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If you're not a fan of the Big Ten and flame this thread, your post will be deleted immediately. This RoundTable was created so Big Ten fans could learn more about each program outside of their own favorite school.
This is meant to be a civil, informative discussion about how your team looks heading into fall camp.
With all Big 10 teams starting fall camp, it's a great time to start up the Roundtable discussions again. We'll ease into things with a broad-brush approach: What, if any, position battles are going on in your fall camp? Who're your projected winners of said battles? Which position group are you most concerned about headed into the fall, and which group are you most confident in?
Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.
Looking forward to another great season. Hopefully we'll all show up and win in our ooc games(except for meeeeeeechigan of course).
Buckle your seatbelts because urban renewal is in full effect so you've got one year to catch up or we'll begin a multi year streak of big ten titles in 2013.
I'll let the others go in depth on the battles, but the main ones are these
3rd WR between Jerald Robinson, Amara Darboh, and Jehu Chesson
LG between Eilliot Mealer, Kyle Kalis, and Joey Burzynski
Starting RB if Fitz Toussaint is suspended between Thomas Rawls, Vincent Smith, and Drake Johnson
Weak side DE isn't really a position battle now that Frank Clark is suspended, but Brennan Beyer may get pressure from incoming freshman Tom Strobel.
What makes you think Urban is going to win a streak of B1G titles?
Edit: Right now White's at DT and Hoover/Kittredge are at NT.
Off of this, there's also a possible battle for LG between RS JR Blake Treadwell (6'3 300) and RS FR Jack Allen (6'1 295). Treadwell's been "solid, not spectacular" for the past 3 years (played as a true FR and true soph in '09-'10 at NT, moved to OL last season, lost in game 3 vs. ND in '11 and took a RS), while Allen nearly had his 'shirt pulled last year to help out on the OL. Most expect Treadwell to win that, but it could be an interesting week or so.
As far as positions of most/least confidence, I'm most confident in the linebackers. Every single LB from '11 returns, including a pair of 2nd Team All B1G guys in MIKE Bullough and SAM Denicos Allen. Starting WILL Chris Norman is the most experienced member (Hon. Mention All B1G in '11) and looks to be healthy after an off-season shoulder surgery. These three will compete with tOSU and PSU for the best LB unit in the conference.
At the moment, I'm least confident in the tight ends. A lot of folks focus on the WR issue for MSU, but there are at least some guys in there that have played CFB (albeit in minor roles). At TE, there's Dion Sims, a RS JR who's had a largely injury-plagued career (injured wrist last year saw him catch no passes in the last 7 games), but he at least had 3 TDs in '11. Behind him are a converted DE in his first year (6'2 260 pound Denzel Drone), a walk-on (Gleichart, 6'5 255), a JUCO (Jamare Mills, 6'5 265ish) and 2 true FR. MSU's offense is at its best when it can run 2 TE sets in the middle of the field, and 3 TE sets near the goal-line. Right now there's one semi-proven option in Sims, a guy who's had better success in the spring game than during real games. This position is probably the thinnest and least experienced on the roster.
This post was edited by MalibuMan 20 months ago
Thoughts on who wins what battle?
Thank you for your input.
I think Robinson ultimately wins the WR battle, but Darboh will be in the rotation
Kyle Kalis is physically ready, just needs to learn the playbook and he'll be a four year starter
The starting RB if Fitz is suspended is probably going to be Thomas Rawls as he fits the offense perfectly, but it isn't a guarantee Fitz is suspended.
WSDE is Beyer's job until someone takes it from him. Not a ton of depth behind him right now.
2nd string running back - Curtis Dukes, Derek Day, and Akeel Lynch
This will be a position that I expect the winner of to see a lot of playing time. Belton is still learning the position and PSU needs a more in between the tackles back to complement him. Lynch is probably the long term option, but he's just a true freshman. Dukes was held out of spring ball with academic issues and Day is a senior walk-on, who has been decent in limited action. In my opinion, Day will be second string on opening day, but will be third or fourth by the end of the year. The real question is who is the better blocker between Lynch and Dukes. Dukes has the experience edge, but has always struggled with his blocking.
Wide Receiver - Allen Robinson, Alex Kenney, Shawney Kersey, Matt Zanellato, Brandon Moseby-Felder, Christian Kuntz, Eugene Lewis, and Malik Golden
No real proven threats, so I listed all the possible players. Robinson and Kersey will be the stretch the field players and Kenney being in the slot role. Lewis and Golden could see the benefit from the loss of Brown, Smith, and Drake from last year's corps. The two true freshman along with Kenney probably have the most game changing ability of the group and they should be interesting to follow during camp. Robinson, Kersey, and Kenney should be the starters with Lewis being the wildcard if he can transition from high school QB to WR.
TE - Matt Lehman, Kyle Carter, Garry Gilliam, Jesse James, Dakota Royer
Look for BOB to use multiple 2 tight end sets and the players to rotate a lot. I expect the first four to see various amounts of time to start the year and Carter and James to be the go to players by the end. Gilliam will see plenty of time as Carter and James play the same position, but still may see the field at the same time.
DE - Pete Massaro, Sean Stanley, Deion Barnes
Massaro and Stanley will both start, but the more interesting dynamic will be how many snaps Barnes can take from the two of them.
S - Jake Fagnano and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong
Fagnano missed practice today with a minor injury. SOA is very athletic, but still needs the game to slow down for him. I'm hoping it does, because it's been awhile since PSU has had that kind of speed at the safety position. I think SOA eventually wins out, but this could be a very close call.
With the news that Mario O has upped his weight, do you think he could take it from Beyer?
I don't see it happening, Ojemudia still needs to work on his technique, it isn't all about weight.
Position groups you're most/least confident in?
I think he meant that TE and DE are positions we're confident in, along with LB obviously. And least confident in S and WR. We also have a walk-on at QB, so there's that.
Agree with your concerns about TE. Its going to be really important for Sims to stay healthy. If he does, I think we'll be OK. Hopefully Lang is fully healthy too. That will be interesting to watch throughout camp. Mills was a nice late pickup for us, even if only from a depth chart perspective. Regardless Sims should be the workhorse. I look for him to have about 30 to 35 catches if healthy and for the #2 TE to grab about 10 to 15. Sims could be a difference maker in the redzone though.
While TE isn't a strength, I do like our depth at Fullback and I love our ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Bell is a great receiver out of the backfield (35 catches last year) and Caper is also a really good receiver. He had 10 catches last year in limited action and If I had to guess, I think you'll see us utilize the backs out of the backfield to provide Maxwell with a safety valve a bit more this year. Last year when Baker was in there, there really wasn't that threat. This year both of our primary backs are solid receivers.
This post was edited by 007Spartan 20 months ago
I'll take a shot at this, even though I wasn't listed as a roundtable member representing UM...
QB: No need to elaborate on Robinson being the starter. He will be backed up by Gardner.
RB: Toussaint was supposed to be the starter, but got into legal trouble and his indefinite suspension is a question mark still. There is no telling when he will be allowed to play. This leaves Vincent Smith and Thomas Rawls. Smith has a lot of experience, but is more of a 3rd-down back. Rawls is a bruiser, but inexperienced. They will likely split time if/when Toussaint is out. They will not bring to the table what Toussaint does, but they can be solid. My guess is that Smith will play more early due to experience.
WR: A big question mark going in. Roundtree and Gallon will be starters, and the battle is for the 3rd and 4th spots (depending on the personnel package). Jerald Robinson has the tools (size/speed), just not much experience. Jeremy Jackson is more of a posession type receiver, but I don't look for him to contribute more than just depth at the position. Incoming frosh Darboh and Chesson could contribute as WR is typically one of the easier positions for a freshman to pick up, but the route tree for the west coast offense is a little more complex than, let's say the spread. They both have the physical attributes that could earn them playing time. I would bet on Robinson winning the 3rd spot, and a combination of the rest for the 4th spot.
TE: Another big question mark. Moore is slated to be the starter, and there isn't much after him. Ricardo Miller played TE last year, but is rumored to be moving back to WR (where he could vie for time). The next best options are probably the freshmen in Williams and Funchess. Williams is built like an OT whereas Funchess is more like a big receiver. The question for each is can they do what they aren't necessarily built for; Williams in the receiving game, and Funchess in the blocking game. Situationally, I think they can and will contribute.
OL: Lewan at LT, Barnum at C, Omameh at RG, and Schofield at RT are your starters. LG is still up in the air with Mealer battling a former walk-on whose name I don't even want to try to spell. Incoming frosh Kyle Kalis could challenge since he has the size to contribute right away, but the question is can he pick up the playbook and blocking schemes. This position is hard to predict the starter at.
WDE: Beyer was the starter coming out of spring ball, and the suspension of Frank Clark furthers his lead on the competition. Mario Ojemudia is an incoming frosh with a lot of potential, but he needs to gain weight and strength before he becomes a threat for serious playing time. He also needs some technique work, but with this staff basically having 3 DL coaches, he will get the attention he needs. The Clark suspension hurts because there isn't much else. Strobel was slated to come in at SDE, but he could make the move to WDE for depth. He has the size already to contribute early, but it is pure speculation that he will be moved over, and starting a freshman anywhere on the field is a bit scary (same goes for Mario). Speculating again, Jake Ryan, the starting SLB could put his hand down and contribute to this position, but until it is confirmed that the staff moves him, I will leave him out of the equation.
NT: Will Campbell seemingly has had the light go on for him and has shown up to camp in the best shape of his career. The now senior and former 5* recruit has yet to play up to his potential, but he has shown a lot in the offseason to give reason for optimism. Behind him, there are a couple of depth guys in Richard Ash and Quintin Washington that have not shown much, though Ash reportedly had a pretty good spring. Incoming frosh Ondre Pipkins is a beast, and could find his way into the 2-deep. Mattison, the DC, likes to have a 2-3 man rotation on the DL to keep guys fresh so I would go with Campbell, Ash and Pipkins.
DT (3-tech): Jibreel Black has moved from WDE to the 3-tech in the offseason and showed potential in the spring. He is a bit undersized, but very athletic for the position. He is slated to be the starter, with Washington likely rotating in. Former walk-on Nate Brink could also see time there, as well as Kenny Wilkins. The depth behind Black at this point is unclear.
Craig Roh made the move from WDE to SDE in the spring, and SDE appears to be his more natural position. He is slated to be the starter. Behind him, there is Hietzman (sp?) and Brink, who may rotate between 3-tech and SDE. Incoming frosh Wormley, Godin, and Strobel were brought in at the position, but Wormley and Godin have the size to move down to the 3-tech and one of them most likely will, though this is once again speculation on my part.
WLB: Returning starter Desmond Morgan is solid at the position and could have a breakout year. Hawthorne backs him up, and incoming freshman James Ross showed up much bigger than expected and could push for time.
MLB: Kenny Demens returns to the middle and is slated as the starter. He has all of the tools, but struggled with consistency last year. Hawthorne spent some time at the MIKE in the spring and could get some playing time. The surprise of the position is early enrollee Joe Bolden. He will likely be in the 2-deep and be the primary backup for Demens. A huge responsibility for a freshmen to fill as this position is widely known to be the QB of the defense, but Bolden handled it well in the spring. He is very instinctual and has a high football IQ. He also has the range to roam from sideline to sideline.
SLB: Jake Ryan is posed for a big year at the position, with Cam Gordon backing him up. The biggest question, to which I elluded to earlier is if Ryan sees time at WDE. Gordon is a very capable backup so the move is plausible in my eyes. Either way, this should be a position of strength, as will the other LB positions.
CB: JT Floyd and Blake Countess return as the starters and should be solid. Courtney Avery has seen rather extensive playing time, both at corner and nickel back so he provides good depth. There is youth in numbers with Raymond Taylor, Delonte Hollowell, and a host of other players that could get a look. CB will be a position of strength.
S: Kovacs will continue his amazing story at SS and the former walk-on will be the leader of the secondary. He will be backed up by Josh Furman and Marvin Robinson, who could also see time at FS. Thomas Gordon is slated to be the returning starter at FS, and reports from the spring were that he got rid of his hesitancy and he will make plays. Robinson and early enrollee Jarrod Wilson could push for time. Robinson has yet to live up to his billing, but has the physical tools. If the game slows down for him, watch out. With Wilson, he is a ball hawk, but doesn't have the size to be a solid tackler...yet. He had all summer to build his physique and the coaches will drill tackling technique into him during fall camp.
Overall, there is a lot of potential on both sides of the ball, but several question marks. Offensively, LG is a position where someone needs to step up. Depth on the OL is not where it should be, and an injury to a starter could cause major issues. Both WR and TE will need some development in camp, and somebody will have to emerge. Lack of a deep threat is a concern at this point. Defensively, DL is the biggest question mark. The back 7 all return and there is good depth at each position behind the line, but the DL is unproven to say the least. If the DL can take up blockers and get penetration, this could be a very tough defense. The last question mark is special teams related. The return game last year, both PR and KR, left something to be desired. Look for freshman Dennis Norfleet to make an immediate impact. He is small, but he is a playmaker.
Love the info, +1
Husker groups that create most confidence:
1. Running Backs - Rex Burkhead will be even better this year, as will Ameer Abdullha RB/slot, and Braylon Heard, speed guys. Mike Marrow a true IB at 6', 250 lbs can play both RB & FB, and may force his way into playing time. Imani Cross at true freshman showed up looking like and testing out like a senior...he could play, now, but might RS as NU is loaded at RB. It's hard to say there is a single #2, it may be more of "load-sharing" depending on what Coach Tim Beck, OC decides is his best approach to each game. Catching passes will be important to get playing time at RB.
Co-#1. Quarterbacks -- Taylor Martinez starts his 3rd season at NU's helm as a Junior. He's seemingly taken control of this offense while pushing himself to the limit to improve his footwork and throwing motion. He seems much more at ease, much more open and confidant. This is the first time that Taylor has played in the same offense, ever. Taylor should push for top offensive honors this year as he is the healthiest he's been since his freshman year. You'll see more long runs from Taylor and a passing % in the low 60's, maybe better given the quality of NU's WR, TE and RB to catch the ball.
Brion Carnes was a 4-star QB out of H.S. The word is the light has come on for him and the coaches have a much greater confidence in him to come in and win a game. This will free up Taylor to push the envelope. Tommy Armstrong, the top dual threat QB out of the Dallas area comes in as a freshman with the ability to compete, now. This is the best depth and talent NU has had for a good number of years at QB.
2. Tight Ends - Kyler Reed is healthy and so is Ben Cotton. This gives NU, arguably, the best TE duo in the B1G. The problem is unknown depth after these two. David Sutton, along with Jake Long and Sam Cotton, the youngest Cotton brother, are in the mix.
3. Wide Receivers - NU may, also, arguably, has the best group of WR's in the B1G. Kenny Bell looks to have an All-B1G year. Quincy Enunwa should be vying for B1G honors also as a big-bodied, sure-handed target that enjoys contact over the middle. Jamal Turner, another burner like Kenny Bell, is a legit contender for post-season honors with a year of learning and dedication to mentally master the game. Taariq Allen, could have played as a true Freshman; he's ready now and at 6' 3" and 200 lbs. he can eat up B1G CB's, great hands good speed, he should force his way to playing time. Then we have true Freshman Jordan Westerkamp, many are saying he's good enough to be in the two deep, now...yet, he'll probably RS.
4. Special Teams - Speed, speed, speed in NU's returners, whether that be Abdullha, Bell or Turner they can all take it to the house. Brett Maher is NU's All-Everything PK and punter...he's a real weapon in NU's arsenal.
Husker groups with question marks:
1. Offensive Line -- This could be the best OL that Nebraska has seen for over a decade. The real question mark is at center. Cole Pensick, understudy to Mike Caputo for two years, comes into fall camp as the #1 center. He's one of the strongest guys on the team, smart and appears to have the quick feet and mind needed to man the position. He's being pushed by a real beast, Justin Jackson, a senior, with Mark Pelini, Bo's nephew also in the mix. The coaches didn't decide to move any other potential centers into the fray, so they seem to be satisfied with Pensick and the backups. If Cole can match the play of Caputo, then this will be the best line in a while.
Spencer Long, All-B1G Guard last year, returns for his Jr. year, and probable All-America honors, at LG matching up with Tyler Moore, the first OL to ever start as a true Freshman, at L-OT. Moore is another who should win All-B1G honors this year; yet, Jeremiah Sirles has also started at LT and will challenge for a good amount of PT. RT will be a battle between Andrew Rodriguez and Brent Qvale--all 6' 5" or taller, and all over 305 lbs. The tackles and guards will be better than last year, especially being in the same offense for the 2nd year.
2. Defensive Line -- There is a good deal of optimism of a good improvement from the front four. Rich Kaczinsky, former DL coach at Iowa has been impressive in his debut with NU, the players are taking to him well. Baker Steinkuhler is looking for breakout year in his final year. He may do that if Chase Rome can stay healthy next to him. Rome is a beast and could really make the interior DL very disruptive, and add to Baker's ability to be more so himself. Thad Randle looks to be a very capable B1G DT and could show that in a #2 swing role. Jay Guy could be beat out by Kevin Williams, a true freshman as the other #2 unless he kicks his play up a notch.
Cameron Meredith, a senior, is solid at one DE, as the sack leader last year. He should blossom this year under Coach Kaz and earn conference honors. Jason Ankrah, comes into his Jr. year with great expectations given his talent level. It appears he'll be the complete package this year and really allow our front four to work together most effectively. Eric Martin is fast beast off the edge and will get good PT also. Joe Carter has an NFL body, if he can get the light to come on in his 2nd year at DE, he could be very, very good.
3. Linebackers -- Will Compton at MLB, in his senior season looks to be very solid. Everything seemed to click for him mid-way through last season. His backup Trevor Roach is an under the radar guy that is a very good #2. Zaire Anderson is a highly-touted JUCO that should step in at either the SLB or the WLB, depending on where Alanzo Whaley is desired to play by the coaches. "Zo" is a beast, the lights came on for him, also about half way through last season. Those 3 should be collectively better as a LB crew than last year. Sean Fisher, a senior finally recovered from a bad injury 2 years is being talked about vying for 1st team PT with Zo. David Santos a RS Freshman and Michael Rose a Freshman bear watching.
This post was edited by Zonie87 20 months ago
...It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.
W. C. Fields
Most: DL, LB, maybe RB (lots of optimism there from me)
Least: DB (thin), QB (The Mox), K/P (both kids are not proven)
As for OL, WR and TE, I am excited to see them play. They will all be young which is why I am not confident in them, but they have talent and *should* be an upgrade over last year (maybe not WR).
Pretty much agree. Not sold on running back yet. The thing I'm most concerned about is if fumbling becomes an issue with this group. Ball security is a must.
How big is Belton? Are you guys looking to split carries 80-10-10 or more 60-30-10, aka, how much of a pounding can you expect your starting RB to take?
New roster says 202, which is solid size considering he's 5' 10". The thing about him is he tends to carry the ball out there. He looked like Reggie Bush at times last year, but he also looked like a fumble waiting to happen every play. I think the carries might be 60-30-10, but Belton will have a lot more receptions out of the backfield than we're used to from the running back position. His all purpose yards will be the more important statistic at the end of the season, more so than his rushing yards when evaluating his year.
Any concern about Burkhead wearing down this year?
So n8wildey did awesome and there's not much more I can say about the individual battles.
Short and sweet, I think the biggest position battles are:
3rd and 4th WR: Devin Gardner and Jerald Robinson step up. It has been confirmed by Hoke that Gardner will be playing WR and he's at least the second best athlete on our team and a huge body to throw to at 6'4 210. If he can learn routes in the offseason, he's gonna compete with Roundtree and Gallon as our main go-to guy.
LG: Elliot Mealer wins because he has an awesome beard (linked below) and the most experience. Kyle Kalis has the size as a freshman, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's starting by midway through the season.
Other than those two spots, the starters are basically solid.
We are college football
I'll make a scale of positions in order of most worried to least worried IMO
RB (with Fitz out)
I'm very confident in the last group, pretty confident in the middle group, and not very confident in the first group.
QB 1. Robinson 2. Bellomy 3. Gardner
RB 1. Toussaint 2. Rawls 3. Smith
WR 1. Roundtree 2. Gallon 3. Robinson
TE 1. Moore 2. Funchess
OL 1. Lewan 2. Schofield 3. Omameh 4. Barnum 5. Burzynski 6. Kalis
DL 1. Roh 2. Black 3. Campbell 4. Beyer 5. Pipkins
LB 1. Demens 2. Ryan 3. Morgan 4. Bolden
CB 1. Countess 2. Floyd 3. Avery
S 1. Kovacs 2. Gordon 3. Wilson
K 1. Brendan Gibbons 2. Matt Wile
P 1. Matt Wile 2. Will Hagerup
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