1/3 Pole Evaluation | Syracusefan.com

1/3 Pole Evaluation

billsin01

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So we're through 4 games and we're 3-1. Seems like a good time to break down what's gone right, what's gone wrong and what we're looking forward to on the season.

What's to like

Nassib: In one of the few instances where I've been unequivocally right about something, Nassib has, in fact, become the first QB worthy of the "Best Since McNabb." I posted a million times on the old board that I thought the kid was smart, talented enough and had enough feel to become a pretty good QB. That is what has happened. I'm not sure he has the ceiling of an all-american, and his mechanics are a bit odd (strange throwing motion, rarely just drops, sets and throws, etc.), but he's become a very good QB and probably this team's best player (Spruill's a possibility).

RBs: I know Bailey hasn't been great and I know Gulley was basically absent until the Toledo game. BUT, Bailey has been fine. I think people just didn't quite appreciate how good Carter was at turning nothing into something (much more than simply size). I think Bailey is what he is and I wouldn't mind seeing Gulley get more touches as well as Bailey used a bit more as a pass receiver. But I think we're fine here even without a huge back. (I still say AAM is out-of-shape and it's why he's not on the field.)

4th Quarter/OT: Hard to say this team has put together a complete performance yet, but I do like that they played a huge 4th quarter vs. Wake, had a good one vs. Toledo, came up with a big drive vs. Rhode Island and played well in two overtime scenarios. Those are the kinds of things that can become trends and those are the types of trends you have to like.

DTs: Thought this was going to be a gaping hole, now we're wondering why Crume isn't playing much (which I think has to do with the vets in front of him playing well). I think this is an area that will still need to improve, but I'm surprised at how well bromley and goggins, in particular, have played.

Coaching: I'm not sure I love the Marrone/Hackett combo on offense and I'm not sure we've solved special teams yet, but this team has clearly been prepared to just keep fighting regardless. But this team plays hard, the staff makes good adjustments at the half and, most importantly, we're (at least currently) getting results.

What's not to like

Tackling: There are a few problems on this defense but none is a bigger issue than the tackling, and particularly the tackling in the secondary. If I have one worry about RU it's that they do have some skill guys that can make big plays. If they don't tackle Sanu he could put up another 15 catch 170+ day on us and we could be in trouble.

Youth: I think the young players on this team have shown promise. I like Gulley, think Lyn is going to be a good one, think Kobena is already a nice addition on specials, think West could be solid, etc. But having to play so many players occasionally leaves us in a bad spot. I think that's where we are in the secondary. As inconsistent as his play has been this year, P. Thomas looks like Rod Woodson out there compared to the rest of this group. Jeremy Wilkes will likely be a very solid player, but he needs more time to baste. He's simply not ready. His game against Toledo was one of the worst individual performances defensively that I can ever remember. It's not his fault, but I just don't think he's ready for that role. Davis looks promising as well but struggles at times.

Specials: I may have been wrong on Casullo, who I always believed was little more than a loudmouth. These units haven't really been better at all this season. Some nice KO returns, decent punting and Krautman is great, but we need to smooth out the performance here.

Offensive line: I'll hold out hope for this group as I thought they played their best game vs. Toledo. But we need them to be a strength and that hasn't been the case.

What's to look for

RU and Tulane: To me these games become huge in the wake of the 3-1 start. Always nice to beat RU and they are vulnerable. Tulane should be a win, but you've got to go on the road and after an emotional game the week before -- I worry about it. Get these two wins and it really takes the pressure off for almost every game the rest of the way.

OL: Need to improve in this area, but it is usually one that can improve within a season. Would love to see them build off Tulane and start to come together and get a consistent push.

Youth: Do we see some of these young kids step up and become some playmakers? West had two huge catches vs. Toledo, Gulley looked great, Lynch has been excellent, Crume has shown some promise, Lyn looks good. If these guys can take some strides in the next three or four weeks, we'll have a much better chance at actually making some noise in the second half of our BE sked.
 
I don't always agree with what you have to say, Billsin01, but I do enjoy when you make posts like this.

I think the O-Line has proven they can get the job done after USC and Toledo, hopefully we can build on that this week and Nassib can dissect the Rutgers defense. I also think specials have improved this year given what we have. Kickoff coverage has been decent; and every other facet, even punting, has been solid. I agree with you on what's to like, and I really am looking forward to see how the rest of this year plays out with our young guys.

Solid post.
 
Really good post, I think you've hit everything on the head.

One interesting thing is how people view Wilkes' game against Toledo. I've heard multiple people say he gutted it out and played really well, and others say he was awful. I guess I need to go rewatch the game. Either way, it should be noted that he played SS and he's only ever played as a FS and a CB before. SS, especially in Shafer's D, is a much different position, and it's almost tailor-made for Shamarko.
 
Really good post, I think you've hit everything on the head.

One interesting thing is how people view Wilkes' game against Toledo. I've heard multiple people say he gutted it out and played really well, and others say he was awful. I guess I need to go rewatch the game. Either way, it should be noted that he played SS and he's only ever played as a FS and a CB before. SS, especially in Shafer's D, is a much different position, and it's almost tailor-made for Shamarko.

I don't know, I re-watched it and felt they absolutely abused him. If he's out-of-place, learning on the fly and young to boot, I think he certainly deserves a pass. But I can't describe his play as anything other than poor.
 
Agree, bills. I will go far as to say that s thomas playing is an absolute must if we are going to keep rutgers wr in check. Wilkes is a great nickel guy, tweener. Rutgers has big receivers that will be tough
 
I get the feeling this Rutgers game will be a slugfest... Definitely pick the over on this one... 42-38
 

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