Seahawks draft recap: No grades, just thoughts

The draft has come and gone and this is when all of the “experts” start handing out grades based on the picks all 32 teams made. That is probably one of the dumbest exercises I’ve ever heard of. It’s honesty just filler, because grading a team’s draft selections before they even set foot on a football field is a joke. Like I’m supposed to just accept the fact that one of the “draft analysts” at the big networks have a better idea of what a team should’ve done than the GM? It is such an idiotic practice to grade a draft as soon as the final pick is in. I’ll end the rant there, but as you can tell, the whole thing fires me up. As was evidenced by the Seahawks picks, teams draft to need and fit, not to what some stat nerd at ESPN had on their mock board.

So instead of draft grades, I’m just going to give you a brief summary on each player the Seahawks selected and what they bring to the table. If your looking for grades, maybe I’ll hand those out in 2020, when I actually have an idea of what this class is.

Rashaad Penny -RB San Diego State -Round 1 Pick 27

The Seahawks wasted no time making a statement in the 2018 draft. With the selection of Rashaad Penny in the first round, Pete Carroll and John Schneider told the wold that they   want to get back to their principles. This program was built on a run game and defense. Having Russell Wilson is what sets them over the top, but it makes his life much easier when they can run the ball.

Penny brings toughness and stability to a position group that desperately needs it. Some say drafting Penny in the first round is a stretch, but Pete and John got what they wanted. Throw on the tape and you’ll realize why they were so excited to land this guy. Penny never misses games, is a blend of power and speed, can catch the football, is a threat to score on every play, and is deadly in the return game.

I can’t wait to see this guy get on the field. He’ll have to earn his carries, but the potential is great. Penny, Carson, Davis, Prosise, and Mckissic? Yes please! Whoever emerges from that group will have earned their way onto the field and I expect to see a much improved ground attack in 2018.

Rasheem Greene – DE USC- Round 3 pick 15

This guy is an absolute beast. He wreaked havoc on every offensive line he faced. His athleticism makes him extremely versatile. I stated last week (right along with running back) that the defensive line needed some depth. Pete and John showed once again what they are committed to with this selection. I think this kid has a chance to make an impact immediately.

Will Dissly- TE Washington- Round 4 Pick 20

Sensing a theme here? Me too. Physical, punishing football. The Seahawks aren’t bringing Dissly in to be the next Jimmy Graham, This dude is a converted defensive lineman who wore number 98 throughout the entirety of his college career. Will is going to mix it up in the run game and be a nice frame for Wilson to throw too, Again, he’ll have to earn his way with veterans  Ed Dixon and Nick Vannett already on the roster. However, don’t be surprised to see all three on the field at once this season.

Shaquem Griffin- OLB Central Florida- Round 5- Pick 4

This was seemingly everyone’s favorite pick and for good reason. Chances are even the casual fan has heard of Shaquem Griffin. He was an All-American linebacker last season while helping UCF to an undefeated season.

But what most people know Griffin for is the fact that he accomplished those impressive feats with one hand. Shaquem had a nerve disorder as a child that caused him so much pain, doctors amputated his left hand when he was young. He overcame that setback and has become one of the best stories in sports.

A lot of teams overlooked Shaquem because of his missing appendage, which is great news for the Seahawks. Griffin is an absolute steal and is probably the hungriest player in this class. He is ready to show the world what he can do at the highest level. Griffin’s biggest asset is probably his quickness. He can move better than just about any linebacker you’ll find. I can’t wait to see this guy in action.

Oh yeah… his twin brother is cornerback, Shaquille Griffin. How cool is that? I can’t wait to see what these two accomplish together.

Tre Flowers- S Oklahoma State- Round 5- Pick 9

Tre flowers was a nice pickup for the Seahawks in the 5th round. He is very solid in coverage which is why some people think the Seahawks will ultimately move him to corner. Either way, this kid has a good frame, can run and plays each snap like he’s on a mission.

Michael Dickson- P Texas- Round 5- Pick 12

That’s not a typo. The Seahawks did in fact draft a punter in the first round. I know, I about spit my beer out at Flattail Brewing (Go Beavs!) when I saw the pick come in. But hang with me for a second. This is perhaps the most insane punter I’ve ever seen at the collegiate level. He booms the ball and can seriously manipulate spin and bounce better than anyone i’ve ever seen. If you’re still furious, I totally understand. It’s a punter, it just feels wrong. All you need to know about Dickson is that he won the Ray Guy Award, declared early ( yes a punter that came out early) and was named MVP in the Longhorn’s Bowl victory. Take a deep breath.

Jamarco Jones- OT Ohio State- Round 5- Pick 31

I can practically hear the murmurs of “what about the offensive line?” from my couch as I type this. Don’t forget that the Seahawks traded their second round pick to the Texans in exchange for Duane Brown. Brown will probably sign an extension at some point this year, so think of him as the Seahawks drafting a pro bowl caliber left tackle in the second round. Justin Britt is steadily entrenched at center, Ethan Pocic and DJ Fluker will fill in the guard spots, and the team will get George Fant back who will probably take over at right tackle. So that just leaves Seattle with the task of filling in with depth. Jamarco Jones will provide that and could be a solid player down the road.

Jake Martin- OLB Temple- Round 6- Pick 12

Martin comes to the Seahawks as a bit of a project. Honestly I haven’t heard much about him or watched film extensively. However I know the Seahawks wouldn’t have selected him unless they thought he could come in and compete. Who knows? Maybe this is the next unknown commodity to become a star on this defense. We’ll see.

Alex McGough- QB Florida International – Round 7- Pick 2

Other then being a fun name to say, Alex McGough brings some good attributes to the table. A fiery competitor is the first thing that jumps out to me when watching this QB play. He plays each down like it’s his last. Sometimes you have to keep your emotions in check as a QB, so while I think his attitude is a positive trait it’s also something to watch.

McGough is also pretty athletic and shows the ability to throw on the run and also pick up yards on the ground. The Seahawks like having a QB that’s a threat with both his arm and legs. Though far from polished, I think McGough will be a good camp arm to have and could push Austin Davis for the back up spot come August.

Pete and John got their guys:

It’s obvious to me that the Seahawks were looking to regain their identity in this draft. Who knows how all of these guys will pan out. But one thing is certain; this is going to be a hard nosed physical football team, once again built on defense and running the ball.

I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal.

Go Hawks!

Advertisements

3 Quick Hits: Portland Trail Blazers Summer

3 Quick Hits: Portland Trail Blazers Summer

By Con

This is a new series we will be starting where every Monday we will post 3 quick hits about a topic of the PNW teams we cover.

It could range from today the Blazers to the Hillsboro Hops. To 3 “sports” talk radio hosts that suck. Who knows. All we know is Chad Doing is the best post-game sports radio host every to grace planet earth.

Today it’s the team that ripped our hearts out. Got us pumped. Then went on vacation. Don’t know if we can even call it a “no-show” that sounds generous. What the heck happened to the Portland Trail Blazers??? Well a lot of people have written about it. But we are here to hit the “burning” topic of summer with this team…

  1. Draft Night and Neil. What in the heck will Portland do come draft night? Will Neil Olshey be off picking daisies like Meyers Leonard? Or fir trees like Lillard for our foundation? Or will Neil be picking nothing but his buyout of his contract? The Blazers have the 24th pick this summer, 24th picks of past years for teams include:

-Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (yeah exactly)

-Tyus Jones

-Shabazz Napier

-Tim Hardaway Jr.

-Reggie Jackson

-Serge Ibaka

-Rudy Fernandez

-Brian Cook

So as you can see let’s just call it unknown. Now Neil has discussed a lot of “options” for this team that include draft picks and trades…NOT FREE AGENCY.

But how can you talk about free agency when you have the most incredible track record in free agency with Meyers Leonard and Evan Turner being corner stone signings? Yeah… 😦

2. Free Agents: Who Stays? Nurkic, Ed Davis, Planet Pat and Shabazz will be up in free agency. Restricted or not, there is no way we can see Portland keeping Shabazz. He played himself into a bigger contract in the middle of last season and what can he do that Wade Baldwin can’t provide? I know Baldwin can provide defense needed on guards in the West. Shabazz just isn’t worth it.

Nurkic should resign for around Meyers Leonard money. Yeah that just got typed. That would be a solid deal for Portland as they would keep a developing big man who shows decent promise and remember folks, has had only ONE minor knee surgery and is still 23… There just aren’t other options out there unless a trade comes up.

Ed Davis endeared himself to us. God bless him. We need more of him. Please Ed when you read this because this article will be everywhere in about 890 years, please remember that you resigned with us until you retire. Ed is 28 this year.

Planet Pat should be a keeper if Olshey is. He has history of falling in love with his draft picks but Pat is a solid bench player who has only gotten better and could be a great piece moving forward.

3. Zach Collins Development. Will Zach take the next step? He is already well ahead of schedule and can’t even drink yet. Some people have thrown out that he could be our starting 4. Making Aminu or Harkless expendable in a trade deal. News flash we are NEVER going to get a trade offer for Turner that isn’t breaking up CJ and Dame. Alas, back to Zach. He showed great hunger, hustle and offensive skill that was a huge surprise to most. He had the defensive end length and will just need to add strength. But the key for him this summer will be his post up game and body. If the post up game improves with the same trajectory his shooting has, Rip City, we are in for a treat for years to come…

RIP CITY. GOD BLESS CHAD DOING.

OSU Football Spring Game Preview: 8 Things We Will Be Watching

OSU Football Spring Game Preview: 8 Things We Will Be Watching

By Con

Like the title says, we will be watching these 8 things closely at the Oregon State Spring Game that kicks off at 1:00 pm at Reser, Saturday April 28th. And unlike the throw away newspaper written by *Morons* up north, we will actually be watching more things that have to do with football and not attendance. Seriously???

Back to sensible talk… These are in no way in order of importance.

  1. Key plays/wrinkles/style of Jonathan Smith’s offense.  This will be huge to see what the pace, style, blocking schemes, pass/run ratio, small wrinkles are going forward with the new “up-tempo pro-style” attack that Smith plans on running. Obviously a spring game isn’t going to show all of their stuff but we think Smith genuinely will be testing out players that he thinks can make an impact early as well as packages. He has noted this multiple times during press conferences and post practice interviews as really trying to find the identity of the team and who the play-makers are and how to adapt his offense around the personnel he has.
  2. Special Teams. Something the previous coach of OSU was supposed to be known for and emphasize was special teams. This proved to be as blatant of a lie as the Victory Through Valley Fall 2016 banner still flying in 2018. Does anyone remember us going offsides on multiple kicks and one or two onside kicks that we RECOVERED? Only to be called offsides and negated???? FUN! We are looking for details. Details in blocking, gunners going full speed down the field looking to kill a return man, explosiveness from the returners, and overall who might be a few studs to make an impact on special teams early in their careers or just this year. Think Gerard Lawson. His CB downs he played for OSU were atrocious. Yet he literally made a living in the NFL for multiple years because he played every special teams coverage and return and went head hunting.
  3. Wide Receivers. All in all the WR position has been filled with “potential” and never lived up to any hype or consistency for OSU in the past years since Brandin Cooks. This unit needs to impact the game. Great WR can help out an inexperienced or mediocre QB. There are good players in this group and young players. Who will step up?
  4. Linebackers. In the past 15 years, OSU has produced some incredible linebackers that run sideline to sideline and can hit to drive ball carriers back. However, it has been a long time since we have seen an LB at OSU chase down a guy on the edge, hit a guy and have him actually go backwards not pull him for 3 more positive yards. Also, this is the new DC’s former position he coached and arguably our most proven coach, Trent Bray’s group. What type of player will we see? Hair on fire or cement shoes?
  5. QB Reps/Strengths and Weaknesses. This is an obvious one and the position is between three players. JC transfer Jack Colletto, Conor Blount and Jake Luton. We will be watching the skills of each as the coaches have said they are all different. We especially will be watching for one thing, team leadership and command of group. Our head coach was a quiet leader on the field but when he talked people listened and he had excellent command of the offense.
  6. Christian Wallace, Jeremy Roichner, DeShon Wilson, Calvin Tyler, Trajon Cotton, Doug T., Isiah Smalls and Alex Blanch. All players in important positions or rolls that have something to prove. Either we have noticed them, they have been talked about, JC transfer, you name it. These players are a little under the radar to some but we will be watching their every move.
  7. Defensive Line. Will OSU get a sack in their first 5 games in 2018? Who knows. This is self explanatory. The D-Line must step up this year and certain players and the depth isn’t there to just shuffle in new bodies.
  8. Which freshmen will make early impact? Both true and redshirts. Thinking about the Kolby Taylor’s, Isiah Smalls, DeShon Wilson’s of the world. We will be watching which ones are going hard but also trying to get on the field ANY possible way. It has been stated that every position is up for grabs, prove it!

Go Beavs.

RIP Victory Through Valley 2016 Banner.

NFL Draft: Five things for Seahawks fans to watch for

field-sport-ball-america.jpgBy Andy / PNW Sports Fans

The 2018 NFL Draft gets underway this Thursday at 5pm PT at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. There is no shortage of storylines heading into this year’s spectacle. As usual, all eyes are on the young quarterbacks and a few other eye popping playmakers. For Seahawks fans, the draft is intriguing for different reasons. For us, the intrigue comes from wondering what unknown gem Pete Carroll and John Schneider will find. Although the last few years have been a little disappointing, I think we might be staring down the barrel of another legendary draft for Seattle’s dynamic duo.

Here are five things for Seahawks fans to watch for heading into Thursday:

Will the Seahawks actually draft someone at 18?

The Seahawks are slotted to have the 18th overall pick in the first round. For anyone who has followed the team more than a couple of years, it feels like a forgone conclusion that the they might be looking to trade back to secure more picks. According to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com , the last time the Seahawks used their original first round pick was 2011 when they selected James Carpenter. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see the Seahawks once again trade back in favor of securing more picks, especially considering the fact that the team doesn’t have a second or a third round pick. That being said, Pete and John are always predictably unpredictable.

Biggest Needs

This one might seem obvious given how horrendous the offensive line has been. While the line needs to be addressed, it’s far from the only position group that would benefit from reinforcements.

The Seahawks could also use some fresh bodies on the other side of the trenches. With the departure of Michael Bennett and the probable medical retirement of Cliff Avril, the Seahawks will be leaning heavily on Frank Clark. If the Seahawks want to get a consistent pass rush, they’ll need to add edge depth that can play meaningful snaps early.

Running back is also a need in this class. Sure, the line was bad, but the running backs weren’t doing a lot to help the big fellas out last year. I like that the team held on to Mike Davis for insurance and Chris Carson showed promise before getting injured. But the team can’t take any chances with a poor rushing attack in 2018.

Other positions of need? Look for additions at receiver, tight end and linebacker. A lot of you are probably screaming at me to include defensive backs on this list, but I actually really like the potential of the youngsters here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’ll bring in some guys to compete, but I think some of the athletes from last year’s class have a chance to join Shaq Griffin in the starting backfield.

Is Earl staying?

Speaking of the secondary. . . The biggest question of the offseason has been whether or not Earl Thomas will be traded. I think the longer it goes, the less likely it is that Earl plays elsewhere in 2018. If that’s the case, I’d be thrilled. Unlike his former Legion of Boom teammates, Earl still seems to be playing at the top of his game. While his window of dominance might be gradually closing he is still a huge asset on the back end of that defense. Especially when you consider there will be several  young players fighting for snaps around him.

A deal could certainly go down on draft day, but with each passing day I feel better about the fact that the man I affectionately refer to as the human missile will be back with the team for another season.

Significance of this draft

Simply put, this draft is of major significance. The Pete and John legacy will either be cemented or softened depending on how the 2017 and 2018 classes pan out. They will either be remembered as orchestrating a great five year run and then fizzling out, or showing that they built a generational culture that continued to win for a decade plus.

We won’t be able to judge that for at least a couple of years, but these last two classes will  write history one way or another.

How to feel after it’s all wrapped up

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably walk away from this experience feeling somewhat indifferent. Sure, the draft is exciting and all, but it’s impossible to know what you got out of it until the season comes around. Sometimes you don’t know what you have for two or three seasons. No matter how much of an expert people claim to be, it’s impossible to perfectly predict how a class is going to mature. Chances are almost every player the Seahawks select will be a name you’ve never heard in your life. That’s just the way it is. Once the picks are in I’ll watch some film and get excited. But truthfully, the draft leaves me feeling a little empty.

Though the draft isn’t my favorite event on the sports calendar, it’s still of great importance for a franchise looking to get back to its principles. I’m excited for a clean slate in 2018 and a renewed hunger inside the Virgina Mason Athletic Center.

Go Hawks!

Quick Thoughts: Blazers in 0-2 hole as series shifts to New Orleans

pexels-photo-358042.jpeg

By Andy / PNW Sports Fans

WHAT IN THE WORLD JUST HAPPENED?! One minute we’re basking in the glory of capturing the three seed in the west after a convincing win over the Jazz and the next we’re crying in our beers as Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis run the Blazers out of their own gym. As excited as I was for this series going in, I’m equally as distraught heading into game three. Do the Blazers still have a chance to win this series? Sure, but the team that we saw in March and early April will need to show up to make that happen. If the team we’ve seen for the better part of three weeks shows up, we might be looking at swift exit.

After suffering through two games of this series I wanted to share some of my thoughts on what I’ve witnessed thus far.

Rip City? More like Brick City:

It is hard to fathom how poor the Blazers have been shooting. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have combined to shoot 29 of 80 from the field. 36% isn’t good enough from your two best scorers when the team is fighting for its life. Especially considering that  both guards shot over 43% from the field during the regular season.

Figure out how to handle a double team:

At times it honestly looks like the guards haven’t seen a double team in their lives. However, I can’t put it all on Dame and CJ. A double team means open looks for teammates and the other guys aren’t capitalizing on those opportunities.

Holiday and Rondo have been > Lillard, McCollum:

It pains me to write this, but it’s true. or should I say Jrue? Holiday is averaging 27 points a game so far as well as 5.5 assists. That alone is impressive, but combine it with his presence on the defensive end of the court and he creates an absolute nightmare for Portland. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo has been his vintage, facilitating self. He is averaging 11 points and 13 assists. He even hit the dagger three in game two. Very annoying.

Dame and CJ need to solve the puzzle offensively and do more to make their counterparts feel uncomfortable on the other end.

Anthony Davis isn’t Human:

This one is pretty self explanatory. Davis has clearly been the best player on the court. I feel like he would match up well physically with the characters in Avatar.

Nurkic needs to be better:

Missed layups, lack of agression and the intimidation factor of the aforementioned Anthony Davis have all contributed to a tough start for Nurk. He was much better in game two, but if the Blazers are going to climb out of this hole, he’s got to play at a higher level.

50/50 Balls. . . fight for them:

This has probably been the most sickening part of the series. There have been a ton of loose balls where it appears that the Pelicans are just hungrier. In a playoff series every 50/50 ball is crucial. Get on the floor! It’s especially disheartening to see them lose these effort battles at home. Have some pride and go get the ball.

Wrap it up, you’re rambling:

That’s all I’ve got. I know there weren’t a ton of positives in there, but we keep it real here at PNW. The truth is the Blazers are trailing the series 0-2 and aren’t playing the basketball they are capable of. It’s frustrating and my thoughts reflect that. However, I’m clinging to the hope that they can get it turned around. I don’t believe this team is going to just lay down and get swept or lose 4-1. I know they are better than what they’ve shown. That might be the fan in me, but it’s better than going full doom and gloom. So until the Pelicans beat the Blazers two more times, I’m going to believe this series is still winnable.

Rip City!

 

 

 

 

Civil War Baseball Preview

Beavers april 2018

Photo Courtesy of Andy’s phone. This was taken during February trip to Surprise, AZ

By Braught / PNW Sports Fans

I don’t know about you, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the 2011 Civil War Series. That season the ducks beat the Beavers in football and played in the BCS championship game, swept them in the Civil War basketball series, and swept the Beavers in the three game conference series in baseball. That is not supposed to happen to the Beavers! They are suppose to dominate the in state rival because as we have all known, and as ESPN declared this weekend, the ducks only have baseball because they are jealous of our success.

The Following is from the ESPN Broadcast of last Friday’s game against Missouri State.

Oregon will never admit this, but a lot of the reason why Oregon has a program, now that they brought baseball back, was the success Pat Casey has had 45 minutes up the road in Corvallis by winning those back to back national championships.”

Now I don’t expect, nor could I handle, Oregon sweeping the Beavers this year. This is an ideal match up for the Beavers to see if they have made the right adjustments to get on track. The bats came alive for the Beavers while in Springfield, Missouri and the Oregon pitching staff should be a good test to see if that carries over.

Oregon’s Pitching:

Oregon’s rotation has been in flux a little all season long, but I would expect to see Matt Mercer, 2.40 ERA on Thursday and then Kenyon Yovan, 2.59 ERA, and Kolby Sommers, 3.57 ERA on Friday and Saturday.  I would consider Mercer the ace of their lineup. His funky delivery yields a solid fastball that can reach 95 and an above-average changeup. He has improved each year at U of O but his command is lacking, 23 BB in 56 IP, so I would like to see the Beavers get deep into the counts with him.

On Sunday, the ducks played 23 innings of doubleheader baseball and Yovan threw 118 pitches in game one. I would not be surprised if he gets pushed to Friday and Somers moves to Thursday. Yovan was an All American closer for the ducks in 2017 but you may remember him as the pitcher that bounced one off Madrigal’s hand, forcing him to miss multiple games last year. Yovan recently moved from the bullpen and just made his fourth start at Washington. He was selected in the 32nd round out of Westview High School but turned it down to go to college and is currently a Top 100 2019 MLB draft prospect. His fastball is in the lows 90s and he has an average to above-average slider. He is much more of strikeout pitcher, 55 in 41IP, than Mercer but has the same command issues, 23 BB in 41 IP. His start in Washington was the first time he has given up a HR in his collegiate career and his longest outing, 7 innings. Not only can Yovan pitch, he can hit and we will probably see him at the plate at some point in the series.

Somers elected to go to college after being drafted in the 38th round by the Mariners in last year’s draft. He is a left-handed pitcher with a 1-5 record and 3.57 ERA. Better command than the other two with 31 strikeouts and only 7 BB in 35 IP, but opponents are batting .294 against him.

The other pitchers to know are Parker Kelly, 4-0 1.72 ERA, and James Acuna, 2-1 4.88 ERA. Parker is by far the best arm out of the bullpen, throwing upper 80’s to low 90’s on his fastball and a solid breaking ball. He has 44 Ks to 9 BBs in 31 IP. The Beavers will see him more than once this weekend would be my guess.

Oregon’s Batting:

When it comes to team batting average, Oregon State is in the top 15, where as the Ducks are below 200, only above WSU in the Pac-12. And unlike in the past where Oregon may have a low BA but a high on base percentage due to the number of walks and pitches they leaned into, that is not true this year. There OBP again ranked in the 200’s, compared to OSU’s top 15 ranking. They also are not sacrificing at the same rate, with only 17 on the year compared to OSU’s 34 and Top 10 ranking. This is a different Penguin (Horton) style of baseball.

Hitters to know are Kyle Kasser 2B, Jakob Goldfarb RF, and Gabe Matthews 1B. Kasser will lead it off for them and has a .321 Avg and .415 OBP. He is there to set the plate as there is no power to speak of when it comes to him, only 5 doubles and 0 triples or HRs. Jakob, .319/.388/.529 and Gabe, .288/.393/.464 are much more your power guys. Jakob has some athleticism to him to go along with power as seen by his 6 stolen bases and 5 HR. Gabe will strikeout ever third time he’s up to bat though.

Oregon State:

Now if you are here, I expect you know the basics about the baseball team and will try not to fill you in with too many stats.

The big news for the Beavers this weekend is the return of their All American, Nick Madrigal. You must put Nick back at second as soon as he and the medical staff give you the greenlight but what do you do with the red-hot Andy Armstrong. Per the Oregon State gameday, Andy has hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games, at .361 Avg and 17 RBIs. I believe there are two options, Andy becomes the DH or if Andy has the arm, you move him to third and Gretler moves to first. Thankfully there is not much of a drop off from 1 – 9 in this lineup because this Oregon staff will be tough.

On the pitching side, it will be the same three, Heimlich, Fehmel, and Gambrell. The only change is that Fehmel could throw Thursday since he only threw 26 pitches when in Springfield, allowing Heimlich to get more rest. If the trio maintains command, I expect them all to have a good series against this Oregon lineup.

With the great weather inbound, Goss Stadium will be the place to be.

Mid Spring Ball Football Review April 14 Practice @ DamCity

Mid Spring Ball Football Review April 14 Practice @ DamCity

By Con

We were live and tweeting today at the DamCity event at Mountainside high school in Beaverton, Oregon watching OSU mid way through spring. Check our tweets for pretty much a play by play of the whole day. For now, we will just go over a general position group summary and some stand outs. This will not be comprehensive as DB position has so many injuries so you can’t see the actual standouts and other position groups weren’t watched as closely. Here we go:

General Vibe

-Jonathan Smith (JS) is very in control of this team. The delusional fans especially on twitter who think that Mike Riley is running the team, will take it over, is more involved than people think, etc. are just like we said DELUSIONAL. There is some video content that we posted and you can just tell MR is no where near the team other than his position group and honestly is just another one of the guys and coaches. Smith leads everything with no hesitation, and MR is NEVER next to him whispering, coaching, pointing or anything. He is literally with his position group all the time like a normal coach. Please stop spreading this narrative for those who are. It’s embarrassing and very *uckish honestly. Just stop.

Practice was crisp and fast paced. OSU uses MUCH more tackling dummies, pads, etc. than any coach or team I have seen in the past 20 years. There is always a purpose for each session they go through. No one is standing around acting like they don’t know what to do. Warm-ups are different, much more team oriented vs individual groups, same with post practice and special teams work. Also, JD pointed this out, every drill where a QB was throwing to a WR, kicker kicking FG, punting, blocking, etc. basically any drill where it was multiple position groups interacting, there were multiple things happening i.e. three QBs throwing to three different WR at once. Or two kickers kicking. Or 3 guys blocking 3 guys. NEVER just one on one and people watching. I love this because its all about the reps!

Now comes position reviews:

QB- 2 man race between Colletto and Luton. Blount got a few reps but those two got significantly more. We know the coaching staff has been mixing it up but it just seems that these two are at the top. They are also playing the most consistent.

Some outlets report how “good” Luton looks in the new offense. This is so OVERSTATED. Every QB is treading water with the new schemes and what not. Luton looks fine as far as injury is concerned. He does have good zip on ball. Still varying accuracy.

Colletto is spitting image of JS in college. A little taller but not by much. Has same “heave” delivery that JS had. More mobile, also wears number 9 ironically. Stocky though. Luton seems to be a bit ahead because he knows when to run and when to get out of the pocket. Colletto is still learning this as he got jumbled up a few times as the pocket collapsed.

Really, JS will build the offense around what he has. He has stated this so many times. If its Luton, he will try to spread the ball around and motion action. Colletto seems more of a solid runner, not fast but solid so you would see more true read option. Again, WAY too early to tell right now how good either will be but seems like its between them two.

RB: Artavis Pierce will be a stud this year. He looks bigger, faster and smarter. He just does everything right and is everything you want in a back that plays every down. He is the clear number one. No one else close. Likewise, Calvin Tyler, #23, is the clear number two and capable. He had some good goal line work and is pretty small so he does a good job of hiding behind the line and then exploding through like Bernard mastered. Can also catch out of the backfield. Him and AP are a great first back and capable back up.

Christian Wallace is a wild card here. He had a few carries, also a fumble. He looks fluid and like he is having fun at the position. He just looks happy which makes us happy. He will make a big impact on special teams if he embraces it and could be a big factor in return game. But barring injuries, doubt he plays much this year. He needs to work on pass blocking and just being solid at running, catching and blocking consistently. But so much potential. 2019 look for him to have a special package, all special teams work, maybe a wildcat. Who knows, that could be 2018 if he learns the plays and dedicates himself.

WR: One name to know and remember now: Champ Flemmings. He will be huge this year. Similar role to the legend James Rodgers his true frosh year. Flemmings looks solid in his body compared to last year he looked like he was 10. But it is clear that JS is looking for him to be involved in the offense in quick passes, screens, fly sweep pitches, etc. Anything to get him the ball in space. The dude is quick and just like Rodgers, hardly even gets hit because no one can touch him. Also has great hands and was returning punts. Although he dropped a few.

Timmy Hernandez will be a solid senior like Brandon Powers was. Isaiah Hodgins looks on a different level than all the WR. Both physically and mentally. He is BIG and looks much more comfortable in his second year with a coach that knows if he will be playing in games or not. He went down with a shoulder injury late in practice, stayed on field with no pads on and sling and ice. Seemed in good spirits. Great route runner as well and creates separation. But again, star of the day and future will be Flemmings. Kolby Taylor also looked solid over the middle on slants and after the catch. Very sturdy player.

It is great to see the knowledge of the coaching staff embracing quick passes, screens and slants that should be the bread and butter of an offense with quick guys and a mediocre QB at best. No diss on players but I love the way you can see the coaches building around their stronger players and just not even messing with their weaker positions.

TE: Like we just said above, doesn’t seem to be a strong position right now with Togai and Tuli out. We saw a grand total of ZERO passes thrown the TE way. Doesn’t mean they didn’t have their good plays through. Isaiah Smalls, true frosh, will absolutely play in 2018. He is smart and is picking up plays well. For example, the blocking schemes you can tell he is in the right place at the right time especially on WHAM blocks and outside pulling. This is encouraging. Also, number 45, our boy Ralph T, was first man up with the injuries. He looked solid blocking.

OL: First team = Yanni, Moore, Houston, Lavaka, Brandel. Don’t see that changing much unless someone else emerges as center. Lavaka, Brandel and Moore seem locked in. Yanni solid at OG. Houston is so suspect at center. He just isn’t that big and gets beat more than any other OL. Onesimus Clark looks the part but didn’t see much from him. Kammy Delp still not even in the conversation. All GA JC transfers are garbage. Will be a group to watch going forward if a younger guy emerges.

DL: First team = JC transfer Jermey R, Aydon, Kalani. Seems solid group. Jeremey R, has some nasty in him. A few scuffles and push after whistle. Love that. Didn’t watch this group much. Aydon up a lot in weight. Don’t know if thats a good thing. Seems like the DC scheme is for all 3 DL to take up blockers like a real 3-4 is run. Not Clunes version.

LB: First team = Kee, Doug T, Shemar Smith and Willis. I expect Bright if he comes back to be in this and Andrzej Hughes-Murray. Love Shemar Smith though. He is has gotten significantly bigger and all healed up from injury. Will be a rotation player. Kee Whetzel is LOCKED in to start. Dude brings the juice and energy and is fast enough to cover RB or a slot WR. Doug T looks like he could hold down the middle. Big dude. Think Alan Darlin.

DB: Hard to tell with so many injuries. Jalen Moore beefed up and flying all over. DeShon Wilson will probably burn his redshirt. Hits HARD and had a few at the scrimmage. Has speed as well. Has body to play right away on special teams. With Crawford, Irvine and Dwayne Williams all out, we could see Wilson as a nickel player and sub. Isiah Dunn has beefed up as well. Kaleb Hayes is a long rangy corner who made some plays as well. I am not worried about this unit at all. Morris will be back at the other safety and Trajon Cotton, Jeffery Manning will contribute. We have great long rangy cover athletes here. The most athletic I have seen a secondary.

Overall, didn’t watch D very closely. Was focusing on offense because of how bad they have been. Its hard to play defense even if you are Alabama when you have the most 3 and outs in the nation and score 10 points per game in the Pac-12. Defense seems they will be serviceable.

Special Teams: GET RID OF AUSSIE STYLE PUNTING NOW. NO ONE DOES THIS IN THE NFL. THAT SHOULD BE A SIGN. You are guaranteed a shank punt which can swing game honestly. This happened in the scrimmage a 15 yarder straight out of bounds. However, Alex Bland number 38 from Australia looks solid. Step up from the enigma of Probeski last year. Onto kicker. Jordan Choukair has a HUGE leg. He looks much more comfortable and involved then last year. Seemed like GA even though he would say opposite, didn’t give to craps about special teams. They can be a huge part of the game good or bad. You will notice. Group seems to be solid right now. Will be better in both Punter and Kicker then 2017.

The ONLY returners fielding punts today were Champ Flemmings and our boy Tino Allen. Both were a mixed bag. Still learning how to be consistent. Trevon Bradford was out today but was the only player close to the returners. Again its all about reps. I love that we have set three punt returners and that is all who take the reps. Not having 7 guys back there watching gives the 3 top guys double reps and experience and also has less guys watching at practice which is a theme in the JS era so far. No kickoffs were practiced besides a few kicks from the kickers with no coverage or returns.

Standouts: As discussed above, a few standouts from this practice;

-Champ Flemmings, WR. Great athlete. JS building some plays around him.

-DeShon Wilson, DB. Hard hitter and quick to ball. All over the field.

-Artavis Pierce, RB. Will be our workhorse RB.

-Isiah Smalls, TE. Actually looked the part for a just turned 18 year old. Smart player. Can split him out as well.

-Doug T, LB. Solid inside linebacker. Just big and strong. Could shore up the middle of the D that has been lacking for a while. All his hits and tackles pushed the ball carrier back, not him back.

-Jordan Choukair, K. Looks much improved and has big leg. Could be weapon this year. Also booted kickoffs with no coverage far. All his FG kicks continuously go “UP” vs straight on or line drive. A lot of lift to his kicks.

-Jonathan Smith, HC. The guy is just an encourager, high energy but not annoying and a leader. He is VERY involved on offense in almost every play. Trusts his coaches and the players listen when he talks.

See you at the spring game in two weeks.

PNW Crew