Discussion in 'After Midnight' started by Wyrmreaver, Apr 11, 2012.
How is your team going to do this season? Who are your key players? Etc.....
Michigan State Spartans
Preseason Rank: #3
Returning starters: Six on offense, two on defense
Overview: The polls are giving coach Wyrmreaver a lot of credit with a top 5 preseason ranking. This Spartans team is breaking in 14 new starters and people should expect a dropoff in the overall level of play in East Lansing. Given the challenges of so much turnover it could take this team a little bit of time to gel, but a run at a third consecutive Big 10 title is the goal for Sparty.
Offense: The leaving of QB Andrew Maxwell is a huge blow to this offense, he threw every pass for this team last season. Replacing him is true freshman Keith Shaw. Shaw is an Ohio product with a big arm and more athleticism than his predecessor, but his accuracy with the football is a significant downgrade. One important change for Sparty's offense will be the prevalence of the option. Coach Wyrmreaver is known for his multiple style offense that includes fleXbox One, wishbone, pro style and spread concepts and the arrival of Shaw will allow coach to run his preferred scheme. The best news for this offense is the return of starters at the skill positions. The team's leading rusher returns as well as the teams top five receivers, so at least the new QB will have some decent weapons around him.
Defense: This group returns only two starters from last season. SS Jairus Jones returns and will call the defensive plays and will spearhead a young secondary. In the Front seven, LB Denicos Allen is the only returning starter and he was the fourth LB in the rotation last year, coming off of the field on passing downs. This season, Allen will be expected to make big plays regardless of the situation. One of the most talked about players early in the fall is DT Anthony White. White is a behemoth in the middle at 324 pounds and is enormously strong (98). Many scouts are saying that he is every bit the pro prospect that all american Jerel Worthy was. If White is as good as advertised, he could force double teams and free up the less talented players around him to make plays.
Texas Tech Red Raiders Season 3 Team Outlook The Texas Tech Red Raiders are coming off a decent season but have lost a lot of talent. TTU has some big question marks heading into their third year under Coach Max. Who will be the starting QB? RB? WR? What is the status of the lines? Does Tech have the talent to compete for a Big12 Championship? These questions will ultimately be answered on the field, but glancing over the two-deep before the season starts is sometimes a good indicator of what is to come.
QB-Still havent decided who will start. I have 3 guys that are all good enough to start, but I like each of them for different reasons. (RS)Senior Jacob Karam is the highest rated of the 3. He is the best scrambler of the bunch, but has the worst arm. Second on the list is Sophomore Fred Smith. Smith was the backup last year. He is 6'5 and has decent quickness, but lacks any sort of top-end speed. Smith has elite size and though he isnt as accurate as Karam, he has a much bigger arm. Third on the list in terms of OVR is true Freshman Santonio Mitchell, who has the best arm by far. We'll have to get them all on the practice field to figure who goes where, but rumors are Coach Max is intrigued with the prospect of starting a true Freshman QB and letting him develop on the field.
Tech lost 2 good backs this year. They will be replaced by two young runners with a lot to prove. (RS)Sophomore Kelvin Williams will be the starter, and the Raiders will lean on him at times this season. Some call him a scat-back, but at 5'10 209lb he is built well enough to carry the load. Behind Williams is (RS)Freshman Brandon Walker. Walker is a 6'4 physical specimen at RB. Coaches had originally recruited him as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, but Walker has shined at his natural position in camp. He has elite speed and has yet to fumble in practice. Ronnie Daniels is currently slated as the #3 RB, but he seems to be more of a complete package than Walker. Coaches are still allowing players to time to separate themselves before deciding a concrete depth chart.
The Red Raiders lost their entire receiving corps this year. Torres, Moore, and Zouzalik are all gone now and in their place is very very young group of players dotted with 2 (RS) Seniors. ATH Martin Jones goes from being the #4 WR as a true Freshman to being the #1 guy as a Sophomore. He looks to improve upon his impressive Freshman year. Taking Moore's place as the big-man outside is 6'4 (RS)Senior Marcus Kennard. The rest of the DC is up for grabs. There is a heated battle for the slot position between (RS)Senior Eric Ward, and Freshman Ernest Thomas. Ward has elite speed, agility, and stamina while Thomas has better ball-skills and quickness. (RS)Sophomore Shawn Corker and true Freshman WR Brandon Gilbert both look ready to contribute this year as well.
Jace Amaro has turned himself into one of the best pass-catching TE's in the conference. TTU brought in a number of highly-touted recruits at Tight End also. This depth should allow for redshirts at a crucial position.
This offensive line unit has seen better days. The Tackles aren't dominant, and they have 2/3 of a decent inside presence. The Tech RBs are very quick and shifty though, so the OL will only have to hold their blocks long enough for a speed-burner like Kelvin Williams to get to next level. However, things will get tricky against teams with a good pass-rush.
No dominant players here, either. True Freshman Isaac Vaughn will start at DT, and he will be complimented by a mediocre-at-best cast of characters. The OL and DL can tell you a lot about a team. The Red Raiders weaknesses on both lines will make for a lot of tough games this year.
Antoino Coleman and Daniel Cobb will start at ROLB and LOLB respectively. Zach Winbush just didnt improve enough this offseason to keep his starting job and will be replaced by the true Freshman Coleman, who has incredible foot-speed for a LB and flies around making plays. (RS)Seniors Daniel Cobb and Branden Jackson will split time, as both have similar skillsets but with Cobb being the better coverage guy and Jackson being much bigger.
Blake Dees will start at Mike. (RS)Freshman Michael Barnes is fast becoming a coach favorite though. Barnes has the prototypical frame and is a little faster than Dees. Blake will get the start though, and barring horrid play or injuries looks to be the guy this season.
TTU has two pretty good Senior corners this year. The Raiders will need solid play from both of them, and from true Freshman Joel Sanchez who will be the nickel DB. Sanchez is 6'2 197lb with good skills, and he seems to be the future of the position at Tech. Getting him lots of experience this season will hopefully prepares for the rigors of being a defensive back in the Big12.
Kevin Payne has the starting job... for now. He is being pushed a by a true Freshman named Brian Carter. Carter is faster and makes devastating tackles, but Payne is light years ahead in the coverage department. D.J. Johnson was a good FS who could both, now it looks like coaches might have to choose. If Payne misses one too many tackles he will surely be benched and Carter will have to see what he can do.
6'3 194lb Terrance Bullitt comes back for his Junior campaign. He had 3 picks as a starter last year and was great in run support. He has a capable backup as well, Desmond Martin, who he could find himself playing alongside if the Safeties on the other side of the field cant produce.
Erxlebern will be a (RS)Senior this season, and will handle all punting and kicking duties.
(RS)Sophomore Shawn Corker will handle all returning duties, and attempt to recreate the magic Zouzalik performed the past 2 seasons.
Coaches expect more of the same this year. A 9-3 finish with a decent bowl game isnt out of the question. Oklahoma State seems to be the biggest obstacle standing in between the Raiders and a Big12 Championship. If TTU can maintain a good record going into that game, the sky could be the limit for this team. If Tech wants any shot at the Big12, young guys will have to step up, Seniors will have to make plays, and some guys will have to play over their heads. Coach Max has to do some more damage on the recruiting trail this year and bring in some more talent, especially along the lines.
2013 Kansas St Wildcats Offense: Sams takes over as QB1 as a redshirt sophomore. In some playing time filling in for an injured Klein, Sams was sporadic on his passing. He does possess the same speed that Klein had, so some read option plays may just be the thing for him. If he gets rolling early in the game, he should play well. But if he struggles early on, it could be a long day for the offense. Coach Mexi did pick up two freshman that could some in if Sams ends up on a short leash. The backfield will be crowded, as 4 different backs look to get carries. SR Hubert will get the bulk, but Mexi will most likely go with whoever has the hot hand in the game. Other than WR Thompson, none of the receivers on the squad has gotten much playing time. They will have to grow up quick and not commit drops to put the offense in second/third and long. TE McDonald will be more of a target. His huge 6-8 frame will pose problems on linebackers and safetys covering him. The offensive line was hit or miss last year due to a lack of experience. While most guys do have the experience from last year, they are still very young and could be a problem of they dont perform well. Defense: The defense last year did a good job in keeping the Wildcats in some games when the offense was not producing. They will have to be stout again this year. The D line can get after the QB and pose problems in the backfield. MLB Walker will lead the LB corps and can run side to side to make plays in both the run and passing game. CB will be a liability though. They were prone to given up big plays on deep passes, and this new group got very little playing time last year. FS Zimmerman comes back for his senior year after having an above average year last season. He will need to make plays everywhere to account for the lack of experience. Expectations: Last year after Klein went down with a season ending injury, the team fell apart and went 2-4 the last part of the year. They did beat a #22 Nebraska team in their bowl game, and will look to carry on that momentum. But the team lost 25 seniors, and being very young is an understatement. The star players (Hubert, Thompson, Walker, Zimmerman) will have to play great week in and out to have a successful season. The Wildcats are still looking to beat Texas and Texas Tech in their third year. A third place finish in the Big XII is doable, but it will not be an easy road.
2013 Purdue Boilermakers After a disappointing 5-7 season, the Purdue Boilermakers look to rebound and go to a Bowl game for a second time in Coach Akai's tenure in West Lafayette. Offense: The Purdue offense returns sevens starters from last year's team and should be slightly imprvoed despite the loss of playmakers HB Ralph Bolden and WR Antavian Edison. QB - Rob Henry returns to lead the Boilermakers after a good Junior year at the helm. Henry threw for 20 TDs and nearly 2400 yards passing and was a dual-threat at QB, allowing the coaching staff to sprinkle aspects of the Spread into their offense. However, for Henry to improve this year, he will have to tone down his interceptions (23) and improve his accuracy (48%). Behind Henry are capable signal-callers Sean Robinson and Jake Robertson who are not as athletic as Henry, but are slightly better throwers. HB - After losing their top two HB to graduation, the Boilermakers will look to Junior Reggie Pegram to lead the rushing attack. Pegram reminds the coaching staff a little of Ralph Bolden (93 ACC, 87 BTK), and after an impressive Spring, will get to show his talent. Gavin Roberts, Aaron Covington and Brandom Cottom will split carries behind Pegram, and have previous game experience. The fullback role will be filled by JUCO Jr Cornelius Walker and should be an immediate upgrade at the position from last year's starter. WR - Gone is leading receiver, but back is OJ Ross who missed most of the previous season with a broken leg in a loss to Illinios Cheez. Ross provides good quickness and speed (90, 90) and should be an asset over the middle (80 CTH, 77 CIT). Joining Ross will be True Freshman Bryant Mosley who impressed the coaching staff enough during summer workouts to earn the starting position beside Ross. The third WR will be Gary Bush who stepped in admirably in Ross' absence out of the slot position. Gabe Holmes returns for his third year starting at TE for the Boilermakers and should be Henry's #1 target and security blanket. Holmes has steadily improved and could have an All-Conference year. Look out for RS Freshman TE Marvin Arrington who has good athleticism, and great receiving skills, to also make an impact. OL - The offensive line should hold steady for the Boilermakers, returning three starters, including both tackles, and Purdue's most improved player of the offseason, JR C Cody Davis. Their experience and cohesiveness, should be able to hold their own against the majority of the defensive lines in the Big Ten. However, only two scholarship lineman are in the reserves for the Boilermakers and any injury to a starter could severely hamper the unit's succes. Defense: Not many things went well for the Boilermaker defense in 2012, ranking last in Rushing defense and allowing over 30 points a game. To make matters worse going into this year, the top two players on the defense MLB Dwayne Beckford and DE Robert Maci are off to the NFL. DL: The defensively line must improve against the run if Purdue is to have success. Anchoring the line will be All-American candidate Bruce Gaston who compiled 10 QB sacks last year. However, the coaching staff is looking for Gaston to be more of a presence against the run and break into the backfield consistently. Ryan Russell and Rashad Frazier will be the starting DE complementing Gaston, but neither player has shown to be dominant. They will be tasked with holding their point and allowing the LBs to make plays. While there is good depth behind Gaston, there is little quality depth at the end positions. LB: There is ample talent in the Purdue LB corps and should be the strength of the defense. Armstead Williams and J Burns will look to collectively replace Dwayne Beckford's production in the middle. Both players are young, but both show potential and could wreck havoc on opposing offenses. On the outside, Juniors Mike Lee and Will Lucas can cover and tackle equally well. Look for Lucas to emerge as the leader of the defense. DB: The CB position was a point of concern going into last season and had the need addressed in recruiting as three CBs recruits were signed by the Boilermakers. Senior Ricardo Allen will be the #1 corner and playmaker, but True Freshman Lawrence Robinson is the future for the Boilermakers, and will start opposite him. JUCO SO Ryan Bonner will be the third corner and should hold his own against most #3 receivers. While there are capable players behind the first three, the talent level drops off considerably. Ishmaek Aristide will take over the starting FS role after playing the Nickel corner in 2012. Joining him at safety will be Freshman Peter Richardson who beat out Senior Matt Mueller for the position in what should be a battle that continues throughout the year. Special TeamsThe Boilermakers special teams will be in good hands with K Cody Webster who made 9/11 FG the previous year and Freshman P Stephen Reid who has shown great ability to punt accurately. Ricardo Allen will again assume both KR and PR duties and should have another All-American caliber year. OutlookAn eight win is the expectation in West Lafayette as the schedule has the Boilermakers avoiding defending National Champions Michigan State for the third year in a row. A trip to the Conference Championship Game is not out of the question, but in order to do so, the Boilermakers will have to break through against the perennial powers of the conference.
OSU looked like a National Title contender for 2013 until QB Clint Cleft bolted for the pros. Chelf was a little too small for the NFL, but decided to give it a shot anyways.
QB - They'll go into 2013 ranked #15 and will have to go with either Johnny Deaton, who played well as a backup last season or sophomore JW Walsh. Walsh may not be as good, but will probably start the 1st game vs. Michigan State. Walsh is fast as hell, 92 speed and 93 acc. but he's just not going to be as good as Chelf or Weeden were.
HB - At halfback is the obvious star of the team, senior Joseph Randle, 97 overall. Randle at 197 pounds has a mix of speed and power and also has a very good backup in 92 overall senior Jeremy Smith who has a similar style of play. OSU is expected to run a spread again this year, but it sure would be a waste not to let these 2 backs touch the ball at least 25 times a game combined.
Receivers - The receiving core is yet again....pretty bad. Harrison and Dinkins will return on the outsides after having 589 and 763 receiving yards last year respectively. After that, nobody really knows who will shine and the 2 slot positions will be fought over big time. When TE Pat McDonald isn't lined up at tight end, you'll se him as a slot receiver.
O-Line - The offensive line is very good for OSU, probably the best they've seen is the last 3 years. RG will be handled by star Brandon Webb, who scouts say could've been a 1st round pick last season. Parker Graham and Javius Townsend at the tackles are also capable of being picked early in next year's draft.
I have no idea what offense I'm running. The O-Line and backs are spectacular but the QB's and receivers are pretty bad.
Coach Wyrmreaver inexplicably left the #3 ranked and defending national champion Michigan State Spartans to because the Head Coach of the Army Black Knights in West Point. When we caught up with him he had this to say, "I really enjoyed my time at MSU, but being a vet I just have so much respect for the kids here at West Point and when they called I just couldn't pass up this opportunity to make an impact on young men who will move on to be leaders in our armed forces."
Black Knights preseason rank: #91
Team Overall Rating: 70
Team Offense Rating: 69
Team Defense Rating: 72
Offense: Coach Wyrmreaver will be employing an attack that focuses on the run and the option on offense. The playbook includes traditional option looks like the FleXbox One and Wishbone and also some pro-style sets like a variety of I forms and a couple Ace sets, finally a few spread concepts are thrown in with some shotgun looks. Regardless of the formation, the option and running game will be the focal point and the passing game will be used to keep defenses off balance.
Quarterback: Sophomore Gino DeBartolo (68 OVR) will be the teams starter. Gino is a mediocre passer (70/72 pow/acc) but can be very dangerous in the option game (88/85/89 spd/agi/accel). If the offense is executing the option well DeBartolo could have a great year, if the team is forced to throw the ball a lot it could get ugly. Backing him up will be Freshman Avery Coleman. Coleman is far less athletic but posesses similarly mediocre passing acumen.
Halfback: Junior Raymond Maples is the best runner (80 OVR) but has just pedestrian speed (84). Expect Maples to be the feature back in pro style formations but to play a more limited role in the fleXbox One looks the team will often employ. Junior Jonathan Crucitti and Sophomore Greg Rabb will be the wing backs in the flex. Both players possess great speed (92 each) that will help make the flex dangerous. Junior Scott Williams is also likely to get some touches throughout the year but, barring injury, his playing time should be limited.
Fullback: This important position will be manned by Senior Jay Tully. Tully is a run first FB who fits nicely in the flex but will likely struggle a bit when asked to perform as a lead blocker in other looks.
Receivers: This is a mediocre bunch. Seniors Wright and McFarlin are the starters but neither is a star. The most interesting thing we can expect to see in the receiving corps is some of the HBs on the field split out wide in spread formations. One WR, Anthony Stephens will actually start at TE for the team. Stephens is slow for a WR (74) but is a fantastic blocker (90 run blocking).
Defense: Coach Wyrmreaver will employ a 3-4 defense at Army. This team will rely on blitzing to apply pressure and will likely play very aggressively in an effort to make the kinds of plays that can turn the momentum and overcome the talent deficit they will be seeing week in and week out.
Defensive Line: Juniors Kantaris and Alexander are serviceable Ends (75 and 73 OVR) but will likely see double teams often given the lack of a real presence at nose tackle (3 players at 63 OVR)
Linebackers: One of the most exciting players on the team is true freshman Andrew Davis (77 OVR) at OLB. Davis snubbed scholarship offers from major schools to come to West Point and on he will be a day one starter with great range and athleticism. Rounding out the starting LBs are three seniors (78, 75, 72 OVR).
Defensive Backs: Senior CB Justin Trimble (78 OVR) is the lone bright spot in the secondary where he will be joined by a host of mediocre players. The big question is whether or not any of these guys can step up and have a big year.
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