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    12 Early Spring Prospects-Offense


    *I started this after signing day, and thought that I'd post it now, before "official" stuff sets in--and while everyone is talking about Pelle in the hoops forum!

    Yep, Signing Day is in the books, and I’m thinkin’ it’s time to take a look at what the immediate future holds. You betcha! *gasp* It’s time for a quick peek at Spring Football!


    Any coach worth his salt will tell you that all the excitement begins in both trenches, and common sense tells you that one of the two lines makes it easier for the other—not the other way around. So, since ISU’s offense has proceeded with fits and starts the last……um, longer than I care to admit, we’re going to take a quick peek at the big beasties up front first.

    Offensive Line
    Returning Starters
    LG Ethan Tuftee, C Tom Farniok, RT Brayden Burris

    Players With Starting Experience
    T Kyle Lichtenberg, T Carter Bykowski, G/T Jacob Gannon

    Other Returnees
    C John Tautolo, G Shaban Dika, G Bob Graham C Ben Loth,

    Redshirts
    G/C Oni Omoile, T Brock Dagel, T Jamison Lalk

    Prospectus
    I still think that in football, the offensive line is the area that makes everything else go. First, it paves the way for all of the skill position players to excel, and in turn, allows the defense opportunity. Last year’s unit might have improved to “passable” , but pass protection is still a serious issue.

    I honestly expect Coach Bill Bleil to have his work cut out for him this Spring, playing mix-and-match until he finds the right combination of pieces for success. I could certainly see the returning starters reshuffled, or perhaps even being bumped from a starting spot. The good news being that Coach Bliel has more pieces to play with than he has since taking over the job—indeed, in a very long time in Cyaritaville.

    So, what kind of things could happen? Oh, all sorts of stuff is possible. Burris flipping to the left side, Tuftee to the right. The latter might want to keep a wary eye out, because I have a strange suspicion that Gannon, Dika and Omoile are all going to be hungry for a starting spot. Burris switching might be a long shot, but I won’t rule out anything as CBB works to get the best use of his three experienced tackles. And it would be nice if someone else steps up. Hear that, Bob and Ben? That thundering sound you hear is Oni, Brock and Jamison leading the stampede of rising young players behind you. That may not seem too dire at the moment, but the view in the mirror will be a lot closer come this Fall. If someone (or two) of the long list above is ready to play an active role in the two-deep at tackle, that would be a blessing for both present and future.

    Spotlight On:
    Oni Omoile G/C Redshirt Freshman, 6’3” 280
    There are several guys here who have wonderful opportunities, and a couple who should be able to take great advantage of another year to add strength and muscle.The guy I’ll be looking hardest at, however, is Oni Omoile. Last summer he had a (very) brief flirtation with playing defense, and at the time Bill Bleil remarked about how very athletic he is. Later, CPR commented on how bright and what a leader Oni is, mentioning him as a possible center eventually. So in the first place, I’ll eagerly be looking to see if Oni is ready to break into the playing rotation, and if so, just what kind of advantage Coach Bleil might take with a player with that kind of athleticism on the interior line.

    Receivers

    Returning Starters
    FL Josh Lenz
    TE Kurt Hammershmidt

    Others With Experience
    Aaron Horne, Chris Young, Albert Gary, Jarvis West, TE Ricky Howard

    Returnees and Redshirts
    Quinton Bundrage, Ja’Quarius Daniels, Tad Ecby, TE Ernst Brun, TE Pierce Richardson

    Prospectus
    Unless some of the young guys step up, this group won’t be much changed from last season—especially unless someone embraces Darius Reynolds’ deep threat role—he drew a lot of double teams. That said, we’re all excited to see what Bundrage, Daniels and Ecby bring to Cardinal and Gold, and both Gary and West were coming on late last year.



    Fortunately, there’s really no reason not to anticipate that several of the young guys aren’t going to step up—and more will be on the way this Summer. Speaking of stepping up, it would be nice if Brun could fill in (and expand upon) Branderhorst’s receiving role, but the tight ends should be solid in any case. Oh, just an odd thought—Daniels’ listed size last Fall was actually bigger than Brun’s.

    Spotlight On:
    Quinton Bundrage 6’1” 198 Redshirt Freshman
    Yep, I could have flipped a coin among about five guys. When looking at high school video a year ago, one thing that struck me about both Bundrage and Ecby was their ability to catch the ball, away from the body with both hands. Sure handed receivers were something we definitely needed. While there were other similarities between the two, one thing that really struck me about Bundrage was his body control. He may not have the freak athleticism of Darius Reynolds, but along with that body control, he also has excellent hand-eye coordination. If there’s someone who can make the clutch leaping end zone catches that Reynolds did, of this group Bundrage gets my vote.

    Running Backs

    Returning Starter, Players With Experience, Redshirts: The Posse
    *Shontrelle Johnson, James White, Jeff Woody, DeVondrick Nealy, Rob Standard

    Prospectus
    With Johnson doubtless out, there will be plenty of opportunity to see the new guys, as well as for walk-ons like Tyler Leo to impress. Suddenly we’re all excited to see Nealy, and Standard isn’t exactly chopped liver. What I’m thinking is that we’ll have fun, fun, fun ’til Daddy takes the T-Bird away!

    Spotlight On:
    Rob Standard 5’10” 187 Redshirt Freshman
    I know who’s going to have fun with Nealy, and we all know the other backs, so that lets me toss out Rob Standard. Now, I’m not sure that he has the burst that James White surprised the coaching staff with last season, but I do think he’s the kind of slasher who won’t be shy about running between the tackles. Matter of fact, aside from Woody, he may prove to be something of a specialist in that area. And whatever “burst” he might have, I’m looking forward to finding out!

    Quarterbacks

    The Gunfighters
    Steele Jantz, Jared Barnett, Sam Richardson

    Prospectus
    The Man of Steele, Katy Bar(nett) the Door, or Sam I Am? I’ll give a hint to all of you guys who debate last season’s performances endlessly, one that I had to stop and realize myself. Last season’s stats will now be meaningless. The starter will be whomever prepares and performs best through the Spring, Summer, Two a Days, and Fall.

    Spotlight On:
    Steele Jantz 6’3” 224 Redshirt Senior
    I thought about avoiding “The Debate” altogether and spotlighting Richardson, but I will say this. When Barnett is on, he can be a very good quarterback. On the other hand, if Jantz eliminates the mistakes, he’s something special. An element that can be the difference between a “very good” season—and a special one. There’s nothing else that hasn’t been said ad nauseum.


    Last edited by Aclone; 02-29-2012 at 05:16 PM.


    Paul Rhoads' players never quit.
    (They just disappear offseason)


  2. #2
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    Re: 12 Early Spring Prospects-Offense

    Thanks for doing this Aclone. I'm dying for some football coverage.

    Here is how I see each of those postions:

    OL:
    I think the starters from left to right will be Bykowski, Tuftee, Farniok, Dika, and Burris. Then Lichtenburg, Gannon, and Omoile will see significant time to give guys some rest.

    Receivers:
    Lenz will obviously be a starter. I think one of the redshirt freshmen will also start, Bundrage, Daniels or Ecby. Plus either West or Gary.
    At TE, I think Brun and Howard will split time depending on the need.

    RB:
    This position depends significantly on if Shontrelle Johnson is back. I've heard good things about Nealy, especially at the recruiting party. We know what we'll get from Woody and White. I'm also excited to see Standard.

    QB:
    Throw a dart. None of us know which of the three will be a the starter.



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    Re: 12 Early Spring Prospects-Offense

    Coaching staff is VERY excited about Nealy, and Johnson will be back.
    Wouldn't be surprised at all if Gannon is starting by wk 1. I think he, as much as anyone, improved a bunch throughout last season which I have to eat some crow on because I wasn't sold on him initially.
    KO was very suspect on pass pro as a LT, (which is why he will be a G in the pros) and I think having a more athletic guy at that position will shore up the pass protection.


    Exaggeration is a BILLION times worse than understating.

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    Re: 12 Early Spring Prospects-Offense

    I have heard rumblings that morrisey will be at TE this year.. take it for what it's worth



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    Re: 12 Early Spring Prospects-Offense

    Im beginning to wonder if Ecby is transferring based on his Twitter posts.



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    Re: 12 Early Spring Prospects-Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by UNIGuy4Cy View Post
    Im beginning to wonder if Ecby is transferring based on his Twitter posts.

    Hmm I guess I'll have to check that out



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    Re:’12 Early Spring Prospects-Offense

    Aclone, this is a good write up. However, I didn't know we had a QB named James.



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    Re: ’12 Early Spring Prospects-Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by FootballinTexas View Post
    Aclone, this is a good write up. However, I didn't know we had a QB named James.
    Ty! Fixed.

    Interesting perspectives. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all sorts out!




    Paul Rhoads' players never quit.
    (They just disappear offseason)


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