2020 Preseason Thread...

Mareiniss

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The twitter vid from last week shows Helmer playing with a long stick behind the goal defending an attackman. He seems like the player they move around the most, so maybe I shouldn't read too much into it, but it looks like he's at close D this season.
At 3:34 of the Higgins interview that was posted earlier today, Dordevic seems to confirm that Helmer will be playing close defense.
 

DoctahLexus

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At 3:34 of the Higgins interview that was posted earlier today, Dordevic seems to confirm that Helmer will be playing close defense.
Wow... he certainly does. "Mellen, Helmer, and whoever gets that third spot." Pretty surprising that he has already passed DePietro and Murphy and it is obvious enough that Dordevic knows about it and can say so casually in an interview.
 

JeremyCuse

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At 3:34 of the Higgins interview that was posted earlier today, Dordevic seems to confirm that Helmer will be playing close defense.
Hmmm gotta say that is very surprising and different from fall ball and what I had heard. Helmer is a good defender but I gotta admit that is a bit puzzling and leads me to believe Kennedy bumping down is probably much less likely if Helmer is already entrenched there. I wonder if the staff is giving Murphy some run at LSM, again assuming Helmers move to close is a permanent thing.
 

ivorytower

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Every defender has varying strengths and weaknesses , some matchups are not favorable and rotation may be wider this year .Key is balancing on and off ball skills that complement .

Bomberry d can be replaced but not his stick near crease. Will miss his gb exits and quick kickouts upfield.
DiPietro tends to get overlooked here but view him as solid on and off ball. Wider body that has held ground with bigs but also decent mobility and shown ability to move upfield.
Helmer imo is better with pole than shortie. reason why he was second dm while Murphy was fourth. Helmer on ball is better in space while Murphy is more of a physical defender around the crease with good help instincts..
Staats has stick skills, anticipates well and impedes interior traffic but isn't as athletic as others.
Younger Kennedy and Lee both legit but injuries have kept them off the field .The two young frosh also good and should eventually allow Cuse to play Kennedy at cd next year or sooner but tough to drop a good lsm. Torrain in 18 gave Mellen fits with speed but blanketed by Kennedy in 19.
Dami likely 2nd dm behind Dearth , his improvement defensively is key, fast and physical and can transition. Also expecting unit to add another two way mid in whether that be Aviles, Rosa or Dieball which will further offensive capability.

***This post was started before the last few posts. Still have scrimmages but Helmer starting wouldn't surprise at all. DiPietro and Murphy would likely vie for "big" role. Both have their strengths and its very likely that Cuse employs a 4 man rotation (if not five) depending on matchups.

.
 

JeremyCuse

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Wow... he certainly does. "Mellen, Helmer, and whoever gets that third spot." Pretty surprising that he has already passed DePietro and Murphy and it is obvious enough that Dordevic knows about it and can say so casually in an interview.
I like Helmer a lot as a defender but he's played almost exclusively at LSM when he has had a long pole. I think this move, again assuming its 100% accurate tells us a few things.
1. Helmer's versatility is to much for the staff to ignore and being a Senior who has been through the wars he adds a nice combo with Mellen (he is also a big hitter not afraid to get physical.

2. The cynical view of this tells me that we may not have as much depth at close defense as I/we had hoped. Helmer passing by Murphy and DePietro is a bit concerning although I will say DiPietro taking a non Freshmen year RS voluntary last year kind of told you he probably wasn't very high on the playing time pecking order. Part of me wonders if Staats isn't fully recovered from his ACL tear at this point as well. If Helmer is being moved to close full time I would have to think that Kennedy being bumped down to close is probably less likely to occur now unless the matchup calls for it and or SU is getting beat at close needs help (ie last years RU game). I also have to think that Helmer's days of playign SSDM are over. I could still see him rotating some time at LSM if Kennedy gets bumped down for a game or two but it wouldn't make much sense for him to see at SSDM barring major injury issues or unless he struggles at close.

3. I wonder if the staff overall is still unsure of what they want to do at close. I have zero issue playing Helmer at close if that is the best matchup but being a Sr and not playing the position at all his first three years here is a bit concerning as I outlined above. I think most felt Murphy was probably primed for that 2nd spot with the third being up in the air. If Helmer being the 2nd guy is true that leave me to believe things haven't solidified there as much as we had hoped. I also wonder if it opens up the third spot to a dark horse guy like Kennedy's brother or Zack Lee, although it would be tough to see a RS frosh or a true frosh grab a spot this early into the season as Desko tends to go with a seasoned hand first and then make a move later in the year (see Trimboli's frosh year).
 

Orangelax

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I like Helmer a lot as a defender but he's played almost exclusively at LSM when he has had a long pole. I think this move, again assuming its 100% accurate tells us a few things.
1. Helmer's versatility is to much for the staff to ignore and being a Senior who has been through the wars he adds a nice combo with Mellen (he is also a big hitter not afraid to get physical.

2. The cynical view of this tells me that we may not have as much depth at close defense as I/we had hoped. Helmer passing by Murphy and DePietro is a bit concerning although I will say DiPietro taking a non Freshmen year RS voluntary last year kind of told you he probably wasn't very high on the playing time pecking order. Part of me wonders if Staats isn't fully recovered from his ACL tear at this point as well. If Helmer is being moved to close full time I would have to think that Kennedy being bumped down to close is probably less likely to occur now unless the matchup calls for it and or SU is getting beat at close needs help (ie last years RU game). I also have to think that Helmer's days of playign SSDM are over. I could still see him rotating some time at LSM if Kennedy gets bumped down for a game or two but it wouldn't make much sense for him to see at SSDM barring major injury issues or unless he struggles at close.

3. I wonder if the staff overall is still unsure of what they want to do at close. I have zero issue playing Helmer at close if that is the best matchup but being a Sr and not playing the position at all his first three years here is a bit concerning as I outlined above. I think most felt Murphy was probably primed for that 2nd spot with the third being up in the air. If Helmer being the 2nd guy is true that leave me to believe things haven't solidified there as much as we had hoped. I also wonder if it opens up the third spot to a dark horse guy like Kennedy's brother or Zack Lee, although it would be tough to see a RS frosh or a true frosh grab a spot this early into the season as Desko tends to go with a seasoned hand first and then make a move later in the year (see Trimboli's frosh year).
During the Lehigh Scrimmage, Murphy was the # 2 defender. The # 3 went back & forth between DP, Helmer, & some Brett. DP & Helmer also saw significant time at LSM especially when we started double polling the face. I've heard multiple people say that we'll see both Helmer & DP get time on the wings this spring.
 

ivorytower

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I like Helmer a lot as a defender but he's played almost exclusively at LSM when he has had a long pole. I think this move, again assuming its 100% accurate tells us a few things.
1. Helmer's versatility is to much for the staff to ignore and being a Senior who has been through the wars he adds a nice combo with Mellen (he is also a big hitter not afraid to get physical.

2. The cynical view of this tells me that we may not have as much depth at close defense as I/we had hoped. Helmer passing by Murphy and DePietro is a bit concerning although I will say DiPietro taking a non Freshmen year RS voluntary last year kind of told you he probably wasn't very high on the playing time pecking order. Part of me wonders if Staats isn't fully recovered from his ACL tear at this point as well. If Helmer is being moved to close full time I would have to think that Kennedy being bumped down to close is probably less likely to occur now unless the matchup calls for it and or SU is getting beat at close needs help (ie last years RU game). I also have to think that Helmer's days of playign SSDM are over. I could still see him rotating some time at LSM if Kennedy gets bumped down for a game or two but it wouldn't make much sense for him to see at SSDM barring major injury issues or unless he struggles at close.

3. I wonder if the staff overall is still unsure of what they want to do at close. I have zero issue playing Helmer at close if that is the best matchup but being a Sr and not playing the position at all his first three years here is a bit concerning as I outlined above. I think most felt Murphy was probably primed for that 2nd spot with the third being up in the air. If Helmer being the 2nd guy is true that leave me to believe things haven't solidified there as much as we had hoped. I also wonder if it opens up the third spot to a dark horse guy like Kennedy's brother or Zack Lee, although it would be tough to see a RS frosh or a true frosh grab a spot this early into the season as Desko tends to go with a seasoned hand first and then make a move later in the year (see Trimboli's frosh year).
Lower numbers but several solid defenders for two spots with enough depth and options. Younger Kennedy would have been in mix but unfortunately had another injury that likely ends season. Lee is mobile big but has not been able to showcase his skillset yet, may still return. Two frosh are developing but can offer flexibility. Expect DiPietro and Murphy to play good minutes but perhaps all that much together. Staats is healthy. Still have to decide on man down. Two winter scrimmages agaisnt one really good team and another solid one is beneficial. However mixed, gonna take some time to jell.
 

DoctahLexus

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Helmer was certainly a monster with a long pole as a freshman. Played behind Fusco at LSM and impressed me more than Fusco at the time. Had some nice aggressive plays and looked exprienced beyond his years. That was an excellent year for defense, even with Mellen out. Now he has two years of essentially just short stick under his belt (picked up a long pole a handful of times in 2018 and maybe once during 2019) and he is fully recovered from injury he dealt with in 2018. I am sure his speed has improved out of necessity due to the consistent SSDM play.

It is possible he just stands out compared to the competition, who also have very little close D experience for Cuse, outside of a game for Murphy, and a handful of PT for DePietro 2-3 years ago. Don't think it is worth getting down on the skill level of Murphy and DePietro given Helmer's background on the team/talent. Kennedy moving down could still happen as well and I don't really see how this limits that possibility. One or two of our options were always going to be the odd man out. Probably not wise to read into their labels too much on the updated roster but Murphy, Staats, DePietro, and Helmer are all listed as "Defense" while Kennedy is listed as LSM/Defense. Seems like moving Helmer down was something they were considering seriously from the beginning.
 

JeremyCuse

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During the Lehigh Scrimmage, Murphy was the # 2 defender. The # 3 went back & forth between DP, Helmer, & some Brett. DP & Helmer also saw significant time at LSM especially when we started double polling the face. I've heard multiple people say that we'll see both Helmer & DP get time on the wings this spring.
DePietro at LSM is an interesting nugget, can't recall if he played LSM in HS at all but that would make sense especially if Brett gets bumped down to close. Interesting that they would consider both for the wings as I believe Fernandez and Kennedy were the two main guys when SU double polled last year. Helmer on the wings is intriguing but hard to see him doing that if he is also playing close.
 

ivorytower

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Helmer has been on man down with pole which maintained familiarity despite playing dm. One concern about injecting players into new roles is developing coordination amongst them on team d. Initial tendency to overfocus on assigned cover with off ball perhaps suffering some . DiPitero and Murphy seem to good off ball but Bomberry and Cunnigham had advantage of playing together for years. Mellen will need to lend assistance and direction to whoever plays next to him.
 

Powellfan

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This move for Helmer might just mean that the coaching staff is really high on him as a player, and just want to get him on the field. The last two years he wasn't going to unseat Cunningham or Bomberry, so they thought to put him at short stick. It seemed odd to me last year, but as IT points out they did give him a long stick on man-down. That goes to show how much the coaching staff trusted him and wanted him involved.

He is a good athlete and having a background now at SSDM certainly makes him a smarter/more diverse player. I thought his stick skills were lacking back when he was backup LSM, so not sure how that has been helped by playing with a short stick the last two years. How many players have played close defense, short stick and LSM in the same career? Can't be a long list.

Lastly, maybe the Lehigh scrimmage was so disappointing that someone had to be benched for it, and Helmer was the beneficiary of it. The coaching staff, seeing so much talent on the offensive end of the field, might feel nervous about entrusting the defense with too much youth, and just feel better about inserting older players. I think Desko has invested a lot in this year's team, and while he's good about developing young talent, this might not be the year for it.
 

Powellfan

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Curry and Mellen named preseason All-ACC.

Porter could have been nominated but seems like they went with Rode from UVA, who had a really good postseason. Dearth is a definite snub. And I have to wonder about Conners over Kennedy.

Orange picked to finish fourth in the conference, which is surprising to me.

 

MaxFischer

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This move for Helmer might just mean that the coaching staff is really high on him as a player, and just want to get him on the field. The last two years he wasn't going to unseat Cunningham or Bomberry, so they thought to put him at short stick. It seemed odd to me last year, but as IT points out they did give him a long stick on man-down. That goes to show how much the coaching staff trusted him and wanted him involved.

He is a good athlete and having a background now at SSDM certainly makes him a smarter/more diverse player. I thought his stick skills were lacking back when he was backup LSM, so not sure how that has been helped by playing with a short stick the last two years. How many players have played close defense, short stick and LSM in the same career? Can't be a long list.

Lastly, maybe the Lehigh scrimmage was so disappointing that someone had to be benched for it, and Helmer was the beneficiary of it. The coaching staff, seeing so much talent on the offensive end of the field, might feel nervous about entrusting the defense with too much youth, and just feel better about inserting older players. I think Desko has invested a lot in this year's team, and while he's good about developing young talent, this might not be the year for it.
I'll say this, while I prefer Helmer at SS, if he is going to play close please leave him there. A close D unit needs continuity to foster instincts and communication. All this talk about moving parts and playing multiple players at close makes me nervous. Hopefully this will all shake out early and this team can reach its potential. But we would probably all agree that close defense is the biggest question mark on the roster outside of Mellen and they need to get this right.
 

ohmilax34

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I'll say this, while I prefer Helmer at SS, if he is going to play close please leave him there. A close D unit needs continuity to foster instincts and communication. All this talk about moving parts and playing multiple players at close makes me nervous. Hopefully this will all shake out early and this team can reach its potential. But we would probably all agree that close defense is the biggest question mark on the roster outside of Mellen and they need to get this right.
Agreed. And while Mellen is a great cover defender, he isn't a vocal leader on the field. Maybe getting Helmer there improves the communication.
 

laxsummit

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Curry and Mellen named preseason All-ACC.

Porter could have been nominated but seems like they went with Rode from UVA, who had a really good postseason. Dearth is a definite snub. And I have to wonder about Conners over Kennedy.

Orange picked to finish fourth in the conference, which is surprising to me.

"To the Victors belong the Spoils" Cuse wins the chip as UVA did n all our AA caliber players are not only All Acc but 1st or 2nd team AA.
 

sholokov2

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I like Helmer a lot as a defender but he's played almost exclusively at LSM when he has had a long pole. I think this move, again assuming its 100% accurate tells us a few things.
1. Helmer's versatility is to much for the staff to ignore and being a Senior who has been through the wars he adds a nice combo with Mellen (he is also a big hitter not afraid to get physical.

2. The cynical view of this tells me that we may not have as much depth at close defense as I/we had hoped. Helmer passing by Murphy and DePietro is a bit concerning although I will say DiPietro taking a non Freshmen year RS voluntary last year kind of told you he probably wasn't very high on the playing time pecking order. Part of me wonders if Staats isn't fully recovered from his ACL tear at this point as well. If Helmer is being moved to close full time I would have to think that Kennedy being bumped down to close is probably less likely to occur now unless the matchup calls for it and or SU is getting beat at close needs help (ie last years RU game). I also have to think that Helmer's days of playign SSDM are over. I could still see him rotating some time at LSM if Kennedy gets bumped down for a game or two but it wouldn't make much sense for him to see at SSDM barring major injury issues or unless he struggles at close.

3. I wonder if the staff overall is still unsure of what they want to do at close. I have zero issue playing Helmer at close if that is the best matchup but being a Sr and not playing the position at all his first three years here is a bit concerning as I outlined above. I think most felt Murphy was probably primed for that 2nd spot with the third being up in the air. If Helmer being the 2nd guy is true that leave me to believe things haven't solidified there as much as we had hoped. I also wonder if it opens up the third spot to a dark horse guy like Kennedy's brother or Zack Lee, although it would be tough to see a RS frosh or a true frosh grab a spot this early into the season as Desko tends to go with a seasoned hand first and then make a move later in the year (see Trimboli's frosh year).
I think the Helmer - Kennedy LSM combo produces better all around d than moving one of them to close. The only eventuality that would make close possible for either is one of the frosh LSMs playing way above his years during the pre season. If either Helmer or Kennedy starts at close this year, I believe the coaches consider close d a problem area. The quality of defensive communication is very difficult to assess from afar, but it may determine the player who ends up at close. It's easily as important as overall physical ability. By the way, I like all the above analyses. Very thought provoking.
 

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