noodlz2 reacted to NCAA Transfer Portal in  Phase 1 Instructions
Once the list of players entering the Transfer Portal is released, coaches may receive information via PM about a player's likelihood to leave. Their likelihood to leave is represented by one of the following:
If no information is given about a player then their likelihood is "Very High."
All coaches should create a thread in the Transfer Bids subforum titled " Team name". If you are spending points in Phase 1 to convince a player to stay, format the bid(s) in your initial post like so:
If you do not want to spend points on your outgoing players simply put "N/A" or "None" in the initial post.
Each point SPENT reduces the chance of the player leaving by 1%. PROMISES reduce the chance of the player leaving by however many points the Promise gained.
ONCE THIS THREAD IS CREATED YOUR PHASE 1 MAY BE PROCESSED AT ANY TIME. DO NOT POST THIS THREAD UNTIL YOUR ARE COMPLETELY READY TO PROCEED.
XP spent here are subtracted from your available XP pool for Week 1 of Phase 2. Each Promise costs 2 XP to make. No matter how low the chance of a player leaving is listed, they WILL leave if no points are spent on them in this Phase.
noodlz2 reacted to bingo415 in Predict your conference!
Longer pre-season media coming out of the PAC-12 HQ in San Francisco, but here's a cursory look:
Tier 1 -- Essentially, the Conference champion will come from this group
Washington State Cougars
UCLA Bruins (VERY close to Tier 1)
California Golden Bears
Arizona State Sun Devils
Oregon State Little Brothers
If I were a pre-season betting man, I'd go out on a limb and say PAC-12 CCG will be:
24 - 21
(and this annoys me plenty...)
noodlz2 reacted to TuscanSota in Predict your conference!
Oregon (Bingo is a crazy good coach)
UDub (They have Jake Davis and I hate that)
UCLA (Aaron Harden hype train)
Wazzu (Everyone's saying my defense is supposed to be scary but I'm doubting myself after last season.)
California (If you haven't seen their offensive talent you're head is under a rock)
USC (They have the talent but the inexperience at QB. I don't see them winning the south with a 1.5/5 QB)
Arizona State (This team is my Dark horse for the Pac 12 south. That offense has to wake up sooner or later)
Utah (Freshman talent, Shark Finn at QB)
Oregon State (No outlying strengths, but no outlying weaknesses. Overall mediocre team)
Stanford (I don't how far they fall but my guess is here)
Arizona (Their freshman are something to watch out for, I will give them credit for that)
noodlz2 reacted to Soluna in  Soluna Talks: Kansas Jayhawks
Head Coach: stormstopper (70-48, tenth year)
2022 Record: 6-7 (4-5)
Projected 2023 Record: 6-6
Five Key Points:
Pretty much the entire Jayhawk season rides on how much Christian Graham can create from nothing in terms of available talent in the passing game. If Graham is a Shea-type player I could see this team making it to 8 or so wins, but if he's reliant on his playmakers this could be a rough year. Outside of the obvious issues at receiver that have plagued this team for the past three years or so, there's now a fairly major hole at Guard that could be exploited by teams with strong front seven cores such as Oklahoma. The defensive line is going to keep the team in a lot of close competitions against run-based teams and I suspect they will take some pressure off of Graham but the youth of the linebacking unit could become an issue in longer games where the team has to outduel the opponent. It appears Kansas is running without a kicker this year by choice which could become an interesting storyline/gamble if it does remain that way - I don't think this is something you should attempt unless you either don't have a kicker or are trying to catch another team off-guard. Look for the team to rely heavily on redshirt senior cornerback Javier Blount - he needs to make things happen for this team to win the close ones and he has to pedigree to pull it off if necessary.
noodlz2 got a reaction from bingo415 in  California Golden Bears Pre-Transfers Depth Chart (+RS)
Gonna have a solid stable of 3 power RBs next season
noodlz2 reacted to Jieret in  Springtime in the PAC: June 24 results (Arizona, UW)
Time waits for no one, and neither do these spring games....
Format: 1st team Offense/2nd team Defense (Blue Team) vs. 1st team Defense/2nd team Offense (Red Team)
Result: Red Team 27-21
Sr WR Vincent Hutton (Red): 5 catches for 102 yards, 1 TD. (So) WR Zion Carroll (Blue): 8 catches for 100 yards, 1 TD.
Fr FS Damione Parham (Red): 5 TKL, 1 INT, 1 PD. (Jr) OLB Myles Hunter (Blue): 4 TKL, 1 TFL, 1.0 Sack.
The Wildcats’ game may have the most fascinating results of all the Pac-12 games played to date. It’s not just that a pretty good defense got the best of a pretty good offense, it’s that the PAC’s leading returning rusher Josiah Smallwood got outplayed by true freshman Jerrick Blount. It’s that true freshman Tevin Rodriguez (17/27 for 230 yds., 2 TDs) held his own (if not better) against JuCo QB Christian Noonan (22/35 for 260 yds., 3 TDs, 1 INT). Despite all that it was an even contest on the scoreboard throughout most of the game, which makes the passing performances of both QBs even more impressive - especially when compared to last year’s starter Adam Slone.
But about the first-string defense… they look scary. Despite giving up three passing TDs to Noonan, FIVE TFL’s between junior DT Siali Ainuu and senior DE Tyriek Humphrey suggests that the Desert Swarm defense is alive and well in Tucson. And they did manage to keep Smallwood out of the end zone, a concept he is very unfamiliar with.
Tomorrow’s future, today?
We’re pretty sure Christian Noonan and Josiah Smallwood will open the season against the Pokies of Okie State. But you can’t blame fans for drooling at bit at what Tevin Rodriguez and Jerrick Blount were able to do, especially when you remember that Tevin’s older brother Taylor starred for the ‘Cats. Coach @brightfalls will have to wear some earmuffs to avoid the calls for Tevin if Arizona again struggles on offense.
Doesn’t have to be Thanos-level, but-
SOME balance would be nice. The wheels AND axles AND the transmission all fell off for the ‘Cats over their last seven games in 2022, and it was all due to their anemic offense becoming incredibly one-dimensional. If they can find some semblance of a passing game (which the spring game suggests maybe they did) and not tire out the defense so much, the D is good enough to drag the team to a bowl game with room to spare.
Format: 1st team Offense/2nd team Defense (Purple Team) vs. 1st team Defense/2nd team Offense (Gold Team)
Result: Purple Team 35-17
(Jr) WR Charles Kemp (Purple): 7 catches for 121 yards, 2 TDs. (Jr) TE Isiah Vega (Gold): 5 catches for 66 yards, 1 TD.
Jr OLB Mario Jarvis (Purple): 5 TKL, 1.0 Sack, 1 PD. (Jr) DE Antoine Dudley (Gold): 4 TKL, 2 TFL.
This game became a surprisingly one-sided affair early, as the Purple team jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead* and never looked back. Jake Davis tossed three touchdowns - two to Charles Kemp - and RB Kofi Walls had 139 yards and 2 TDs of his own on the ground. True freshman Spencer Boland wasn’t as effective for the Gold team with 140 yards in the air and 2 picks to balance out his touchdown pass to TE Isiah Vega. The second-team defense definitely got the better of the second-team offense, as the back seven could seemingly just sit back at will and make plays as needed.
*The Curse of 21-3 did not manifest because it is sentient and knows there’s no point in striking a spring game.
The offense looks ready for Prime Time.
There was fun to be had by all on the offense. They looked to be in good form and hopefully they calmed nerves that remembered their 2022 midseason swoon all too well. Especially promising was Walls’ performance with a sparkling 6.32 YPG.
But the defense may not be.
Yes, it looked like the defense would be the weaker link last season and they ended up being the stronger unit in the end. Yes, once again the defense was playing second fiddle to the offense. But boy HOWDY did they take a back seat. The downside of the offense playing so well is that one starts to wonder about the state of the defense. At least Dudley and JuCo transfer Dominique Black could make a few splash plays in the backfield, but a LOT of tape-watching is up ahead for the boys on the Gold team.
The kicking game is still up for grabs.
The game didn’t shed any light one way or the other on the competition between junior Caleb Giordano and true freshman Anthony Doyle. Giordano missed a 53-yard field goal short and to the left while Doyle made his only attempt, a relatively straightforward 30-yarder. The Huskies coaching staff could very well use both kickers throughout the season as they compete for a division title.
noodlz2 got a reaction from bingo415 in  California Golden Bears Pre-Transfers Depth Chart (+RS)
QB Nick Ellison 6-5 225 (Jr) Galileo Academy (San Francisco CA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling]
QB Max Lauer 6-5 202 (So) De La Salle (Concord CA) 3.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling]
QB Conor Moser 6-7 213 Sr Avenal (Avenal CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Pocket]
QB Benjamin Doyle 6-3 223 Fr Decatur (Federal Way WA) 2.5 of 3.0 [Scrambling]
QB Jude Crum 6-1 202 (Sr) Vernon Kilpatrick (Malibu, CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Scrambling]
QB Abraham Daley 6-3 218 Jr St. Mary's College (Berkeley CA) 2.0 of 2.5 [Pocket]
QB Brett Werner 6-3 205 Jr Horizon (San Diego CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Pocket]
QB Caleb Stoner 6-2 191 So Fontana (Fontana CA) 1.5 of 2.5 [Pocket]
QB Nick Bryan 6-2 212 So Twin Valley (Pilgrims Knob VA) 2.0 of 2.5 [Scrambling]
QB Tony Masters 5-11 207 So Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland CA) 1.5 of 2.5 [Pocket]
RB Zachary McFadden 5-10 190 (Sr) Mammoth (Lakes, CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Speed]
RB Naiquon Barner 5-11 211 (Fr) Desert (Edwards CA) 2.5 of 5.0 [Power]
RB Donte Mack 5-6 204 Jr Golden Valley (Merced CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [Power]
RB Tim Meier 5-9 205 So Montville Township (Montville NJ) 2.0 of 2.5 [Speed]
FB Lorenzo Shearer 5-9 229 (So) Valley Christian (San Jose CA) 3.5 of 4.0 [Run Blocking]
FB Albert Koehler 5-8 232 (Jr) Orange Glen (Escondido CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking]
FB Kamari Grant 5-11 207 (Sr) Renton (Renton, WA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Run Blocking]
FB Michael Cassidy 6-1 225 (Jr) Pioneer (Whittier CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Pass Blocking]
FB Lance Beatty 5-10 250 So Angelo Rodriguez (Fairfield CA) 2.0 of 2.5 [Run Blocking]
WR Spencer Sharpe 6-2 196 Sr Atlanta Metropolitan College (Atlanta GA) 5.0 of 5.0 [Speed]
WR Marcus Hightower 6-3 192 (So) Glendale (Glendale CA) 4.0 of 5.0 [Speed]
WR Oscar Burr 5-10 160 (Jr) Acalanes (Lafayette CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Speed]
TE Kahiau Alama 6-3 212 (So) El Dorado (Placerville CA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Receiving]
WR Greg Quinn-Minton 6-0 216 (Sr) Galileo Academy (Francisco, CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Speed]
WR Griffin Petty-Bennett 6-3 191 (Jr) St. Mary's College (Berkeley CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Speed]
WR Jordy Trujillo 5-11 170 So Edison (Stockton CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Speed]
WR Nicolas Alfaro 6-3 209 So Needles (Needles CA) 2.0 of 3.0 [Target]
TE Kahiau Alama 6-3 212 (So) El Dorado (Placerville CA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Receiving]
TE Benjamin Anthony 6-3 194 (Fr) Jordan Valley (Jordan Valley OR) 2.0 of 4.0 [Receiving]
TE Ibrahima Hatcher 6-1 195 (Sr) Long Beach Polytechnic (CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Receiving]
TE Edward Kauffman 6-2 191 Sr East Bakersfield (Bakersfield CA) 1.5 of 1.5 [Receiving]
TE Tony Ragsdale 6-1 233 Fr Argonaut (Jackson CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [Blocking]
Left Offensive Tackle
OT Philip Engel 6-2 301 Jr Golden Valley (Merced CA) 4.5 of 5.0 [Run Blocking]
OT Ari Todd 6-2 276 So West Valley (Hemet CA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Pass Blocking]
OT Giovanni Blank 6-7 261 So Chula Vista (Chula Vista CA) 2.0 of 3.0 [Pass Blocking]
Left Offensive Guard
OG Philip Barber 6-4 324 (Jr) Mammoth (Mammoth Lakes CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Run Blocking]
OG Rowan Obrien 6-2 264 Jr Lund (Lund NV) 2.5 of 2.5 [Run Blocking]
OG Larry Scott 6-4 280 So Acalanes (Lafayette CA) 1.5 of 2.5 [Pass Blocking]
C John Eubanks 6-1 268 (Jr) Temecula Valley (Temecula CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Run Blocking]
C Leonard Ulrich 6-3 271 (Sr) Kamehameha (Honolulu, HI) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking]
C Mateo Hathaway 6-4 269 Fr Renton (Renton WA) 2.0 of 3.0 [Pass Blocking]
C Bob Hopper 6-1 296 So Desert (Edwards CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Run Blocking]
Right Offensive Guard
OG Walt Anders 6-1 272 (Fr) Williams (Williams CA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Pass Blocking]
OG Jaden Elkins 6-4 287 Sr Gladstone (Covina CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [Run Blocking]
OG Antoine Hardy 6-4 276 Jr Glendale (Glendale CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Run Blocking]
Right Offensive Tackle
OT Erik Oliva 6-1 330 (Sr) East Linn Christian (Lebanon, OR) 3.0 of 3.0 [Run Blocking]
OT Jude Schmitt 6-1 310 (Fr) Galileo Academy (San Francisco CA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Run Blocking]
Left Defensive End
DE Sincere Brinson 6-6 240 Fr Hayfork (Hayfork CA) 1.5 of 3.0 [Contain]
DE Mark Harper 6-3 241 Fr Valley (Bakersfield CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [Blitz]
ATH Adam Gibson 6-3 331 Jr Horizon (San Diego CA) 3.0 of 5.0 [2-Gap]
DT Mason Neely 6-7 308 (Jr) Glendale (Glendale CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [1-Gap]
DT Miles Poole 6-3 307 So St. Mary's College (Berkeley CA) 2.0 of 3.0 [2-Gap]
DT Abdoul Easter 6-1 330 Sr Edison (Stockton CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [2-Gap]
DT Janoris Reaves 6-7 331 Jr Eastlake (Chula Vista CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [2-Gap]
DT Golden Love 6-0 291 Fr Orange Glen (Escondido CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [1-Gap]
Right Defensive End
DE Jamal Dorsey 6-7 250 (So) Southwest (San Diego CA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Blitz]
ATH Tim Everett 6-2 274 So Liberty (Bakersfield CA) 2.0 of 2.5 [Blitz]
Left Outside Linebacker
OLB Mamadou Holloway 5-11 226 Sr Justin-Siena (Napa CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Coverage]
OLB Devin Avery 6-1 243 (Jr) D.S. Jordan (Los Angeles CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [Blitz]
OLB Pat Humphrey 5-11 223 Sr Gladstone (Covina CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [Coverage]
ILB D'Andre Phillips 6-4 252 (Jr) Mission San Jose (Fremont CA) 4.0 of 4.5 [Mike]
ILB Phillip Randall 6-3 217 (Fr) Justin-Siena (Napa CA) 2.0 of 4.5 [Will]
ILB Melvin Serrano 6-2 251 (Jr) Glendale (Glendale CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Mike]
ILB Ben Wray 6-0 244 (Fr) El Dorado (Placerville CA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Will]
ILB Jacquies Heard 6-1 232 (Jr) Argonaut (Jackson CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Mike]
ILB Zac Cherry 6-3 229 Jr Catalina Magnet (Tucson AZ) 2.5 of 2.5 [Mike]
ILB Connor Kennedy 6-4 247 Jr Ripon (Ripon CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Mike]
ILB Luke Burkhart 6-1 207 Jr Argonaut (Jackson CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Will]
ILB Nazir Brock 6-1 248 Jr Golden Valley (Merced CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Mike]
ILB Kofi Yarbrough 6-4 231 So Lompoc (Lompoc CA) 1.5 of 2.5 [Mike]
Right Outside Linebacker
OLB Dean Hart 5-11 228 (Fr) D.S. Jordan (Los Angeles CA) 2.5 of 3.0 [Coverage]
OLB Kofi Greer 6-1 217 Jr D.S. Jordan (Los Angeles CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [Coverage]
OLB Jerimiah Gunn 6-3 235 Jr El Dorado (Placerville CA) 1.5 of 1.5 [Coverage]
CB Shaq Kimbrough 6-0 163 Sr Darton State College (Albany GA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Zone Coverage]
CB Zachary Riggins 5-11 202 (Fr) Argonaut (Jackson CA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage]
CB Jamie King 6-0 172 Fr Justin-Siena (Napa CA) 1.5 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage]
CB Nicholas Ragland 5-10 188 (Jr) Glendale (Glendale CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Man Coverage]
CB Aaron Manuel 6-1 182 Sr Needles (Needles CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Zone Coverage]
CB Jude Barfield 5-10 162 Jr Argonaut (Jackson CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Zone Coverage]
CB Carlos Westbrook 6-2 203 Fr Angelo Rodriguez (Fairfield CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [Zone Coverage]
CB Patrick Grant 5-9 164 Fr Fontana (Fontana CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [Zone Coverage]
FS Quincy Sterling 6-1 200 Fr Chula Vista (Chula Vista CA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage]
FS Victor Gipson 6-0 218 (Sr) Mission San Jose (Fremont, CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [Man Coverage]
FS Lardarius Gilmore 5-10 197 Jr De La Salle (Concord CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Man Coverage]
FS Caleb Stock 6-0 193 Fr Horizon (San Diego CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [Zone Coverage]
SS Joshua Parris 6-0 179 (Fr) Avenal (Avenal CA) 2.5 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage]
SS Stephen Rawls 5-10 207 (Sr) Chula Vista (Vista, CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Man Coverage]
SS Leon Kessler 6-1 213 So Liberty (Bakersfield CA) 2.0 of 2.5 [Man Coverage]
SS Damon Barner 6-0 190 Sr Temecula Valley (Temecula CA) 2.0 of 2.0 [Man Coverage]
SS Marc Reid 5-11 186 So Manistee (Manistee MI) 1.5 of 2.5 [Zone Coverage]
ATH Chris Darnell 5-8 159 So Southwest (San Diego CA) 2.0 of 5.0 [Accuracy]
K Patrick Kane 5-8 185 (So) Prestonwood Christian Academy (TX) 3.5 of 3.5 [Accuracy]
K Noah Baldwin 6-0 203 So Valley Christian (San Jose CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [Power]
K Solomon Ellsworth 5-7 206 So White Pigeon (White Pigeon MI) 1.5 of 2.5 [Power]
ATH Chris Darnell 5-8 159 So Southwest (San Diego CA) 2.0 of 5.0 [Accuracy]
P Aaron Baggett-Burch 6-4 188 (Jr) West Valley (Hemet CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Power]
P Jeremiah Norris 5-9 182 (Sr) Palmer (Palmer, AK) 3.5 of 3.5 [Power]
P Jonathan McHenry 6-4 179 Sr Lompoc (Lompoc CA) 2.5 of 2.5 [Accuracy]
LS Jamal Grayson 6-2 266 Sr Valley Christian (San Jose CA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Specialized]
LS Jayson Whipple 6-3 256 So Vernon Kilpatrick (Malibu CA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Traditional]
LS Eli Mansfield 6-1 240 So Long Beach Polytechnic (CA) 2.0 of 3.0 [Traditional]
LS Jim Fisher 6-3 233 Fr Capital (Olympia WA) 1.0 of 3.0 [Specialized]
WR Griffin Petty-Bennett 6-3 191 (Jr) St. Mary's College (Berkeley CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Speed]
WR Greg Quinn-Minton 6-0 216 (Sr) Galileo Academy (Francisco, CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Speed]
WR Jordy Trujillo 5-11 170 So Edison (Stockton CA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Speed]
QB Max Lauer 6-5 202 (So) De La Salle (Concord CA) 3.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling]
RB Cayden Crawley 5-6 217 Fr Edison (Stockton CA) 1.0 of 3.5 [Power]
RB Raekwon Elam 5-8 201 Sr College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Power]
OT Mohammed Barbour 6-7 289 Fr Lompoc (Lompoc CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [Pass Blocking]
OG Kenneth Joseph Jr. 6-2 258 Fr De La Salle (Concord CA) 1.0 of 3.5 [Run Blocking]
OG Raphael Donnelly 6-6 312 Fr Valley (Bakersfield CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [Pass Blocking]
DT Wyatt Hays 6-7 281 Fr Chula Vista (Chula Vista CA) 1.0 of 3.0 [1-Gap]
OLB Marc Crawley 5-11 228 Fr Galileo Academy (San Francisco CA) 1.0 of 3.5 [Coverage]
CB DeMarcus William 6-0 186 Fr Temecula Valley (Temecula CA) 1.0 of 3.5 [Man Coverage]
FS Maximillian Carson 5-11 203 Fr Mammoth (Mammoth Lakes CA) 1.0 of 3.5 [Man Coverage]
SS Coleridge Beverly 5-10 195 Fr Chula Vista (Chula Vista CA) 1.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage]
noodlz2 reacted to Jieret in  Springtime in the PAC: June 16 results (Cal, UCLA, Utah)
The chirping of birds in the early morning, the crack of pads hitting pads, the cheering brought on by the promise of young men playing for the school, the sneezing caused by pollen... these are the sounds of spring in the Conference of Champions. That means it's time for spring games, and that means it's time to go around the Pac-12 and take a look at each school's game! Let's start with the June 16 games....
California Golden Bears
Format: 1st team Offense/2nd team Defense (Gold Team) vs. 1st team Defense/2nd team Offense (Blue Team)
Result: Blue Team 45-10
(Fr) RB Naiquon Barner (Blue): 23 carries for 134 yards, 2 TDs. Sr WR Spencer Sharpe (Gold): 6 receptions for 80 yards, 1 TD.
Sr CB Shaq Kimbrough (Blue): 2 TKL, 1 INT, 1 TD. Fr DE Mark Harper (Gold): 1 TKL, 1 TKL, 1.0 Sack.
Despite running with the 2nd team offense (note the 2.4 OL rating), redshirt freshman Barner showed that he was a man amongst boys going for almost six yards a carry - although admittedly against the second stringers on D. Meanwhile, the senior tailbacks did not look very impressive against the first-team defense, with last year’s starter Zachary McFadden only gaining 40 yards on 13 carries. The huge hole the Gold team found themselves in early limited McFadden and Raekwon Elam’s (3 carries for 10 yards) touches and forced QB Nick Ellison to put the game on his right arm, with less than stellar results. Free to play his natural position of cornerback again, last year’s free safety Shaq Kimbrough immediately made his mark with a pick-six to the delight of the defensive coaches.
The RB battle is FAR from settled.
If coach @noodlz2 was hoping this game would help him decide between any of his three capable RBs, mission very much NOT accomplished. Yes, it was against the second stringers, but boy did Barner look good while McFadden less so and Elam never really got a chance. Having three talented RBs to choose from is a good problem to have, but it IS a problem.
The leash gets shorter at QB.
Nick Ellison is probably still the starter for the Golden Bears, but Max Lauer definitely closed that gap. If Ellison doesn’t get off to a good start in the regular season, the redshirt junior might find himself holding a clipboard sooner rather than later.
Format: 1st team Offense/2nd team Defense (Blue Team) vs. 1st team Defense/2nd team Offense (Gold Team)
Result: Blue Team 27-9
(So) QB Aaron Harden (Blue): 26 of 41 for 288 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT. (Fr) RB Ualesi Maimoana (Gold): 19 carries for 109 yards.
(Fr) CB Kai Wooten (Blue): 1 TKL, 1 INT, 1 PD Fr OLB Damian Thompson (Gold): 7 TKL, 1.0 Sack
Offense triumphs over defense in a 27-9 victory that was actually closer than the score suggests. Aaron Harden looks to be in midseason form already, throwing at a nearly 70 percent clip and demonstrating good rapports with many of his receivers. This game showed why the Bruins offense looks to be one of the most lethal in the PAC. Meanwhile the first stringers on defense held their own with a pair of sacks and keeping the running game to less than 80 yards on the day. Also, RB Ualesi Maimoana had a good showing and looks like a more than capable backup to Clemons.
Youth is served.
There were freshmen making plays everywhere you looked. True frosh Thompson was everywhere on the outside wreaking havoc, fellow blue-chip recruit Tremaine Clemons had a score for the Blue team, and redshirt freshman Kai Wooten made a convincing argument for a starting position when he read QB Johnny Talbot’s eyes and stepped in front of a pass for the only turnover of the day.
Running inside might be a miserable experience for opposing RBs.
Despite Clemons’ score, the rest of his day didn’t go as he wanted - only 55 yards on 14 carries. JuCo DT Sila Tuputala ate everybody alive in the middle with two tackles for loss and a sack and surely was a big reason why the Blue team’s OL rating was a paltry 3.9.
The kicking game could be a short affair.
Neither kicker made a field goal attempt from 40 yards out or longer. Granted, true freshman Connor Green’s misses were harder (45 and 53), but special teams could be the biggest area of concern for coach @cultur3 and his staff.
Format: 1st team Offense/2nd team Defense (Red Team) vs. 1st team Defense/2nd team Offense (White Team)
Result: White Team 25-24
(Jr) TE Aneterea Tupuimatagi (Red): 6 catches for 94 yards, 1 TD. (Jr) RB Derek Dale (White): 23 carries for 121 yards, 2 TDs, 1 FUM (0 lost).
(Jr) CB Akiem Powell (Red): 3 TKL, 1 INT Fr SS Shaun Blackmon (White): 6 TKL, 1 INT, 1 PD
Entertaining for the fans, perhaps less so for the coaches. A back-and-forth affair was won in the closing moments by starting punter/backup kicker Eli O’Donnell’s 24-yard attempt wobbling its way through the uprights - after missing two extra points earlier in the contest. The man the Utes fans came to see, freshman sensation “Sir” Finn Leonard, showed his promise (57.89 completion percentage, 3 TDs) and his inexperience (2 INT). Leonard did demonstrate very good chemistry with starting TE Tupuimatagi, giving the Utes coaches hope that Leonard will have a reliable target for his first few seasons in Salt Lake City.
Youth is REALLY served.
If the depth charts stay the way they are, Utah could start NINE true freshmen when they line up against Utah State in week 1. 2023 is very much going to be a rebuilding year for the Utes but all the early seasoning should help the youngsters grow up quickly.
How much ice will Finn need for that shoulder?
Yes, the Red team found themselves in an early hole they dug their way out of, but we wonder if that 38/13 Pass/Run ratio is something coach @Kirby would like to even out a bit more before the season begins. Considering that Utah is going to be an underdog in most of their games Leonard may already be throwing a lot this season, will their gameplan add even more to that?
noodlz2 reacted to Jieret in CFBHC Talks: How Are You Doing?
Doing okay, just tired. Being on the road so much (4 weeks straight now, with sometimes the occasional Saturday to go back home) does wear a little bit, even if I enjoy the job, get to go to places I've never been before, and meet the occasional @Soluna (we'll always have Boma). Get next week off, then the Jieret tour continues for five (!) weeks in the following locations! (Note: Tour T-shirts are in very limited supply)
noodlz2 reacted to llamas in CFBHC Talks: How Are You Doing?
I just put a lot out in the open in my cfbhc South Dakota State application, but I always have more to say. Going to try to not double up on anything I posted in there.
Today I went to the funeral of one of my best friend's father figures. He was the original owner of the semipro team I've played for across 4 seasons now, it was a long time coming from his battle with cancer, the last few weeks he really deteriorated, and he finally passed on Saturday, hours before the most vital game in our season (win and in, for the playoffs, lose and the final week of the season becomes a mathematical issue where we need to win by 19+ to make it in). We had a huge emotional fog over us for the whole game, our coach called some of the stupidest playcalling he could have (ran left/the same play 6-7 run plays in a row, so much so that they went from stacking the box by walking a safety down and having a relatively balanced 4-4 front, to only having the LE and one LB on the [offensive] right side of the box. We should have hit that with a counter right or something taking advantage of having C-G-RT-FB against 2 people on that side of the box, annnnnd we don't even have a counter in our playbook.) We also were up 12-8 (after being up 12-0 at one point) and from our own 20, after running screens all day, called a double pass (slot WR catches the pass even with the QB, then throws it deep to the outside WR running a Go route) and they read the play easily, picked the pass off and housed it. We had 6 drives stall in the red zone, and then had a FG blocked with 20 seconds left, sealing the L. I think its the last year this team is going to exist, as our original owner is now gone, our current owner doesn't have his heart in owning the team anymore, tempers have escalated following this past game/now the lack of players/lack of "friends" of the owner who showed up (meaning they didnt show up) to the funeral today, things seem to be fracturing hard, and I'm honestly kinda fine with it, as terrible as that may be 3 days before we need to show out to make playoffs. I'm sick of the drama semipro seems to bring in this state, or at least in the lower leagues, and I'm either going to hang her up after this next game, or find an entirely different team to play for. I'm also deeply saddened at his passing, because for awhile I was contemplating some severely drastic things, and finding this team really gave me a crutch for the last 4 years of my life, and I'm forever grateful. Marv's contributions to the team went beyond just giving my (and countless others') football life a second wind, but also quite possibly, I wouldn't be here today without that crutch keeping me going. (Don't know if I've been that open about this before).
Not everything is negative. I have two job offers but I don't know that I want to take either. One is in Nebraska basically managing a farm (which I don't know a ton about, I've been "farming" for the last 18 months but I don't really know wtf I'm doing), and while on one hand, I really look forward to the day I can leave Wisconsin, on the other hand, I'm extremely nervous about leaving the current support structure I have. I've still had to tread delicately when keeping my anxiety in check, and I don't know if just fucking off to the middle of rural Nebraska would be great for that. The other job would be working in one of Milwaukee's suburbs at a plant, basically tailored for rising through the ranks/as a career, and would be through my future brother in law, but one of my HS friends works for the company in a different city (and has since HS) and it's basically a dead end job for him with no real exit plan for the foreseeable future. He doesn't make terrible money, but he doesn't make good money, either, and he's basically going to be a "Lifer". However, this job would be within an hour of where basically all of my friends live, so that would be a plus. I'm not sure I'd enjoy either of these jobs at all, but I'm also not enjoying what I do right now, so maybe one of them is worth the chance.
I'm going to close with perhaps the stupidest/least serious thing. One of my best (if not THE best) friends I have right now is a girl I went to high school with, which is kind of weird since about 4 of my current friends are people I went to HS with. We weren't close friends in HS, but were definitely friends. When we were seniors, we won homecoming king and queen, and after HS, we started hanging out/communicating more. As I said, its built to where I'd call her my best friend, and I love her. But... I think I'm falling in love with her (lol), and like, I don't know if I want to be. Its taken awhile for me to actually emotionally connect/like someone since my last serious relationship, and I can't help but think, why does it have to be her? I don't want to do anything stupid to mess up our friendship, but then also, she's pretty cute, and she means a lot more to me than 99% of other people in my life. Like I said, this is stupid lol. I'm just going to take things as they come, try not to come on too hard, etc, other cliche things, but it's hard. I need to quit overthinking things and quit tripping. But, she did agree to be my +1 to my sister's wedding in November, so that's pretty cool
Also I just want to thank all of you for making this community as strong as it is. Life has been pretty rough for the last ~8 years of my life, and the last 3.5 I've spent hanging out here. I know I like to goof off in some of my media or talk shit in the shoutbox, but as I said with semipro being a crutch for me, this site has been too. There's a lot of people willing to talk things out in either serious or comical manner, and while I like to self deprecate in a joking fashion a lot (and probably sometimes serious ), I wouldn't be who I am today, without interacting with y'all.
noodlz2 reacted to HAFFnHAFF in CFBHC Talks: How Are You Doing?
I'm doing pretty well right now. I was fired from my ministry job in November of last year for ridiculous and non-sensical reasons and made the decision to change careers. We had to move in with our in-laws to keep our adoption on track (moving and changing jobs is a nightmare while in that process) and I really struggled in that time. I will be teaching at a high school and coaching basketball starting in August. I have about 5 weeks left at my current job which was just a bridge for 6 months to get to the school year and I'm excited to see what my first year teaching holds. I know it is going to be crazy with the different subjects I'm teaching and coaching on top of it, but I am looking forward to the challenge and meeting new people, which is a strange thing for me to feel because I'm a huge introvert. For the first time in a long time I feel pretty content with where I am in life when it comes to parenting, marriage, career, location, etc. and I'm excited about the next year.
noodlz2 reacted to HAFFnHAFF in CFBHC Talks: How Are You Doing?
I know a lot of us value this community as an outlet from real life and sometimes feel more comfortable talking about real life here with anonymous friends than we do talking to people we see every day. In fact, some of the most popular threads on this site have been the "no judgement" threads giving people a chance to get things off their chest. With that in mind, I'm going to start a weekly post called CFBHC Talks and throw up a different discussion question for people to answer about real life each week. I will probably make it a Monday thing because everyone is bored at work on Mondays right? But I thought of it today on my way to work and I'm always have to chase the shiny object immediately so waiting till next Monday definitely wasn't going to happen. So here we go...
Question: How are you doing?
noodlz2 reacted to Osukid2811 in Delaware 2023 Position Battles and Players to Watch
Delaware Football is ready for the season!
Junior RB Richard Schaffer
Schaffer came into this year's spring camps with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. UD has two good backs this year, and they both knew it was going to be a battle coming in. Schaffer seems to have the upper hand being the upperclassman. That chip on Schaffer's shoulder seems to be driving him, and he looks to be the #1 back this year.
Freshmen WR Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown, like his name suggests, has a lot of talent in him. The only question about Brown is his hands. So far he has impressed the coaching staff and looks to be the starter at X day 1. This position has less of a battle, however, junior Zachary Anderson is looking to make a bigger impact this year after starting in the slot prior. Glenn Lawrence, another junior has the best hands of any wideout this year and should also get a lot of reps at outside positions.
Junior DT Bradley Serrano
There was a lot of turnover at the defensive line position. The Blue Hens have decided to switch up their system a little bit this year to accommodate their new players. The big loss of standout defensive end Frank Dunlap left a bit of a hole to be filled. Defensive end Robert Stevens returns and will try and fill that big hole on the line. Junior Christopher Slocum seems to be beating out the senior Gerald Copeland on the other side due to his pure aggression and size. If he were to start he would be the only member of the D-line who saw no playing time last year. We will have to wait and see, however, as this seems to be the tightest position battle.
Both new Defensive tackles had limited playing time last year due to the system Delaware ran. Within the new even man front, both guys will get a lot of run. Big Bradley Serrano will start at the nose tackle position. His pure size is something the blue hens will be looking to utilize to dominate inside this year. On the other side, Junior Robert Wood is a little more experienced and has a little more speed. He should also be a great force on this line.
Freshman CB Jermon Chester
Delaware's cornerbacks are very young. Freshman Jermon Chester came into training camp day one and took over. The coaches were immediately impressed with the kid's drive and will to improve every day. The starting corner spot is almost completely locked up. Behind Chester is where the real battles begin. Cameron Collins was a kid in high school who played all over the field on offense and defense. From quarterback to wide receiver, and his best position, cornerback. Collins has a lot of potential, but his coverage skills are still a little lacking. Defensive back coaches expect him to be the nickel corner at least to start the year. The only returning corner will be true sophomore Emory Marrow, who last year was buried on the depth chart. Quite literally Marrow was the last corner on the depth chart last year. If anything this speaks to the depth and experience of last years cornerbacks. Marrow feels it is his time and showed it in training camps by locking down the #2 corner spot.
In contrast to the corners, the safety corp for this year is all about experience. Both Senior FS James White and Junior SS Nick Sweet were guys who learned a lot from the seniors who were in front of them last year. They both look to come in and make an immediate impact with some experience and leadership. Neither of them has the most athleticism in the world, but they both have a lot of heart. Another intriguing player is true freshmen strong safety Bryce Bryant. While he played safety in high school that's not necessarily where the Blue Hens will need him. Bryant will start as the backup to Sweet but will have other roles as well. Primarily Bryant will get lots of starting time in the Dime packages and hopes to make a big impact as a playmaker.
Others to Watch
Senior QB Eric Jenkins
Senior Quarterback Eric Jenkins is probably the farthest you can get from what the Blue Hens had previously. Jeffery Guzman, who now has joined an XFL team, was a pretty prolific runner and had big flashy play potential. Jenkins has none of that flashiness but that might be good for Delaware. Guzman had a tendency to get flustered in tough situations and tried to do too much. Jenkins is a rock of a quarterback and is very reliable. Jenkins was also willing to sit the year out last year after losing the starting QB battle. In part due to his loyalty and part due to pure skill he was given the QB job in camp this year no questions asked. Jenkins can make almost any throw but has little to no mobility. In short, the offense will be much different this year, but for better or worse is still to be determined.
Probably the most important member of the offense this year will be big senior tight end, Daniel Padgett. Padgett was already a very important piece in last years' team. With Delaware now having a better passing quarterback it will be even more key for the big guy to make big catches. Padgett is definitely primed to have a great year due to the importance of the short passing game and his sure hands.
(RS) Freshman RB Elias Bailey
Some of the most important redshirt players this year will not be names you will hear in terms of the stat sheet. Elias Bailey, however, is a name we hope to her for many years to come. Elias is a smaller speedy guy who could use a little more meat on his bones. The hope is that with an extra year of weight training he can get a little bigger.
The second big name is QB William Campbell. William was drawn to Delaware's famous "Coast to Coast" scouting camp that was held just a few miles away from his high school in Lake Stevens Washington. Campbell loved the coaching staff and decided to commit. Coach Osukid spoke very highly of Campbell saying, "The kid's just got pure talent, he's the ideal combination of arm talent and mobility." Coach is right, but Campbell has a good ways to go before he is ready to lead the team. The arm talent is certainly there, but the accuracy is not. If Campbell can work on accuracy and durability during this redshirt season there is a lot to look forward to.
Inside linebacker Hugo Navarro is another local kid who has a lot of leadership skills. Navarro was a three time all-state player in Delaware for Polytech. He's pretty tall for a linebacker at 6'2 and has some weight to go along with it. He has a little bit of speed but he certainly isn't the fastest backer on the team. They had him take the redshirt year primarily hoping to improve his speed.
Cornerback Jeffrey Hollis was another one of the corner prospects brought in that was expected to contend for a starting spot. After suffering a broken rib with internal bleeding in the final game of his senior season, Hollis was a little sluggish coming into training camp. He wasn't terrible and even made a few good plays. Part of the reason he was so overshadowed was based on how good Jermon Chester was. Hollis even contemplated transferring after being asked to redshirt, feeling like he wasn't given a fair chance. After rethinking a little bit and having conversations with coach Osukid Hollis decided to stay and redshirt a year. Hopefully the year off will return the former high school standout to what he looked like on the tapes.
There are many other great freshmen we aren't going to go in depth in this article like WR Jon Kearney and OT Cyrus Brennan, but I guarantee we will be hearing a lot about them in coming years.
The biggest challenge the Blue Hens will have to deal with this season is experience. Last year's senior class was very large and had many important positions and players. It's not like the players behind them don't have talent, but they are very unproven. If the new additions to the starting lineup can produce early this could be a great year for the Hens. With the new schedule format, Delaware has both Dakotas in the first 4 weeks of the season. The team will have to learn how to play well together very early. If they can come together and get some big wins early in the year Delaware could be set up for a deep run into the playoffs.
noodlz2 reacted to Weeze56m in  ECU's Purple and Gold Game
East Carolina's Spring Game
Questions Answered and Questions to Ask
(So) QB Kyler Wilson 25 of 36 attempts, 341 yards, 4 Touchdowns
ECU's spring practices came to a close Sunday afternoon after their annual Purple and Gold game. The weekend has turned into a sort of pep rally for the the Pirate faithful. Fans are invited to open practices, concerts, BBQ, various fund raising events for the football and other sports programs for the university. The final event is the Game in which everyone can get an early look at how their Pirates should look the following fall. Almost twenty thousand fans came out to watch the Pirates on the warm Sunday afternoon. Those almost twenty thousands got to witness several stars being born. They may have also witness a few stars going out.
It should be no surprise, but the Starting QB for the Gold Team, Kyler Wilson, looked poise and in midseason form. He has clearly been working on his game as his ball placement was very precise, and decision making had little to no rust. The second year quarterback threw for over 300 yards, and four touchdowns. He did this against the first string defense. A defense who stayed after the game and had a huddle with new defensive coordinator, Miles Jackerson. More on that later. Wilson did a good job of spreading the ball around, and just dumping it off to an open receiver. This lead to more production out of the Tight End position, something we saw precious little of last season. All in all, he looked great and we should expect an even better season out of him with some serious weapons around him. If only he could get a little help from his run game..
Sr RB Amir Turner Jr. 12 Attempts for 30 yards
One of the biggest problems fans might have noticed during the game, was that Amir Turner Jr, the second year transfer from the JuCo level, continued his struggles. This may not have been as noticeable had the other running backs also struggled. However when you compare their numbers, and their averages, they had a much better outing than Turner. Sam Baldwin was only given 3 carries, but his 3 carries gave him 15 yards and a touchdown. When you compare that to turner's 30 yards on 12 carries, it may say something about their confidence in turner when fall camp rolls around. Further more, Miles Giordano, the starting running back for the Purple Team, had the best outing of every back. 13 attempts for 61 yards. The redshirt Sophmore has thrown his name into consideration for who should start for the pirates this season. However there is a fourth name to consider that was unable to play Sunday due to a minor injury sustained during one of the practices. He is also the only one on the team to have any sort of success rushing. Xavier Stanley, now a senior, was the starting running back during the 2021 season. He rushed for 726 yards, and 9 touchdowns in ten games as a sophomore. His numbers were far better than Turner, who was one of the worst, if not the worst rusher last season in the entire country. FCS included. Giordano has some game experience, but has never started and didn't fair much better with his yard average. Baldwinn was given a redshirt last season and has no active game experience before today. With all this to consider, some big decisions are going to have to be made before they open up against the Wolfpack.
"We want to run a balance offense. Last season the coaching staff and I were very upset by the lack of production on the ground. Wilson is an amazing player, but he can't always have to carry the offense. ECU has always been a dominant team on the ground. We need to find our way back to that. If defenses don't know how we are going to attack them, then it makes it harder to gameplan for us. I expect us to look at the film closely, not only from today, but from last season, and the season before. We have a tough choice to make, but we are going to work hard to make sure it is the right one for this team." This was a comment from Coach Weeze following the game on the rushing troubles.
Sr WR Jacob Benson 8 Receptions for 105 yards, 1 Touchdown
There was a lot of excitement coming into this weekend to get a good look at the Pirates newest weapon, Jacob Benson. Benson, a Senior JuCo Transfer, comes into this season looking to be the number 1 receiver. The first true number one this team may have ever had. He was given a 5* rating and has already generated some buzz as a real threat and weapon for his Quarterback to use. However, as good as he looked today, as tough and as strong as he looked, as fast and as agile, he was not the Star of the first string offense. Redshirt Freshman Will Sorensen came away with 120 yards on two receptions. These hundred yards receiving would have already given him more yards than any other TE last season. Sorensen also showed why The Pirates fought so hard to recruit him two years ago.
"We are incredibly proud of his hard work. Will is the ultimate player. He is smart, he is a team player, and he works hard. Last season when he was given the redshirt, he didn't complain. He took that opportunity to build his body. To study the playbook and build team chemistry with Wilson. Today I think we are seeing some of the payoff from that. I expect bigger and better things from this young man. He very well could be the Best receiving Tight End to ever grace this fine universirty. William Bouchard is in New York right now thinking how this kid is gonna break his records. I have that much confidence in him."
Another Person we were eager to get a look at was Transfer Jimmy Cardona. He transferred from Oklahoma before the start of the 2022 season. We expected him to start outside, opposite of Leon Burris. However when Benson joined the team, all bets were off and how the receiving corp was going to look was up in the air. For the first time since his freshman season, Leon Burris was not a leading receiver. He had only 3 receptions for 40 yards. The fewest he has had since 2020. With the weapons around Wilson, we are expecting an offensive explosion from the Pirates. The best of Coach Weeze Tenure, which has already seen some very good offenses. The only question left, other than runningback, is how will the final Offensive line look like. A freshman left tackle, a back Center in Jackson Girard playing Left Guard, a Freshman Right Guard, and a senior Right Tackle who played Left Tackle last season. The only starting lineman for the Gold team who was the same as last year is Center Levi Hickey. Easily the best lineman on the whole team. While it looked better than it did last season, it still wasn't up to par of seasons past.
(So) DE Theo Guinn 3 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1.0 Sacks.
The Starting Defensive unit was on the Purple Team. This is a unit that has a lot of questions coming into this season. But it has a lot of really young talent. The front seven in particular are all possible NFL players in a few seasons. They are just all very very young and haven't had a chance to grow. 4 of the 8 are freshman, with a couple being true freshman, 6 of the 8 are Sophomores or younger..That is a lot of inexperience on that front seven.
"We believe in their raw talent. We know they are young, probably one of the youngest in the conference. But they have the raw skill and talent. They just need to learn to trust their instincts, and listen to what we are telling them and we can easily return to defensive dominance in this conference. Statistically, the defense did not put up great numbers. However they also did not have a great offense to help them either. Theo Guinn however did end the day with a sack on Wilson, and Da'Quan Eason manage to chase down an open receiver and break up a beautifully placed pass, preventing a fifth touchdown for Wilson.Joshua Hollis made his presence known, getting involved a lot, coming away with 7 tackles, Mario Redd, a Freshman Inside Linebacker fighting for that starting role ended the day with 4 tackles.
Again, you kind of have to take the lack of production, and the amount of yards they allowed with a grain of salt. Their offense were made up of backups, and third string players who won't see a lot of play time, if any this season. The Purple offense only converted three 3rd downs out of 12 attempts. That put the starting defense on the field a lot. Something Coach Weeze said he wasn't mad about.
"Honestly it is a good thing. We have so many young players, it gives them a chance to get that playing experience. We play everything as if it was a real game. It gives our QB and receivers a chance to really work on their chemistry, but it also gives our defense a chance to work on their communication, and their own chemistry. We had a few changes to the starting line up because we wanted to see how they worked together. How did they communicate and try to fix errors in the lineup. They did very well with that and we were pleased. Obviously i would have liked them to have create turn overs, and get after the QB..but at the same time im proud my starting offense didn't allow them to do that. We worked hard this off season to try and cut down sacks allowed and it was nice to see that pay off here today. Hopefully we can keep that going forward."
All in all it was a great day for the starting offense. They showed off various weapons, and gave their fans an idea of some things to look for, and some changes that will probably take place. The players, fans and coaches are all ready for the season opener against Nc State in a few weeks. Untill then..
noodlz2 got a reaction from Weeze56m in  Scott Gray's Juneing Updates: Schedule Release
I refuse to accept that if it does so happen haha
noodlz2 got a reaction from bingo415 in  Spring Games 6/16/19
Nick Ellison is lucky I can't tell if my starting defense is much better than I had expected shutting down my starting offense, because him and McFadden played pretty poorly.
Despite Naiquon Barner going against my 2nd team defense, he still seems as if he'll be an exciting addition to this offense.
noodlz2 reacted to stormstopper in  Big XII Network Spring Preview
The daylight hours grow longer and longer, the scent of fresh-cut grass permeates the air, and antihistamines are flying off of drugstore shelves nationwide. That can only mean one thing: it's spring, and therefore it's time for spring football. Practice has been underway for a while, and they'll finish up with spring games over the next couple of weeks. The Big XII Network is here to take an in-depth look across the nation's most exciting conference: the incoming stars, the competition for starting spots, and what position groups or players each team is most dreading and anticipating seeing out on the field this season. Without any further ado, let's talk about the spring games.
Spring Game: Baylor has not announced a date for their spring game, but they have released depth charts. The Gold team will be the first-team defense and the second-team offense, while the Green team will be the first-team offense and the second-team defense.
First Look: Be on the lookout for freshman center Andrew Wheatley to be an immediate starter--and potentially one of the best offensive linemen in the conference from day 1. The Woodsboro native has shown an affinity for opening up holes for the run game, drawing rave reviews during his redshirt year blocking for runningback Carlos Bowden--who himself can't be overlooked and may find himself in a rotational role behind Miles Street as the season goes on.
Position Battle: Wide Receiver. This may be cheating a bit since all three guys in this battle are going to see the field in some way or another, but Baylor's got a pretty clear pecking order at most other positions on the field. At wide receiver, the battle for the #1 spot is likely going to come down to Maleek Abioye-Afua against Curtis Sheppard. Sheppard was the more productive of the two by far last year, hauling in 52 catches for 801 yards and 5 touchdowns; however, sophomore Abioye-Afua is a 6-foot-5, 233-pound bruiser who fits in naturally at split end and showed some flashes last year with 448 receiving yards. Sheppard's going to take a lot of snaps in the slot, so it's more of a matter of how often he'll be moved around the field to make room for Abioye-Afua. Also in the mix is the 6-foot-4 Elki Denson, who had 172 receiving yards as a true freshman before redshirting in 2022.
Question Mark: Backfield. Caleb Olmsted and Miles Street return as starters for the third straight season, giving Baylor a level of backfield continuity matched only by Iowa State. That continuity is only a bonus, though, if the two improve over a disappointing sophomore campaign. Street improved from 4.2 to 4.5 yards per carry, but he only scored 8 touchdowns all season on the ground after scoring 12 as a freshman. Olmsted's completion percentage dropped from 60.4% to 58.3%, he went from 23 passing touchdowns and 9 interceptions to 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and his passer rating fell from 134.5 to 126.6. With an improved offensive line and an improved wide receiver corps--which isn't solely due to addition by subtraction--a junior jump in the backfield could turn the offense into a well-oiled machine.
MVP: OLB Zachary McHale. Baylor's vaunted linebacker corps didn't produce to expectations last season, but that's only despite McHale's best efforts. The junior edge rusher has been a statsheet stuffer in each of his first two seasons, with 63 tackles (8 for loss), 3.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended, and a fumble forced and recovered in his career. Baylor's defensive front remains talented with Elias Ladd at weak inside linebacker, Alexander Talbert at defensive end, and Garrett Powers returning to his more natural mike linebacker position after failing to make a statsheet in 2022--but McHale is the one who ties it all together and provides the terrifying burst off the edge to wallop opposing backfields.
Iowa State Cyclones
Spring Game: Iowa State's spring game is scheduled for June 15th. They will have mixed rosters: Vaughn Sheppard, Demetrius Clay, and Paul Bryant highlight the Cardinal team, while Kofi McCullough, D'Neal Norris, Dillon Dooley, Ian Johnson, and Laurent Daniel headline the Gold team.
First Look: Dillon Dooley will be playing with the rest of the first-team offensive line as a true freshman and early enrollee. The Cyclones needed more help up front for star runningback Kofi McCullough, and Dooley will be an incredible complement to tackle D'Neal Norris. He's already the best guard they have on the roster, and his upside is virtually limitless. It would be shocking if he weren't a day-1 starter. As a fun fact, his 6-foot-6 frame makes him only the fifth-tallest guard on the team--and taller than most of the guards on the basketball team.
Position Battle: Wide Receiver. As it was with Baylor, most spots on Iowa State's depth chart are pretty much set in stone. Demetrius Clay's status as a two-way player is perhaps the most interesting question, but wide receiver is the position group where the Cyclones have the widest variety of options. They return four wide receivers who had at least 100 receiving yards last year, none of whom reached 500. (In fact, Iowa State hasn't had a 500-yard receiver since Tom Oldham and Elliott Efi in 2019). Ezekiel Renteria and Nat Donaldson-Douglas are the returning bedrocks as the team's returning leaders in yards and yards per catch, though Renteria's showing in spring practice has been far less than ideal. Troy Spears and Luka Snell are expected to be emergent options as well. Leonardo Gilbert could even play a role as a low-usage home-run threat. They won't have any issues with depth, but finding one guy to emerge as a true #1 would do wonders.
Question Mark: Defensive Line. Iowa State's leader in tackles for loss last year was recruited as a tight end, which speaks to both the impressive versatility of Demetrius "Two-Way" Clay and the sheer lack of options the Cyclones have along the line. Those options grew narrower with the graduation of Savion Pryor. If Clay returns to defensive end, he'll be playing opposite redshirt senior Antoine Garvin, who has not recorded a stat in his career. Taua Aloese provides strength up the middle and the Cyclones will hope he can improve on his 16 tackles (4 for loss) and 1 sack from the defensive tackle spot. If either Marco Redding or Ibrahim Eason can emerge (both are on the Gold spring team), the defensive line becomes a solid unit. If not, it becomes a problem.
MVP: Kofi McCullough. The active Big XII leader in rushing yards (2955) and rushing touchdowns (29), McCullough has been the heart and soul of the Iowa State offense for the past two years. His production declined slightly into his sophomore year solely due to workload; he maintained the same level of efficiency, and Iowa State will need him to do so once again. He's the surest thing on that offense. What's more, they need Vaughn Sheppard to take a step forward as he seemed to do toward the end of last season. If the attention is focused on McCullough, who has proven capable of handling it, then that gives more room for Sheppard's game to open up until defenses are forced to reckon with it too.
Spring Game: Kansas's spring game will be on June 15th. The Blue team will mainly be the first-team offense and second-team defense (with some exceptions), while the White team will be the first-team defense and second-team offense.
First Look: JuCo product Cameron Bowers will hope to add the high-end wide receiver talent Kansas has lacked since the graduation of Malcolm Davis, and his placement at #1 wide receiver with the first-team offense ought to give a hint as to just how confident the staff is in the rising junior. Bowers has tight end size at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, and he'll bring a level of physicality to the position that will challenge the cornerbacks of the Big XII. He's one of three Blue team receivers listed at 220 pounds or heavier--fellow junior Sebastian Christy and true freshman Zack Stephens both check in at 227.
Position Battle: Outside Linebacker is the only battle of any real significance for a Jayhawk team that has very little depth to speak of. With a return to a 3-4 defense anticipated, there are essentially five players competing for two full-time spot as edge rushers and one part-time spot as a bandit linebacker. Carlos Guillen and Pat Rhoades are the incumbents in the edge rusher category, with neither having made an outsized impact heading into their respective redshirt junior seasons. Guillen had 5 tackles (1 for loss) last year, Rhoades had 21 tackles, a sack, a pass broken up, and a forced fumble the year before. Advantage: Rhoades. Jude Broussard is the only linebacker whose coverage is his calling card; that's amounted to 24 tackles and a single pass breakup, none of which was recorded in 2022. The challengers are a pair of homegrown true freshmen, Naiquon "Nuke" Crosby and Deon Evans. They are the highest-ranked outside linebackers ever to commit to Kansas and will both be playing with the first-team defense. Whoever loses the battle may not be playing at Kansas in the fall, with the possibility of a transfer from the former three or a redshirt for the latter two.
Question Mark: Runningback. To say Andre Black fared poorly in his first year as a starter would be an understatement. He finished the season with 477 yards in 13 games, the first Big XII runningback ever to start the whole season and finish with that paltry a rushing yardage total. He averaged just 3.2 yards per carry, also the fewest by any Big XII runningback ever to start the whole season. What's concerning is that there was no viable option to replace him. While he's playing with the second-team offense, we are informed that the staff still views Black as the #1 option at the position over Bryce Dubose. If opposing defenses don't have to even pretend to consider the run game, that'll make life so much more difficult for Christian Graham and company.
MVP: Christian Graham started the 2022 season on a horrid note, finished it on a torrid one, and Kansas's win-loss record behaved accordingly. There's no reason to expect next year that the Jayhawks' fortunes won't ride with those of their quarterback. There's no run game to act as a safety valve. There's some good, youthful talent on defense, but their impact pales in comparison to that of the quarterback who will likely hold the Big XII career records for passing yards and passing touchdowns at season's end. He still demonstrated that he had room to grow: his completion percentage dipped sharply from 67.6% as a sophomore to 62.1% as a junior even as he went from 24 touchdowns to 31. It's the price of going from efficiency passer to volume passer, but Kansas will win a lot of games if Graham can be both at once.
Kansas State Wildcats
Spring Game: No date has been confirmed for Kansas State's spring game yet, though they have released depth charts. The Purple team is mostly made up of first-team offense and second-team defense while the White team is mostly the reverse, though there appear to be some exceptions.
First Look: Redshirt freshman quarterback Shane Kruse has as much hype around him in Manhattan as any player to matriculate in recent years, with only Rahim Murrell and Brendan Scherer truly able to match it. The Houston product made a push for the starting job last year, though it was ultimately retained by fifth-year senior Julius Minnow. Kruse will bring a different look to the Wildcats' offense: he's entirely unafraid to use his 6-4, 234-pound frame to take off and run, bruising anyone who tries to tackle him in the process. (Bruise Kruse as a nickname, anyone?) If nothing else, that should mean Kansas State settles for fewer field goal attempts (49 in the past two years compared to 52 extra point attempts). But Kansas State fans hope to see Kruse show off the elite passing skills that have long eluded Wildcat quarterbacks.
Position Battle: Runningback. Even with incumbent two-year starter Jaiden Givens returning for his redshirt senior season, it's not a given that he'll get a third year as the #1 guy. He finished with just 647 rushing yards last season (9th among Big XII starting runningbacks), under 4.1 yards per carry (also 9th), and only 4 rushing touchdowns all season (10th). The positives, though: his efficiency improved year-over-year, and he was the only starting Big XII runningback not to fumble even once in the 2022 season. He's a solid baseline, but not a game-changer. Gabriel Vinson, a redshirt freshman, hopes to be that game-changer. Like Kruse, he has more of a powerful running style--and he'll be sharing the Purple team backfield with Kruse, giving him ample opportunity to prove himself. Vinson will likely see carries in some capacity, but if Brendan Scherer and Mario Hamilton can't wrangle him then he may be getting the lion's share sooner rather than later.
Question Mark: Defensive End. Kansas State's roster is about as well-balanced as it's ever been at this point. There are still a lot of positions that don't have top-end talent, but there's a solid baseline everywhere now. That baseline's lowest at defensive end, however. They return starters Prince Vann and Hunter Myrick, who combined for 4.0 sacks and 2 tackles for loss last year. It's likely that Vann will start, though whether Jacquies Greene and Preston Evans (the other Preston Evans) will push for the starting job. Greene is starting opposite Vann on the White team, so he presumably has a leg up on the job.
MVP: Middle linebacker Brendan Scherer was a headhunter last season, and he's going to be back and better than ever in 2023. His 57 tackles were the fourth-highest single-season total of any Kansas State player. He had 9 tackles for loss, which is the most by any Big XII linebacker in a single season in the short time that the stat has been tracked. Richard Farrell is the only other linebacker with at least 6. If he matches his 2022 production this year, he will break David Doherty's school record for career tackles with a year of eligibility remaining. The rest of the Kansas State defense revolves around him, and he's the best centerpiece you could ask for.
Spring Game: Oklahoma's spring game is scheduled for June 22nd. There are first-teamers and second-teamers on both sides of the ball strewn across both teams.
First Look/Position Battle: There were reports after a rather lackluster sophomore season that Eric Pope was in danger of losing the starting quarterback job to then-redshirt freshman Nick Brohm. Pope ultimately retained the job and proceeded to have a breakout junior campaign. He threw for 3,298 yards and 29 touchdowns with a 153.8 passer rating and ran for 414 yards and 3 scores on 5.3 yards per carry. The Sooners had the #2 scoring offense in the nation, averaging 34.9 points per game. They lose Maurice White, Jason Dotson, and Rangi Salanoa, but the receiver trio of Lucas Dykes, Aiden Caldwell, and Chase Reardon with runningback Jaiden Douglas should still make for a formidable skill corps. Is the promise of productivity and continuity enough to make Pope the first Oklahoma quarterback to start as a senior since Robert Price? Apparently not, because Brohm has continued to gain ground during spring practice. While he's not quite as good on his feet as Pope, Brohm is capable of moving within the pocket and picking up a few yards out of it--and his upside is that he's got the more accurate arm of the two. With the first-team and second-team talent split across both teams, the two quarterbacks ought to be on somewhat even footing for this competition.
Question Mark: Safety. This is a very talented Oklahoma team across the board, with virtually every starter and quite a few reserves expected to at least get a look at the next level. The Sooners have to replace Julian Foster and Omar Anaya at free safety, and the three options are junior Jaden Foster (no relation to Julian), junior Steven Bush, and redshirt freshman Ian Willis. It's almost certainly going to be Willis's job eventually, and he's probably the favorite to land it this year. But he's young and raw, and compounding the issue is the fact that both Oklahoma strong safeties are also freshmen with the graduation of Andrew Reaves and both of his backups. Sebastian Graham is almost certainly going to be the starting strong safety as a redshirt freshman, and Isaac Brinson might have to play a backup role as a true freshman. You can bet that any team will try to test Oklahoma deep early and often, given how difficult it will be to do anything else against this defense.
MVP: Perhaps the biggest reason that it will be difficult is the presence of one Elijah Williams, the reigning Big XII Defensive Player of the Year. He's coming off of a season where he had 6 interceptions, a Big XII record-tying 3 pick-sixes, and 8 pass breakups. He's too big to be out-toughed, and he's too quick to be outmaneuvered. His 2022 production was a step up from what he did in 2021, which in turn was a step up from what he did in 2020. Does he have even more room to grow in 2023? Even if he maintains his current level of play, he makes his entire section of the field non-viable to throw into. If he takes that last step forward, he has the potential to be one of the best defensive players in the entire country.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Spring Game: Oklahoma State's spring game is scheduled for June 15th. They will go with a unique format, with most of their veterans on the Orange team and most of their younger players (plus Amral Brown) on the Black team.
First Look: Cutler Barker, David Wagner, and Jurrell Jordan. I know I'm only really supposed to pick one here, but all three are about to play incredibly important roles for the Cowboys in short order. Jordan is a probable starter at right outside linebacker this year as a redshirt freshman. Coming out of Roscoe, Texas, he brings the burst off the edge that incumbent ROLB Aiden Cheatham never quite had. Cheatham was solid in coverage, of course, but that's what Brian Suarez is for. Jordan makes up for a lack of depth at defensive end outside of Cael Bruce. Meanwhile, fellow Black team members Cutler Barker and David Wagner are the quarterback-receiver tandem of the future in Stillwater. Barker hails from Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School, which is obviously not named for the former Oklahoma State runningback but I felt like sharing it anyway. He and Wagner are true freshmen and it's unlikely that either will see the field in 2023, but that connection is going to form the backbone of the Oklahoma State offense for years to come.
Position Battle: 3rd Down Runningback, kind of. This is more than a bit of a stretch, but it's the only thing resembling a position battle that Oklahoma State really has. Junior power back Jamal Boyd and senior speed back Barack Holmes are going to split Orange team carries. Boyd has not taken a carry in a Cowboy uniform to date, whereas Holmes was the starter in 2021 and rushed for 1,393 yards and 16 touchdowns on 5.3 yards per carry. That battle may be a moot point, though, because there's no reason to believe Amral Brown will be anything other than a bellcow after putting up 1,754 yards and 25 touchdowns on 6.3 yards per carry last season. So essentially, Boyd or Holmes need to perform well enough to prove that there's any reason to split carries at all.
Question Mark: Offensive Line. Losing Edward Meyer to graduation and Benjamin Driver to the draft lopped off all the top-end talent on the Cowboys' offensive line. They certainly have enough depth, so it's not like they're in any kind of crisis there. However, it does mean pressing Elijah Jean into starting duty. It means choosing between senior and career backup Andre Zuniga or true freshman Bart Elder for one of the guard spots opposite Pat McCartney. And I doubt we'll see true freshman Max Galvin challenge Isamaeli Salanoa for the starting center spot, but neither option's inspiring at this point.
MVP: Amral Brown. There are quite a few players who could be the most valuable player for Oklahoma State, such as safety Prince Pruitt (6 INT, 4 PD, 1 FF last year), wide receiver Samuel Barfield (70 catches for 1011 yards, 9 TD), or fellow wide receiver Jeremy Bridges (61 catches for 896 yards, 11 TD). You could even make a case for defensive tackle Amir Pryor (7.0 sacks, 5 TFL, 1 FF last year). But Brown is a game-changer on offense. His stats bear repeating: 1,754 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 6.3 yards per carry last year. The list of Big XII players with at least 1,700 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 6.0 yards per carry in a season consists of Greg Hadnot in 2015, Solomon McLaughlin in 2022, and Amral Brown in 2022. He was the most efficient runningback in the Big XII, he finished second only to McLaughlin in rushing yards and touchdowns per game, and maintaining that level of efficiency behind a weaker offensive line would give Oklahoma State's offense the chance to be one of the most effective in the nation again.
TCU Horned Frogs
Spring Game: TCU joins the cavalcade of spring games scheduled for June 15th. They have not published a spring depth chart, though they are expected to pursue a relatively even split rather than first-team or second-team designations.
First Look: This is as much a position battle as a first look, but Taylor Cook is going to be the man to watch in this spring game. The Horned Frogs have never hesitated to pick upside over experience, and Cook is the most high-upside quarterback they've perhaps ever had (depending on how you compare him to Sam Milner). Much like the other quarterback battles, this one will show a contrast of styles. Felix Luck's feet are wedded to the pocket outside of the occasional sneak. Cook is a lot more willing to move around and make plays with his legs, and unlike the other hybrid quarterbacks he's a lot lighter on his feet. But he'll have to show a lot to take the starting spot of Luck, who ranks first and second on the TCU single-season leaderboard for passing yards and passing touchdowns in two seasons as a starter.
Position Battle: Wide Receiver. Quarterback is the far more interesting battle, but wide receiver is the five-way battle that could go in just about any direction. What's certain is that redshirt senior Finn Nielsen (968 yards, 10 TD in 2022) is going to have a major role after having caught double-digit touchdown passes each of the last two seasons. He's the favorite for #1 receiver--but again, upside has a high value in Fort Worth. Will F.T. Grady (460 yards, 6 TD) move from the slot to flanker (or even #1) after drawing rave reviews in spring practice? Will sophomore Rodrigo Marroquin (111 yards, 1 TD) take the starting spot in the slot? Will redshirt freshman Julio Robledo leapfrog him? Or will that role belong to gadget player Griffin McHanna (635 yards, 6 TD), who dropped 7 passes last season and struggled at times at flanker? Will McHanna even play wide receiver or will he split carries with Matteo Cates at runningback? There is any number of plausible receiver arrangements for a deep, deep TCU corps. The spring game should give some insight as to who's the frontrunner to fill each role.
Question Mark: Defensive Front. Gone are Aidan McAlister, Aidan Morrell, Jasiah Pickens, Elliot McElmore, and Chance Herring: TCU returns just one starting defensive lineman and one starting linebacker. For most teams, that level of attrition would be a pretty big problem; for TCU, it just means one area of the defense where their starters will be drafted in three to four seasons whereas the others feature players will be drafted in one to two seasons. Kwon Shaw had the best 2022 season of any of the returners, with 28 tackles (7 for loss) and 6.0 sacks from the defensive tackle spot. He's rather light for a player often projected as a nose tackle, as is Hooker Jackson--which is perhaps why neither actually play on the nose in TCU's 4-3. Joining them on the line will be redshirt freshmen Jefferson Cruz and Clinton Staton, with Cruz being an edge-setter and Staton being a pass-rusher. The other experienced players are Richard Farrell, whose production dropped off in 2022 to 20 tackles (1 for loss) and 2.5 sacks, and junior college transfer Blake Burns, who should be a natural at sliding back into coverage. The outside linebackers should cover for the defensive ends' inexperience. On the flipside, the more experienced defensive tackles will slow down anything coming up the middle toward redshirt sophomore Lardarius Pendleton or redshirt freshman Guillermo Luna. With Pendleton's aggressiveness and tackling skills and Luna's coverage, TCU's front has in flexibility what it lacks in experience. Which will win out in the end?
MVP: Patrick Ross. As a true freshman playing nickel corner, Ross turned in an impressive five interceptions and a pass breakup. It bears repeating: that was as a true freshman playing nickel corner. Sure, it helped that he was playing with Roman Blackmon and William Cooper, two elite corners who essentially forced opposing quarterbacks to pick on him. But now he's got the extra year of experience under his belt, he's got the inside track to be the #1 corner, he's the most productive returning defensive player on the team, and Felix Luck is not guaranteed to be the starter at quarterback (otherwise he'd have this section in a runaway). Ross is a stud, and he'll be a cornerstone of a defense that's been one of the best in the country.
Spring Game: Texas's spring game is scheduled for June 29th, the last possible day for Big XII teams. Their first-team offense and second-team defense will be on the Burnt Orange team, and the first-team defense and second-team offense will be on the White team.
First Look: True freshman quarterback Benjamin Lockwood will have his chance to headline the White team offense. I promise this is the last time we're using the contrast-of-quarterback-styles narrative, but it once again fits here. Kyler Tackett occasionally ran. Lucas Beckwith (probably) likes to run. Sam Milner likes to run. Benjamin Lockwood will not run unless he really, really has to. Instead, his arm will have Texas fans reminiscent of the days of national champion Brad Davis. What's more interesting is the fact that Lockwood's getting the ball over Beckwith, a redshirt senior who made just two appearances last year before Kyler Tackett was re-inserted into the starting lineup; given that he threw for a total of 308 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions (plus 42 rushing yards and a touchdown), it's not surprising that ex-TCU and ex-Juco quarterback Sam Milner has the inside track to the starting job. But Lockwood starting the spring game means that Beckwith does not have a path to even challenge for the starting job. It's Milner's team now.
Position Battle: Center. I could have gone with runningback, but it's a battle between a true freshman who will probably have issues in the short-term (but can develop into a good option in the long-term) and a redshirt senior who was recruited as a career backup. Instead, I'm going with center, which is a battle between a redshirt freshman who will probably have issues in the short-term (but can develop into a great option in the long-term) and a redshirt senior who is the incumbent starter. Abe Hay was a great option to have in an offense that revolved around Simeon Wells, who's now moved on from Austin to Houston. But Frederick Orlando is the type of center you want in a pass-first offense that Texas may transition into under Lockwood beginning next year--and that may begin to poke its head out this year due to the runningback situation.
Question Mark: Several, but particularly EDGE. The good news is they return Thomas Sanders, who surprised with 6.0 sacks and 25 tackles (4 for loss) at defensive end. He's the closest thing the Longhorns have to an edge defender, and he's really more of a 3-4 defensive end than a true edge. The other good news is that they have a ton of interior talent: Zion Gaines (17 tackles, 6 for loss, 5.0 sacks in 2022) and Jamal Robinson (no stats in 2022 but 35 tackles, 5 TFL, and 4.0 sacks in his career) at defensive tackle, with Nehemiah Staples (23 tackles, 4 for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 FF in 2022) and Ted Stanford (no career stats) manning the middle. Why are Robinson and Stanford bolded in the edge section? Because that's where they're listed on the White team depth chart, which shows just how dire the talent level is among the true defensive ends and outside linebackers on the defense. Playing a will linebacker like Stanford at 3-4 outside linebacker will be an awkward fit, as would playing a defensive tackle like Robinson at 4-3 defensive end. Is it the worst option available? Probably not. Will other teams poke at that from day 1? Certainly.
MVP: Bobby Drake. Read into an offensive tackle being the choice here however you want, but the Austin native is a bedrock of the offense. He's agile enough to drop into pass protection, but he doesn't let his 6-foot-7, 311-pound frame go to waste when called upon to be a road-paver against the run. He'll be sorely needed in an offense that's going to see a ton of turnover, and with a defense that has its own documented issues. Every second he can buy for Sam Milner will be worth its weight in points, and he'll be an early favorite for the Big XII Preseason All-Conference team.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Spring Game: Texas Tech has neither scheduled a spring game nor posted a depth chart. At press time, they are not expected to hold a spring game at all.
First Look Secret Weapon: There have been 31 players in Big XII history to record at least 1000 receiving yards in a season, 30 to catch at least 10 touchdown passes in a season, and 15 to do both in the same season. Dominique Dixon intends to be the first Texas Tech player to hit either or both of those marks (Eugene Sanders came up 4 yards and 1 touchdown short in 2018), and it would be hard to bet against him doing just that sooner rather than later. If Texas Tech had a spring game, he would likely have been afforded the opportunity to show exactly why; instead, Red Raider fans will likely have to subsist on insiders' reports and the occasional practice highlight tape. The receiver corps is deep enough with Graham Beck and Atoshi Kanisawa to avert any need to burn Dixon's redshirt--any decision to do so would strictly be out of want rather than need.
Position Battle: Inside Linebacker or Defensive Tackle. We know that Curtis Jones and Zac Huntley are starting at defensive end. We know that Austin Callahan is starting at outside linebacker and Josh Poe Jr. is starting at inside linebacker. There's maybe some intrigue over whether Shawntez Currie or Nasir Gordon is going to take the other outside linebacker spot. But the more important question hinges on whether Texas Tech opts to stick with the 3-4 that's been their calling card lately or chooses instead to switch to a 4-3. The former would allow Jones and Poe to play to their strengths, though it would mean either a low-ceiling veteran at mike like Preston Richmond or Lamont Maxwell, or it would mean an inexperienced redshirt freshman like Anh Nguyen at the position. It would also mean a choice between Sebastian Bolton (a more natural 4-3 fit with a lower ceiling) or Hunter Beckham (a less experienced, higher-upside, true 3-4 player) at defensive tackle. Alternatively, a 4-3 would keep Poe in the mike role he played (and played well) last year, but let Callahan, Currie or Gordon, and Huntley all be at their most effective positions. It would mean starting Bolton and likely one of Beckham or Levi Conte (who is more of a Bolton than a Beckham).
Question Mark: Quarterback. The Red Raiders haven't really had much need for the position lately; Donald Garrett is coming off of a season where he passed for 971 yards and 7 touchdowns in 13 games and Texas Tech still won 9 games. Zoom out, and the Red Raiders have had 3,410 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air over the past three years combined--and they've won an average of 8 games a year. That's the Solomon McLaughlin effect--but McLaughlin is now in San Francisco, and Texas Tech will find an entirely new offensive identity without him. Hayden Dyer returns, and he's been effective in limited opportunities so the run game will still be a solid base to work from. The aforementioned Kanisawa and Beck are as good of a receiving duo as Texas Tech's had in a while. All that's left is for someone to actually put the ball in their hands. Donald Garrett is the incumbent, but the favorite for the job is redshirt freshman Grayson Gillette. Like Garrett, he has a prototypical quarterback's body at 6-foot-6 and a prototypical pocket passer's arm. He'll be given far more freedom in the offense than Garrett or Chase Shapiro, but it may take time for the whole offense to get in sync after having spent so much time in a unique system.
MVP: How could it be anyone other than Curtis Jones? Because it could also be Charlie Becker. I'm sorry, I have to cheat on this one because I can't decide between the two. Jones's impact is obvious, and opposing offenses felt it regardless of whether or not Samir Sample was on the other side of the line from him. He had 54 tackles (7 for loss) and 12.0 sacks his sophomore year, and followed it up with "only" 32 tackles (6 for loss) and 11.0 sacks as a junior. He's tied with Anthony Ortiz and Hudson Adam for the Big XII career sack record, which he'll almost certainly break--even if Jamari Callahan breaks it first, bet on Jones to chase him down like he chases down opposing quarterbacks. What Jones is to the defense, Becker is to the offense. The rising junior has made a massive impact from day 1, and you'd often see him stunning opposing defensive tackles in their tracks to clear gaping holes for Solomon McLaughlin. Obviously his workload will change drastically as the offense balances out, but he's certainly versatile enough to handle it.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Spring Game: West Virginia's spring game is scheduled for June 15th. The first-team offense and second-team defense will be on the Blue team, and the second-team offense and first-team defense will comprise the Gold team.
First Look: Dominic Acuna. West Virginia's had a lot of talent on the defensive line in recent years, with Hudson Adam sharing the Big XII career sack record with 23 sacks and Aaron Pagan having just graduated with 19 of his own. That's not due to change thanks to the combination of Elvis Cornejo, Riley Reardon, Mordechai Chappell (or maybe Jack Yazzie), and redshirt freshman Dominic Acuna. His burst off the edge is nothing short of frightful, and as a member of the scout team he flushed Martin Lake out of the pocket so often that Lake credits him with helping him improve at operating in scramble mode. There aren't a lot of West Virginia defenders who have had a huge impact as freshmen in the front seven--even Hudson Adam only had 2.5 sacks as a frosh. Acuna's got the potential to make a big impact early on, and the spring game ought to demonstrate that up front.
Position Battle: Runningback. Incumbent starter Bryce Madison had an up-and-down season as a redshirt freshman, rushing for 900 yards and 7 touchdowns on under 4.4 yards per carry. Those numbers are good enough to to instantly pull the plug, but certainly not enough to box out any competition. Challenging him will be Mike Freeman, a big and bulky true freshman from just outside of Richmond. The 5-foot-6 Madison's the type of runner who can use his low center of gravity to take contact and elude the tackle; the 5-foot-10 Freeman just uses raw strength and a bit of subtle shiftiness to break free instead. There's a strong chance that both will see carries this season, but the lion's share will be at stake in the spring game. It appears that Freeman is the clubhouse leader for now, as he's set to share the field with Martin Lake, Corey Easley, and the rest of the first-teamers. Running behind guard Mario Lawton in particular should allow him to shine--but a strong showing from Madison could wrest the job right back.
Question Mark: Secondary. Losing Lamont Carson to early declaration threw a wrench into the works here, as he's the difference between a solid secondary and one with extensive question marks. There's not very much returning production from the cornerback corps. Harry Conner should be able to slide into the #1 role, which will be perfectly fine as long as he can improve on his one career interception. The bigger concern is moving redshirt freshman Moussa Lacy to #2 corner instead of working him in as a nickel. You could conceivably see Aidan Nobles or Adrian Clemons get some rotational time there if Lacy's not ready for it, but it's Lacy who's been working with the first-teamers. At free safety the Mountaineers should feel confident: Preston Evans returns for the second act after interception 6 passes, breakup up another, and recovering a fumble as a redshirt freshman. That's not a position to worry about. Strong safety is, however: the choices are Bronson Stinson (6 tackles, 1 FF in his career) or redshirt freshman Bucky Richardson, who like Lacy has been playing with the first-teamers. It's going to be a young secondary learning on the job, so the defensive front will need to do their part to keep it from being burned.
MVP: Corey Easley. The list of Big XII wide receivers to record at least 1,000 receiving yards as a freshman begins and ends with Lamont Wilder and Corey Easley. Martin Lake was a massive improvement over Darren Lemons and Bobby Davies, but he had his inconsistencies in year 1 of a new system. Easley smoothed those inconsistencies over consistently. 34.9% of Lake's yards and 36.4% of his touchdowns went to Easley, even though just 26.6% of his completions went to him--the freshman just kept finding ways to get open whether he was lined up at split end, in the slot, or anywhere on the field. His biggest issue was his 5 drops, but his explosiveness is more than enough to make up for it. He's the home-run threat that will open up everything else on the offense, and every indication is that he's improved by leaps and bounds over the spring. He's going to be as hard as anyone in the country for opposing secondaries to try to find a way to slow down.
noodlz2 reacted to Curby4 in  Scott Gray's Juneing Updates: Schedule Release
By Scott Gray
It has been a busy and eventful time for the Houston Cougars in their first week of June. With the 2023 season just months away, lets take a look at the Cougars schedule.
2023 Houston Cougars Schedule
*Conference Games in Red
Week 1: vs Baylor
Week 2: Bye
Week 3: at California
Week 4: at App State
Week 5: vs Central Florida
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: at Navy
Week 8: at Southern Methodist
Week 9: vs Rice
Week 10: Bye
Week 11: vs Tulane
Week 12: at Memphis
Week 13: vs Tulsa
Week 14: Bye
Week 15: vs Connecticut
Week 16: at Cincinnati
All in all it could be another tough year for Houston as they face somewhat of a tough schedule, according to their pre-season ranking at #108. Their first two opponents of the year (Baylor and Cal) are ranked as middle of the pack teams at #53 and #62 respectively. Both teams also had sub-par records last season as Baylor was (5-7) and Cal finished at (4-8). However, both teams still have great programs by way of successful recruiting year to year so if Houston can beat one of these teams to start the year, it should be seen as a success. The first win looks like it will come by way of #128 App State in Week 4. App state has struggled to find a stable coach and is still without a permanent Head Coach, this late into the off season. The four games that follow App State will most likely be the toughest test to Houston throughout the whole year. In Week 5, they play #44 UCF (2022 7-5) to start conference play and then go on to play arguably, the two best teams in the whole conference, #22 Navy and #9 SMU in Weeks 7 and 8. The train doesn't stop there however, as the Cougars will take on #15 Rice in Week 9 and end what might be the toughest three week streak in football. These five weeks are what's going to make or break this team and hopefully, we will still be wanting to play in Week 11. In Week 11, Houston finally plays what looks like to be a beatable opponent in #117 Tulane. Weeks 12 and 13, are consisted of two more middle of the road teams, #61 Memphis and #66 Tulsa and depending on what Houston team shows up in Weeks 12 and 13, we shall see what the outcome is. The final two weeks are much easier as we play #119 Connecticut and #97 Cincinnati.
My prediction is that we will be better than our #108 ranking and surprise some people but, maybe that's just me juneing to hard. I say we pick up a surprising win against Baylor in Week 1, beat App State in Week 4, proceed to get our butt handed to us Week 5-9, win against Tulane in Week 11, pick up a win against either Memphis or Tulsa in Weeks 12 and 13 and then go on to beat both Connecticut and Cincinnati to finish the season. Hey! that's 6-6 baby we will take it! We are going bowling! or Juneing!
P.S. Position Battles will be posted tomorrow.