CFB Off Season

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Author: [College Football] Topic: CFB Off Season
WalterTibbs PM WalterTibbs
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Posted: 4/4/2017 8:18:59 AM
VIRGINIA - Bronco Mendhenhall has proven himself to be a very good football coach during his time at BYU, but not all good football coaches find success at every stop.  Mendhenhall and his staff have a  tremendous rebuilding job to do after facing many struggles last year.  A 2-10 record, a 1-7 conference record, a loss to FCS Richmond and a 42 point blowout to rival Virginia Tech.  Expect another tough year for the Cavaliers.

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Posted: 4/5/2017 7:48:37 AM
SYRACUSE- The Orange are in a tough conference situation having to face Clemson and Florida State every year.  Coach Dino Babers showed in his first year that there was some potential left in this Northeastern program.  The future looks bright even after a 4-8 season.  The two-deep was littered with freshman and sophomores, and now they have a year in Babers' system under their belt.  If quarterback Eric Dungey (6-3, 220) can stay healthy, and if the defense can be even moderately better after finishing dead last in the ACC in points per game allowed, this team may just win a game or two they shouldn't.

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WalterTibbs PM WalterTibbs
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Posted: 4/6/2017 1:06:23 PM
SOUTHERN CAL - Honestly, there aren't many major holes to fill for the Trojans. That, coupled with a strong finish to 2016, is why this team carries so much hype with them. The most pressing issue is rebuilding the offensive line with three starters (all all-conference players) gone. There's some experience coming back, but even though quarterback Sam Darnold can elude pressure doesn't mean USC wants to make it a habit.  Most experts are picking the Trojans as the favorite to win the Pac-12 title.  I agree!

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WalterTibbs PM WalterTibbs
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Posted: 4/7/2017 8:10:49 AM
GEORGIA - Many Dawg faithful have a lot of confidence in Georgia's defense going into the season.  Not only is the Defense talented, it has experience to back it up.  Some of the same faithful are not so confident about the offense.  Although the offense returns two outstanding running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason, it still lacks a formidable offensive line and dependable and test wide receivers.  Plus, there is some concern about offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's play calling.  The passing game is where the real issues lies.  Eason has a ton of potential, but he needs a line and receivers around him to make plays.  If I'm the coordinator, I give Nick Chubb the ball 25 times a game. 

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Posted: 4/8/2017 1:58:11 PM
STANFORD - How the offensive line comes together is the top offseason story for the Cardinal, along with the quarterback competition.  That's not something you expect from Stanford, but ultimately, it might not matter who's under center if he's running for his life every play.  Stanford's offense relied too heavily on running back Christian McCaffrey in the past, but it will be difficult for new playmakers to emerge if plays don't have time to develop.  Keep an eye on how the Cards offensive line plays early.

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Posted: 4/9/2017 7:38:32 AM
AUBURN - One of the biggest questions going into spring drills was whether or not transfer (Baylor) quarterback Jarrett Stidham could revive the Tiger offense, and provide a worthy balance to one of the best defenses in the country.  During the spring game yesterday in front of 46,000 fans, that question was answered.  Stidham completed 16 of 20 passes for 267 yards in the first half and looked really sharp, especially with the deep ball.  He also ran for a touchdown on a broken play.  The redshirt sophomore looks to be the missing piece to the offense that has plagued the Tigers the past couple of years.  With Stidham, Auburn will be a contender for the tough SEC West.

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Posted: 4/10/2017 12:32:00 PM
ALABAMA - The Crimson Tide is the only school in the country to allow fewer than 20 points per game in each of the past four years.  The Tide allowed 13.9 points per game in 2013, 18.4 in 2014, 13.7 in 2015 and 13.7 last season.  Alabama ranked fourth, sixth, third and first in scoring defense, respectively, in each of those seasons.  Wisconsin has come the closest to joining Alabama in the under-20 club in the past four years, allowing 16.3, 20.8, 13.7 and 15.6 points per game.  What's really impressive is that Alabama's streak doesn't even come close to ending at four.  The Tide hasn't allowed more than 20 points per game in a season since Nick Saban's first squad yielded an average of 22.0 points in 2007.  Alabama will go for their ninth in a row this season.

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Posted: 4/11/2017 6:58:42 AM
NORTH CAROLINA STATE - For the first time since coach Dave Doeren arrived in Raleigh, things are mostly calm on the football front.  The Wolfpack have one of the best offensive backfields in the ACC with Reggie Galaspy, Dakwa Nichols and Nyheim Hinds all back, plus a 3,000 yard passer with Ryan Finley (18 TDS, 8 Ints) and all anywhere athlete Jaylem Samuals.  Bradley Chubb also turned down the NFL to anchor a solid defensive line.  Doren needs to win ACC games breaking a four-year streak of sub-.500 conference records.  This year's team is Doeren's best.

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Posted: 4/12/2017 11:20:58 AM
TEXAS A&M - If I were in Kevin Sumlin's shoes, I wouldn't go out and buy a new house in College Station.  Sumlin must replace:

*Starting quarterback Trevor Knight
*Three of its top four receivers, including Josh Reynolds who led the SEC in receiving yards.
*Both of its starting offensive tackles
*Star pass rushers Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall.  Garrett may be the number one pick in the NFL draft
*Standout safety Justin Evans

This fall could get ugly fast if Sumlin can't find reliable quarterback play early.  No coach....I wouldn't buy a new home.

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Posted: 4/13/2017 6:54:28 AM
MEMPHIS - Here are a few quick thoughts on Memphis' 2017 schedule.  On paper, anyway, this year's schedule is significantly easier than last years.  The Tigers faced teams that had finished with a combined record of 84-70 the year before, including AAC opponents that had gone 60-44.  This year, Memphis will face teams with a combined record of 64-84 in the previous season, including AAC teams that went a combined 49-52.  The number of non-Saturday games on the schedule is strange.  The Tigers will play twice on Thursday, and three times on Friday.  The bad part all these weekday games is that it makes it difficult for players and coaches to establish a routine as the season goes along.

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WalterTibbs PM WalterTibbs
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Posted: 4/14/2017 8:37:50 AM
LSU - The Tigers enter their first full season under Ed Orgeron with high expectations in the SEC West.  Orgeron has embraced the expectations knowing he has a very talented team.  Running back Derrius Guice is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and LSU will open in the top 15 in the AP Poll. Danny Etling, who took over the starting quarterback job in 2016, will try to improve under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada.  Etling closed strong in the victories against Texas A&M and Louisville, but he averaged just 138 passing yards with a 52.6 completion percentage in losses to Auburn, Alabama and Florida.  It's no secret better quarterback play is needed if the Tigers have any hope of winning the West.  It will be interesting to see how Canada influences Etling's game.  By the way, Canada is being paid $1.5 million this season to improve LSU's passing game.

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TD21 PM TD21
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Posted: 4/14/2017 9:32:18 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by WalterTibbs:

LSU - The Tigers enter their first full season under Ed Orgeron with high expectations in the SEC West.  Orgeron has embraced the expectations knowing he has a very talented team.  Running back Derrius Guice is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and LSU will open in the top 15 in the AP Poll. Danny Etling, who took over the starting quarterback job in 2016, will try to improve under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada.  Etling closed strong in the victories against Texas A&M and Louisville, but he averaged just 138 passing yards with a 52.6 completion percentage in losses to Auburn, Alabama and Florida.  It's no secret better quarterback play is needed if the Tigers have any hope of winning the West.  It will be interesting to see how Canada influences Etling's game.  By the way, Canada is being paid $1.5 million this season to improve LSU's passing game.

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In those 3 games you mention, Etling was sacked 10 times (9 times against Auburn & Alabama alone).  LSU allowed only 19 sacks all year, so they had more trouble with strong pass rushing teams and the overall passing game could not take off.

I am interested to see if OC Matt Canada has changed his pass protection philosophy from an Xs and Os stand point.  I know he used to man block with his 3 interior linemen rather than zone block (build a wall with those 3 interior guys).  I watched film with an OC that replaced him a few years ago and this pass blocking philosophy was noted.  As a sidenote, the Canada run game concepts were strong in his opinion.  The #s over the years mostly back this up.  The two most recent season that sacks weren't a problem for Canada's offense there were mobile QBs on the field.  Correct me if I'm wrong SEC guys, but Etling is not the most mobile QB out there.  .... 
Back to Canada's #s:  
Pitt 2016:  Only 10 sacks *this seems to be an exception, which makes me also wonder if he's changed his pass protection.  Peterman at QB was pretty mobile, but then again Peterman was sacked much more in 2015 under the previous OC.
NC State:  2015:  39 sacks,  2014: 29 sacks,  2013:  36 sacks.  For comparison, last year only 17 sacks with a new OC.  Sacks were a problem during his time at NC State.
2012:  Wisconsin: 28 sacks.  That is the highest sack total for any Wisconsin team since 2009 (I didn't go back any further, could be more years than that).
2011:  NIU:  only 12 sacks.  QB Chandler Harnish ran for almost 1,400 yards so not a huge surprise there that sacks were down.

If he still employs his philosophy that I saw more closely a few years back, then that can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Center to move laterally and pick up his blocking assignment.  Pocic is gone at Center.  As is Boutte, but Clapp is back at guard.

Anyway, something to keep an eye on is if Canada's offense looks susceptible to the pass rush directly up the middle.  Especially against DCs that like to bring pressure on passing downs.

WalterTibbs PM WalterTibbs
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Posted: 4/14/2017 9:55:35 PM
Hell of a read TD.

Maybe I'm wrong, but thinking you have coached at some level along the way.  My experience was at the HS level before a great opportunity in the corporate world presented itself.  Every Friday night I still supported our local teams.  Live blood of college football.

Appreciate what you offer to the forum...good stuff Bud!
WalterTibbs PM WalterTibbs
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Posted: 4/14/2017 10:04:00 PM
Sidenote:  Couple of years ago at another site, we had a couple of SEC assistant coaches post every now and then.  Not by name but we knew and welcomed their views on SEC football.

Not saying the same will happen here.....but a lot of coaches read Covers College Football.  Just saying................

TD21 PM TD21
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Posted: 4/15/2017 9:45:27 AM
QUOTE Originally Posted by WalterTibbs:

Hell of a read TD.

Maybe I'm wrong, but thinking you have coached at some level along the way.  My experience was at the HS level before a great opportunity in the corporate world presented itself.  Every Friday night I still supported our local teams.  Live blood of college football.

Appreciate what you offer to the forum...good stuff Bud!

Not quite..... my Dad coached at the college level for 30+ years.  I was just the tag-along from a pretty young age.  I'm all grown up now (mostly ) with kids of my own.  My engineering/construction job took me to Las Vegas of all places in late 2010.  Lived there for 3 years.  Anybody who has driven I-15 from Vegas towards L.A. in recent years has probably seen Ivanpah, the solar power plant.  
I've been betting college football ever since my Vegas experience.  
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Posted: 4/15/2017 10:32:27 AM
ARMY - There's no conference championship for the Black Knights to play for, so beating Navy and winning a bowl game in the same season is about as good as it gets.  The running game was solid last year but it was the defense that became the biggest factor in the massive turnaround.  Seven starters are back on defense that finished 8th in the nation last year. The top nine rushers from 2016 all return on offense.  All 46 rushing touchdowns from the nations 3rd ranked ground attack are back.  The Achilles Heel for the offense is the passing game that finished dead last in the country last year averaging just 70 yards per game.  Hoping the Cadets get to another bowl game this year.

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Posted: 4/16/2017 7:57:53 AM
MICHIGAN - The Wolverines must replace a huge senior class heading into the 2017 season.  Michigan also needs to find a dominate run game if it wants to challenge for a big Ten championship.  The Wolverines averaged just 2.4 yards per run in losses to Iowa, Ohio State and Florida State.  The offensive line is getting a makeover with Mason Cole the top returner.  Chris Evans ran for 614 yards and 4 touchdowns as a freshman last year and will probably be the lead back.  Quarterback Wilton Speight passed for 2,358 yards with 18 TDs and 7 INTs.  To help the passing attack, Harbaugh must improve his rushing offense which ranked No. 31 nationally during 2016.  The offense ranked 54th in total offense. 

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Posted: 4/17/2017 9:48:59 AM
MISSOURI -  The official statistics show that Missouri's football team led the SEC in total offense last season with a league best 500.5 yards per game, an average that ranked No.13 nationally.  However, we all know numbers can be deceiving.  The Tigers won only four games in 2016 and only three against FBS opponents and only two in conference play.  So something crucial was missing.  Try Points!  The offense put up a lot of yards but didn't get in the end zone often enough.  Missouri scored 31.4 points per game last season, which ranked 48th nationally, but averaged just 22.6 points against SEC defenses.  With ten starters returning, the offense would be better served to score more often in the red zone.
Something they had trouble with last year.

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Posted: 4/18/2017 7:03:47 AM
CENTRAL MICHIGAN - Just when it seemed the Chippewas were about to become a major factor last year after a 5-2 start and big win over Oklahoma State, they couldn't get the offense going, losing five of their last six games including a 55-10 bowl embarrassment to Tulsa.  Now, there's plenty of hope to be at least as good with most of the defensive parts back along with just about everyone of note on the offensive side, EXCEPT for quarterback.  Losing Cooper Rush could be the team's killer.  With 3,540 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, the four-year starter is gone.  No other quarterback on the team threw a pass.  Just how much will the loss of Rush hurt is the big question entering the 2017 season.

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Posted: 4/19/2017 10:20:56 AM
STANFORD - Despite having what some considered a down year, Stanford went 10-3 for its fifth double-digit win campaign in six seasons under coach David Shaw.  Blowout losses to Washington and Washington State kept the Cardinal from contending for a major bowl, but Stanford won six in a row to close out the season and ranked 12th in the AP Poll.  Stanford returns 15 starters and figures to open the season ranked in the top 15 teams in the country.  Settling on a starting quarterback is huge, especially when one considers a September 9th early showdown with USC.

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Posted: 4/20/2017 6:38:39 AM
OREGON STATE - It's not exactly a make-or-break season for Gary Anderson for his time at Oregon State, but after going 6-18 in his first two seasons, the wins need to start coming.  It's been an un-Anderson run with the defense not doing anything against the run (No. 103 nationally), while the offense can't seem to find any sort of positive consistency (No.100 total offense last year).  However, by closing out 2016 with wins over Arizona and Oregon by a combined score of 76-41, there's at least something to build on during the offseason.  On the plus side, almost all the skill players return, there's depth in the backfield, and the defensive line looks to be solid.  Again, it's year three under Anderson, and the Beavers are supposed to be better and stronger defensively at this point.  Last years 4-8 record was accompanied by a 9-3 against the spread mark.

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Posted: 4/21/2017 11:22:47 AM
CINCINNATI - Starting out with a 3-1 record, things looked good for the Bearcats last year.  But then, they lost seven of their last eight games with the offense going in the tank.  There was a run of five games in six when the offense scored 13 points or fewer.  Enter new coach Luke Fickell (OSU) who has to replace a slew of starters.  Fickell was a good hire for Cincinnati in my opinion, but it may take him some time to get back into the conference title hunt.  He'll have the defense going right out of the gate, but the offense needs to find some power and balance to go along with what should be a good passing attack.  There's a bit of a rebuilding job for Fickell and his staff.

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Posted: 4/22/2017 7:59:02 AM
FLORIDA - Will the Gators offense improve this season?  It can't get much worse than the past two seasons where it ranked 99th and 107th in points per game.  Florida has no ideal who their quarterback will be, hasn't yet defined who its playmakers are going to be on an offense full of question marks.  We all know the Defense has carried the Gators to the majority of their wins the past two years of the Jim McElwain era.  Now the defense has its problems losing three-quarters of its starting defensive line, all three linebackers and two lock down corners.  Some are even questioning the talent level on Florida's roster going into 2017.  McElwain has to do a better job of recruiting in the future.  The bright spot of the coming season is eight games will be played in the state of Florida.

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Posted: 4/23/2017 12:39:52 PM
BUFFALO - Youth and experience forced Buffalo to take a major step backward during coach Lance Leipold's second season (7-17).  The Bulls put 42 new faces on the field in 2016, with many of those players forced into big roles.  The team won only two games in a season for the first time since 2010, going a dismal 1-7 in the Mid-American Conference.  Fourteen starters will return this season including eight on defense.  Quarterback Tyree Jackson returns along with four offensive line starters, but the Bulls will have crucial holes to fill at running back and receivers. The inexperienced players who carried a heavy workload in 2016 should benefit from the lessons they learned the hard way.

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Posted: 4/24/2017 7:31:47 AM
ARKANSAS - The Razorbacks defense can't be as bad as it was in 2016...or can it?  They were a sieve on defense especially against the run.  In Bret Bielema's first three years, the Hogs gave up 4.7, 3.5 and 3.8 yards per carry.  Last year, they allowed 5.9 yards per carry and gave up 39 touchdowns on the ground both last in the SEC.  If you can't stop the run, you can't win in this conference.  The Razorback offense should be pretty good with Rawleigh Williams and Devwah Whaley running the ball, and Austin Allen passing it.  Arkansas may well score over 30 points per game for their third year in a row, and that will keep them competitive.

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