Step Forward/Step Back


Helluva Engineer
QB - up
BB - up
AB - down
WR - up
OL - down

DL - down
LB - up
DB - down

Also for anyone who doesn't think we have a playmaker at AB, Dennis Andrews is going to be that guy. He will be the best AB we have next year. Though, still may not be as good as Godhigh overall.

u talk bro,
Very plain but probably very accurate.


Helluva Engineer
Sorry bout resurrecting my own thread, but thought it might be more educated post-spring. I added new thoughts in bold.

At which positions do you think we will take a step forward or step back in 2014?. I gave it a shot on offense, however speculative and premature it may be. Just looking for more fodder for discussion.

Step Forward
QB: I say this only due to the assumption that JT will be committed to the option components of our offense, which I believe makes the other parts more successful.
It appears we have more depth at QB than we thought, and two capable QBs with two distinct styles. Good problem to have, as long as one steps forward. I'll stick with my optimism.
WR: No real losses here, and more experience/depth.
With suspensions early on, I look for Summers to solidify his spot with Smelter. When Waller and Autry come back, I want them to have to fight to get on the field. I think our blocking out there will be much better this year.
LT/RT: I think it could only get better to be honest.
Well, I'm not sure we made tons of progress here in the spring, and I'm hesitant now about my decision to label this a "step forward." Having to slide Burden out there as an experiment seemed to show that we aren't very confident in what we've got right now. Eric thinks Whitley (or is it Stickler?) could come in an play right away. I hope so. Otherwise I would change this one to "step back."
LG/RG: Mason is obvious, addition of Devine.
Still think we're good at G.

Step Back
BB: We're all excited about Custis, but dang... ONE experienced BB in Laskey. We're thin here. I hope this is a step forward, but I can't say that yet.
Okay, I'm ready to call this a step forward, as long as these guys block better. Laskey looked GREAT in spring, and Custis is the real deal.
AB: Lots of potential here, but unproven.
Still feel the same. Confident that Synjyn will be a blocking beast, but I wish Andrews could play the first two games. If he could, I think he might lock up that spot.
C: Again, potential. Most important position on the line. Burden and O'Reilly will need to be as smart as they are big and strong. Our best centers in CPJ's time here have been very sharp.
I feel better about this one now. We seem really solid at G-C-G. Call it a wash at C, though, b/c Finch was a great one.


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QB Step Up (actually running a true triple option should be big for us, a true midline runner in Byerly, and better passers/as apposed to a strong arm)

OL Same Plus (Chamberlain was better in spring versus 2013 and a replacement cannot do worse. Hopefully the OL is not playing as injured as 2013 and they are playing their main practiced spot.)

WR Same Plus (There are no real changes or money makers added. Autry is a good addition over Waller, but is he Smelter level? You may argue everyone has an additional year of experience)

BB Same (Laskey is good. Custis is still unknown. This position could easily be a step big up if Custis is all that or down if Laskey is injured with a lack of depth).

AB Step Down (no one has put the money on the field like the AB's that rose up the "next year" in previous years. Days is a great blocker and Andrews/Perkins only show potential)

DL Step down (This stay a step down till I see Whitehead play. Sneezy is not going to be replaced easy.)

LB Step Up (Because second year in system, more depth, I do want to see more of Harrell, we lost a good LB but we have good ones to replace)

DB Same Minus/Plus (JT going to be hard to replace, they do have an extra year in the system, and IJ will play better when not under Groh's confusing system)

My biggest concerns in order are OL, DL, and AB.

danny daniel

Helluva Engineer
Yep, my thought exactly.

I believe LB is a step up for 2 reasons: quality depth and starters are good enough to be ahead of P Davis who I think is outstanding. DT are better but DE significantly worse but lots of young talent to work with for improvement. Else agreement.


Helluva Engineer
I just looked and I was right: Matt Connors is back for his senior year. I.e. we have two experienced BBs. Matt did ok in spot duty last year too. That means two lettermen and a talented RSF. I'll take that. I also doubt Laskey gets injured this year; the BBs usually don't, Sims two years ago being the exception.


Retired Co-Founder
I just looked and I was right: Matt Connors is back for his senior year. I.e. we have two experienced BBs. Matt did ok in spot duty last year too. That means two lettermen and a talented RSF. I'll take that. I also doubt Laskey gets injured this year; the BBs usually don't, Sims two years ago being the exception.

Connors just graduated and there was some talk pre Spring that he may not return this we will see on that one.

He is a good player.


Helluva Engineer
Featured Member
This is a good discussion. I tend to be long winded because I feel compelled to back up my predictions.

OL - slightly better - I base this on a few things. On the plus side the guys we have coming in are going to be better in pass protection than they guys they are replacing (Griffin, Devine). I feel confident in saying that, and it is not a small matter. We will lose experience, and that is never good, especially at C. Had Finch been full strength all year, I would say he would be very hard to replace, but he wasn't. I think we will be able to duplicate what he gave us and maybe even improve in short yardage situations (O'Reilly's size). RT cannot possibly be worse. I don't care who plays out there. It won't be worse. Having a guy like Devine enter the mix is going to give us a HUGE lift. He may be the first guy we have ever had who will match up well against every opponent that goes against him for the entire season. He may not play every series. We will see, but when he is in there he will move his guy.

WR - slightly better - Smelter will be better, more able bodies, people don't get worse with more experience and weight training.

AB - slightly worse - On the down side, we will not be able to replace what Godhigh gave us. We have some guys who can play and they will improve, but Robbie was pretty special.

BB - I have no idea - Laskey looks thicker and that is good. To date, I have never seen Custis play, so I have no basis for comment. I like Donovan Wilson and think he will be a good back. In my mind, this could go either direction. It could blow up if Custis shows out or it could just be serviceable like it has been. Your guess is as good as mine.

QB - Decidedly Better - If JT is able to hold off TB, that will be saying something. The option will be run well and either QB will run the football with a passion, albeit differently. The big surprise will be that we pass it better. We will pass better for two reasons: first, protection will be better and second, because we will run better. Both guys can throw and both seem to be able to see the field. Vad was overrated as a passer. He might have an edge in arm strength, but not mechanics, field vision, and decisions. I will be astounded if we aren't better at this position. Vad was a great athlete but a bumbling mess running our offense.

DT - slightly better - The Aussie continues to improve and Green stays healthy. The second line has more experience.

DE - Decidedly worse - I see nothing to give me confidence so far. Freeman will be great, but I'm not so sure he is ready this year.

LB - About the same - I really like the Nealy, Marcordes combo. Davis is a great back up. I am not counting on Harrell for anything. I hope he makes it back full strength, but that is wishful thinking. We only need two at a time for most of the snaps.

S - slightly better - depth and experience improves.

CB - about the same - I don't know where to account for Thomas. I guess here. He will be missed. White will improve. I like what I see in Griffin. We know Milton can play. Hopefully Demond will make us not miss Jemea. That is a lot of pressure though.

K - better - only an unforeseen sophomore slump will derail this budding prospect.