Hey all. I know that my bright, cheery and optimistic posts in the preseason might well have brought me the title of "Chief Kool-Aid Drinker" in some quarters, but I'm at it again. Well, sorta. After all, wth the first game under their belts, what I saw on the field, rather to my amazement, was that some of these guys seemed even better than I had anticipated. Indeed, the whole team seemed to have a shot of pure athleticism across the board that was nothing short of revolutionary.
So here I am, and you might well be thinking that I'm about to pass around another shot of Kool-Aid. Well, that's not the case, because as the whimsical thread title indicates, prognosticating isn't everything. Let alone infallible.
For at the same time that I saw some surprising athleticism, and some outstanding hits among the newcomers, I also saw...the inherent weaknesses of those selfsame newcomers. Scott Haughton isn't the chiseled specimen we saw in photos and video last spring, and both he and Hayworth Hicks, however talented, powerful and proficient they may become, decidedly could use an off season with Coach Sheppard. The same thing, from the opposite perspective, of the likes of Sed Johnson, Darius Darks and Jerome Tiller--and they're hardly the only ones. Don't believe me? Have you seen the guns on Michael Bibbs? Seriously--did you see those anywhere last fall, when the juco transfer arrived on campus?
So along with a huge injection of speed and athleticism, we have an equivalent measure of youth and inexperience. My happy-happy joy-joy optimism is reminded that these young guys will have growing pains; blown coverages, wrong routes, missed assignments, it's bound to happen. See Phlliip Bates: One. Bound to happen. Mark it down.
And so a goodly portion of my rising optimism was tempered by reality. This team can't possibly be as good as it looks--otherwise, I'd have been adding two or three more wins to my preseason "prognostificationalized" total. Might as well jump off the Campanile wearing a pair of home-made wings. Then I'd really be drinking the Kool-Aid. These guys are new, inexperienced, and there's no two bones about it. It was a realization that flooded through me as the game progressed.
So, you might expect to pull back from my preseason win prediction, right? Take a big gulp of caffeine, come down to earth, suck it up, and say that we aren't really going to win as many games after all?
Well, you'd be wrong. Remember what I said about the overall infusion of talent being better than I thought it was? Well, I might not have anticipated the sheer conflux of players who were bound to jump the wrong way as the season progressed, but I also didn't expect that the newcomers would create such a radical change. Leonard Johnson is better than I expected. Ter'ran Benton better than I expected. And the list goes on and on. I thought guys like this might be spot role players, but while they might not yet be stars, they certainly are ready for prime time players. Better depth, not to mention flexibility, for this team immediately.
So take my original prognostication. Temper it with the reality of the inexperience that permeates the two deep. Yet that temperance is immediately counterbalanced by vastly shifted sheer speed and athleticsim. Across the board.
So still. Seven wins. Up, down, back around to the same place we started from. Prognostificationalizing. Much ado about nothing. But damn, you gotta like this team.
And just think about after that year spent with Shep. Yes-s-s.