My report card through three games. The first three games were pop quizzes and comprise only 15% of the course grade.
Mid-terms (OSU, WVU, OU) and finals (@ Tech, @ KSU, bowl game) yet loom.
Offensive Line: A-
Unit has allowed only five negative offensive plays in three games. Mason Walters and Trey Hopkins have been dominant at times, Dominic Espinosa is athletic enough to work in space, but can struggle when covered by a quality NT, Hawkins has been a godsend stabilizing force at LT, and Josh Cochran has been solid as a true sophomore tackle. Next to QB, the most improved unit on the football team.
Guard play. Mental engagement and assignment diligence. Minimal penalties. Capable of bullying subpar fronts and will finish blocks now. Coherence in pass protection. The entire OL is fairly mobile, athletic, moves well, and excels when allowed to attack defenders with angles and movement. Good at acquiring smaller defenders in space.
Depth. Particularly at OT. Can't physically dominate comparable athletes, but can neutralize them. Struggles to create movement and push when base blocking. Pass protection is unproven against quality DL in predictable passing situations. A quality nose tackle can dictate blocking schemes.
The most improved unit on the football team. David Ash has shown marked improvement in every game. 55 of 72 for 703 yards, 7-0 TD/INT ratio, 76% completions,190.5 passing efficiency rating. 11 carries, 58 yards, 1 TD. Backup Case McCoy has a stronger body (+20 pounds) and better poise in the pocket. 5 of 8 for 64 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT.
Ash is mobile and athletic enough to hurt defenses scrambling to buy time or on called runs. Strong and durable with a big frame. Will shrug off arm tackles. Keeps eyes downfield and doesn't focus on the pass rush. Accurate in short and intermediate game - creates yards after catch with accurate ball placement to the upfield shoulder. Risk averse. Will throw the ball away to avoid negative plays. Understands larger concept of the offense and his role within it. One turnover on season (botched shotgun snap). Good ball handler in play action.
Throws inaccurately and late on deep balls. Still learning to react quickly to favorable coverage and trust his receivers to make plays. Lacks game experience. Will miss throws requiring anticipation on developing routes. Doesn't throw well to spots, prefers to throw to a man. Needs running game crutch at this stage of development.
Running Back - A
Multifaceted unit has accounted for 608 yards rushing (5.6 yards per play average) and 225 yards receiving (11.3 yards per catch) and 11 total TDs in 3 games. Over 278 yards per game in yards from scrimmage.
Physical and decisive. Good ball security. Maximizes runs north-south. Top three ball carriers don't have a negative run for the season. Legitimately six deep. All personnel can catch and are a threat in the passing game, so substitution patterns don't signal play call. Daje Johnson and DJ Monroe have one play scoring ability on fly sweeps, short passes, shovels. Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray have good vision and cutback ability. Joe Bergeron is a battering ram who can run through tacklers and wear on defenses. Good unit in short yardage.
Best every down RBs lack top end speed. Gray a true freshman with limited experience. Johnson and Monroe are situational ball carriers only. Good to very good runners, but not yet elite. Top three ball carriers are two sophomores and a freshman.
Wide Receiver - B-
This unit was graded in the C range coming into Ole Miss, but exemplary play boosted their ranking. Top three receivers (Shipley, Davis, Goodwin) account for 29 catches for 429 yards, 4 TDs at 14.8 yards per catch. Depth provided by Bryant Jackson, Kendall Sanders, and John Harris.
Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley are clever route runners, both gifted at deceiving and beating defenders with change of pace. Marquise Goodwin is a determined blocker. Shipley has exceptional hands and quickness. Shipley and Goodwin are plus runners on end arounds, reverses, and gadgets, and Shipley can throw, run Wildcat, improvise.
Smallish in stature. Unproven depth. No physically dominant big body receiver to move chains or overwhelm defenders. Playmaking and ball skills have only been demonstrated consistently by Jaxon Shipley before the Ole Miss game. Mike Davis historically plagued by inconsistency. Marquise Goodwin can struggle in press man.
Tight End - C
Combined: 6 catches, 46 yards, 2 TDs. Several incomplete players attempting to address an overall team deficiency. Have a strong potential for playmaking with favorable coverages if the running game and WRs continue to make plays.
DJ Grant and MJ McFarland have receiving potential and can win match-ups on linebackers and strong safeties. Barrett Matthews is a strong edge blocker against comparably sized defenders. Greg Daniels has ideal size and frame.
No complete player on roster. Best receivers are substandard blockers. Best blockers are poor receivers. Not yet able to exploit open windows available in play action. Universally poor in pass protection in max protect schemes.
Fullback - C-
Sees the field on roughly half of offensive snaps. Roberson played poorly against Wyoming, below average against New Mexico, acceptably against Ole Miss.
Can catch. Positive improvement curve. Ideal frame.
Lacks pop at point of attack. Misses on assignments. Doesn't always bring his feet after contact.