February 11, 2016

Talent on the Roster?

The question was posed on the Wahoos 247 message board, and with THIS POST from October a bit outdated, here was my reply...

QB - Average. Will immediately skyrocket to 'Good to Quite Good' with Taysom Hill on board.

RB - Above Average. Would be 'Good' if we had a true between-the-tackles grinder. If Jordan Ellis is that guy or if Albert Reid is that guy... remains to be seen. But I'm pretty bullish on the specific need for a power back.

WR - Below Average. I like the talent, but the experience is lacking. Also lacking is sideline-scorching deep speed. That said, Doni Dowling, Andre Levrone, and David Eldridge give me some hope. Keeon Johnson does too. We'll see. I bet some true freshmen play here. Let's hope Joe Reed's speed is a real thing.

TE - Average. Butts could be pretty good, but what else do we have? At least there are some bonafide candidates for playing time. Also, jury's out on how Anae will even use the tight ends in his offense.

OL - Below Average. I like Matteo, Jack English, and Eric Smith. I like the talent of some of the young guys (Polk, Fieler). I like Sadiq Olanrewaju. But there's an awful lot of spackle and duct tape required to cobble together a cohesive, effective line. This is one of two trouble spots where we reap the whirlwind of Mike London's tenure as UVA's head coach.

DE - Bad. Like... I don't even know where to begin. If Andrew Brown slides over in the 3-man front, that's a start, I guess. Chris Peace, Darrious Carter, and Steven Wright are three very important young players. Can any of them bulk up from the 235/240 range to 260+? That's key.

DT - Below Average. I like Donte Wilkins a lot as a potential nose tackle, and I like Andre Miles-Redmond as a rotational player. Neither are difference-makers, and the depth behind them is... lacking, and that's being nice. The d-line as a whole scares the crap out of me in 2016. (My lips to God's ears, James Trucilla is a friggin beast that just went under-recruited.) Trysten Hill is a candidate to play as a true frosh, I'm guessing.

OLB - Average. This is a spot where Bronco and Co. typically spin a lot of hay into gold, and we have a lot of hay to lay at their feet. Gallon, Paul, Cory Jones, Naji Abdullah, the reclamation projects of Mark Hall and Zach Bradshaw, the positionless enigma of Malcolm Cook (who might actually have a position in Bronco's D), a talented frosh in Juwan/Stephen Moye... there's a lot to work with here.

ILB - Quite Good. Probably the strength of the team (other than Hill at QB). I'm eager to see what Dominic Sheppard and Jahvoni Simmons can do.

S - Good. Blanding, Rainey, Wahee, Thornhill, Mack Truck. Stocked and stacked, locked and loaded.

CB - Below Average. Love, love, LOVE Darious Latimore. Feel pretty much the opposite about Tim Harris. Why haven't we seen anything out of Garner? What do we have in Walker, if anything? Who are Myles Robinson and Kareem Gibson? Might be a 50/50 bet that Deedrick Daniels forces his way onto the two-deep.

Specialists - Above Average. There are kicking candidates in Dylan Sims and Andrew King, but I'm expecting this to be Holland Corbett's job from jump street. At punter, Nick Conte is a stud, and the pipeline is really healthy with the Coleman bros, Halpern, and now Nash Griffin. Tyler Shirley is an experienced long-snapper. Returning kicks and punts? Oz, baby. I actually think we can steal some wins (wins, plural) with this phase of the game in 2016.

Add it up, and it's an average roster. Lean in the trenches, strong elsewhere, with intriguing potential dotting the roster. As always, player development and Xs and Os will provide the edge (for better or worse) in a lot of toss-up games (UConn, Duke, Pitt, L'Ville, Wake, Miami, GT, VT). I think it's a safe bet we take half of those, and with wins over Richmond and Central Michigan, it's a bowl game.


1 comment:

  1. I'll be curious what this staff does with OZ. Is he a running back? Is he a slot receiver? Just get that dude the ball. I see a lot of sets with him and Smoke on the field at the same time. A lot of the set pieces we have for offense (save the OL and somewhat QB) are really intriguing. If we can get our playmakers the ball, offense should be fine. And the OL has a lot of good pieces, but trying to figure out how to make a good unit is the issue I see, as well as keeping guys healthy.

    As for the D. Your guess is as good as mine. DL scares me. I feel pretty good about the LB group with Kiser back to lead them. I feel like one side of the field will be locked down with Latimore. Other side of the field is a huge question mark. Blanding should slide over to SS, where he will be a beast and put Thornhill at FS. Blanding playing down in the box for the majority of snaps gets me excited.

    Overall, I would say average, but leaning toward slightly above average. OL, QB, and DL really keep this team from being pretty good. With that said, 6 wins should be the expectation and a bowl win. 7-6.