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Five Most Important Seniors on Offense

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"Five" is a series of five things, players, thoughts or whatever I think will fill a post.

1. QB Seth Doege | This one is pretty easy, and is most likely the most important senior in my opinion, although I could see that an argument could be made where considering the tailspin that the team took after the departure of Stephens maybe you could make the argument for him. I tend to overlook what Doege did last year, but he did throw for over 4,000 yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first year to play football in five years. Two years being injured his last two years of high school and sitting out and waiting for the first three years of his college career. I think the fact that he had not played is a huge factor in Doege progressing and there is no doubt that he has to be better in conference play. The dip in Doege's performance between conference play and non-confference play is significant. I cannot imagine that Doege and OC Neal Brown don't see the same thing. OC Brown has said multiple times that numbers are nice, but it's about results and the offense didn't produce in enough games last year.

2. RB Eric Stephens | Pretty amazing year overall for Stephens, even though it was cut short by an ACL tear. The good news is that Stephens is getting pretty close to being ready:

"It's come along," he said. "Right now it's about 80, 85 percent. I'm moving lateral and doing a lot of cutting. I haven't gone all out yet, but it's coming along. I should be ready for the season."

Only five games played last year, four of them rushing for over 100 yards, three of those games Stephens had more than 145 total yards. Every time that Stephens touched the ball he averaged 5.6 yards a touch. I do not think that I fully appreciated what Stephens did for this team last year or what he maybe meant. Backup RB DeAndre Washington averaged a full half yard less per touch at 4.9 and fellow backup RB Kenny Williams averaged only 3.8 per touch. A half of a yard makes a significant difference over the course of a game and a season and speaks to the type of player that Stephens is. I hope like heck that Stephens stays healthy all year.

3. LT LaAdrian Waddle | When Waddle started as a true freshman I certainly thought that Waddle would be the next lineman that would be drafted and would become a dominant offensive tackle. I don't know that this ever happened. I don't know Waddle personally, but I do recall seeing him on the FSSW spring review and he seems like a very nice person, but maybe also a bit introverted. I don't want to make it to sound like that being introverted and nice are bad traits to have, but there is no doubt that I want to see a mean streak from Waddle. I think that being a bit nasty can be difficult when a lineman pass protects so much. Still, I have no doubt that Waddle needs to be dominant, opening running lanes and leading by example more than anything else. But for Waddle, he needs to make himself into a draftable player if he wants to play at the next level. That's on him and I think he has the physical traits to do it, but it's being dominant that gets you drafted, not just ordinary.

4. WR Darrin Moore | Gangbusters. Out of the gate, Moore started the year dominating opposing defenders, utilizing his height do go over and above and make significant plays. Then the ankle/knee injury occurred during the Nevada game and it wasn't until the end of the year that Moore became remotely consistent. You'll hear me write this more than you want, but elite receivers in a passing offense not only put up big numbers, but they also are consistent. That's why if given the choice, I'd take fellow WR Eric Ward. Ward didn't start out great, but he put up more consistent and significant numbers throughout the season. I have already written about how sometimes we don't need to focus on what players cannot do, but focus on what the players can do. We know that Moore isn't the fastest player on the year, but he's also 6-4/215 and should be able to go over the top of just about any defensive back in the conference. Should is the operative word. Moore has to get down the field and if he is going to do it, he isn't going to beat you with his speed. Still, his height can make a difference, it did the first two games of the year and I think it can this year as well, we just need OC Brown to make sure that he's got one-on-one coverage.

5. C Deveric Gallington | I've mentioned before that I think that Gallington can be a good center, but that he has to lose weight to be effective on the interior of the offensive line. Being at 6-3/328 is a bit heavy to be an effective center. If Gallington wants to be a dominant center then he needs to exhibit the type of agility, strength and power to clear those running lanes inside. I don't know that I saw that last year when Gallington filled in for Justin Keown. The one thing that I am very confident that Gallington can do is that I think he is more than sufficient to mentally handle the position. I think that Gallington will have no problems making the appropriate calls along the line in pre-snap reads. I think that Gallington is intelligent, but I think that Gallington has the overall athletic ability, but just needs to shed a few pounds to be in the 310 range to be an effective interior player.