This is the second annual "Double-T Nation's Post Season Awards". The categories which the DTN community will be nominating and voting are as follows: Offensive Rookie of the Year; Defensive Rookie of the Year; Most Improved Offensive Player; Most Improved Defensive Player; Special Teams Player of the Year; Offensive Player of the Year; Defensive Player of the Year; and Most Valuable Player. I'll be doing a post where you nominate players for the specific category and then I'll open up the poll the next day.
Today, we're voting for Offensive Most Improved Player. This list would NOT include freshmen or redshirt freshmen or first year JUCO players since they were up for Rookie of the Year. So, who improved the most from 2009 to 2010? Here's my short-list: RB Eric Stephens, QB Taylor Potts, WR Lyle Leong, LT LaAdrian Waddle, LG Lonnie Edwards, C Justin Keown, RT Mickey Okafor and RG Deveric Gallington.
Let's first talk about the offensive line as a whole, because none of them were redshirt freshmen and they all played or started a majority of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 2010, the line had to replace Brandon Carter, Shawn Byrnes and Marlon Wynne, but a lot of the 2010 linemen played a good part of that year. In fact, the line gave up only 21 sacks in 2010, which is good for 1 sack for every 29 pass attempts, and 31 in 2009, which is 1 sack for every 21 pass attempts. In addition to that, the running game increased from 141 yards a game, which was up from 84 yards a game, and don't forget that the YPC went from 3.42 in 2009 to 4.20 in 2010. Thus, with your humble permission, I'd like to submit to you the entire offensive line, as a whole, for this particular DTN award. It's hard to say that one offensive lineman deserved it over another and collectively, they did do a better job of protecting the quarterback and rushing this year.
As far as skill positions, positions that can be quantified by numbers, RB Stephens went from 254 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns, with 113 receiving yards and 1 touchdown while in 2009 to 668 yards and 6 touchdowns while catching 212 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2010. Yes, there were fumbles, but he was pretty solid for a good part of the year.
In 2009, QB Potts completed 65% of his passes for 3,440 yards (312 YPG), 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. While the 2010 version of Potts, he completed 67% of his passes for 3,726 yards (286 YPG), 35 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
WR Leong practically doubled his production from 2009 to 2010, in 2009, Leong had 45 receptions for 571 yards and 9 touchdowns while his 2010 was awesome, catching 74 receptions for 926 yards and 19 touchdowns. Just amazing that he had that many receiving touchdowns. I don't know where this offense is without Leong in 2010, he was just incredibly important as far as offensive production and scoring touchdowns.
If I've missed someone, I've got a space for you to vote for "Other" and you'll need to have a comment with the subject line "Other" and then list the player that you think deserves the award.
DTN Post Season Award Winners