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New-look football closes out spring, looks forward to fall


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“There’s a lot of good tape that will help us become a better football team next fall and heading into the summer,” Littrell said. “Overall, we have a lot to work on, and we still have a lot of room for improvement. There is no doubt about it.”

As the team heads into the summer and continues to prepare for the upcoming season, the offense, defense and special teams each showed flashes of what is to come.

Offense

The offense had two big questions entering the spring – who would win the quarterback battle between Alec Morris and Quinn Shanbour, and how would the team be able to run a pass-heavy offense with such little experience at receiver. Despite returning a combined career total of just 649 yards and three touchdowns, the Mean Green receiving corps emphatically shut the door on any concerns at the position.

Sophomore Tee Goree proved he’s ready for a standout sophomore season, while Sophomore O’Keeron Rutherford had a great spring game and has the size at 6’5 to be an impact player in the red zone. Goree, Rutherford, and Freshman Kelvin Smith combined for 274 yards and three touchdowns in the spring game and looked much more athletic and versatile than the offensive weapons of the past.

“We’ve had talent on the outside. We just haven’t been able to showcase it,” Goree said. “Now, with this offense, we’re able to showcase our talent.”

As far as the quarterback position goes, Morris seemed to enter the spring game with the confidence of the team.. However, Shanbour played well enough in the spring for Littrell to refrain from naming a starting quarterback heading into the summer. Morris remains the favorite, but Shanbour is putting up a fight.

“There are always things that you can improve on, but I think that as a whole we came a long way this spring,” Morris said. “I didn’t really have a set expectation in mind, but I’m pretty happy with how this spring went. There’s a lot of potential for this offense to get better.”

While the quarterbacks battled it out, the spring was rough on the offensive line. The Mean Green have just one returning starter from last year in senior Sam Rice, but he is moving over to center to account for the loss of Kaydon Kirby. The line struggled in the spring game, but still has time to improve before September. The growth of senior transfer Trey Keenan and junior transfer T.J. Henson will be important, as the two are listed on the depth chart as starters going into the summer.

“We’re nowhere near where we need to be,” Littrell said. “There’s been a lot of stress put on them. The kids are responding well, and it’s not that they aren’t working hard, it’s just a transition. We just have to get better, and we will.”

Read more:  http://ntdaily.com/new-look-football-closes-out-spring-looks-forward-to-fall/

 

 

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So I have a thought/question that will probably be stupid. Truthfully, I'm partially just typing it so I can work through my thought myself.

During the Spring game, we were lining up on D with three down linemen. Our O-line had, what? 2-3' gaps? The QB was getting pressured quite a bit, but we keep talking (rightly so) about how the spring game could mean one thing is good or another is bad. Is it possible that both could be bad this season? How will our O-line handle having 4 down linemen? How will our D handle having an O-line that is much closer together? Could the answer possibly be that they both get pwned? 

Again, maybe super stupid questions. I came into college not even knowing the names of all the positions, so forgive me if reading this wasted a tiny part of your life.

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8 minutes ago, Tyler Maryak said:

So I have a thought/question that will probably be stupid. Truthfully, I'm partially just typing it so I can work through my thought myself.

During the Spring game, we were lining up on D with three down linemen. Our O-line had, what? 2-3' gaps? The QB was getting pressured quite a bit, but we keep talking (rightly so) about how the spring game could mean one thing is good or another is bad. Is it possible that both could be bad this season? How will our O-line handle having 4 down linemen? How will our D handle having an O-line that is much closer together? Could the answer possibly be that they both get pwned? 

Again, maybe super stupid questions. I came into college not even knowing the names of all the positions, so forgive me if reading this wasted a tiny part of your life.

This is not a dumb question at all.  It is a very real possibility.

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2 minutes ago, Tyler Maryak said:

How will our O-line handle having 4 down linemen?

As far as the o-line, opposing defenses will lineup based on their technique (3 tech, 9 tech, etc), no matter how wide the o-line set is. So a 4 man front will look the same, just spread out. This also causes the LBs to spread, too. By blitzing up the middle, you can exploit the wide set o-line, but you also have to protect yourself (as a defense) against short/quick crosses which are potentially left wide open.

The potentially "bad" part is if the o-line doesn't mesh, doesn't learn the proper technique in pass/run pro quickly enough, or they're just not consistent or good enough (personnel-wise) to run the wide set, then we'll have lots of problems.

I am concerned about the o-line. I think we will see an uptick in sacks, and a decrease in yards per carry.

But our RBs and H-backs I think will see lots of passes coming their way to overcome some of the possible deficiencies in the o-line this coming fall.

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An air raid offense usually overmatches a team that is not equipped to cover it, or I gets exposed by a good defense.  

I am concerned about the OL, but mainly in the redzone.  When you run an air raid, there's going to be pressure no matter what.  No one is going to sit there and let you pick them apart.  The QB has to make quick decisions.  The greatest line in the world won't stop teams from finding ways to try to get the QB off rythm.  There's only 5 blocking.  Teams are going to come off the edge, LB up the middle, etc.

There's going to be some teams that we can take advantage of that won't have the personel to stop it.  There's going to be some teams with a nice secondary that will shut the passing game down and we look overmatched.  We just need to make sure we whip up on the teams that have holes.  

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19 minutes ago, GOMG2013 said:

An air raid offense usually overmatches a team that is not equipped to cover it, or I gets exposed by a good defense.  

I am concerned about the OL, but mainly in the redzone.  When you run an air raid, there's going to be pressure no matter what.  No one is going to sit there and let you pick them apart.  The QB has to make quick decisions.  The greatest line in the world won't stop teams from finding ways to try to get the QB off rythm.  There's only 5 blocking.  Teams are going to come off the edge, LB up the middle, etc.

There's going to be some teams that we can take advantage of that won't have the personel to stop it.  There's going to be some teams with a nice secondary that will shut the passing game down and we look overmatched.  We just need to make sure we whip up on the teams that have holes.  

And most of the pundits are crowning a QB that can't run and escape pressure and makes slow decisions.

But he did play at Alabama and is big

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1 hour ago, Tyler Maryak said:

So I have a thought/question that will probably be stupid. Truthfully, I'm partially just typing it so I can work through my thought myself.

During the Spring game, we were lining up on D with three down linemen. Our O-line had, what? 2-3' gaps? The QB was getting pressured quite a bit, but we keep talking (rightly so) about how the spring game could mean one thing is good or another is bad. Is it possible that both could be bad this season? How will our O-line handle having 4 down linemen? How will our D handle having an O-line that is much closer together? Could the answer possibly be that they both get pwned? 

Again, maybe super stupid questions. I came into college not even knowing the names of all the positions, so forgive me if reading this wasted a tiny part of your life.

Aldo answered your question pretty accurately. 

There are gap assignments for offensive and defensive linemen. It doesn't matter the OL spread on O or how many hands are in the dirt on D. Football, particularly up front, is an assignment sport. 

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1 hour ago, MGNation92 said:

And most of the pundits are crowning a QB that can't run and escape pressure and makes slow decisions.

But he did play at Alabama and is big

You are a big supporter of Shanbour, but it doesn't mean you HAVE to hate Morris.  BOTH QBS BRING SOMETHING TO THE TABLE.  They are both better than anything I have seen in 5 years. (DT may have been nice in this system with these Wr's and RBs)

Morris was not slow.  Not fast as Shanbour, but that does not make him a statue.  He can move good enough.  He did not get rid of the ball as fast as Shanbour either, but he was also going against better coverage.  

Morris was also looking at more downfield and deep sideline throws that takes time to develop.  Shanbour was hitting the open man.  If Morris wanted to just dink and dunk and get his completion percentage up, he could have done that.  They were obviously working on other things.  No need to make it seem like Morris had a bad day to make Shanbour look better.  Morris DID NOT have a bad day.  Shanbour did look better though.  But it was against the twos.  Take it for what it's worth.  I was pleased with both.

Based on our WRs, 6'5, 6'2, 6'3...a pocket passer seems to be the best choice.  We cant count on those guys getting seperation.  They will have to go vertical and go up and get it against one on one matchups.  If our line holds up, Morris has the arm to get it to them.  Getting the ball to these guys quickly doesn't help their game.  We will need to develop some quick and fast slot WRs before we can fully take advantage of the offense and quick decisions.  

Shanbour brings an ability to extend plays and scramble for first downs.  (No he shouldn't be running all over the place like Johnny manziel)...his arm is not horrible based on his high school film.  Not as much air under it as Morris though, but he can get it there.  

If we stall in the red zone like many air raids do, we may need Shanbour to start to bring another element.  Morris is going to get first chance though.

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4 minutes ago, GOMG2013 said:

You are a big supporter of Shanbour, but it doesn't mean you HAVE to hate Morris.  BOTH QBS BRING SOMETHING TO THE TABLE.  They are both better than anything I have seen in 5 years. (DT may have been nice in this system with these Wr's and RBs)

Morris was not slow.  Not fast as Shanbour, but that does not make him a statue.  He can move good enough.  He did not get rid of the ball as fast as Shanbour either, but he was also going against better coverage.  

Morris was also looking at more downfield and deep sideline throws that takes time to develop.  Shanbour was hitting the open man.  If Morris wanted to just dink and dunk and get his completion percentage up, he could have done that.  They were obviously working on other things.  No need to make it seem like Morris had a bad day to make Shanbour look better.  Morris DID NOT have a bad day.  Shanbour did look better though.  But it was against the twos.  Take it for what it's worth.  I was pleased with both.

Based on our WRs, 6'5, 6'2, 6'3...a pocket passer seems to be the best choice.  We cant count on those guys getting seperation.  They will have to go vertical and go up and get it against one on one matchups.  If our line holds up, Morris has the arm to get it to them.  Getting the ball to these guys quickly doesn't help their game.  We will need to develop some quick and fast slot WRs before we can fully take advantage of the offense and quick decisions.  

Shanbour brings an ability to extend plays and scramble for first downs.  (No he shouldn't be running all over the place like Johnny manziel)...his arm is not horrible based on his high school film.  Not as much air under it as Morris though, but he can get it there.  

If we stall in the red zone like many air raids do, we may need Shanbour to start to bring another element.  Morris is going to get first chance though.

I don't hate Morris, but I don't think he's as good as most people are trying to hype him up to be(conversely Shanbour probably isn't as good as I think he can be). I think O-line will be a massive liability this season, and I would rather have a guy that can scramble than a guy that will get hit but "can take it"

People also tend to forget that while DaMarcus was as inconsistent as they come, our offense really opened up when we started using the read option. If we aren't going to use Wilson in the traditional running back role(stupid move if you ask me) at least get a guy in there that has the ability to run so the defense isn't constantly in Dime packages because they know we're never going to run

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1 hour ago, MGNation92 said:

a QB that can't run and escape pressure 

He doesn't have to run to escape pressure. That's the last resort. To add to what @GOMG2013 said, Morris moves in the pocket - laterally and vertically - very well. It's a legit play extender.

7 minutes ago, MGNation92 said:

If we aren't going to use Wilson in the traditional running back role(stupid move if you ask me) 

This is a good point. While I don't want to overblow o-line concerns, what if we have trouble run blocking, or what if Wilson has problems recognizing gaps?

Thinking out loud, is Wyche a fast enough guy to work the outside? In his recruiting thread, I mentioned Wyche as an inside guy when I thought his weight was 195 and we could push it to 200. I saw that his weight is closer to 180? Definitely changes my opinion, and would like to see him on outside plays.

Edited by Aldo
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3 minutes ago, MGNation92 said:

I don't hate Morris, but I don't think he's as good as most people are trying to hype him up to be(conversely Shanbour probably isn't as good as I think he can be). I think O-line will be a massive liability this season, and I would rather have a guy that can scramble than a guy that will get hit but "can take it"

Our line is going to be an issue.  I haven't seen an air raid where that doesn't come into play.  Depends on how you look at it.  Morris is bigger, so he may be able to stand in the pocket and absorb more hits too.  

Shanbour is quick and can get away, but once someone gets a hold of him, it could be over.  And when you have a little guy who depends on their quickness to get their game going...once they get gimpy and lose a step...uh oh.  A bigger QB can play with more dings.  And they are going to get touched on.  Even if we have a great line, teams are going to get their shots on our QB/QBs.

Our RBs have played against 8, 9, 10 in the box.  I think even if our line is bad, they will prefer what we roll out this year.  At least if they do hit something, they can take it a whole lot farther.  If they can beat some one on one matchups in the passing game, they will open up a whole lot more.  I would be willing to bet there's not many CUSA lbs that can stay with Wilson.  This may be the only hope to keep teams from coming after our QB.

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6 hours ago, GOMG2013 said:

Our line is going to be an issue.  I haven't seen an air raid where that doesn't come into play.  Depends on how you look at it.  Morris is bigger, so he may be able to stand in the pocket and absorb more hits too.  

Shanbour is quick and can get away, but once someone gets a hold of him, it could be over.  And when you have a little guy who depends on their quickness to get their game going...once they get gimpy and lose a step...uh oh.  A bigger QB can play with more dings. 

I see the opposite. I have seen more big QBs who are limited in movement sustain much more hits and injuries because they are limited. And with a possible porous O line, I would be more worried about Morris avoiding injury. He looked a little slow to me which is usual for a big guy his size. Shanbour on the other hand is built like a running back who could take hits. He looked very muscular with his pads off. I would be more worried Shanbour twisting an ankle than being injured by hits. Unlike the image Vito has painted, Shanbour is definitely does not look like a stick that could be broken in half.

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1 hour ago, NeonGreen said:

I see the opposite. I have seen more big QBs who are limited in movement sustain much more hits and injuries because they are limited.

That's actually a valid opinion. 

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Quote

As far as the quarterback position goes, Morris seemed to enter the spring game with the confidence of the team.. However, Shanbour played well enough in the spring for Littrell to refrain from naming a starting quarterback heading into the summer. Morris remains the favorite, but Shanbour is putting up a fight.

What's this? A mention of Shanbour without some sort of dismissive term attached to him? This kids got a lot to learn if he wants to make a living reporting in the real world.....;-)

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Anybody remember the Todd Dodge era, when even in games where the offense started moving the ball (not go 3 and out on incomplete passes, running no time off the clock), our defense just didn't have the ability to keep the other team from scoring 1 more touchdown than we could?

Good times.

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1 hour ago, Mad Hatter said:

Anybody remember the Todd Dodge era, when even in games where the offense started moving the ball (not go 3 and out on incomplete passes, running no time off the clock), our defense just didn't have the ability to keep the other team from scoring 1 more touchdown than we could?

Good times.

And the Navy game was the prime example of what you're talking about.  By the time we played Navy it was very clear to Dodge that our defense couldn't stop any sort of viable running game......and Navy's wishbone was much more than "viable". Dodge knew that Navy's defense was just as inept in stopping the pass, so to his credit, he planned accordingly. When we won the toss, we took the ball, and to no one's surprise we scored. That's when he showed his hand...game plan-wise. He ordered an on-side kick, which we recovered and then converted to another TD. Now up 14 points the crowd was very excited. After cheering this bold move, I just turned to whoever was standing next to me and said "we don't know it yet, but Dodge just admitted that his defense can't stop Navy, and he's hoping that their defense can't stop us either'. It was actually a good plan. Too bad that Navy DID figure out how to stop us more than once.

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On May 6, 2016 at 3:27 PM, MGNation92 said:

I don't hate Morris, but I don't think he's as good as most people are trying to hype him up to be(conversely Shanbour probably isn't as good as I think he can be). I think O-line will be a massive liability this season, and I would rather have a guy that can scramble than a guy that will get hit but "can take it"

People also tend to forget that while DaMarcus was as inconsistent as they come, our offense really opened up when we started using the read option. If we aren't going to use Wilson in the traditional running back role(stupid move if you ask me) at least get a guy in there that has the ability to run so the defense isn't constantly in Dime packages because they know we're never going to run

Seth's stats last year show it is a more balanced attack with the run. Get the ball in the play makers hands any way you can! 

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