TE's that can create a miss match. That's the first step getting the right guys. Once you have that it seems like it is just a matter of moving them around until the defense makes a mistake. Coach Petrino definitely knew how to get the TE on the right guy. Seems like with the movement that Coach Craddock uses getting the miss matches would be easier. Hopefully spring is a better indication of the use of the TE in the passing game. I love watching those 10-15 yard passes over the middle with a big hit at the end on a smaller defensive tackler.

All of our TE's have shown that they are more than capable in the passing game, and thanks to Bielema, all are at least decent in run blocking as well. Hard to provide evidence for the latter other than just watching the game tape, but for the former, let's use long passes as a rubric. Either they were able to get open significantly downfield suggesting a mis-match, or they were able to get YAC, again, likely from a mis-match.

Cantrell: 2016 had a 32 yard rec @MSU and in 2017 a 31 yarder against aTm.
O'Grady: 2016: 23 yarder @MSU and a 28 yarder against VT, 2017: No 20+ yard receptions, but 4 15+ yards, 3 against p5 teams, and 2 in conference play.
Patton: 2017: 31 against CCU, 32 against TCU, and 33 against Mizz, with a 21 @ SC and a 27 @ LSU.
Gunter: 2016: 29 yarder @MSU.

Admittedly, no individual player has put up massive numbers since Hunter Henry left, but I think that is a bit mis-leading. Namely, Henry was often our leading receiver and had more targets. With the above talent, there's a lot of mouths to feed. If you pull the TE stats together, you find they are much more comparable. The second big reason is the drop off in OL play after Pittman left. TE's had to stay in and block a lot more, and Henry was only ever here during the Pittman years.

Thus, the TE's haven't had as much freedom to be pass catchers recently, and when they do, we have a plethora of talented players, so there's no single stud to feed, but instead a stable of thoroughbreds.

The above big play reception productions adds up to 5 20+ yard receptions per season (not counting Grady's 15+'s). For comparison, Hunter Henry had at least 17 over 3 years. I say at least because I'm just going by game long and comparing that to the total yard each game. There's a couple games where he had 20+ yard reception, but say had 50 total yards, and averaged about 18 yards per catch. Thus, it's possible that he had say two 20+ yarders and a third really short catch. At most, he would have had 20 though. Which is still pretty close to what our players have accomplished, especially factoring in the increased blocking responsibilities.

To make a short story long, I wound't be concerned about the mismatch potential of our current TE's. IMO, the only concerning piece of our TE's is that a RsSo is the youngest in the group.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #40 on: June 15, 2018, 01:01:21 am »

The tackle positions are the biggest concern for me right now. The closest battle however is at RG, during spring ball neither separated themselves as the front runner. As for center, what I saw from spring was that Hays has more strength, more speed, and more accurate snaps than Clary, so I don't see Clary taking that spot. Also injuries aside, Heinrich had no shot at getting on the field. It just didn't seem to pan out.

I really like where we are at RT at least on paper right now. Though, for the LT spot, we haven't had a true LT since DeMarcus Love back in 2010. Wallace has the skill set, but seems to be maxed out at RT and is probably too late for him. Wagner is the next best bet.

Though, I think I'd rank C as the most concerning/exciting position battle on the OL. Namely, it is the second most important position outside of LT, and at least we have a guy with a lot of experience there and RT seems pretty solid. C is full of guesses and inexperience right now.

Lastly, Heinrich was just a RsFr. What makes you so confident he wasn't going to be seeing the field had injuries not derailed his career? His HS highlight reel was the most impressive of the 2016 class IMO with him showing high levels of athleticism as well as strength. Though, I'd love to hear about what you saw from him to come to the conclusion you did.
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The Kig

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #41 on: June 15, 2018, 09:06:18 am »

WHY ARE WE YELLING



LOUD NOISES

Because it's EXCITING!!!!!!

I am interested to see where Morris and Chavis move players around to suit their styles more than actual battles.  As Benny stated above, players like TJ need to get the ball... does that mean they take away from the traditional run plays?  In a Nutt/Bielema offense, the answer would be yes.  Morris will find a way to spread the ball around... if a player makes plays from whatever position they are in, they will get more balls. 

Chavis has a pretty decent base of talent that was squandered.  Can't wait to see what happens with players that were chasing plays last year and will now be able to pin their ears back and go to the ball. 
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 09:32:39 am by The Kig »
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The Kig

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #42 on: June 15, 2018, 09:26:57 am »

I have to agree with this and would offer as proof the Shorthorns having Top 10 recruiting classes nearly every year and under performing on the field. Many peak in HS and after being men against boys at that level are shocked upon seeing college talent that is as good physically as they are.

Not sure it's so much a function of "peaking" in HS (which is partially true) as much as it is we have a more complete picture of the players.  There is little comparison to the pressure on programs/kids around development from a young age through HS in Texas vs. other states.   

That dynamic allows for "surprises" or gems to pop up in state like Arkansas.  Coachin-em-up combined with getting on a college nutrition/strength program makes a bigger difference to players coming out of HS programs that weren't already playing big time ball. 

I lived in Southlake, TX for a while after moving from Little Rock back in the late 90s and early 2000s.  Programs like Allen and Southlake Carroll had stadiums (and attendance) that rival most small and many not so small college programs. 
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Arthur pigby sellers.

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2018, 01:06:11 pm »

Not sure it's so much a function of "peaking" in HS (which is partially true) as much as it is we have a more complete picture of the players.  There is little comparison to the pressure on programs/kids around development from a young age through HS in Texas vs. other states.   

That dynamic allows for "surprises" or gems to pop up in state like Arkansas.  Coachin-em-up combined with getting on a college nutrition/strength program makes a bigger difference to players coming out of HS programs that weren't already playing big time ball. 

I lived in Southlake, TX for a while after moving from Little Rock back in the late 90s and early 2000s.  Programs like Allen and Southlake Carroll had stadiums (and attendance) that rival most small and many not so small college programs.

Agree with you about the gems in Arkansas.  Football is a unique sport in that if you have the size, speed and demeanor you donít have to start at an early age to play in college or make the pros. Thatís one reason recruiting is such an inexact science. 
Also GO DRAGONS 🐉
They just won state in baseball
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2018, 11:54:46 pm »

Not sure it's so much a function of "peaking" in HS (which is partially true) as much as it is we have a more complete picture of the players.  There is little comparison to the pressure on programs/kids around development from a young age through HS in Texas vs. other states.   

That dynamic allows for "surprises" or gems to pop up in state like Arkansas.  Coachin-em-up combined with getting on a college nutrition/strength program makes a bigger difference to players coming out of HS programs that weren't already playing big time ball. 

I lived in Southlake, TX for a while after moving from Little Rock back in the late 90s and early 2000s.  Programs like Allen and Southlake Carroll had stadiums (and attendance) that rival most small and many not so small college programs.

Why would having a more complete picture answer the riddle of why a D1 player out of say Fla or MS is more likely to go on to the NFL (i.e. has a higher ceiling) than a D1 player out of Texas?

I wonder if we aren't perhaps saying the same thing, but wording it differently. I find numbers offer a clearer explanation. So, since we are talking about per capita D1 athletes and thus that Texas has a bigger population is irrelevant, lets compare say 100 players from say Florida and Texas.

Making up numbers/assumptions here, but lets assume that out of 100 players in HS, only 10 will be good enough to play D1 football of of those 10, only 1 will go on to the NFL. This is regardless of how much you train, that's just how the genetics play out in this thought experiment.

So, in Texas, the peaking/more complete picture has each of those HS kids reaching their adolescent potential. So, the kids from 1-90 will never play D1 college football, but we are left with the kids from 91-100, and lets assume that these kids are in order, such that 92 is a better prospect than 91 and so on. Well, in Texas, that 91 is peaked out at 91 while the kid 91 kid in Florida may only be at an 89 level. Thus, while that 91 kid in Texas is just barely on the cusp of being a D1 athlete, he does get the offer while the Florida player who isn't fully developed gets overlooked.

Thus, Texas gets a lot more of the bubble players committed to D1 schools relative to a lot of other states, players that aren't going to go to the NFL, but because they were developed to the max in HS, they may have looked better to recruiters than players with a higher ceiling but less developed and harder to spot.

I'm not sure if that explanation helped or just made things more confusing, but that's how I see the situation with Texas players and why they are less likely to be NFL caliber than other state's prospects.
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Nashville Fan

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #45 on: June 19, 2018, 11:45:51 am »

Why would having a more complete picture answer the riddle of why a D1 player out of say Fla or MS is more likely to go on to the NFL (i.e. has a higher ceiling) than a D1 player out of Texas?

I wonder if we aren't perhaps saying the same thing, but wording it differently. I find numbers offer a clearer explanation. So, since we are talking about per capita D1 athletes and thus that Texas has a bigger population is irrelevant, lets compare say 100 players from say Florida and Texas.

Making up numbers/assumptions here, but lets assume that out of 100 players in HS, only 10 will be good enough to play D1 football of of those 10, only 1 will go on to the NFL. This is regardless of how much you train, that's just how the genetics play out in this thought experiment.

So, in Texas, the peaking/more complete picture has each of those HS kids reaching their adolescent potential. So, the kids from 1-90 will never play D1 college football, but we are left with the kids from 91-100, and lets assume that these kids are in order, such that 92 is a better prospect than 91 and so on. Well, in Texas, that 91 is peaked out at 91 while the kid 91 kid in Florida may only be at an 89 level. Thus, while that 91 kid in Texas is just barely on the cusp of being a D1 athlete, he does get the offer while the Florida player who isn't fully developed gets overlooked.

Thus, Texas gets a lot more of the bubble players committed to D1 schools relative to a lot of other states, players that aren't going to go to the NFL, but because they were developed to the max in HS, they may have looked better to recruiters than players with a higher ceiling but less developed and harder to spot.

I'm not sure if that explanation helped or just made things more confusing, but that's how I see the situation with Texas players and why they are less likely to be NFL caliber than other state's prospects.
in 2016-2017 TX had 163,922 playing high school football; Florida had 43,515. CA is the next closest to FL with 97,079. Not even close.
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #46 on: June 20, 2018, 08:33:49 pm »

in 2016-2017 TX had 163,922 playing high school football; Florida had 43,515. CA is the next closest to FL with 97,079. Not even close.

And what does that have to do with the price of china??? The total number is important for some discussions, but has absolutely zero relevancy for the discussion here. I guess it's good that you brought it up because it did motivate me to spend a couple minutes searching the web to show things.



So yeah, Texas has a lot of kids playing, but a smaller fraction of those kids even get recruited compared to the rest of the south. A random HS football player in Florida is 4x more likely than a high school player in Texas to get recruited by somebody. Heck, a football player in Arkansas is 50% more likely to get recruited than one from Texas.

http://www.maxpreps.com/news/O4vWTU2hpE6CixTIQlOQaQ/2015-national-signing-day--which-states-produce-the-most-high-school-football-recruits.htm

Moreover, when looking at the top 100 recruits in the country, Texas falls incredibly short. Despite having 4x more total kids participating in Texas, they produce few total top 100 recruits than Florida and are nowhere to be seen when you look at it per capita.

https://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2014/09/louisiana_has_the_most_players.html
http://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-rosters-by-state-2016-9

Now, I can't find today the % of d1 recruits or total hs players that go on to the NFL by state, but there are two links. One showing some NFL draft picks per capita of the total population and the other showing total population.

As you mention, Texas has more total kids participating in football than CA and Fla combined. However, A smaller portion of Texas players ever get recruited by D1 schools than many other states, and particularly so compared to the SE. Even fewer of  those players are top rated guys. And, both Fla and CA have more total players in the NFL than Texas despite the smaller pool of kids who play football.

Not saying we shouldn't recruit Texas. Despite their players per capita being worse then most other areas we recruit, they still have a ton of players total leading to a lot of good ones, just not as many as you would expect given the available pool.
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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2018, 09:09:53 pm »

Is it possible that the number of players that get recruited by D-I/P-5 schools is effected because there are so many of them spread out over a vast area? Some kids who are great athletes might fail to get noticed if they play at smaller schools against lesser competition and maybe if their parents haven't paid the proper amounts to insure that they gain exposure (camps, promoted videos/player lists, etc) and aren't overlooked. Of course that makes finding them in the first place in order to evaluate them and recruit them far more difficult as well. I guess what I am asking is, does greater or lesser population density over a given area (Florida, California, Texas) play a potential role in all of this?
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bennyl08

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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #48 on: June 20, 2018, 09:26:00 pm »

Is it possible that the number of players that get recruited by D-I/P-5 schools is effected because there are so many of them spread out over a vast area? Some kids who are great athletes might fail to get noticed if they play at smaller schools against lesser competition and maybe if their parents haven't paid the proper amounts to insure that they gain exposure (camps, promoted videos/player lists, etc) and aren't overlooked. Of course that makes finding them in the first place in order to evaluate them and recruit them far more difficult as well. I guess what I am asking is, does greater or lesser population density over a given area (Florida, California, Texas) play a potential role in all of this?

In the context exposure and all that absolutely plays a role, but it would have the exact opposite impact at least in the context of Texas vs places like Fla, LA, and UGA.

Those places are smaller geographically speaking, and more densely populated. Thus, they would perhaps get more exposure than a place like Texas. However, they are the ones that have the more successful players per capita and per football recruit. Meaning, that there are fewer bubble players that make it to the college ranks compared to Texas. I.e. despite the higher density, their players are more overlooked.

In contrast, despite the lower population density, more players who aren't as talented get looked at in Texas and get offers to the next level.

I could see where the graph posted could lead somebody to the opposite conclusion. For sure, a player in Texas is less likely to get recruited, which would certainly imply being overlooked. However, that would suggest that only the players that really catch the eye get noticed and the marginal players would be much lower in proportion whereas the places looked at too much would have the star players players diluted by more marginal players as a percentage.

However, when you follow the story of talent per capita up the food chain, Texas players having less talent per player is a story that holds all the way to the top of the food chain, meaning that the marginal players are making up a higher proportion and diluting the talented players. Which isn't what you would get from an overlooked population.
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Re: EXCITING POSITION BATTLES
« Reply #49 on: June 20, 2018, 10:41:22 pm »

And what does that have to do with the price of china???
You are doing a per capita calculation and you don't see the value of the capita? As you noted, you can see by the % of D1 players that come from CA and FL are greater rate than TX. It's almost mathematically impossible because of the number of kids playing football in TX for there to be more NFL players per 100 high school players from TX. If all the NFL players came from TX that would only be 1 per 100. Where as, if there are 400 players from FL that would be 1 per 100. From the number of high school players alone you can surmise that it is virtually impossible for there to be more NFL players per 100 high school players from TX.

To answer your question definitively...
In 2016 FL had the most with 239 NFL players. CA was second with 220. TX had 214. So per 100 high school players that calculates out to be .55/100 FL, .23/100 CA and .13/100 TX. Not even close.

I would use per 1000. The numbers are easier to under stand - FL 5.5/1000, CA 2.3/1000, TX 1.3/1000. A player from FL is 4x more likely to play in the NFL than a player from TX.
 
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