Offensive line still doesn’t push many folks around nor get to the second level and tag linebackers. Their biggest strength is Coach Moore. They take the longest to develop and they have the highest potential for season ending injury. Also as I like to say they are the rocket scientist of the team you notice they have nearly a 100 % graduation rate if they stick past their sophomore year. Impressive. The cool thing is we have twin brothers Morales' and that should help keep the attrition rate down. Le Raven Clark like Seth said is a little light and like nearly all our freshman O linemen of the past 7 years will / have redshirted.
The 2 deep: LG: L.Waddle;
J. Gray (concussions), LT D. Gallington; Blake Emert (graduated) C: J.Keown, T. McDaniel RG: M. Okafor, J.Guerra RT: L. Edwards; B. Carpenter. Back up one of the Morales Twins. I think McDaniel can play all the Oline positions well. ( I suspect we see a signifcant O line ramp up between now and fall).
Quarterbacks someone of the new 4 is going to separate in the accelerated spring practice, it's probably Doege going in but one other slingers could surprise. In fact you have M. Leach to thank for that, because he made it a friendly place for QB’s. If G. Harrell makes it onto the field anytime in the NFL in the next 2 years this situation will only improve. (2011 Super Bowl not withstanding, it just strikes me as ironic that last year Chase Daniel is on the Saints Sidelines and now Graham is, who’d a thunk it?..) I am on record as saying it doesn't matter who starts at QB for the Raiders in August 2011..at the end of the day they are going to average over 300 yards passing per game and break 3500 yards overall going into the Bowl game. That’s of course barring a total offensive melt down against UT, Mizzou or OU ala like the TCU game in 2006.
The 2 deep: S.Doege; J.Karam - back up S.Young.
Running backs the top 4 players could start or at least back up most teams in the bottom half of the Big 12 minus 2. What I would expect is E. Stephens and B. McRoy to split time but Mr. Crawford or Harrison Jeffers might get on the field. A lot. In fact if Crawford could pass block or even lead block he might star as a quasi fullback or a fast tight end (really a big split end). I just don’t see Coach Neal using that type of formation and the O line isn't that versatile. Yet. Back to O line for second they aren't very fast, they have good upper body strength, decent feet and they pass block for shotgun QBs rather well. It’s their strength and whenever Coach Neal went away from that strength last year we got into trouble.. OSU, OU, UT mostly because their D line is as talented as our O-Line at the point of attack. The new recruit running backs will push the starters just hope they don't get too bored.
The 2 deep: HB - E. Stephens ,B. McRoy short yardage A.Crawford
Receivers, wide outs, Tight ends and specialty players : this is the Overarching strength of the program. I think that in fact it’s the cornerstone of why people like watching the Team who aren’t graduates or parents with children attending. The combination of Corndog, Zouzalick, Swindle, Torres and /or Franks/James is going to start. Zou and Torres are the possession receivers, Franks and Cornelius Douglas stretch the field. Mays and Ward might emerge if they can catch the fade or the slant bullet consistently. Jakeem Grant might crack the 2.5 rotation. Derek Edwards is a huge addition especially for the 2012 season when the 4 seniors depart. But mastering the style of ball S. Doege or J. Karam throws is the key. The Raiders had nearly an 81% completion rate in 2010. And a low-ish YAC of 6.8 yards or less?? It cost the team some wins I.E. UT, OSU and OU. The passing attack is really the strength of the team, if the ball is incomplete for any reason our opponents defense won that one. Consistency of product trumps all flash. One guy who caught balls early in the season then disappeared was Darrin Moore. Tight Ends- As far as Jace Amoro coming to Tech that’s a good thing especially in the Red zone barring the Fantastic Mike Crabtree and redoubtable Bristol Olomua. in Leach’s first 5 x seasons the Raiders never fielded a big fast receiver who overmatched CB’s and or could block Linebackers. Olomua contributed in2004-05. Who can forget the go ahead TD scored against OU in 2005? I don’t want oversell him but its exciting think about Jace doing that. The wide receiver screen might be even more effective if he can get a hat on someone.
Added a video showing L.A.Reid escorting Joel Filani into the end zone versus ATM circa 2006.The bit you want is at the1:18 mark. That's what I want to see out of J. Amoro in 2011. And 12 .. you get the picture.
The 2 deep: I am not particular here, and we should see a few tight end sets. But here it goes. 1st string A.Torres, J.Franks, T.Swindle, A.Zouzalik 2nd string C.Douglas, E.Ward, J.Amoro and D.Moore or D. Mays. Key back ups Aaron Fischer, Garrick McCay possibley Marlon Kraus.
Free add on: I think I flat missed on getting a look at transfers Marcus Kennard and Tyson Williams if he plays . Though the West Texas A&M head coach denies it, there appears to be some smoke here with Mr. Williams. They both can crack the 2 deep - if their heads are in the game. See the comments below.
Defensive coordinator: I liked Coach James Willis, shook his hand once (prior to the Texas game) and he passed the glance test. I am sorry he didn't stick in Lubbock. But as someone said earlier Dunka or Raider92 if you see a brick wall and try to run your head thru it more than once or twice then you are going to fail. There is no way the Raiders as a Div 1 defense were as bad as the unit graded out. I am not saying it didn’t grade out as poor. It did. What I am saying is it never got a very good stance going into the game against the opponent. What was required was a coordinator game plan which covered up its weakness’s and accentuated its strengths. R. McNeill had 10 years of observing our opponents tendencies and as we say in the Army "intelligence drives operations". Coach Willis had basically 5 1/2 months to absorb the offenses of the Raiders opponents. It showed.
The obligatory review of recent Raider defenses and their final season ending grade: the "Swarming" defense of 34th to 28th by Coach McDaniel, Multi Front the "out think" yourself (L. Setencich)34th to 56th, the JUCO (plus) 32nd ranked defense Setencich and with McNeill , The 4-3, bend but don’t break 30th ranked McNeill led defense all alone and unafraid , the 3-4 attacking style 91st ranked unit - when adjusted for strength of schedule led by Coach Willis.
Mr. Chad Glasgow has been hanging around Texas for 10 years with Gary Patterson, he is an OSU alum, so he got a bit of extra exposure to what was happening over in the neighbor's yard of the Big 12. He’s a monster hire for the Raiders and he has the same problem Tubs had when he took the job. If the Raiders leap to the number 2 or 3 best defense in the league he will get shopped around for a better job or a head coach position. Believe me if you don’t like Tubs getting a sweetener (pay raise) for a mediocre season, you’d be even more ticked when UCLA or Notre Dame came calling to get Tubbie because he won the Big 12 outright and went to a BCS bowl his first year in charge. He now has the proverbial bit in his teeth because he had to eat crow in 2010.. the whole sporting world knows he’s not a spread guru and he put cheap gas in the Mike Leach Ferrari and it sputtered. Yes he let the coordinators lead their units. That was nice. He didn’t ruin the engine but he didn’t get any 5000 rpms from it either. It’s going to get better folks. Professionals bounce back.
Defensive backs: The stable of 2 deeps is going to get a healthy dose of cover 2, Robber and it’s going to be fun to watch. Likely starters C. Davis, T. Bullit, E. Neboh, J.Phillips, D.J. Johnson with D. Mays (a 2 way guy?), and Tre Porter. When a D back coach turned Def Coord gets to town he is not going to tolerate many blown coverage's. He will find his rocket scientist like Cody Davis (if he doesn’t convert to LB) this kid will call the plays before the offense has time to shift. Because they will be schooled on the tendencies displayed by the opponent. Before the game. ‘Tortilla Retorts’ Dedfischer correctly stated a week or so ago, when Coach Glasgow was hired, that "the entire TCU defense had 6 x blown assignments all year in 2010". The Coach Willis led defense blew 3 - 5 assignments every game. I think we all sort of knew that was coming but anything over 2 incidents per game just tilted the deck too much for the Raiders. The key is putting the defense in a position to dominate the weakest link in the opponent’s game plan/scheme/tendencies. Then good things happen as the disruption unfolds. J.J. Gaines might help at DB.
The 2 deep: CB's - E. Neboh, D.J. Johnson, D.Mays, J.Phillips - Safeties ,C.Davis;
W.Ford as of 23 feb lef t program, and T.Bullit possibly M. Bonano or J. Osborne gets on the field. The Safety swing guy seems to be Travis Malone (I swear he played special teams kick coverage last year)
Linebackers: The 2 deep here is T. Sonier, B. Dewhurst (both return from Injury - Lord willing) S. Fehoko, C. Hulbert and possibly D. Chidozie ( did he leave the team??). You notice I leaped straight to a 4-2-5 alignment with only 2 x linebackers on the field ..mostly. I had a high school coach who wrote a secondary book during the season we won our district. That’s a funny way of saying people do what they are comfortable with and don’t need to relearn any muscle memory. Remember Ruff simplifying.. Clear minds fast legs theory. Same here we will see Coach Glasgow with a big safety, my guess C. Davis as the designated run stopper on the field as the 5th def back, really a smallish linebacker. Justin Cooper LB.. is likely get to the 3rd string position especially in 4-3 IE middle of the field situations.
The 2 deep: I think this is a swing position: B. Dewhurst; C.Hulbert start and S.Fehoko, T.Sonier - spell them but it would not surprise me to see S. Fehoko back at a weak side DE.
Down Linemen: After the disastrous showing in 2010 with this group its time to fall back and regroup. The Defensive tackles are likely to be led by C.Perry,
B. Agoucha (left program as of 23 Feb) and L. Rumph our only nose tackle barring a super freshmen arriving unannounced. The defensive ends are Scot Smith, K. Hyder, C. Knighton and A. Barr possibly O. Ontiveros?? It’s likely to be the most improved group statistically. Leon Mackey you say? Y'all better pray he qualifies. As a Juco he's the bomb if paired up with Mr.Scot Smith. Pressure delivers the mistakes to the secondary. Desimon Green what's not to like from a guy who played QB and defense?? I like the 4 x man front because it doesn't allow the weak side tackle to get free and wreak mayhem on the linebackers. The law of averages says that at least one guy is going to get beat by our down linemen on every play which means that extra O linemen has to help out. Barring a total over match with guys like Phil Loadholt from OU that’s what we are playing for, one guy free to get his shot at the RB or QB. In 70 plus snaps we should see 5 - 9 pressures or a TFL out of this group. Hopefully most of them in the Red zone or in the opponents end of the field to force one of those mythical three and out. And punt . I‘d just expect to see mostly 4 x down linemen on most situations except for prevent, when we are trying keep the two score lead..btw we did that some this year too - 3 x guys rushing up field against Baylor and it nearly sank us in the 4th period.
The 2 deep: NT C.Perry , B.
Agoucha now Hampton and L. Mackey and or P.Graves DT L. Rumph and P. Graves ?? DE's S. Smith, C. Knighton, K.Hyder and A. Barr. Add Donald Langley into the mix @ DE. L. Mackey according to early reports he grades out as a DE mostly.
The Athletes on the Special Teams; last year we got a lot of mileage out of the 2nd string D backs and Running backs on coverage units. Mr. Acevedo made a lot of tackles for Tech as a 5th string Running back. But by my count we had at least half the guys were starters covering kicks and punts. Our deep snapper can tackle Mr. J. Smitherman and he has an attitude, which I like if you are only going to get 12 - 15 snaps a game you better like to hit someone when you get the chance. A. Crawford is likely consigned to be the designated kick block forcer. Getting up field against the punter. And the coverage unit is likely to be lead by any number of really fleet 3rd string senior walk on’s.
Eric Stephens is money on kickoff returns and A. Zouzalick will get the initial nod on punt returns. I for one don’t like Zou doing this just because of his slight frame but he has the good sense, good hands and athleticism to make people miss (if he gets a non-block in the back assist).
The kickers are much more dicey, I don’t know that it's true but we are likely to see a regression here. I don’t know who can kick extra points but I know who can hold - Carona, Zou, Karam and Webster. D.Carona is only a desperation option for long Field goals and is money on kick offs. Punting we already know Mr. R. Erxleben can kick the living crap out of punts his average is over 40 yards thru 10 x games in 2009.
The 2 deep: Kicker Carona, punter Erxleben Holder: Zouzalic Deep Snapper; Smitherman; Place kicker for extra points ..I dont know. Bradley Hicks is a transfer PK from Blinn Junior College.
I added a specialty guy from the staff because I respect what he does.
The director of football operations the de facto chief of staff and one of my favorites Mr. former Coach Tommy McVay. Having been in a few complex organizations which must move, set up, execute and tear down then go home again and resume operations. I appreciate the organizational skills to get 85 to 100 players plus gear, trainers and expendable supplies organized loaded and then reset every other week. I’d guess that Mr. McVay is probably the most under paid and most abused member of the staff. Buses, trucks, meals, repair parts and Dr's prescriptions, not to mention audio visual equipage and correspondence issues probably abound for Tommy.