My Take | Syracusefan.com

My Take

sutomcat

No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
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Sorry this is late. I had an early tee time this morning and the spring game ran so late, I really didn’t have time to make a post before going to bed last night.

Went to the lacrosse game as well. The SyraCruz@ tailgate gang decided to tailgate before the lax game, as well as between the lac and spring game, so I got to the Raynor lot a little before 1 pm and settled in for a long day on the hill

Cuseregular served his amazing BBBs#, along with coneys, hot dogs, and there were some cheeseburgers, funeral potatoes, many other carb heavy treats I could not eat (especially those amazing looking chocolate chip cookies). It was a really nice tailgate executed in difficult conditions (the wind was really strong especially before the lax game). The greats find a way, like they always do. Props to Jermey, Nell, JR, Justin and everyone else who contributed.

The lax game was one of the best I have been to. Big crowd that was very supportive and enthusiastic. Syracuse lax crowds are known for being the most knowledgeable and supportive fans in the country and yesterday was no exception. The game was great. It was close throughout. Two really talented teams (maybe the two most talented teams in the country), both with great offenses, both trying to score in transition a lot. Lots of scoring, lots of action, almost no stalling. Lots of really good stick work, passing and finishes.

Hiltz and Finn were awesome.. Mark was terrific, especially when we needed him the most. What a great goal by Dwan.

This was a a classic game that I think cemented Syracuse as a team destined to win the NC this year (and in the next 2 years as well). There. I posted it. Jeremy, please don’t let your head explode.

Let’s move on. I will start by talking about the dome for a second. One of the first things I noticed upon entering was that all the benches in the northwest corner of the dome on both the 300 and 200 level had been removed. Just concrete steps there.

Workers have also been busy replacing the orange hand railings at the bottom of the 300 level with blue ones. They are a different style and there are more of them. They go up and around the areas where one can enter or leave the 300 sections (might be called vestibules, I am not sure of the correct term). This is all ADA stuff. Guessing they will at least remove all the benches on the western end of the dome between now and graduation. And move out the rest of them after that. Good to see some tangible progress here.

The crowd was a little bigger for football than lacrosse. Maybe 8,500 vs 10,000? Something like that. They had the upper deck open for both games and a fair number of people sat there, especially for football.

The band was not there for lacrosse (this needs to change; we should have a small band for all home lax games for men and women), but they showed for the spring game. It was not a full turnout. Probably 25% of the normal SUMB. 3 tubas. But it was good to have them there, even if they were a no show for the team walk and got on Fran’s bad list. Along with those renegade cheerleaders. The band incidentally sat on the 100 level on the eastern side of the dome. That is significant because I believe they have sat in the western end zone since the dome opened. But this is a harbinger of things to come, as I believe the band will now be in the eastern end zone, along with all the students. That will take some getting used to. The football team didn’t get the memo. A bunch of them sat down and watched some of the lax game. They all wore the same navy blue outfits and sat near the football goal line in the southwest corner of the dome, a traditional student seating area.

Let’s talk about the spring game some now. At some point, Fran got a microphone and talked to the crowd but it was pretty brief. Most of the time they just played football.

And it was real football, for the most part. There were no linemen on special teams, so it was really about letting the punter and place kicker practice their kicks. Stonehouse was so so at best. Not a great day for him. Most of his punts were not really high or long. Denaberg was excellent kicking off. His leg appears to be stronger than ever. In terms of field goals attempted during the spring game, there weren’t a lot of them, I think they were all inside 40 yards and they were all made. Denaberg kicked well, as did Oh, who looks like a solid backup. Callahan and Stangle did a good job with the snaps. Callahan remains the starter.

The spring game started with with appeared to largely be the starting first team offense (White) pitted against the first team defense (Blue). When the Blue team had the ball, they primarily had what appeared to be the second team offense and went against the White second team defense.

That first drive, the Blue defense got the White offense in a fourth and 3 or 4 situation, which gave us our first insight into how Fran is going to run things as the new sherif in town. He went for it without hesitation. McCord hit a 10 yard or so pass over the middle (I think to Peña) and the drive continued. And it soon ended with a TD for the Whilte team.

That While team not only had Allen at RB, they also had Willis. That was unfortunate. If Willis was on the blue team, they would have been a lot more competitive. Especially after Hart, the only scholarship RB on Blue, got banged up and stopped playing. That led to Chandler, a walk on, getting the ball a lot. He did well but with all respect to him, he is not Willis. White had Haynes at WR, who McCord went to a lot. They also had Pena, who has been talked up a lot as being much improved this spring. And he had a really strong game that confirmed he is playing at a different level now. Also looks noticeably stronger these days.

Haynes is not really big or really jacked, Has a pretty thin frame. But he is really quick and smooth. I have heard him compared to Marvin a few times and yes, in terms of body type and speed, there are some similarities. We will see this fall just how similar these guys are. I am concerned over how well he will do against the big strong physical CBs he will sometimes face in the ACC. Time will tell.

Gill also got a lot of run with the first team and looked promising. No doubt he can run fast. And twice he got targeted in the end zone and just jumped over Duce to get the ball. Though one time he did not catch it. But he looks ahead of the other young WRs right now.

The while team had the OL starters we have been hearing for a while now. LT E Cruz, LG Bradford, C Reed, RG Petry, RT Witherspoon. Miller might have replaced E Cruz on some drives but I didn’t notice it. Pretty sure E Cruz played with the ones all or almost all game long. Villari was the TE. He looked good and it appeare we are destined to see a lot more targeting of our TEs that we have seen in many years. Perhaps more than we have ever seen.

Thought the first team OL was solid. McCord had time passing and when they ran, there were holes for the RBs to run through. Witherspoon seemed to dominate his man a lot. Huge guy. You never know if this means the OL is better than expected or the DL is worse. But on this day, the offense dominated the defense. And from what McCord has said, it sounds like this has been the case most of the spring.

Haynes beat Grant deep at least one time. It seemed like th white team there it deep against Grant a few times and usually had success. That said, Grant was very good against the run and against the short and middle stuff. He also jumped a route and had a sure pick 6 but dropped the ball.

Thought McCord was terrific for the first half of the scrimmage but tailed off later. Didn’t play after he got the white team up big. Threw it to where it needed to be thrown a lot and when he missed, he missed where you want to miss (where the ball goes incomplete instead of getting picked off). When he had pressure, he did a good job stepping up in the pocket and buying another second or two. Threw it away when a play was broken. Later, he got a little wild and overthrew some guys who were open. Might have been fatigue. Not sure.

Peña seemed to get open a lot and all his receiptions seemed to be over the middle and for big yardage. I think he played in the slot most of the time.

In the second half, I think they moved CDRW to the white team and had David take over all the way as the blue team QB.

Let’s talk about the first team defense. I don‘t think they sacked McCord but they were able to get some pressure. I believe Diggs and Jaquez were the DEs. If memory serves, Wilson and ECF were the DTs. Wax and McDonald were the LBs. The CBs were Bellamy and Grant and the safeties were Barron, Clark and Chestnut.

Barron was all over the field and looks like he is a lock to get drafted. Wax was in on a lot of tackles and looks good. Maybe a hair quicker than last year. McDonald was okay.. Made all the plays he needed to. I think Chestnut and Clark got beat long once but otherwise were good. The DL were okay but the OL seemed to hold their own against them, Which probably is not good.

When the blue team had the ball, like I said, it was mostly our second team offense out there. CDRW was mostly the QB. Davis was the QB for a few drives and also played a series or two at WR. The backup OL was Miller and Mack at OT, Moeolo and Ellis at OG and Ilaoa at C. Though J Cruz worked with the second unit at OG quite a lot as well. Ellis still appears to have a weight problem and asked to come out at least once where he was seemingly winded. Thought Miller and Mack held their own out there, as did Moeolo, who is a physical specimen. Our second team unit is a lot better than it was last season, even with More and Wohlabaugh out with injuries.

As mentioned before, Hart was the primary RB for blue. And he looked good while he was in there. The blue team had Hatcher, Cohoon and Haile mostly playing WR. Hatcher got targeted the most and he made a number of good plays. Believe he got a long TD on a sprint route. The other guys didn’t do much.

Clement was the TE and I think he only caught one ball for minor yards. He looks great. Really big guy in good shape. Runs well. But it is tough to beat out a guy like Villari. While talking about TEs, I wanted to note that when Gadsden was out on the field (he was fully dressed and participated in some non contact special teams plays), he was very easy to spot because his arms were so jacked. He might have the biggest arms on the team.

Let’s talk about the second string defense some now. The DEs were mostly Simmons and Hastings. The DTs were mostly Perry and Ingraham (I think). They all seemed to do well. It seemed like Perry had a lot of success rushing the passer from the DT position, which seems notable. That guy has good closing speed and is going to get some sacks here down the road. Watson is another young DT who looks like he is going to be a fine player. He made a couple impressive tackles.

King-Edwards looks like a terrific athlete who really needs to put on 20 or 30 pounds of muscle before he will be ready to make big contributions.

The LBs were mostly Goddard-Moutrie and Omopariola. Thought both of them were all over the field making big plays and looking really promising. They were in on a lot of tackles. Both played plays where my group of guys said WTHWT? It was usually ZMG or the Nigerian Nightmare. Sparrow also played a lot at LB and was his usual effective self. I don’t remember Heard making any plays. Lesaine is really athlete and wowed our group at least 2 times in limited playing time. Caden Brown also got a lot of snaps at LB for the 2nd and 3rd teams and looked very quick and agile. He is going to need to do some work in the weight room before he gets a lot of PT in real games.

The CBs were mostly Barnes and DeLaine. Thought both played well. Barnes looks pretty skinny right now and needs to work hard in the weight room to get strong enough to play against the big tough WRs of the ACC.

I think the backup safeties were mostly Gould, Buxton and Long. Perry played some too and might have spurt snaps with Long.

Gould is a terrific athlete who covers a lot of ground. He made a a number of nice plays. My guess is that he is the first safety off the bench if someone gets hurt. Buxton was also very active and looks like he is a good tanklet in the open field. He might play a lot for us this season as well.

I don’t think Martin played a lot.

Barnes is really tast and might be our best CB in man coverage. As long as the guy isn’t really big and strong.

That is about all I can remember. Really liked the ’real game’ format and how competitive the game was. The lack of penalties was very noticeable and refreshIng. No issues lining up. No illegal procedures. No late hit penalties. I think there was one flag for an OL who left early but the team appears to be vastly more well coached and disciplined after only one spring of coaching.

I would also say that the overall depth and overall talent on the team appears to be much better than in the past few years.

This all makes me very happy.


Footnotes:
@=trademark 2022
#=beer basted brats
%=Who the hell was that
 
Sorry this is late. I had an early tee time this morning and the spring game ran so late, I really didn’t have time to make a post before going to bed last night.

Went to the lacrosse game as well. The SyraCruz@ tailgate gang decided to tailgate before the lax game, as well as between the lac and spring game, so I got to the Raynor lot a little before 1 pm and settled in for a long day on the hill

Cuseregular served his amazing BBBs#, along with coneys, hot dogs, and there were some cheeseburgers, funeral potatoes, many other carb heavy treats I could not eat (especially those amazing looking chocolate chip cookies). It was a really nice tailgate executed in difficult conditions (the wind was really strong especially before the lax game). The greats find a way, like they always do. Props to Jermey, Nell, JR, Justin and everyone else who contributed.

The lax game was one of the best I have been to. Big crowd that was very supportive and enthusiastic. Syracuse lax crowds are known for being the most knowledgeable and supportive fans in the country and yesterday was no exception. The game was great. It was close throughout. Two really talented teams (maybe the two most talented teams in the country), both with great offenses, both trying to score in transition a lot. Lots of scoring, lots of action, almost no stalling. Lots of really good stick work, passing and finishes.

Hiltz and Finn were awesome.. Mark was terrific, especially when we needed him the most. What a great goal by Dwan.

This was a a classic game that I think cemented Syracuse as a team destined to win the NC this year (and in the next 2 years as well). There. I posted it. Jeremy, please don’t let your head explode.

Let’s move on. I will start by talking about the dome for a second. One of the first things I noticed upon entering was that all the benches in the northwest corner of the dome on both the 300 and 200 level had been removed. Just concrete steps there.

Workers have also been busy replacing the orange hand railings at the bottom of the 300 level with blue ones. They are a different style and there are more of them. They go up and around the areas where one can enter or leave the 300 sections (might be called vestibules, I am not sure of the correct term). This is all ADA stuff. Guessing they will at least remove all the benches on the western end of the dome between now and graduation. And move out the rest of them after that. Good to see some tangible progress here.

The crowd was a little bigger for football than lacrosse. Maybe 8,500 vs 10,000? Something like that. They had the upper deck open for both games and a fair number of people sat there, especially for football.

The band was not there for lacrosse (this needs to change; we should have a small band for all home lax games for men and women), but they showed for the spring game. It was not a full turnout. Probably 25% of the normal SUMB. 3 tubas. But it was good to have them there, even if they were a no show for the team walk and got on Fran’s bad list. Along with those renegade cheerleaders. The band incidentally sat on the 100 level on the eastern side of the dome. That is significant because I believe they have sat in the western end zone since the dome opened. But this is a harbinger of things to come, as I believe the band will now be in the eastern end zone, along with all the students. That will take some getting used to. The football team didn’t get the memo. A bunch of them sat down and watched some of the lax game. They all wore the same navy blue outfits and sat near the football goal line in the southwest corner of the dome, a traditional student seating area.

Let’s talk about the spring game some now. At some point, Fran got a microphone and talked to the crowd but it was pretty brief. Most of the time they just played football.

And it was real football, for the most part. There were no linemen on special teams, so it was really about letting the punter and place kicker practice their kicks. Stonehouse was so so at best. Not a great day for him. Most of his punts were not really high or long. Denaberg was excellent kicking off. His leg appears to be stronger than ever. In terms of field goals attempted during the spring game, there weren’t a lot of them, I think they were all inside 40 yards and they were all made. Denaberg kicked well, as did Oh, who looks like a solid backup. Callahan and Stangle did a good job with the snaps. Callahan remains the starter.

The spring game started with with appeared to largely be the starting first team offense (White) pitted against the first team defense (Blue). When the Blue team had the ball, they primarily had what appeared to be the second team offense and went against the White second team defense.

That first drive, the Blue defense got the White offense in a fourth and 3 or 4 situation, which gave us our first insight into how Fran is going to run things as the new sherif in town. He went for it without hesitation. McCord hit a 10 yard or so pass over the middle (I think to Peña) and the drive continued. And it soon ended with a TD for the Whilte team.

That While team not only had Allen at RB, they also had Willis. That was unfortunate. If Willis was on the blue team, they would have been a lot more competitive. Especially after Hart, the only scholarship RB on Blue, got banged up and stopped playing. That led to Chandler, a walk on, getting the ball a lot. He did well but with all respect to him, he is not Willis. White had Haynes at WR, who McCord went to a lot. They also had Pena, who has been talked up a lot as being much improved this spring. And he had a really strong game that confirmed he is playing at a different level now. Also looks noticeably stronger these days.

Haynes is not really big or really jacked, Has a pretty thin frame. But he is really quick and smooth. I have heard him compared to Marvin a few times and yes, in terms of body type and speed, there are some similarities. We will see this fall just how similar these guys are. I am concerned over how well he will do against the big strong physical CBs he will sometimes face in the ACC. Time will tell.

Gill also got a lot of run with the first team and looked promising. No doubt he can run fast. And twice he got targeted in the end zone and just jumped over Duce to get the ball. Though one time he did not catch it. But he looks ahead of the other young WRs right now.

The while team had the OL starters we have been hearing for a while now. LT E Cruz, LG Bradford, C Reed, RG Petry, RT Witherspoon. Miller might have replaced E Cruz on some drives but I didn’t notice it. Pretty sure E Cruz played with the ones all or almost all game long. Villari was the TE. He looked good and it appeare we are destined to see a lot more targeting of our TEs that we have seen in many years. Perhaps more than we have ever seen.

Thought the first team OL was solid. McCord had time passing and when they ran, there were holes for the RBs to run through. Witherspoon seemed to dominate his man a lot. Huge guy. You never know if this means the OL is better than expected or the DL is worse. But on this day, the offense dominated the defense. And from what McCord has said, it sounds like this has been the case most of the spring.

Haynes beat Grant deep at least one time. It seemed like th white team there it deep against Grant a few times and usually had success. That said, Grant was very good against the run and against the short and middle stuff. He also jumped a route and had a sure pick 6 but dropped the ball.

Thought McCord was terrific for the first half of the scrimmage but tailed off later. Didn’t play after he got the white team up big. Threw it to where it needed to be thrown a lot and when he missed, he missed where you want to miss (where the ball goes incomplete instead of getting picked off). When he had pressure, he did a good job stepping up in the pocket and buying another second or two. Threw it away when a play was broken. Later, he got a little wild and overthrew some guys who were open. Might have been fatigue. Not sure.

Peña seemed to get open a lot and all his receiptions seemed to be over the middle and for big yardage. I think he played in the slot most of the time.

In the second half, I think they moved CDRW to the white team and had David take over all the way as the blue team QB.

Let’s talk about the first team defense. I don‘t think they sacked McCord but they were able to get some pressure. I believe Diggs and Jaquez were the DEs. If memory serves, Wilson and ECF were the DTs. Wax and McDonald were the LBs. The CBs were Bellamy and Grant and the safeties were Barron, Clark and Chestnut.

Barron was all over the field and looks like he is a lock to get drafted. Wax was in on a lot of tackles and looks good. Maybe a hair quicker than last year. McDonald was okay.. Made all the plays he needed to. I think Chestnut and Clark got beat long once but otherwise were good. The DL were okay but the OL seemed to hold their own against them, Which probably is not good.

When the blue team had the ball, like I said, it was mostly our second team offense out there. CDRW was mostly the QB. Davis was the QB for a few drives and also played a series or two at WR. The backup OL was Miller and Mack at OT, Moeolo and Ellis at OG and Ilaoa at C. Though J Cruz worked with the second unit at OG quite a lot as well. Ellis still appears to have a weight problem and asked to come out at least once where he was seemingly winded. Thought Miller and Mack held their own out there, as did Moeolo, who is a physical specimen. Our second team unit is a lot better than it was last season, even with More and Wohlabaugh out with injuries.

As mentioned before, Hart was the primary RB for blue. And he looked good while he was in there. The blue team had Hatcher, Cohoon and Haile mostly playing WR. Hatcher got targeted the most and he made a number of good plays. Believe he got a long TD on a sprint route. The other guys didn’t do much.

Clement was the TE and I think he only caught one ball for minor yards. He looks great. Really big guy in good shape. Runs well. But it is tough to beat out a guy like Villari. While talking about TEs, I wanted to note that when Gadsden was out on the field (he was fully dressed and participated in some non contact special teams plays), he was very easy to spot because his arms were so jacked. He might have the biggest arms on the team.

Let’s talk about the second string defense some now. The DEs were mostly Simmons and Hastings. The DTs were mostly Perry and Ingraham (I think). They all seemed to do well. It seemed like Perry had a lot of success rushing the passer from the DT position, which seems notable. That guy has good closing speed and is going to get some sacks here down the road. Watson is another young DT who looks like he is going to be a fine player. He made a couple impressive tackles.

King-Edwards looks like a terrific athlete who really needs to put on 20 or 30 pounds of muscle before he will be ready to make big contributions.

The LBs were mostly Goddard-Moutrie and Omopariola. Thought both of them were all over the field making big plays and looking really promising. They were in on a lot of tackles. Both played plays where my group of guys said WTHWT? It was usually ZMG or the Nigerian Nightmare. Sparrow also played a lot at LB and was his usual effective self. I don’t remember Heard making any plays. Lesaine is really athlete and wowed our group at least 2 times in limited playing time. Caden Brown also got a lot of snaps at LB for the 2nd and 3rd teams and looked very quick and agile. He is going to need to do some work in the weight room before he gets a lot of PT in real games.

The CBs were mostly Barnes and DeLaine. Thought both played well. Barnes looks pretty skinny right now and needs to work hard in the weight room to get strong enough to play against the big tough WRs of the ACC.

I think the backup safeties were mostly Gould, Buxton and Long. Perry played some too and might have spurt snaps with Long.

Gould is a terrific athlete who covers a lot of ground. He made a a number of nice plays. My guess is that he is the first safety off the bench if someone gets hurt. Buxton was also very active and looks like he is a good tanklet in the open field. He might play a lot for us this season as well.

I don’t think Martin played a lot.

Barnes is really tast and might be our best CB in man coverage. As long as the guy isn’t really big and strong.

That is about all I can remember. Really liked the ’real game’ format and how competitive the game was. The lack of penalties was very noticeable and refreshIng. No issues lining up. No illegal procedures. No late hit penalties. I think there was one flag for an OL who left early but the team appears to be vastly more well coached and disciplined after only one spring of coaching.

I would also say that the overall depth and overall talent on the team appears to be much better than in the past few years.

This all makes me very happy.


Footnotes:
@=trademark 2022
#=beer basted brats
%=Who the hell was that
Great recap. One minor correction is Oh did miss a 22 yd FG in the 3rd quarter.
 
The King definitely needs some work in the weight room, but he can turn the corner. Smoked Cruz for a sack.

Can't take chances with McCord. I hope we never run an RPO.

LeQuint and Willis are a dynamic 1-2 punch.

Davis threw at least three worm burners.

The LBs look great.

Pena and Haynes are going to be a problem for other teams, especially when OG is back and getting attention.

Crazy to think we looked so good and will be adding OG, Meeks, Hornsby, Ross, Tremble, Jakhari, More, Wohlabaugh, Lewis and possible transfers of Colorado State WR, Georgia WR and Colorado OT. Also figure Fran will be looking for a QB2 in the portal. Comparing day one 2023 team to day one 2024 team, we'll be almost unrecognizable.
 
The King definitely needs some work in the weight room, but he can turn the corner. Smoked Cruz for a sack.

Can't take chances with McCord. I hope we never run an RPO.

LeQuint and Willis are a dynamic 1-2 punch.

Davis threw at least three worm burners.

The LBs look great.

Pena and Haynes are going to be a problem for other teams, especially when OG is back and getting attention.

Crazy to think we looked so good and will be adding OG, Meeks, Hornsby, Ross, Tremble, Jakhari, More, Wohlabaugh, Lewis and possible transfers of Colorado State WR, Georgia WR and Colorado OT. Also figure Fran will be looking for a QB2 in the portal. Comparing day one 2023 team to day one 2024 team, we'll be almost unrecognizable.

Yeah, that was exciting to watch. We feel like we are only a few pieces away from being a very good team.
 
Yup, I believe we are very close to being a force to be reckoned with

Could be a VERY fun year
It's crazy how quickly people forget what Syracuse is like when football (and basketball) are hot. Syracuse football getting and staying at another level of success is good for fans, the University, and CNY as a whole.
 
The King definitely needs some work in the weight room, but he can turn the corner. Smoked Cruz for a sack.

Can't take chances with McCord. I hope we never run an RPO.

LeQuint and Willis are a dynamic 1-2 punch.

Davis threw at least three worm burners.

The LBs look great.

Pena and Haynes are going to be a problem for other teams, especially when OG is back and getting attention.

Crazy to think we looked so good and will be adding OG, Meeks, Hornsby, Ross, Tremble, Jakhari, More, Wohlabaugh, Lewis and possible transfers of Colorado State WR, Georgia WR and Colorado OT. Also figure Fran will be looking for a QB2 in the portal. Comparing day one 2023 team to day one 2024 team, we'll be almost unrecognizable.
Good observations.

One thing I didn’t comment on was on RB #1 and RB # 2.

Allen looked really good. Didn’t get a ton of touches but he looked quick, strong and decisive.

And Willis was the player the people in my area talked about the most. He had us all wowed with his size, speed and power.

Our coaches are systemically adding various pieces that continue to make us harder to defend. Defensive coordinators are going to have to make some hard choices regarding how to best defend us in the next few years.

I think we are going to score quite a few points the next couple of years.
 
We should have a first- rate running game with Allen and Willis (who is a real pleasant surprise) along with an improved OL. I am excited to see OG, Pena and Haynes on the field at the same time - could be the best receiving corps since Ishmael, Phillips, Custis and Riley.
McCord is the best passer since Nassib and he has a better long ball.

I am guessing that this team will be more disciplined than Baber's teams and will have fewer of those infuriating pre-snap penalties.

It may take a while to pull everything together but, barring injury to McCord, I bet the over on the Vegas 6.5 line.

This is going to be fun!
 
Good observations.

One thing I didn’t comment on was on RB #1 and RB # 2.

Allen looked really good. Didn’t get a ton of touches but he looked quick, strong and decisive.

And Willis was the player the people in my area talked about the most. He had us all wowed with his size, speed and power.

Our coaches are systemically adding various pieces that continue to make us harder to defend. Defensive coordinators are going to have to make some hard choices regarding how to best defend us in the next few years.

I think we are going to score quite a few points the next couple of years.
Willis really stood out to me with quickness and gaining yards after first contact. I think he will be very good.
 
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Echo Tom's observations about the talent on the offense - McCord, Haynes and Willis are players we've mostly dreamed about (or been burned by) in past years. Not now. Gill also impressed. For a thin guy, he gets it done with speed, length and major hops. Pena was a problem for the defense all day, getting open over the middle or slipping past the LB's and under the safeties for big gains.

As for the defense, we look solid at safety (Duce, Cinco and Barron) and LB (Wax, McDonald), and improving at CB (Bellamy and Grant).

It's the interior DL that seems to be the question mark. The OL repeatedly created holes for LQA and Willis. Jobbity did not play (injured and in a boot), and there didn't seem to be a huge difference between the 1's (ECF/Wilson) or the 2's (Ingraham and Perry) - except Perry is disruptive on pass plays. I also saw Watson, Nwochoka, Gordon and Smith rotate in. Clearly the staff is evaluating guys. The interior might not be uber talented but there is some solid depth to work with.
 
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Echo Tom's observations about the talent on the offense - McCord, Haynes and Willis are players we've mostly dreamed about (or been burned by) in past years. Not now. Gill also impressed. For a thin guy, he gets it done with speed, length and major hops. Pena was a problem for the defense all day, getting open over the middle or slipping past the LB's and under the safeties for big gains.

As for the defense, we look solid at safety (Duce, Cinco and Barron) and LB (Wax, McDonald), and improving at CB (Bellamy and Grant).

It's the interior DL that seems to be the question mark. The OL repeatedly created holes for LQA and Willis. Jobbity did not play (injured and in a boot), and there didn't seem to be a huge difference between the 1's (ECF/Wilson) or the 2's (Ingraham and Perry) - except Perry is disruptive on pass plays. I also saw Watson, Nwochoka, Gordon and Smith rotate in. Clearly the staff is evaluating guys. The interior might not be uber talented but there is some solid depth to work with.
Rotate 6 DTs. Be strong in the 4th
 
I think (hope) the massive increase in talent and athleticism will help with some of these hiccups as everyone’s learns to figure each other out together.

A legitimate concern. But you're right, talent overcomes lack of chemistry at the beginning.
 
Rotate 6 DTs. Be strong in the 4th

We have some pretty good size up front on D, too. I think most of them will be productive.
 
I did like the awards they presented on tv, not sure if they showed those in the dome.

I thought that was a great touch that recognized the players hard work this spring!

Yeah, they were on the overhead screen. It was nice to see. Building respect by recognizing many guys who are working hard to improve.
 
Willis really stood out to me with quickness and gaining yards after first contact. I think he will be very good.
Him running through three guys into the endzone was impressive. Then there was the screen pass to the sideline where instead of running out of bounds he lowered a shoulder and just trucked the DB (might have been Chestnut?).
 
Willis really stood out to me with quickness and gaining yards after first contact. I think he will be very good.
Man can he drive high kneeson contact. They nevejr stopped moving.
 
What is a funeral potato?
About the best potato dish you’ve ever had in your life, had it for the first time Saturday, then picked the brain of the connoisseur who created it.

Yowza it was good, guess the best way to describe it is it was like gourmet style scalloped potatoes with pedestrian touches, very creamy and crunchy at the same time made with string thin potatoes.
 
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Good observations.

One thing I didn’t comment on was on RB #1 and RB # 2.

Allen looked really good. Didn’t get a ton of touches but he looked quick, strong and decisive.

And Willis was the player the people in my area talked about the most. He had us all wowed with his size, speed and power.

Our coaches are systemically adding various pieces that continue to make us harder to defend. Defensive coordinators are going to have to make some hard choices regarding how to best defend us in the next few years.

I think we are going to score quite a few points the next couple of years.
I suspect putting Allen and Willis on the same team was very purposeful.

Nod to #1 being an alpha and also how to mix up the offense going to the true FR. Plus the starting blue RB (Price) informed of transfer days before the game.

I like it.
 

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