This year's spring ball has been pretty lame newswise in comparison to years past. Theres good and bad to that. Of course we want the news about the team and how they're really picking up the offense, but we also don't need to hear overhyping and people going nuts over players because "_____ had 425 yards passing and 7 TDs today" or "_____ had 4 sacks and 12 tackles." Every year, the message boards light up with people asking if so-and-so is the next Adams, Kirkland, or John Elway. I'm glad we aren't getting that information this year.
But even though the press isn't allowed in, doesnt mean we aren't hearing things from those who are at practice. Swinney can't close off everything. Here are some rumors and thoughts we have heading into the last week of practice based on what has been printed or we've heard.
- Tajh Boyd has shown the confidence and the desire to learn that you want, and the team is behind him. Still, his mechanics are sloppy and he's careless with the football. The separation between himself and the early enrollees in terms of grasping the offense and reading defenses is not great. Right now he's playing like he didn't learn much the last couple years. Doesn't read coverages well.
- Cole Stoudt has been very impressive. He has shown that he can read the defense as good as or better than Boyd and he's physically not very far behind him. Ball velocity is good and if his happy feet gets corrected he's going to be good. His NFL pedigree is showing, his dad taught him well. Could be a Simmons/Whitehurst situation. McNeal has arm strength but is more raw.
- Our RBs are terrible. D.J. Howard right now should exit as the #2, because Buice is as slow as Shuey and McDowell is still in the doghouse. Buice will at least try to run people over. Hot Rod may end up playing more WR if he doesnt feel like running harder, or may be gone.
- WR play aside from Hopkins and possibly Joe Craig is not up to snuff. Jaron Brown is still inconsistent. Bryce McNeal says hes 185 now, which is about where he should be, but he's not physical. If Craig was utilized better at Gaffney and wasn't so raw in his route running, I'd say he'd beat McNeal at one of the slots. Morris has remarked on the bad WR play in a very politic way, but their development has been downright awful. Jeff Scott better get his shit together.
- Phil Price is going to leave spring as the #1 LT. Thats not because Brandon Thomas sucks and/or is untalented, but because he's not working hard. He doesnt seem to want to. I believe Price could be a servicable backup, but we don't win in November with Price at LT. Look for David Smith to move over in August if Thomas doesn't want it.
- Reid Webster is going to be 2nd string RG or RT, wherever they put him he's going to get at least the 2nd team job. Gifford Timothy is young but looks like he'll be OK. Webster is ahead of Kalon Davis, and David Beasley has shown his inexperience. I found that disappointing since DB is the one I wanted most in that class. 2nd team OL is probably the position most in flux come August.
- Kourtnei Brown going out with the sprain is bad for a guy needing that much technique work. He wasn't that impressive before going down. Corey Crawford will be a good one when he learns the system though. We really need another pass rusher.
- Both Tavaris Barnes and Rennie Moore playing the 3-technique gives us the talent we need there to win with, but they need weight. Right now they're pass rushers but DTs have to be sturdy against the run too, and 270lbs isn't enough. They need to put the muscle mass on this summer. Clemson needs an elite DT in the 2012 class.
- Shatley, Watson, at best will be Miguel Chavis-types, but not this year. Servicable but not talented. Shatley's feet are too slow. Watson needs weight. Tra Thomas has serious attitude problems.
- Vic Beasley is running #2 WILL, Justin Parker #2 SAM behind Quan Christian, who has been very good. Christian will not be unseated by a freshman this fall, he's legit. Beasley has put on 15lbs since enrolling and I've heard little about Willard this spring. That can change in August but Weakside is somewhere where a freshman is going to play early. Corico Hawkins will be the starter at MLB on opening day.
- Meeks and Hall - good. Sensabaugh is going to lose the default starting job at one CB position. Bashaud Breeland is likely to get it, and has really really impressed this spring. Darius Robinson will also fight for it. Brewer is getting the other one and plays Nickel.
- Kickers are all shitty. All of them worthless.
After we get our hands on the Spring game video and finish the LB series we'll be working on going further with Morris' offense.