Looking Ahead - Linebackers

Discussion in 'Georgia Tech Football' started by Boomergump, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Boomergump

    Boomergump Moderator Staff Member

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    GONE: are Brandon Watts and Daniel Drummond. Watts came to the flats as a wildly athletic young LB who was equally as undisciplined. Whether it was his problem or CAG's, I really don't know. In any case, a chronic getting out of position and failure to remember assignments problem plagued Brandon in the early part of his career and kept him from being one of the "career leaders" at his position. Brandon blossomed his last two seasons to become a versatile force on the defense. His uncommon speed and agility allowed him to cover slot guys and TEs quite well and relieved the DC of having to make as many substitutions on the fly. In my estimation, Brandon will find a home in the NFL somewhere. His speed and size will get him a look. Most NFL teams will have their eyes on more punishing and reliable tacklers for their draft picks, but Brandon's speed cannot be ignored. I look for him to land an NFL job as a FA for his abilities on special teams and work his way through second string and possibly be a situational LB. Replacing him on the flats will be difficult. Drummond, on the other hand, never really got it going at GT. His career started with all kinds of hype, given his physical stature, but soon, a PAD suspension loomed, followed by a sobering realization that he just wasn't that athletic. His inability to move laterally, read plays, and stay low would push him down the depth chart. He was good at filling a running lane, but that isn't enough for a LB in this day and age. Replacing his scholarship with a younger player has to be seen as a positive at this point.

    RETURNING WITH PLAYING TIME: Qwayshon Nealy R-SR, 6-1, 232, Tremaine McNair, SR, 6-2, 230, Jabari Hunt-Days, R-JR, 6-3, 245, Tyler Marcordes, R-JR, 6-4, 232, Anthony Harrel, R-JR, 6-2, 230, Paul Davis, SO, 5-11, 215. Qwayshon has been a steady and reliable LB for a couple years running now. While not an elite level performer in any phase, he is pretty good at everything. He can fill the hole, chase players down, and cover in space. He will probably not be discussed for ALL ACC honors in the coming season, but he will be awfully difficult to unseat given his experience and consistency. McNair has been a bit of an enigma to me. He arrived to campus with a pretty good rep and high expectations, but it simply hasn't materialized. He saw time with the second unit in 2013 and projects to do the same in 2014. He still has not used a RS. Could it be the case for 2014? Hunt-Days has started since his R-FR campaign. On the surface, he looks to be an ALL ACC type player, but hasn't yet sustained a level of consistency in effort and focus to make that happen. In fact, he was beaten out by Harrel temporarily before an injury sidelined him. JHD can run and tackle. He combines prototype size and speed for his position, but so far the heart appears to be lacking. Will he arrive in 2014 with more maturity and a fire in his belly? The aforementioned Harrel loves to hit and fly around. He is pretty much everything that JHD isn't. He might not be fast enough or big enough to be considered an elite contender, but he plays with his ears pinned back. I feel sorry for him because returning in 9 months to fall practice after an ACL repair is going to be a huge challenge. At this time, it is hard to expect a meaningful contribution from Anthony in the first half of 2014, if at all. I dearly hope to be proven wrong. He has used his RS, so the pressure is on. Paul Davis was like a breath of fresh air as a true frosh. In my estimation, he is the most instinctive and natural defensive football player we have put on the field since Morgan Burnett. It is rare that I would feel that level of confidence with a freshman in the game at crunch time. He is a great tackler and has very good closing speed while taking extremely good angles. He rarely found himself out of position. Only his size makes him a little vulnerable trying to cover in space. I have often wondered about trying him at safety instead of LB. In any case, he was so good at LB it hardly calls for a move.

    OTHER RETURNING PLAYERS: are Chaz Cheeks, R-JR, 6-4, 240, and Beau Hankins, R-SO, 6-1, 232. I am not really sure what has happened with these two, especially Cheeks. Initial reports were all very optimistic. It is not unusual for a kid to see little time in his first season, as is the case with Hankins, but Cheeks has found himself buried a little in the depth chart. I seem to remember some talk of Cheeks going to DE as a pass rusher. I don't really know where this stands at the moment. If it is at all possible, I would like to see him try because, frankly, it is a position of greater need.

    IN SUMMARY: I see this position group as being a strength. We are highly likely to improve next season. You can pencil in Nealy at one spot. He will have a strong desire to show the NFL what he can do his last year, as he is probably a bit of a long shot at the next level. He will be a captain on the field. I am going to go ahead and say that JHD will blossom next year. He has been good, but yet, below his potential for the first couple of seasons. Hopefully Harrel will return to provide meaningful competition for him. With PJ Davis having a year under his belt, he will make the loss of Watts unnoticeable. I don't know if you have noticed, but Marcordes has been a steadily improving player who will seriously push the OLBs for a starting role. My one concern is depth. Will Harrel return? Will Hankins and McNair be able to sub without TECH suffering a drop off? Will Cheeks still be a LB?
     
  2. bat_082994

    bat_082994 Helluva Engineer

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    Good write up Boomer!
     
  3. Rodney Kent

    Rodney Kent Ramblin' Wreck

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    Boomergump: When I posted on the Hive, there were two posters who really knew their stuff. One was in football and one was in basketball. I do not remember their Hive names. I have been here only a short time on this board, but have been reading your articles. I just wondered if you posted on the Hive venue for football in the past.
     
  4. QuickKick

    QuickKick Jolly Good Fellow

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    Great analysis. Hate to see Watts and Drummond go but their absence will force some of the other guys to step up and I've got a good feeling about their meeting the challenge. Different chemistry but it might even be better overall.
     
  5. IronJacket7

    IronJacket7 Helluva Engineer

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    If he stays healthy, Paul Davis will be a beast for us next year. Imo.
     
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  6. Boomergump

    Boomergump Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for reading. The only boards I have ever posted on were GTSportstalk and this one. I have read the Hive and ST etc but never participated. Don't want to be a part of immature drivel. This is a pretty good place without all the hateful and belligerent banter. Welcome. I am pretty new here too.
     
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  7. PowderSpringsJacket88

    PowderSpringsJacket88 Helluva Engineer Retired Staff

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    Brandon Watts: You are spot on with his speed/agility which gives him the ability to cover certain guys quite well. We will miss that role.

    Nealy: I am expecting him to be improved but nothing ground breaking. We pretty much know what we are going to get from him.

    Mcnair: He has been hurt his whole career including HS. Staff started getting worried about his injury prone legs his freshman year and with good reason. Kid is a good player but hasn't been healthy long enough to compete. The kid has good ability. I wish they would RS him or had already given him one in prior years.

    JHD: Two things kept him from playing more this year-He started to make mistakes and just not play that well. Period. However, he started improving and played very well against UGA. I expect him to be the STUD that we had hoped for next year. One thing that coaches said when asked about JHD not playing much was simply that they don't use him in certain packages and the past 3-4 teams they had been playing called for us to stay in that package more. (Can't remember if it was Nickel) Coach Andy,Roof, and CPJ all gave that same explanation.

    Harrell: kid is nasty and the MEANEST player we have on this team. No one would want to fight this kid. I really hated it for the kid because we was coming into his own. What has kept him from playing in the past was making mistakes and not being mentally dialed in. Well he finally did and he got hurt. I think this kid is going to lay some wood this year.

    Paul Davis: new and improved Julian Burnett...maybe not all that yet but he is strong,mean,quick, and has natural instincts like you said. I think he will improve a lot with another year under his belt. Expect him to get even stronger with his work ethic and focus. S&C coaches love him and Custis from this past class.

    Tyler M: really impressed with his improvement. Covers very well even though he isn't the fastest(make no mistake that this kid does have some jets though) but he might come in for passing situations to cover TE's. He has very good instincts and has a nose for the ball in the air. I think he will continue to contribute to this group.

    Chaz Cheeks: I expect him to leave the team. He is very unhappy.

    Beau Hankins: kid was playing very well in the spring and cleaning some clocks. However, Paul Davis arrived and took over. Beau has been injured some but the light hasn't come on either. I have heard the coaches still think it will come on eventually ad that he has a lot of potential. Great frame for a LB.

    I agree man...This group should be improved and a strength. I think they are going to be even more improved against the run. I hope to see them Blitz the QB even more and effectively. Only concern is they need to cover better but I am hopeful the off season will help with that...

    Strongest group of the defense IMO...
     
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  8. kg01

    kg01 Helluva Engineer Featured Member

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    That's one of the drawing points of ST at times. I think most of it is meant to be comedic but there's some good conversation there if you can wade through the nonsense (some of which I'll happily throw out there:smuggrin:).

    On topic, I kinda expect to see some attrition in this position group. Well, at least one (as PowderSprings points out). I hated to see Harrell go down as I figured he was poised for some breakout performances. I've always liked how he played.

    David Archer did the broadcast for two of our games in a row midseason. One was Syracuse and I can't remember which was the other. He stated that our LBs look like Bama's getting off the bus. Of course he was exaggerating a little, but I think the point he was making was that we've got some good-looking athletes in the position group so expectations for their play should be high. I, for one, am looking for marked improvement especially if Harrell can come back well and soon.
     
  9. AE 87

    AE 87 Helluva Engineer

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    On JHD, I agree with you. Thanks for posting that feedback from the coaches. I thought we were playing a lot of nickel (4-2-5?), but others said that we were still in base mostly ag dwags. I think that's where our depth problems in the secondary really hit. Six guys can give decent rotation to four, but not five. I don't think we used JHD and base D enough, but we were too darn close to second guess.
     
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  10. dressedcheeseside

    dressedcheeseside Helluva Engineer

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    I wonder if JHD can move up to rush end in nickle situations?
     
  11. UgaBlows

    UgaBlows Helluva Engineer

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    i was expecting BIG things for JHD in 2013, like all-conference, i had really thought that the light had turned on for JHD at the end of 2012 in the acc championship and the sun bowl he was flying all over the place and knocking the crap out of people....but then this year he seemed like he took a step back, idk?
     
  12. CobbTech

    CobbTech Helluva Engineer

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    My summary of this thread is:

    -We lose arguably our best and most athletic LB
    -Our best ILB is hurt and will not play most of next year
    -Our most talented LB has been inconsistent
    -A few other talented and highly regarded players have not performed up to their potential

    Can someone tell me why everyone thinks this is going to be an improved group??
     
  13. augustabuzz

    augustabuzz Helluva Engineer

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    The players will be a year older and this maturity makes improved performance more likely.
     
  14. UgaBlows

    UgaBlows Helluva Engineer

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    he may have been our most athletic but i've never considered Watts to be our best linebacker
     
  15. PowderSpringsJacket88

    PowderSpringsJacket88 Helluva Engineer Retired Staff

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    Who are you referring to here?
     
  16. PowderSpringsJacket88

    PowderSpringsJacket88 Helluva Engineer Retired Staff

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    Yeah he didn't play as well. However, the light came on the last couple of games. UGA game really only counts...

    However, his time decreased due to play packages which decreased his opportunities to play better. I am actually not worried about him turning things around. I just want him to live up to his potential because he has lots of it.
     
  17. PowderSpringsJacket88

    PowderSpringsJacket88 Helluva Engineer Retired Staff

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    I could see it because he moves pretty well. I haven't heard the coaches talk about it though.
     
  18. CobbTech

    CobbTech Helluva Engineer

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    I think it could be debated. We're not that great at LB.
     
  19. CobbTech

    CobbTech Helluva Engineer

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    Harrell.
     
  20. PowderSpringsJacket88

    PowderSpringsJacket88 Helluva Engineer Retired Staff

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    I wouldn't say best but maybe most reliable? You knew what you were going to get out of him. Harrell, JHD, and Paul Davis still have a lot of potential left to unlock which I think we all agree.
     

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