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Spring Game grades

BigRedOhio

Travel Squad
10 Year Member
Offensive Line = C- I still think we are very weak at tackle and just don't have a ton of talent across the board on the Oline. They were short-handed, so hopefully we'll see improvement
Quarterback = B- Sims played well and the other guys had a ton of dropped balls that should have been caught. Some of the QB's played better than their stats because of the drops. The fumbles and miscues have to stop though
Running Back = B- we have some depth but still not sure we have anyone that is elite. The positive is that the top 3 guys all give you something different, so its a decent group. Bonner did well in his role as well.
WR = C- Kemp and Washington did pretty well, but we will need to see more contributors at this position. Hoping some guys were held out that might be big contributors in the fall.
TE = C Work in progress right now. Not sure how good we are at this position until someone emerges as a dominant go-to- guy.

Defensive Line = B- Some new faces out there and some good looking young players (some young guys that were making our experienced Olinemen look bad). I like the athleticism and reinforcements will be coming in the fall. Again, this position still has a lot to prove and can it be as physical as we need it to be in the Big 10.
LB = B Sherman and Chief are solid additions and Butler looks promising. We will get reinforcements in the fall but overall this group appears to be the type of unit we need at LB. It feels like it has been a while since we've had this type of depth and athleticism.
Defensive Backs = B- We have very good depth at this position overall with several new additions. Saw too many missed tackles but this group seems to ready to play physical football. It will be interesting to see who our top 5-6 guys are in the fall.

Special Teams - really hard to give a grade here. It appears to be a work in progress that hopefully improves dramatically over the past few years. One thing we seem to be lacking is a true return threat. Seems like its been awhile since we've had a home run hitter returning kicks.

**One great thing I saw was no excessive celebrations following routine plays. Man, I hated that the last several years.
 
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as good as chief, butler, and sherman looked, we also have 2 starters from last yr who didnt play, so i have to think our LB group is maybe the most solid. I think our Def will be reasonably good, especially after they play 3 games, and get some unity of play.
 
as good as chief, butler, and sherman looked, we also have 2 starters from last yr who didnt play, so i have to think our LB group is maybe the most solid. I think our Def will be reasonably good, especially after they play 3 games, and get some unity of play.
agree. I think a lot of it will depend on how the interior dline plays once we get into Big 10 play. I think Jeudy will be a big factor once the season starts. He is a big body that doesn't go backwards.
 
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Offensive Line = C- I still think we are very weak at tackle and just don't have a ton of talent across the board on the Oline. They were short-handed, so hopefully we'll see improvement
Quarterback = B- Sims played well and the other guys had a ton of dropped balls that should have been caught. Some of the QB's played better than their stats because of the drops. The fumbles and miscues have to stop though
Running Back = B- we have some depth but still not sure we have anyone that is elite. The positive is that the top 3 guys all give you something different, so its a decent group. Bonner did well in his role as well.
WR = C- Kemp and Washington did pretty well, but we will need to see more contributors at this position. Hoping some guys were held out that might be big contributors in the fall.
TE = C Work in progress right now. Not sure how good we are at this position until someone emerges as a dominant go-to- guy.

Defensive Line = B- Some new faces out there and some good looking young players (some young guys that were making our experienced Olinemen look bad). I like the athleticism and reinforcements will be coming in the fall. Again, this position still has a lot to prove and can it be as physical as we need it to be in the Big 10.
LB = B Sherman and Chief are solid additions and Butler looks promising. We will get reinforcements in the fall but overall this group appears to be the type of unit we need at LB. It feels like it has been a while since we've had this type of depth and athleticism.
Defensive Backs = B- We have very good depth at this position overall with several new additions. Saw too many missed tackles but this group seems to ready to play physical football. It will be interesting to see who our top 5-6 guys are in the fall.

Special Teams - really hard to give a grade here. It appears to be a work in progress that hopefully improves dramatically over the past few years. One thing we seem to be lacking is a true return threat. Seems like its been awhile since we've had a home run hitter returning kicks.

**One great thing I saw was no excessive celebrations following routine plays. Man, I hated that the last several years.
  • Offensive line definitely needs to continue to improve, but depth is going to be critical too. You are going to have a few guys get rolled up over the season and have to have guys who can come in and play.
  • I agree that QB play was solid. Sims played well and looked like a serviceable starting quarterback. The rest of the guys probably won't be in the top-3 on the depth chart (I assume Thompson and Smothers will be up there). I think we saw some good things out of each, but still a lot of improvement is needed before I want to see them in a game that matters.
  • I still believe our RB group is only going to be as good as our OLine will allow. I think we've got some really good backs, but they'll need holes to be able to showcase their talent. This is probably the position I'm least worried about.
  • Kemp had a really good start to the game. We don't have a Trey Palmer this year, so the group as a whole will need to step up. Number of drops and fumbles that we can't have when season starts.
  • TE- I didn't get to see a lot out of this position in the 1st half (which is all I watched).
  • Defense as a whole seemed to play pretty well. Hard to tell how much of that was because of sub-par offense or good defense. Regardless, I'm hoping defense will be a strength for us this season.
  • Special teams definitely still has me worried. Bleekrode missed a couple of field goals. We didn't get to see much on coverages or returns. If we can even be average on special teams, that would be helpful. Can't afford to have it be a weakness.
 
I would like to see how each of the position coaches graded the individual players, and I think we'll get some idea soon as a few players move on in one way or another.

For the coaches, it's an opportuity to see individual players operating in different situations against different guys. I never think of it as a game. The only time it was was back in the day when the team scrimmaged against alums.

I also have the weakness of following the ball rather than seeing if the right guard did his job. or the cut of the tight end was sharp or deceptive enough, etc.

So field goals and punts were about it for me as far as grading goes, and I would call that incomplete.
 
My thoughts on Rhule's first spring game:
Defenders were pretty physical and you could see guys playing free and showing some athleticism.
Swarming to the ball on D was pretty good. Nice effort.

On O, Bonner could develop into a really nice piece, Washington's hands are holding him back, and the O line was taking some different angles playcalling wise. More come off the ball and strike.

Athletically we have some cool pieces for the future and hopefully near future.

Other than that it was the first spring and they weren't going to give Colorado and Minnesota much to work with.

Not sure we could have expected any more at this point.
 
I still believe our RB group is only going to be as good as our OLine will allow. I think we've got some really good backs, but they'll need holes to be able to showcase their talent. This is probably the position I'm least worried about.
Agree that better Oline play could potentially make this group look really good.

Defense as a whole seemed to play pretty well. Hard to tell how much of that was because of sub-par offense or good defense. Regardless, I'm hoping defense will be a strength for us this season.
I was wondering the same thing... was our defensive play a result of poor offense? I like that our defense was very active and put out some big hits. Really need the Dline to take shape before the opener.
 
I also have the weakness of following the ball rather than seeing if the right guard did his job. or the cut of the tight end was sharp or deceptive enough, etc.
I think we are all guilty of that from time to time. But I do try to watch the interior play on both sides of the ball especially when I re-watch the game.

After re-watching, our tackles are really poor in pass protection... It has to be glaring to opposing coaches. We are weak at center as well. I was hoping for an upgrade there, but I'm not sure the transfer from Arizona State will hold up in the Big 10. He was blown backwards decidedly several times.

I was fairly impressed with Jeudy on the Dline. I assume we'll see more of him during the season.
 
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