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The good, the bad and the Ugly spring game edition.

Discussion in 'Football' started by Huskerthom, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. BigRedOhio

    BigRedOhio Junior Varsity 5 Year Member

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    The good:
    First team defense looked athletic and fairly solid.
    A. Mart is a great player and so reliable
    Depth on the D-Line
    DB's look more mature and confident.

    The bad:
    RB's looked very average (other than Jaylin Bradley). None of them are division 1 difference makers. But help is on the way.
    WR's looked very average (getting Spielman back will help). Will need a newcomer to step it up.

    The ugly:
    We do not have a back-up QB that is a difference maker if AM goes down. McCaffery has some upside, but will need to get bigger and stronger.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  2. Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

    Middle-aged_Ball_Coach Red Shirt

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    I think that two of our team's strengths canceled each other out to some degree: We have some depth and talent in the D-line, and we had receivers coming open all day as long as the QB had time to pass. I've said it before, and I'm sure that I'll say it again, you folks need to stop expecting another Stanley Morgan to emerge, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It is much easier to defend a team with only 2 threats who are great receivers than it is to defend a team with a stable full of capable receivers who get open and catch the ball when targeted. Jaron Woodyard and Andre Hunt were very difficult to cover, and both did great jobs of moving with the QB when he had to scramble. Kade Warner is just technically an excellent receiver, and it shows up by his consistently getting open in the Red Zone or in tight situations. We have excellent TEs, top to bottom. Miles Jones looked very good. We had a squadron of walk-ons who genuinely looked like they can contribute, too. When you factor in that JD and Wan'Dale didn't play, and that we have a couple more speedy wideouts showing up in May, the cupboard is stacked. If you were looking for one guy to do everything, yeah, you're probably disappointed. If you looked for a bunch of interchangeable parts that will get the job done, go watch the game again on YouTube, and on almost any given pass play, look to see how many potential receivers created space to get open.

    I was pumped, too, and I hope that he finds a way onto the travel roster, but ... that sack was because the O-line had a breakdown. The RG stopped blocking him, thinking that the RT was going to pick him up, but the RT was chasing an OLB on a line stunt.

    I mostly agree, but I thought that Belt looked better than I expected, especially considering that he's a redshirt freshman who had no meaningful snaps last year. He ran hard and hit the hole when it was there, and he seemed to generally read the plays well, going where he should. Our O-line wasn't exactly blowing up the defense either, so it wasn't easy for any of the RBs. I also thought Jones looked pretty good, but playing for the White team was a handicap, as was going against the Red defense.
    Jones did look pretty good running the ball, and he looked very good catching the ball. I wish that he had had more carries with more variety to what he ran. He didn't do anything stupid. On at least 2 of his carries when he was tackled for no gain or for a loss, I don't think that he should have even been given the ball because they looked like Zone Read runs where the QB gave when he should have pulled. I think that Bunch was told to NOT keep on those plays because he looked frustrated, and it's not as though he was going to get lit up by the defense if he ran the ball wearing a green jersey. When he did pull the ball it was pretty much always to throw a pass on an RPO. Jones will grade out pretty well.
    Depends on your definition of "average," I suppose, but they're pretty dang good as a whole. See above.
     
  3. huskermike

    huskermike Cyber Traveler 10 Year Member

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    How do you think they should look going against the best defense in the country. Just wait till they get to run against the weak B1G defenses. :eek:

    Here we come Indy!!! :D
     
    inthedeed likes this.
  4. Twelve String

    Twelve String Red Shirt 5 Year Member

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    Not sure I'm sold on the depth at OL. Even Frost in his post game comments said there was too much separation between the 1 and 2 units. Hope that changes over the summer, but for now I would say it's an area of concern.

    Running back was average at best. Hanging our hopes on Washington being available and 3 newbies coming in this summer is a bit scary.

    I feel better about our wide receivers after seeing them on the field Saturday.

    Defense pretty much owned the day.
     
    Show Me State Red and Hville like this.
  5. Hville

    Hville Junior Varsity 2 Year Member

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    This says a lot. I find it hard to believe a Scott Frost offense won't be effective and yet the spring game had about half the scoring it did last year even though the entire team was much more experienced in this offense this year. Now it might be koolaid but something tells me a much better defense is playing a part in this. If our offense takes a step back this year because we don't have ozigbo and morgan that's one thing...…..but I really think we are likely to give up about 7-10 points less this year and that alone means another 4-5 wins.
     
  6. Twelve String

    Twelve String Red Shirt 5 Year Member

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    Couldn't agree more.

    I don't doubt that the offense will be effective, especially if at least 2 of the 3 newbies at RB are as good as advertised.
     
    Huskerwisdom likes this.
  7. Huskerwisdom

    Huskerwisdom Recruit

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    Agree with these thoughts --

    To me the defense is so far ahead of last year that we really don't have a good point of comparison for the offenses. Watching some of the clips last year it's clear that the D didn't know their assignments clearly on a lot of plays and if you can't play assignments, Frost is going to demolish you with pretty much whatever talent he has. I think that with good talent he can demolish decent defenses that do play assignment football, but he needs to have the entire offense up and running for that to happen and yesterday he really didn't.

    Frost made a comment that in his experience the defense is always ahead of this offense for his teams (I think last year excepted because the D just didn't have the time, experience and talent last year) but, in general, it's because of how much coordination there is in his offense, IMO. Also yesterday, I thought we handcuffed our QB's more (and for good reason - why get them hurt?), once we free up that part of the offense, the defense will have a much tougher time.
     
  8. Huskerwisdom

    Huskerwisdom Recruit

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    Like I mention above, Frost said his experience is that the D is usually ahead of his offense at this point. Last year is likely the odd year due to the utter lack of experience on the D.

    I think the OL notes are overstated. His full quote was a bit more positive, IMO, in that he thinks it's better than last year (I agree), but not yet where he wants. The center position shaking out will determine our year there, though. 2 or 3 RS Frosh and Sophomores need to grow up a lot between now and this fall. We're going to see big, tough NT's like the older Daniels in the B10 and better be ready to deal with them.

    "
    On offensive line depth
    “I think we had more depth in most places than we had (last year). The one O-line did good at times. We need to finish better. There was a couple of times a hole was there, and if we just finish the block a little better. The margins in football are really small, but I want to keep getting more aggressive and gaining one more blade of grass to help us pop runs. There’s a little more of a separation between one and two than I’d like, too. A lot of those guys that are on the two line are going to keep, hopefully, competing and pushing the guys on the one line. But, we need more depth there, more guys to develop there as well.”

    https://hailvarsity.com/s/6681/they-said-it-scott-frost-discusses-nebraskas-2019-spring-game
     
  9. Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

    Middle-aged_Ball_Coach Red Shirt

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    My #1 area of concern going into the season is the O-line, but even that is with a caveat. It's going to be rough for whoever is playing Center at first, but I think that by the time we play Ohio State we will already have a better O-line overall than what we ever had in 2018, plus with more depth. None of the key O-line players are seniors, so I expect the O-line to be the strength of the offense in 2020, roughly equal to having Martinez at QB if there's any way to weight those sorts of comparisons.

    What is actually my greatest concern for the 2019 season is depth. If we could somehow manage to keep everyone healthy, we could have the sort of season that we haven't experienced since Solich was the head coach. We're also only an injury or two away from having glaring weaknesses in multiple positions on both sides of the ball. If you name a key player who you think will contribute a lot in the fall, you're also probably naming someone who we can't afford to lose for any reason. When you start listing all of the players who missed games last year or the year before due to injuries--Martinez, JD, Jurgens, Tyrin Ferguson, Darrion Daniels, Jojo Domann, Will Honas, et al.--it's disconcerting because a lot of them are people we absolutely have to keep healthy this year. Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, and Defensive End are about the only positions where I think that we have the depth to overcome an injury or two, but it seems like those often end up being the places where people start dropping like flies.
     
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  10. One Hit Wonder

    One Hit Wonder Recruit

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    I went back and watched the spring game for the second time and it was difficult to gauge a lot. Much of that was by design and a good portion of it was due to who was held out. Personally, there wasn’t too much ugly but it was a team that has some issues to work on.

    Offense
    Offensively we saw “maybe” 5% (probably less) of the offense in that many of the play were Plain Jane Vanilla. There was very little pre-snap motion; not a lot of heavy sets and on a few occasions we saw some 5-wide. The line blocking was mostly straight up and the running plays were dives and some stretch. RPO was mostly handing off to the RBs because the QBs were untouchables. You saw some very basic routes by the WRs but we did see the TE get down field a little more than I expected which was good to see.

    Defense
    Given what we saw from the offense, the defense didn’t dial up any crazy stunts, blitzes and coverage packages. The DL got a good push and I think a lot of what we saw (and this goes for both sides of the ball) is that you saw a group of guys that have been going against each other for 15 practices.

    I too think the OL and DL showed much more improvement. Haven't watched enough to drill down into the specifics on those guys. But here are a few things I saw:

    QB
    Adrian Martinez is obviously the man but there is a big gap from him to #2. Vedral and Bunch had their moments and Masker showed some really good mechanics (surprised).

    Spotlight: Luke McCaffrey (QB)
    I liked his poise for a kid that should still be in HS. He was always looking down field and made some really good decisions. He made plays with his legs but it wasn’t a run-first mentality. I know a lot of that was designed but his effort from start to finish was solid. He’s quick out of the pocket but his straight-line speed was surprising. That’s a good problem to have. Some of his passes weren’t on the mark but I believe some of that was nerves.

    RB
    The running plays were vanilla and the guys showed some flashes. Brody Belt looked good as did Jalen Bradley at times. I still feel Miles Jones is better lined up at the slot. This team really needs Maurice Washington, Dedrick Mills and Rahmir Johnson to show up big in the fall. Hopefully they’re all running through summer ball. I say that because Washington is on a different level than the guys we saw Saturday.

    Spotlight: Jalen Bradley (RB)
    A lot of people liked what they saw from Bradley on Saturday. I was about 50/50 when I went back and re-watched his carries. It’s easy to see those first couple of carries and think the kid will be all-world. However, it was the other carries where he reminded me of Greg Bell. Good initial move – not great but not a lot of 4th and 5th gear speed. A lot of indecisiveness and his vision of the field is good but his instincts aren’t where they need to be. A few times he just shut it down. Granted, at times he had nowhere to run and sometimes you just have to accept your stop. But he had some plays where it appeared as though he was lost and looked like a cat stepping on a wet floor. Perhaps I’m a little too harsh but the spotlight was there for him to step up… not sure if he did.

    WR
    Spielman and Robinson being held out didn’t help but that was the best move by the staff. I know as a fan I wanted to see those guys because they’re exciting as hell. I thought Woodyard, Warner, McQuitty and Jones ran solid routes. Most fans judge WRs by their receptions and TDs but if you go back and look at the routes they ran, that was very satisfying to see. Andre Hunt needs to continue to build up his strength. And Nance needs some meat on the frame but I really like his speed.

    TE
    I really like the stable of TEs on this team. Considering Jack Stoll was held out, I didn’t see a drop off with Allen, Rafdal and LeGrone.

    Spotlight: Katerian LeGrone (TE)
    I love the kid’s physical build and how he used it to his advantage but I really liked the way he ran his routes and used his hands. I also liked his energy and he is a different animal compared to the other tall and lean TEs on the roster. Too early to tell you who he reminded me of but I hope this kid gets his snaps on Saturday.

    LB
    On the outside looking in, it appears there is a solid core of LBs but the depth isn’t there. Definitely need Will Honas to get healthy because Collin Miller is still figuring out the instinctual aspects of the inside position. Domann is solid and I feel really comfortable with the safeties so hopefully we can keep him on the outside.

    Spotlight: Alex Davis (OLB)
    There was quite a bit of chatter about Davis during spring ball. He showed some signs and the guy definitely needs to be the first player off the bus. He seemed to be playing a little faster and precise with his movements. Hopefully that’s the “comfort” factor finally settling in. I remember a play he made a couple of years ago at Purdue or Illinois and thought the dude had potential. Fast forward today, I hope it clicks for him because as I said above, the depth at LB is scary thin.

    DB
    I’m feeling really good about the secondary. Lamar Jackson and Dicaprio Bootle look very comfortable out there and not afraid to hit. But the biggest thing I was happy to see was the play of Dontai Williams and Marquel Dismuke. That’s not a bad starting secondary. Then you have a guy like Cam Taylor that can line up anywhere in the secondary. Hopefully his speed and energy is contagious.
     
  11. cthusker

    cthusker You talken to me? 5 Year Member

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    Also have to factor in it's a very different offense with AM running it. He makes a HUGE difference including runs where he was just touched and the play was over. In a game there's no way he should have been tackled on some of those plays imo. Teams are going to ALWAYS spy on him or they will pay for it which is break away runs. He seems to know exactly when it's time to take off and run but never seems to panic.

    Not having Spielman and Robinson available had to have a big impact on the offense. I agree if we give up 7 to 10 points less a game we have a good shot at winning 9 or 10 games.
     
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  12. Husker Country Doc

    Husker Country Doc All American 15 Year Member

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    Unless Vikings practice facility has Minny colors and "7 national Championships" banner on the wall, I don't think so.
     
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  13. Husker Country Doc

    Husker Country Doc All American 15 Year Member

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    He proved that last year vs. MSU
     
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  14. cthusker

    cthusker You talken to me? 5 Year Member

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    And he did it absolutely horrible conditions...... He's a keeper for sure!
     
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  15. joncarl

    joncarl Nobody important 10 Year Member

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    I hope it was just nerves, I just didn't think he was good, doesn't mean he can't get better.
     
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