Depth |



Living Legend
May 21, 2012
Perhaps the single most important factor contributing to our lack of success over the last decade has been our lack of depth. It's not been lack of skill players as we have had a reasonable number of skill players over the years. It is certainly not enough quality defensive players as it has arguably been our strongest unit most years. Most of the Orange NFL players are defensive ones - linemen, linebackers and defensive backs. Even punters and knickers have been consistently good.

It can even be argued that, at least since Nassib, we have also had consistently good first team quarterbacks. Terrel Hunt, Eric Dungey, Tommy Devito and Garret Shrader were all P5 quality qbs.

Hunt was MVP in our Texas Bowl win over Minnesota, TD had a solid senior year at Illinois behind a good line and a system that suits his talents and Shrader is good and getting better.

Other than Nassib, who was an iron man, all of them failed to play a single entire season without serious injury. Of course, Hunt`s tragic Turf Monster ending changed the course of two seasons with inadequate backups leading to miserable seasons and causing a coaching change and major program reset.

We have even had many years with good receivers - Lemon, Sales, ishmael, Custis, Etta-Tawo, Phillips, Estime, Clark, Harris etc.

Other than under FHCDM, our weakest unit has historically been the offensive line, especially so under Babers. Arguably, the root cause of our failures.

So, how do we solve the depth issue that kills us every November? First, the cause has to be identified. Is it the strength and conditioning program? Our players? Our style of play? Our coaching carousel? Not enough rotation? None of these stands out except perhaps, the last.

It is interesting to note how much better our defense has fared than the offense with all its front line injuries. I have to believe it is a result of White's rotation of young players. The next man up has been impressive in virtually every position. White's style of play seems to build the requisite depth.

Since we are not a destination program with 5 stars all over the depth chart - we have 3 stars in the process of development siting on our bench - we face a big challenge building depth. The dilemma for the offense is that certain positions do not lend themselves to on-the-job training with rotation. Save a major change in recruiting fortune or skillful use of the portal, we have to figure out how to build depth in the offense, particularly the offensive line.

Is there any other way to build depth than through actual game experience?

One thing seems obvious and that is that competence and continuity in the most important assistant coaching position is critical - offensive line. Yes, all coaching positions are important but winning football can't be played without a good offensive line. It's where it all starts.

In the final analysis, we can't succeed without improved depth. It is also hard to envision how we will ever be consistently good unless we become more disciplined and stop killing drives with stupid penalties, especially pre snap, unsportsmanlike and unnecessary roughness ones. This is on Dino.

it is hard to see how things will improve without significant change in coaching paradigm. Either
Dino has to change or we will have to change Dino. 2023 will tell the story.

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