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I think the problem is actually with the 2010 class...
I never thought Jay Guy or Toby Okuyemi were BCS prospects but for some reason we took them. Vestal and Ashburn had potential to be solid, but probably were on the same level.
You can't anticipate a Todd Peat Jr. or Chase Rome thing happening too often and the bad luck we've had with injuries to Kevin Williams and Thad Randle hurts too.
Not giving them excuses but to be honest, I don't think they've had much to work with. I like the potential they have now better than I ever have on both lines. We'll see.
Amen. That 2010 DL class is killing us. Good grief we are getting nothing out of any of them.
and for some reason... they are all content to flounder... mind blowing, but also speaks to why they probably haven't contributed.
Wow, this really stirred the juices after a big up day yesterday! There is so much here that I could respond to that it can become confusing. Here's is my perspective on some of it:
Better off without Rome? Jim, yes; Chase, I agree with those that it is too early to tell, but my suspicion is that we are.
Worse off without Rome? This is the real question in my mind. And the obvious answer to me is that it seems hard to imagine that we would be worse than this last season with him gone, regardless of toxic or non-toxic affect. So the risk of trying a different directions is not that significant.
Toxic atmosphere with Rome? I've heard this. Don't know if true or accurate, but am convinced that if it's accurate it can negatively affect a whole team because it tears apart the core principals of a real "team" atmosphere. On top of that I would much rather have 5 or 6 raw average guys who are willing to give you 100% play after play rotating through DT series after series than 2 "talented and experienced" guys giving 70% and taking plays off. Both scenarios are infectious and WILL affect their teammates.
Inexperienced? Yup, but we would have been very inexperienced even with Rome. But I also think several of you are wringing your hands a little too much about this. I used to chuckle with all the commentary about technique, coaching and experience, especially at the DT or DE positions. Now I just kind of find it ridiculous most of the time. C'mon guys, it's football. I tire of all the "sophisticated scheme" crap that Bo and staff spew out about the defense when it doesn't perform ("execute") or when players have to step into the lineup. If your scheme is so complicated that a college age player can't come in and comprehend 95% of it by the middle of their 1st season then you need to change your scheme because other schools seem to be able to do this with talented prospects pretty regularly. It just isn't that complicated, especially for a DT. 60% (at least) is about talent or physical ability, 10% coaching, 10% technique and 20% attitude. DT is primarily about taking up space and not letting anything by you on run plays, and hopefully rushing the QB a little on pass plays, but again not letting the QB get by you and free from the pocket. With VV, Randle, Curry and Williams we should have 4 guys who should be able to do that, and hopefully Collins and Maurice (and maybe even Mixon) can come in and go balls out for 7 or 8 plays a game each to help some.
Also, "experience" is rather hard to define sometimes. In football, as in life, we all better be willing to learn all the time in order to keep up with trends and be effective. But in a situation like this 85-90% of that learning curve comes early on. This will likely mean we will struggle to beat UCLA in game 3 because of "execution" issues on the DL, but I think we will know if these kids have the talent needed by the time we get to the heart of the schedule in Michigan in November. If they do have the talent we won't be perfect, we won't likely be great, but I think we will be OK enough for the offensive power we have. And I doubt there will be any serious drop off in our offensive output in 2014 and beyond if Beck is still here.
Will we be tested in the middle next year? Yup. It will be a big target given this scenario until we can show it's not a huge weakness. But any coach worth his salt better be testing you up the middle in every single game one way or another. This will just jump out at them until we prove otherwise.
I think you short change entirely technique... Give me a less talented guy with great technique over an uber talented guy with poor technique every day of the week. It just baffles me how people can say with a straight face that this team is more talented without Rome? Really? Based on what?
On projections? Not the fact that Rome started 13 total games while the rest of the entire core we have coming in/back has combined for just about 15... and most of those by a guy that is playing on one leg.
I disagree completely with your percentage break up... 60% talent, 10 coaching, 10% technique, 20% attitude... absolutely not. I would say 40% talent, 30% coaching/technique, 30% attitude. Losing a player with starts under their belt is never a good thing depth wise (can be chemistry wise) especially if you haven't recruited to immediately replace.
I think you misread what I said. Never said we were more talented without Rome, or even suggested that. Whatever his talent level was it is now gone from the sum total of talent we had at DT before the news broke yesterday and we can't replace it for next year. The question was "are we better off or worse off as a team" for playing someone else at that position instead of him. Experience has nothing to do with a player's talent level. It's a separate factor. Your talent level is limited by the 11 guys you can put on the field at any one time, or pertinent to this discussion the 2 DTs. Rome was highly regarded as a recruit but everything he had ever done here to date strongly suggests he wasn't as talented as touted out of HS. Therefore, from a strictly talent perspective not accounting for experience issues early on, I think we can be just as talented or more so with using a slew of fresh players there instead of Rome. Maybe not on any given down during the season, but on the whole for the entire season.
Your percentages are not much different than mine. I also don't think that I am downplaying technique. Technique is what it is. It isn't super complicated. The player either gets it and applies it or doesn't. Some just never get it, which I personally think means they weren't as talented to begin with. Part of talent is being able to mentally process coaching, it isn't all physical characteristics. Anyway, if a player can learn the technique there is no good reason it should take 3 years to learn. My whole point was that most of the technique to be learned can be picked up in a half season if the player has the talent to process the coaching being given.
I pissed and moaned as much as anyone about the urgency of bringing in the JUCO DTs and agonized over how that miss will affect next year. However, at the time I made those comments it was not under a "we're going to fire all of our guns next year" mentality for this team. That change in philosophy is going to dramatically affect the amount of depth we have at DT next year from what we expected last November or December. We will be green. We will make mistakes. But I think that over the course of the season we will be better off with green, more talented, athletic younger kids than less-talented underachievers who have never lived up to their hype.
Also, going back to the original question that rmahapat queried, weren't we discussing on another thread about a month ago that the rumor was that we are going to change the DL schematic from a 2 gap to a 1 gap and have our lineman try to get more penetration into the backfield? That seems to go hand in hand with the people we recruited for the most part. Seems to me that a guy like Rome, who never did much in the old scheme, was unlikely to suddenly forget all that old training and pick up the new scheme and go like gangbusters. Not impossible but seems more likely for us to have better success with a kid with a clean slate. JMO.
Well said. This deserves for UV's.
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