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Trench Notes...(Report Cards)

  • OL: they were the biggest question mark going into the year and I think given their inexperience, they played better than any of us could have expected.

    +’s great athleticism, was able to block not only at the second level, but also nimble enough to put a helmet on DB’s in space. Plays hard and was aggressive in the run game. He is a natural bender which helps him sit comfortably in pass pro and deliver a blow with power when run blocking. He has good off the ball quickness for cut off and is more active cutting off LB’s at the second level than most OL.
    -‘s still learning the position, struggled with blitz pick up(along with the LG, QB, WR-hot routes and RB’s), he can get overly aggressive in pass pro delivering a punch that it causes him to lose a little balance and be vulnerable to an inside move.

    Overall grade 84. His talent is immense and you know he wants to be good and cares about his teammates, he just needs to absorb everything he can this offseason and I think that will allow the game to slow down for him.

    +’s he is powerfully built, but also athletic. He has the mobility to beat his man to the spot when zone blocking and get movement upfield. He also did a solid job pulling. He plays with good pad level for a taller interior OL. He is a plus pass blocker when locked up one on one and has the arm length to keep the DL off his body and the girth to root.
    -‘s he was vulnerable to stunts and blitzes and has to do a better job reading the play as it happens-better vision and awareness. He was out of control at times at the second level, over running LB’s or taking improper angles. Committed too many false starts.

    Overall grade 82. He has excellent upside and a pro future, he just has to improve on some of the mental aspects of the game.

    +’s he is a great competitor and did a fine job playing a position that isn’t his best, which also tells you that he is a team player. He is a solid athlete with good movement skills and power to finish blocks and create seams. He was dependable in pass pro and solid in blitz pick up.
    -‘s he isn’t the most savvy OL and had his one brain fart a game, a trait common among overly aggressive OL.

    Overall grade 86. He had a very good junior year, but can improve on some things in ’13.

    +’s prototypical OG that plays with both power and athleticism. Is highly dependable for a young player. Plays with a mean streak and finishes blocks with vigor when the angle permits. Has the ability to anchor in pass pro and was good in blitz pick up.
    -‘s he could improve at the second level like Matias, but both improved at this as the year wore on.

    Overall grade 87. He can work on a little of everything, but I think he has All ACC ability in ’13.

    +’s he has a great frame, good athleticism and mauls people. You can tell he likes playing the game, even though it’s new to him. He has a long wingspan to keep his rusher off him and even engulf them at times. Displayed good lateral mobility for mirroring.

    -‘s he struggled with some mental parts of the game-blitz pick up and the occasional stunt, but is just a newborn considering he has only been playing for a few years. He wasn’t as good in the running game on the backside (cut off), usually because he was slow off the ball or quite possibly he didn’t play with the necessary energy when the ball wasn’t headed his way? Like Cam, he was beat by an inside move from time to time and also didn’t run his rusher up the field far enough, although his QB’s field awareness didn’t save him or his line mates from many mistakes.

    Overall Grade 87. He was my biggest concern heading into the year and I worried mostly about his aggressiveness and that actually turned out to be his greatest strength. He was our best OL for 8-9 games, but wasn’t as durable as I would have liked, missing 2.5 games or thereabouts. I hope we get him back for another year.

    The OL was much improved compared to the ’11 version and was able to pave the way for our four primary RB-FB’s to all average 5.8 ypc or better. Pass pro was solid in general and exceptional against 4. It has to iron out the blitz pick up in the offseason, along with the rest of the offense (QB,RB’s, WR’s). This group should be dominant next season and one of the best in the nation. They also have the quickness and athleticism to zone block, as well as the power and mentality for a more power based scheme, which shows their versatility. I personally would like to see more of a physical running game with Wilder and Freeman with our TE’s and some jumbo sets employing back up OL. That should also help us convert a higher percentage of short yardage, which was better this year, but still needs improvement.

    DL: they had an exceptional year and are deserving of playing for it all.

    +’s the weight loss made him the complete DE. He beat OT’s and TE’s in just about every way possible-power, technique, pure speed, you name it. And as productive as he was, he remained the most disciplined player on the defense.
    -‘s not many. The only thing I can think of is he is so consistent and even tempered, you never see him kick it into another gear similar to a guy like Jernigan. This is a violent sport and sometimes playing with just enough emotion is a good thing, especially up front. He also could be a little more dynamic setting up OT with his pass rush. But I think that will come on the next level when he doesn’t have to play as much zone read, although Carolina and the Redskins are running it.

    Overall grade 97. He was just about perfect. It’s selfish for him to come back because I thought he was a top 5 pick since about week two or three, but if he wants to graduate with his wife and become a legendary Nole, I’m not going to argue with him. If he was blocked in ’12, it most likely wasn’t legal.

    +’s great frame, long long arms that kept OL off his body when he played the run and to dispose of them when he separated while pass rushing. Excellent athlete with great strength. Good nose for the football. Very good motor.
    -‘s every once in awhile he got nosey and lost leverage on the ball. He could be more consistent with his take offs. Part of it was our system playing the run first and foremost, but if he gets more explosive in the NFL off the ball, he has Pierre Paul type talent.

    Overall grade 94. I think it’s astonishing that a DE led us in tackles through 12 games. I thought he had this kind of ability in the Spring game before last season, but he really put it all together and was a mid first rounder before the injury.

    +’s has a good frame and late in the year started playing with more discipline and energy on the left side.
    -‘s undisciplined and lethargic early in the year, most likely because everything was so new to him.

    Overall grade 75. He has a lot to improve on, but he improved a lot from game one until game 12. He has the ability to fight for a job this Spring.

    +’s tremendous power for such a young player, looks like he is in a bad mood when he is on the field. Moves well for a large man and has a good motor.
    -‘s his takeoffs need to be much improved , as does his hands when pass rushing. He dominated HS with his power and speed, needs to become more of a technician.

    Overall grade 84. It’s tough to give he and Newberry a grade because they played so sparingly, however, he went from a redshirt to 9 tackles and a few for a loss in the ACCCG, some of which were timely. He showed tremendous discipline losing the weight in year to help contribute down the stretch, if he follows Werner’s lead and comes in another 10lbs lighter, as well as working on his craft, he has star potential as early as next year.

    +’s He is above average in every department(athlete, strength, technique, discipline, awareness, hustle) and had an excellent senior year. He didn’t have the production from a big play standpoint, but his impact was felt, nonetheless.
    -‘s he is above average in all categories, but not elite in any either.

    Overall grade 90. The only thing missing was a few more big plays, but that was due to the straight platoon he shared with Demonte and our conservative defense. He will be a solid rotation guy at the next level.

    +’s plays with great leverage and leg drive. Eats up blocks and space. Is very disciplined.
    -‘s doesn’t play well in space and isn’t overly productive. Gets cut too easily.

    Overall grade 85. He is a very good college DT that has a Sunday future, but may need to work with a speed and quickness coach. Or he could get bigger and find a home as a 3-4 NT.

    +’s in one word, Hands! Best on the team and probably the best in college football. But he also is brutally strong, has great football instincts and no one loves playing the game more than him.
    -‘s he could be a hair bulkier for double teams.

    Overall grade 95. He had an awesome sophmore season and I expect him to be the best(most productive) DT in the country next year.

    +’s excellent athlete with play making ability. Solid against the run. Rangy and versatile in that he can play DE in the 3-4. Makes out of area tackles. Has outstanding power and can rag doll OL at times.
    -‘s excels more in one on one’s and is space, opposed to in the muck. Could add a little leg strength.

    Overall grade 90. I think we saw what Pete Carroll said this year when he called him “the best 3tech he had seen in HS” a few years ago. Natural playmaker. I think with a little more size and strength and if he puts all of his moves together, he should have a memorable senior year and a potential first round selection. I’ve seen him beat an OL in every way imaginable, with brute strength, pure speed, an ankle breaking move, with his long arms throwing an OL to the ground chest first, etc… He has it all.

    +’s prototypical size, good athleticism and ability to make plays out of area.
    -‘s didn’t always play with the necessary energy or physicality. Was thought to have the best first step of all the DL, but was sluggish off the ball at times.

    Overall grade 75. I’m being tough on the frosh, but only because he came in with such high hopes, which isn’t fair since he was buried behind a lot of pro DT’s. Like Newberry, he picked it up as the year went along and his future is bright, if he puts in the work.

    +’s excellent athlete and play maker for a NT. Kind of a poor man’s Jernigan, just not there with the hand and in the power department but a good football player.
    -‘s looked smallish at times, could use a little more size and strength.

    Overall grade 85. I was very pleased with his effort. He ran around blocks early in the year, but starting fighting through them as the season went on and was very productive for a player used sparingly. I think JMac is going to be in an all out war with NLS for the #2 NT spot next year.

    The DL had to be as good as any in the nation and the only reason the yards per carry increased was because of the LB play IMO. And as good as it was, it should have been even better if BJenk was around all year, because he looked amazing in the first game.

    This post was edited by canolee 16 months ago

  • I agree that Jernigan will be an All-American next year.

  • Really enjoyable read, Canolee. I think when you say Tank here, you mean Amp, although he's the size of a tank!!

  • A lot of positive things to say. I will admit that Everett Dawkins was a disappointment this year. He showed signs of dominance as a RJr and I thought he'd have a very influential year. He was darn good for sure though.

  • 8, I caught it when I re read. Thanks on all accounts. biggrin

    fsufsu, I expected more big plays too from Ev. But he was in the middle of things more times than not and I wonder if he would have made more plays if he was lined up with 8? Our first string DT's had very few tfl's(2.5), but the second string guys had a lot(12). That being said, our big plays were down defensively across the board, outside of our DE's. Int's were down and our LB's and DT's only combined for 6.5 sacks all year. I think that has a lot to do with being a vanilla defense.

  • First off, thanks Canolee for these. I enjoyed reading real analysis like this all season. A few questions.

    Did you see anything that could lead the coaches to shuffle up the deck? I think we need better center play. Could Tre play there? He seems to play with a certain nastiness. Could Stork move to guard? Shouldn't Hart kick inside now that OT looks set? He could always swing back to tackle in the event of injury.

    As for the DL, I think we have the interior guys to play more 3-4 looks. I'm just not sure we have enough size at linebacker to make this change anymore than a situational look. We need thumpers inside. What say you?

  • Ern, thanks for reading and contributing each week.

    I think what we ask our Center to do when we run zone is almost impossible to do, especially if the playside DT is shooting the B gap. In theory, then the OG is supposed to pick up the DT(anything that crosses your face) but chances are the DT is just sneaking into the small gap in between and getting penetration which re routes the play and allows for defensive pursuit as the play ends up too much east or west.

    Therefore, I'd like to see more power blocking schemes next year with Stork gap blocking on the backside, possibly the playside OT gap blocking and pulling-trapping Tre and Matias more. This scheme minimizes the decision making for Freeman and Wilder as well, which helps them. They are both really talented, but vision and patience and then the burst to get through a tiny hole suited Chris T, not them.

    So, I'd stay the same way. Tre is too good at RG to be moving him. As for Hart, he would be the first off the bench, inside or outside. But if Watson leaves, I'd give Hart a shot at LT with Cam moving over to the right side.

    Ern, I think we could see some more 3-4 as long as we are putting 4 DL(3 DT's and a traditional DE as well as Christian at the other OLB spot) on the field because you are going to have to double our big guys or they will stop the play at the LOS most of the time. Vince would have been good as a 3-4 ILB, as will Levenberry.

    I'd line up like this:


    but you could also have Demonte play the 5, get an extra DT on the field(JMac or Goldman) and stand a slimmed down Mario up.

  • Canolee, loved these all year.

    What do you think about the OL next year. I'm hoping our offense will REALLY click with them all returning. Wilder and Freeman should be able to really pound the ball and allow whoever our QB is to play an easier game all year

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  • Canolee,

    Re: 3 man fronts - it will be similar to what you're saying, which is how they did it when Jenkins was healthy. 9 tech DE stands up, 3 tech slides over, nose plays heads up, other DE slides to 5. Basically shift. Would like to see many more odd fronts and zone blitzes than Stoops showed here. Personnel is fairly interchangeable, and next DC can/should be able to put together simple packages that can confuse offense.

    Re: Vanilla D - this was probably the most disappointing aspect of the year. Aside from the double a-gap blitz package which had ends stand up and LBs put hands in the ground, and the dime package with Los in a "rover" type role, we didn't consistently try to bring pressure out of exotic packages. Stoops also had several drives where he almost seemed to shut down and get stubborn. You play 2 man under a whole drive, a good QB will pick it apart.

    You had safeties you could trust, good corners, and linebackers whose best asset was in coverage. Veteran defense. You could trust these guys to stop the big play even behind a blitz. You could come with more of the fire zone 5 man stuff you did last year.

    Stoops also asked for interior DL to do a lot read/react/contain. Maybe it was to prevent issues with LBs, but you're spending a lot of time neutralizing your best asset.

  • I wish we could have seen demonte and jernigan start with tank and werner. Nasty! Im pumped to see those two start next season

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  • Nice write man...

    Awesome when people take the time to put work into their posts and provide some insight from their perspective.

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    Beatings will continue until morale improves

  • 813, thanks bud. I hope Watson comes back, but even if he goes, they have a chance to be special next season because Hart showed improvement, especially as a run blocker. I just want to see more of a power scheme like Florida runs with extra TE's(get big Christo and Hicks, Haplea was too finesse for my taste but still better than last year's TE's in the blocking department and NOL should be a beast) or OL. Freeman and Wilder will have less reading to do and I think they excel when they are decisive. If we go with a more mobile QB(Coker or Winston) I'd like to see more Pistol formations with Lonnie moving on.

    996, great post. I played on a team this year where our pass rush was by far the strength of the team and guys were hesitant to stunt and blitz because we usually won the one on ones so easily. However, not only do stunts and blitzes occasionally get someone home free for a big play, but it also puts some doubt in the OL head for the basic 1 on 1's. We did move guys around looking for mismatches(put Speed on a Big and a Power over a Small for example and always Quickness up the middle to make the QB uneasy-it's a passing league). I wish Stoops at least moved Tank and Werner in game more, just to give them a different look and this way, prevent a purposeful double team.

    The two times we lined Telvin and Christian Jones up at DE and blitzed Werner and Tank in the A gaps, it worked, one including a strip sack and a takeaway against Miami. That was the only sack by a LB all year, which is hard to believe. And Moody looked good blitzing against Florida, where was that all year? And where was that in the second half against them? I don't think Christian Jones is a good blitzer, but I think it's different if he lines up as a 9 tech. He was very productive in this role as a HS player. Vince had a solid year, but he wasn't the most instinctual blitzer and Telvin over ran too many big plays.

    St Pete, you will see them a lot next year. Hopefully we go back to a 2 series to 1 instead of the straight platoon we saw this year, but I think that was about getting Timmy and Demonte on the field as much as possible.

    Gator, thanks bud. You guys had a really good year playing Old NFC East football, being physical on offense and playing good defense. Just tell Floyd, Easley and Elam to go pro, I'm tired of looking at them. biggrin btw, is your FB (#41 I believe) back? He was really good.

  • Thanks! Yes, he's back. He was a soph. names Hunter Joyer, he was the #1FB a couple years back out of Tampa Catholic. We're hoping to add Kennard Swanson this year if the schollies work out in his favor so he can get a redshirt and a year splitting reps in before Joyer leaves.

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    Beatings will continue until morale improves