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While we should have won more games than we did this year, London's first and most highly ranked class were only sophomores (in some cases RS frosh). Of that group, the ones who obviously have stood out and made an real impact on the team have been Nicholson, Jennings, Terrell, Phelps, Harris, Richardson, and Romero. It's fairly safe to say that we can expect these guys to really settle into leadership roles both on and off the season (if that hasn't happened already). Along with that group are other members of that class who, while maybe not having made quite the impact as the others, have shown their ability and should make a splash this season. This would include Whitmire, Burbank, Hill, and potentially Watford. Now 2011 was a very highly ranked class, mainly because of guys like Tra, Darius, and Richardson...and they have shown why they were so highly regarded. But thus far, I think we may have expected a bit too much from that class so early in their careers. Next year is when I really expect them to grow and evolve into real playmakers.
2012 was another very impressive haul for London. Clearly, we saw what Mike Moore and Eli Harold can do last year. There's no doubt in my mind that with increased playing time this year, they will only have an even bigger impact on this team. Also, with a year in the weightroom under their belts, it is possible that they could actually significantly improve. If that happens, they could both potentially make some All ACC noise. That's how good I think they can be. Now they're what you would call freakish exceptions. They are WAY ahead of schedule compared to most players. That's wonderful, but we also need to take that with a grain of salt and realize a couple of things: first, that even though they may seem dominant at times, they'll still only be 2nd years and will be prone to silly errors due to lack of experience; second, not all members of their class will come along as quickly as them, and we'll need to show patience in their development. For what it's worth, even though Canady wasn't highly ranked like those two, I think you could say some of the same things, considering the impact he made last year. He'll certainly be a big factor going forward.
I think this will be a big year for Q Moore, Gamble, Brim, Severin, and possibly Wynn. Moore and Brim will see plenty of reps, as playing time will be up for grabs at LB. Both will be (and pretty much already were last year) physically ready to play LB at this level, and given the fact that they have a year under their belts (though it was mainly on ST's), I like their chances to succeed. Kwontie was extremely highly ranked/recruited for a reason and hopefully that'll show on the field next year, as we'll really miss Greer's leadership and I don't think Coley is the answer. Brim will be in a similar spot, as he'll try and help replace Laroy, though he'll have help from some others as well. I think he's the type of LB that can really thrive under Tenuta's system, so it'll be fun to watch how he develops. Severin and Gamble played plenty last year and should have learned a lot. I love Canaan's ability to block downfield and I love Adrian's ability to be a deep threat. For these reasons, I think you'll see this guys get a good amount of reps. Finally, Wynn was said to have had a very good camp last year. A year in the weightroom might have him ready to contribute next season. We'll be fairly thin on the line without Brathwaite, so he'll have a chance to earn some reps.
As far as the rest of the 2012 goes, I expect guys like Cooper, Corney, Doull, Hall, Mooney, Moore, Karl, Morgan, Nixon, and Lambert (and others) to have an impact, if not this season, then later in their careers.
And finally we get to today's freshly inked class. Obviously it's hard to predict the impact of guys we have seen in action yet, but I think it's safe to say that you can expect Smoke, Wilkins, Chavis, Kiser, Smith, and possibly Cook/Harris/Garner to have a chance to make plays next year. Smoke is the only "lock" of that group. He'll play plenty and will most likely (fingers crossed) make a big splash in his rookie season. The others will probably play in some capacity next year because of team needs, but it'll be tough to predict what kind of role they'll exactly fill. The one thing that I like about this class is that almost every player is physically ready to help the team. This is the biggest, strongest, and most athletic class we've seen in a long time. I think it's unlikely that Wilkins, Chavis, Kiser, or Smith redshirt. I'd love to do it, but I think we're too thin at their positions, and they're too talented and valuable not to have ready in case someone goes down. As far as the DB's go, that's a tougher question. Obviously, Tra has a spot locked up, as does Canady (most likely). But who knows, Harris or Garner, if they don't beat Reese out on day one may be too talented to sit for an entire year. IMO, Reese is so good that we can afford to RS at least one of them, but we'll have to see how they show in camp. I would love to be able to RS both of them, but I think only one will at most. As far as Cook goes, I have a hard time seeing him get RS'd. I think he has a really good shot at taking reps from Phelps. I think the coaches will really want to have him pushing the safeties in camp to either beat them out for a job or make them get better to stay on the field.
I've been pretty critical of London for last year, and frankly, he probably deserves heat for what happened. But at the same time, we do have to look at the bigger picture. While Al left us with some talented individuals from his last class(es) like Big Mo, KP, McGee, etc, he left us with virtually no depth. Add some attrition to that and I think it explains some of our struggles last year. I'm not saying ML gets a pass, but he was put in a tough spot. I don't know what our record will be in 2013, 2014, and beyond, but what I do know is that we will have a much more competitive team each year. We still may be a year away next season, but we'll finally have a combination of talent, depth, and experience to build off of. Now the coaching transition might make things difficult this year, but I think we're in great shape for the long term. I think we have done a fantastic job to recruit both the right coaches and the right players.
Like I said, I don't know what to expect next season (especially with such a brutal schedule), but we'll certainly have the pieces to be a good team if it all comes together. Again, it might take one more year for that to happen, but I'm finally starting to like the direction we're headed in.
My brother knows OB pretty well from the eighties-OB is not a BSer-says "we are close-need one more good class"-FWIW
"We don't talk about winning championships, we talk about being champions."
Its all about the OL and DL. I'm feeling pretty comfortable about the future of the DL, we have some real studs over there. The OL is where we need to see the most improvement. I didn't agree with a lot of what Groh said but one thing is true, RBs can't run anywhere if there aren't holes to run through. And QBs look a lot better when they're not in the line of fire constantly.
Look at the best teams on all levels and what you find is teams that can win the LOS.
The key to the team now is having the staff in place to coach the kids up. Think about the special teams play that plagued us for two years. The vanilla defense we played without many adjustments. The offensive strategies deployed ie trying to run systems that didnt play to our strengths and the QB shuffles.
I'm not placing blame on anyone person in these areas, Groh left us in a tough spot qualtiy and depth wise in a lot of areas on the roster. But if we don't win going forward, talent deprivation will not be the reason. Our staff has to coach better plain and simple and that will determine the trajectory of the program over the next few years.
I agree with everything you said. Great post.
That being said, the major key to our program moving forward is the Quarterback position.
Somebody has got to step it up. Make the coaches job easy. Who that guy is remains to be seen.
Until we have somebody who proves he can be the man, we're going to tread water. We desperately need a QB who is consistent, commands the huddle and leads the team.
This post was edited by hoosballin 14 months ago
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