The Tigers had another scrimmage over the weekend, and now that I've talked to some in attendence the picture of this team is becoming more and more clear. However, nothing matters until the lights come on in Atlanta, so it can still go up or down from where we are now.
- Cole Stoudt has solidified the #2 spot at QB based on his knowledge of the offense. Kelly may actually beat Roberts for #3, but if he's not #2 then you can bet he redshirts. Roberts can run the offense but his lack of speed and arm strength would get us killed in the season.
- People have asked me a few times what I thought about the large number of INTs thrown. This is not something I could answer well, but from what I've been told, Boyd still makes a few dumb decisions throwing into coverage. You can force balls in practice just to see your limits, but its a potential worry.
- The starting OL will very likely be Brandon Thomas - D. Beasley - Freeman - Shatley - Anthony. Anthony is only slated to start if Gifford Timothy cannot go. He is on track to start contact again this week, but The Chad said today that if he cannot practice next Monday or Tuesday, he will not play against Auburn. I'm really hopeful that David Beasley's light has come on, and in the scrimmage he did alright. 2nd team is Battle - K. Davis - Norton - Webster - Joe Gore, as a unit.
They will try to work Battle in to get 10-15 snaps a game, which is about what I had hoped. That would allow them to move Thomas back to LG, where he has the best draft potential. Also, if Timothy comes back and Anthony is playing well enough at Tackle, and over the weekend he did OK, we might actually have some damn depth up front for once.
- From the scrimmage, it appears the offense was doing what we predicted after a few more weeks of practicing. They were looking considerably better than the first week. 1st team OL did alright, 2nd team as a unit did not. There were not many situational short yardages presented, so we don't know if they are any better there.
- Jaron Brown was getting more PT in 4-wide sets than 3-wide. Peake and Bryant were taking a few of his snaps in 3-wide sets. You could take this as an indicator that they are passing Jaron, but the Chad said this today:
"Jaron is the guy. There's no doubt about that. But the competition has been good for Jaron. That position right there is a bigger, more physical receiver, and it's good to see. It's made Jaron better. It really has. And it's making Martavis better. We'll create a lot of mismatches with that down the line.But you talk 90 snaps in the game, Jaron's going to get 50. Then somebody's got to get 40. Or if Jaron gets 60, somebody's got to get in there and get 30."
So I guess we'll see as the season progresses. Peake is technically the backup 5-man, but they are now crosstraining positions more. It looks like Hopper is heading towards redshirt.
- Stanton Seckinger is the backup TE, passing both Cooper and Eric Maclain. How should we take this, you may wonder. Seckinger is 210 lbs, so he's not going to be an on-the-line TE for awhile. He's going to be a flexed TE who moves in motion and is a big receiver over the middle. Cooper is an on-the-line TE, and Ford right now could do both tasks. If we go to the Firehouse formation, or other run-heavy personnel groupings with multiple TEs, I'd still expect to see Darrell Smith and Cooper out there instead of Seckinger this season.
As we've noted several times, Maclain's outright footspeed has not been very impressive when one of us has seen him practice or scrimmage. Could this mean he will move to RT and become another Price? Not sure. Clemson recruited him and promised him a chance at TE, and he's of the Cooper/Palmer mold; i.e., not a flex-TE type. He was adamant in his recruiting process that he did not want to play OT, so this would be worth following next offseason.
- Vic Beasley has lost another 10 lbs in August camp, down to 225. He needs to be in the 240-250 range. This is one case where an overall nutrition program will show its benefit. I'd expect him to put 5lbs right back on after two-a-days are done, but he needs to gain to become anything but a spot pass rusher.
- Expect to see a ton of Cover 3 from Venables this season in comparison to Steele. Kevin ran more 2 Man and Cover 4 when he went away from Cover 1, and BV will probably lean towards a safer 3. Cover 1 is a natural complement to C3, so we're not throwing out the old coverage packages entirely. This defense is simpler but still very similar in appearance to Steele's.
- One thing I hear from everyone is that the linebackers are all over the place in all scrimmages. Their play should be markedly improved. It will need to be given the depth up front and the depth immediately behind them. At least everyone up front has had a good motor thus far. Realistically I think we're a year away from having a dominant DL again.
Christian was in a yellow jersey and did not play that much in the last scrimmage. Blanks and Townsend took more snaps instead.
- Angles from the secondary are improving, but I'd like to judge this for myself come next weekend. I'm very skeptical that it was really "fixed". The safeties in this defense are meant to be heavier hitters and have some fill responsibilities that they didn't in the last one, or at least did not show in the last one. Brewer is still 1st team FS with Meeks at SS. Blanks is learning a bit of the FS position, where he may eventually wind up.
- Pinion is being beaten by Benton as starting Punter because of consistency, it may take Pinion a little longer but he has the most talent, maybe even since Gardocki.
- Punt returners are Adam Humphries, Nuk, and Jaron. Kickoff is Martavis, Jaron, Peake, and Ellington. Andre is pushing for this because it'll help him get drafted higher, otherwise they probably wouldn't let him do it given the RB depth.