Quick, on-the-spot, un-edited thoughts. I apologize for the Nintendo game English and typos in advance.
- Quarterbacks: Overall, a very solid bunch. Granted, this was a FCS team we were going up against, but Darryl Clark, who was probably instructed NOT to run by his coaches, looked very poised and accurate throwing the ball which was relieving. Pat Devlin also showed some great passing abilities. Most importantly, neither QB has been chastised for misreading defenses or staring down on the primary receiver.
- Running Backs: Stephfvan Roygreen (Evan Royster + Stephfon Green) was alive and well. The combined tailback monster racked up 153 yards and 5 TDs on a mere 18 carries. Lets us not forget however, Brent “I Wear The Same Number As Ki-Jana” Carter’s 73 yards on 9 carries, nor Chaz Powell’s or Brandon Beachum’s dashes to the end zone. All systems are a “go” in this group
- Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Solid, as always. Should be getting even more touches this year with short-passes being such a critical part of the Spread HD offense. Look for D-Will to perhaps harken back to his days as an explosive frosh and then some. Jordan Norwood also had a highlight-reel grab and redshirt-frosh Derek Moye was on the receiving end of Pat Devlin’s first collegiate pass completion. The tight-ends were also very solid, Andrew Quarless should be able to work his way back into the starting lineup within a few games. Overall, no complaints about this group.
- Offensive Line: Some message board posters have criticized them for their run-blocking but I really didn’t notice because our running backs seemed to find daylight early and often. Pass-blocking was nothing short of excellent as well. It’s critical that we remain healthy here, as this line is a big reason why our running backs have large gaps to run through, why our QB’s have ample time to find an open receiver, and why people are whispering sentiments of 1994 with this year’s offense.
- Defensive Line: Mo Evans didn’t really come up with any “wow” plays like he typically does. Not that I’m fretting over that though, he’ll rise up to the competition when necessary. All in all, the group looks strong as advertised, the concern though will be with staying healthy as we can ill-afford anymore catastrophic injuries (i.e. Devon Still).
- Linebacker: Bani Gbadyu and Navorro Bowman stuck out the most to me. Both are very athletic and capable of being playmakers. The middle linebacker spot is in dire need of somebody to step up or we will be EXTREMELY susceptible to middle-of-the-field passes. Josh Hull may have good fundamentals, but he lacks athleticism and talent. In Hull’s defense though, Chris Colasanti didn’t do any better in his PT. For now, I would suggest going with a lineup of Gbadyu and Bowman on the outside with Tyrell Sales manning the middle.
- Secondary: My deepest concern with the team by far. Mark Rubin needs to be pulled – immediately, he’s too slow and looks lost out there (and is partially to blame for the broken play that led to Coastal’s lone TD). Lydell Sargeant also seems like a liability, hopefully AJ Wallace will get more PT over him from Oregon St. onward. Scriotto an Davis seemed alright in coverage, so at least we have that. Still though, I’m afraid we’re going to give up quite a few yards (and points) via opponents’ air raids.
- Special Teams: Kevin Kelly booted a short field goal, keeping himself perfect for the year thus far. Jeremy Boone had a couple nice punts as well, but then again, did we expect anything less from these guys? The kickoff coverage seemed improved from last year, but I’ll hold off on any final assessment ’til we’ve faced some legit Division 1 programs. One thing that does kick serious ass though is our return game: Derrick Williams and AJ Wallace are both threats to take it the distance every time they get their hands on a punt or kickoff.