Peeps, WMD managed to make it to SBW. It was a big day, and hats off to all you guys for smashing the attendance record at baseball. It just sucks that our administration did virtually nothing to accommodate such a big crowd. I literally never even saw the field for the game, but that's a different rant. You're here for football. I'm sure you're burning to know what these guys looked like. Well, you've come to the right place. Here's what I saw:
1. Standard disclaimer: Hard to tell much about the D, or the team in general, when there's little-to-no blitzing and you're playing in the very vanilla base package.
2. Thought we looked like we had good speed. Not a lot of missed tackles.
3. Nick James looks like he may finally be ready to capitalize on his potential. He's still huge, but it's a different type of weight. He carries it well and played for most of 3 quarters. Got good push at times. Super excited about him.
4. Defensive highlight was Deontay Evans pick and return. Granted it was a very ill-advised throw that hung up in the wind, but Evans made a nice play on it. Then he did a good job weaving through traffic for a very solid return.
1. Dak was Dak. Didn't play much, as expected. Led the offense to TDs on every drive he played. Looked very good throwing. Very pleased with his progression as a passer when his legs weren't a big part of the plan.
2. I was incredibly impressed with Damian Williams. He was dropping dimes all day and may be a better pure passer than Dak. The velocity he can get on the ball is fun to watch. God forbid it happens, but if Dak were to be out for a couple of games, I'd be very comfortable with D-Will starting. The kid looks like he has that special "It" the way Dak does.
3. Really liked what I saw from Nick Fitzgerald. He looked better than I expected throwing. Showed some nice maneuverability in the pocket. Also liked the way he led the team and the offense seemed to respond to him. He may not redshirt after all, and you can definitely forget any talk of him changing positions. He's a QB, and he'll be a good one before he leaves MSU.
4. I thought the WRs were the most improved group on the field. We all know what we're getting with Tubby and RoJo. But the other guys looked much improved. You can really see the hiring of Billy Gonzalez beginning to pay off. The routes were run more sharply, guys fought harder, and they used their hands better. Can't say enough about how good this unit looked.
5. Bear Wilson is progressing quickly. He made one particularly tough jump ball catch.
6. Remember the name Fred Brown. I talked about this guy last spring, but he looks ready to make a quantum leap forward this year. He kept making big plays downfield. His most impressive catch was on a deep pass from D-Will where he was blanketed by the DB, got interfered with, jumped up in the air, adjusted to the ball, and outfought the DB for it. He made a catch a little later along the same lines where he was completely blanketed and managed to adjust and outfight a DB for the ball. WMD is looking forward to saying "I told you so" about Brown this fall.
7. I also really liked Fred Ross. He made a couple of big grabs down the seam. Look for him to make a jump forward this fall.
8. Don't sleep on Shelby Christy. He's tall and can go get it. He might be the big bodied possession WR we've been missing. I was most impressed with how he worked his away along the back of the end zone on a D-Will scramble play and got himself into position to make a diving TD grab along the back line with a DB all over him.
10. Brandon Holloway is a slot WR with poor hands. He needs to be our #1 kick & punt returner and used on jet sweeps. Other than that, you're forced to run him north-south in the 0 or 2 hole and hope there's enough of a seam for him to break it. He definitely isn't moving any piles or getting extra YAC.
11. J-Rob looked good, as expected.
12. Did Ashton Shumpert get hurt early? He only had like 2 carries on the first White Team series, then didn't play again.
13. Our first 6-7 on the OL should be good, but we've got trouble after that. Damein Robinson isn't the answer at RT. We need Justin Malone, Jocquell Johnson, or Justin Senior to step up and win that spot. Ben Beckwith looked good at C with Dillon Day not playing. We've got to stay healthy up front or the 2014 season could go south in a big hurry.
14. Nick Griffin looked surprisingly good. Made a couple nice runs and seemed a little more explosive. Don't know if he's 100% of what he was before the injuries, but he's definitely ahead of where he was last season. Might be a little harder for one of the incoming freshman to move ahead of him on the depth chart than I initially thought. Griffin will go down as one of my favorite Dawgs after battling through the injuries to keep playing.
15. A little disappointed in our run game on the whole, but the scrimmage was definitely pass-oriented. The QBs clearly didn't have the freedom to pull it on the read-option. I'm not worried about it, unless we struggle to run in a real game. It's a different animal when Dak & D-Will have the freedom to keep it on anything other than a scramble play.
1. Same song, 587th verse. Only 33% on FGs when I left in the 4th Quarter. We also missed an XP. But in fairness, I thought #82 looked like he could wind up being very good. It was easy to tell he has a big leg. He just needs a little more consistency. Biggest cheer of the day came when he nailed a 47 yard FG that would've been good from at least 60. Give the kid a chance over Sobiesk, I say.
2. Only saw one or two punts, which is a good thing. Besides, we all know Bell can be an elite punter.
1. If you don't love Boobie, what's wrong with you? For the 2nd year in a row, Boobie comes off the sideline and scores a TD. Also, he's freaking huge. Hopefully he can get some serious PT in Buffalo, as they need a hammer to go with CJ Spiller.
2. Did Dan Mullen look like he's lost some weight? Hats off if he has.
3. It was good to see the team's energy level up. No real big hits or anything, but plenty of enthusiasm.
4. Overall, I thought we looked better offensively. But read my Disclaimer in Defense Point 1. That said, I'm super excited about the WRs and QBs.
That's what WMD saw, anyway. You guys all know the drill. Let's talk spring football. Fire in the hole!
In Mullen We Trust,