David Ash has grown. He understands the offense better and isn't paralyzed by stimulus overload. He's throwing the ball more naturally and letting it go a little. Last year he was trying to place the ball and it was extending his delivery and gumming up his mechanics. That's gone. He's the clear starter and any suggested competition for the job is completely manufactured. He's getting better at play action (hitting guys in stride with air under the ball) and is still solid running the zone read.
Case McCoy is the same player.
Brewer is a redshirt.
Jalen Overstreet is smart and physically mature so don't rule out Overstreet being listed as the #3 QB who gets some occasional work running option to get his feet wet. Might offer the coaches another option if Ash goes down and Case plays poorly. He won't be the short yardage Wildcat operator though. Won't know anything 'til Fall Camp.
David Ash's health is paramount.
The people I talked to felt Davis had a pity party for himself last year when the Texas passing game struggled and he went into a downward spiral with it. Without depth, we had no ability to bench him. F8 games: 29 catches, 490 yards. L5 games: 16 catches, 119 yards. Didn't catch a ball against Cal. Davis has practiced well enough this Spring to win back the trust of teammates. Good attitude, catching everything, doing little things that show engagement.
Both Shipley and Davis can operate inside or outside and the coaches are moving them around. Shipley played late last year "at 75%."
The coaches like John Harris as a role player #3 or #4 WR. Think he'll catch tough balls and block hard. Obviously can throw, too.
Marquise Goodwin may have turned a corner in our last three against A&M, Baylor, Cal: 16 catches, 239 yards, 2 TDs - both long scores. Badly need someone who can punish CBs over the top when teams gang up on our run and shade our primary receiver. Coaches want him to be a deep threat and end around guy. Not sure how track will affect his preparation.
Miles O weighs 230 now and though he can still be split out, he's a 'tweener.
Depth is poor and at least one of the freshman WRs should play.
Improved but not nearly good enough. McFarland has a big body and good hands, but he has the mentality of a split end in a 250 pounder. DJ Grant is reliable, but not a blocker and knee injuries have robbed him of his explosiveness. Darius Terrell has hands but he's an overgrown WR who wasn't explosive when he weighed 210. No difference makers here. Greg Daniels will be tried to see if he can offer anything. Their blocking is more about getting in someone's way than sealing the edge. Expect to see the TE block down and our OT pulling around - our TEs aren't going to beat a decent DE heads up.
Harsin coached TEs at Boise and isn't satisfied with their development.
Bergeron is physically overwhelming at a rock solid 240 and the most feared of the RBs. Brown is healthy again and shows great vision and feet every day. Both guys have a knack for getting 2-3 yards when nothing is there. They can break long runs, but neither is a J Charles style home run threat. Hills is depth, whatever the practice chatter. Monroe has his role as a jet back, but carries aren't going be found in abundance with B&B around and Gray in the wings. Bergeron and Monroe will be 3rd down backs - each offering very different skills. Bergeron is strong in blitz pickup and a natural ball catcher. Trying to establish a credible deep threat so they can clear and then flip it to Monroe in the flat.
Carries should be pretty well distributed and I expect we won't have anyone carrying 29 times against Tech or 28 against KU. Gray will get a shot at running Wildcat. The RBs will have 35-40 carries per game and distribution should be dispersed across 3-4 guys, but Bergeron and Brown will have the bulk.
Improved but will struggle when our D starts running stunts and doesn't go base. Searels is running a lot of different combinations and reading too much into that is folly. He wants his best five out there, but an injury at one position doesn't mean that the backup is automatically elevated. It may just mean a reshuffle.
Donald Hawkins is our LT, but he's more adequate than dominant. Still an improvement over what we had last year. Cochran continues to put on good weight while maintaining high energy level. Love his competitiveness and pride. Coaches want Kelley or Poehlmann to step up as a third tackle. Concerned that Hopkins may still be our 3rd best OT.
Best depth on the team is found at guard. Sedrick Flowers is a player.
Consider this: we have 1 senior OL, 7 juniors. That imbalance makes you shake your head, but then consider that once you exclude JUCO band aid Donald Hawkins, we have 7 upperclassmen...providing 2 OL starters. The sins of our complacency fathers won't be washed away in one year.
A couple of guys have between now and the Spring game to assert their desire to be here. The OL should be improved and we should see far fewer mental errors.
The offense will be better as we'll see improved play at every position group, but whether better means a Top 50 offense or Top 25 depends on Ash coming into his own, consistent OL play, and our WRs playing at a high enough level to get the running game some breathing room. Obviously, injuries at QB and OT will kill us.