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  1. #1
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    09 Key Offensive Players

    I sat down and was thinking about what some of the keys to success were for the '09 season. Turned out that there were a lot of them, some bigger than others, so I ended up cutting it up into smaller bits. I'll start out with the players whose improvement and performance (and, in some cases, presence) is going to be a key to a standout football season for the Cyclones this Fall...

    1. Scott Haughton
    With reported academic issues, his mere presence is the first key. But on a line with some potentially good players, Haughton is probably the most physically gifted. His presence somewhere along the line, hopefully at left tackle, would make life a lot easier for Austen &Co, Inc. And oh yes, left tackle would be great, but can’t you just see what a monster center he could make? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Scott is the most physically talented Cyclone offensive lineman since Keith Sims.


    2. Austen Arnaud
    Just because he’s not an unknown doesn’t mean that he’s not a key player—and I think we’ve just begun to see Austen scrape the surface of what he can do. If he really blossoms, has the pass protection, rushing attack, and receivers to do so, this could be a very special season—as a matter of fact, the only reasons that Austen is #2 on this list is that he is a known quantity—and because the left tackle spot is so crucial to his success.
     
    3. Sedrick Johnson
    It’s the doggonedest thing. Last year Sedrick was clearly the best athlete on the team at wide receiver. This year, despite a massive influx of talent, he still just might be the best athlete—would you like to put some Money on it? Of course, it’s about time he begins to harness that immense physical talent, and if he does, this offense could explode.

    4. Money Reynolds
    This is one guy who is important in a lot of dimensions, and not merely because he’s a desperately needed playmaker—he has an opportunity to be a leader as well, leading by example. The only thing I’m uncertain of is whether he’s going to prove more productive returning kicks, or catching passes. I do know that it won't be solely via potential touchdowns that Money will make a difference, but in establishing field position as well.

    5. Grant Mahoney K Soph
    He had his ups and downs as a true freshman last season, but it’ll be up to Zach to prove to be a real weapon this time around. Having a reliable placekicker, especially from long range, would be an immense weapon this team has lacked for far too long. After all, nobody likes to punt from the opposing thirty-five yard line. I’d also like to see someone consistently booming kickoffs into (or through) the end zone. Seriously, am I asking too much?

    6. Alex Alvarez
    At the risk of being overly critical of a Cyclone who obviously played his heart out, it seemed to me that there was a drastic difference in the line’s play when Mike Knapp was in the lineup--and when he was out. When he was present, the whole group just seemed more energized. If Knapp is indeed done, it’s going to be up to Alex to find a way to step up his game. Well, Alex and Bill Bleil and Tom Herman.

    7. Darius Darks
    Darius proved a revelation last season, with soft hands and the instincts to find a seam in the zone. The only problem was, once he was tackled, he stayed that way. No moving the pile for a desperately needed yard (or six inches) for him. In this case, it’s going to be incumbent upon Darius to have improved his strength so as to manage that extra little bit of yardage.

    8. Jerome Tiller
    Jerome has a long road to go from lightly recruited quarterback to backup in the Big XII, but by all accounts he has the physical skills, they just need polishing. Still, even unpolished is is indubitably the backup to a quarterback playing behind an arguably questionable line—which means that he could be in the game at any moment. A great deal could ride on just how ready Jerome is…

    9. Bo Williams
    Don’t get me wrong, Alexander Robinson is a good back, perhaps even a very good back. He’s tough, and he has heart. But sometimes, against the likes of some of the defenses that populate the Big XII, what needed is an excellent, or even great back—and Bo just might prove to have those qualities.

    10. Joshua Bellamy
    Looking at the film on Joshua, it appears that he offers a burst after the catch. Anyone disagree that this Cyclone team could use a little more of that elusive quality?

    11. Derrick Catlett, Collin Franklin, Carter Bykowski, Kurt Hammerschmidt, Senior-Frosh
    Late last season Catlett and Franklin did a nice job of finding the seams in the zone, and Tom Herman could transform such talent into a major weapon. I like these guys--all four.

    12. Keleche Osemele, Reggie Stephens, Ben Lamaak, Hayworth Hicks, Trey Baysinger, etc. (note: didn't see Joe Klerekoper on the roster)
    These guys have been around for a while now. With two big question marks, it’s going to be essential for all of them to be the glue and hold everything besides center and left tackle together, while those two positions find their way forward. After all, no one player makes an offensive line a success all on his own…though a single weakness, big enough, can break it. The pieces really have to fit together.




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


  2. #2
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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Your right, it takes 12 key players on offense to make a really good offense.

    Seriously, AA is going to the key to this seasons success.



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    I just hope our JUCO WRs are as good as Wallace Franklin, Jason Carlson, or Derrick Russell



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Quote Originally Posted by ajk4st8 View Post
    I just hope our JUCO WRs are as good as Wallace Franklin, Jason Carlson, or Derrick Russell
    It wouldn't take much, however, I think we could still see some things from Carlson.



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Good post. Anything to get some football conversation going this time of year.

    For the most part I agree with what you wrote. I do think Haughton would be huge for us. In fact, it might just allow us to move Lamaak to center, which I think we be a great move for us, if we can do it?

    Obviously everything will run through Arnaud or Tiller, whoever is the QB at the time, so they probably would rank #1 for obvious reasons.

    I also look for Sed to have a breakout year.... he's just WAY too talented not to. I think he had a bit of freshman nerves last year, but I expect him to come out this year with some confidence and put up big numbers in this offense.

    If Money can make plays with the ball in his hands, then Herman will find a way to get him the ball.... you can guarantee that. We desperately need someone that can make people miss and take it the distance. We don't really have that guy right now, although I think Darks can become that kind of playmaker.

    As far as RB... I've really seen nothing to indicate that Bo Williams is better at any one thing than ARob is? So many people are buying into the hype that Bo has NFL Pro Bowl type talent, but I will need to see it first. He didn't show that in the spring game IMO. I sure hope he does though. I think ARob will be outstanding for us and I hope that Bo and Schwartz can push really hard for playing time as well. You can never have too many weapons IMO.

    Good post though!



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Quote Originally Posted by jaretac View Post
    Your right, it takes 12 key players on offense to make a really good offense.

    Seriously, AA is going to the key to this seasons success.
    Good of you to point out that it takes an entire two deep--or more--for an offensive (or defensive) unit to be truly successful.

    Quote Originally Posted by clonedude View Post
    So many people are buying into the hype that Bo has NFL Pro Bowl type talent, but I will need to see it first.
    Oh, I don't know that Bo has Pro Bowl type talent, but he just might have NFL type talent--which I'm not sure that Alexander Robinson does. But I'm sure that we'll see on both counts when the season rolls around.




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


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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Bo has some size combined with speed. He is a bit more difficult to tackle than ARob, but ARob has a better overall package due to his blocking and pass catching abilities.



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    This offense has a lot of talent. QB, RB, TE, and WR all have proven performers, who showed at times last year that they can get the job done against Big 12 competition. The OL is the biggest question, so that will be the key, IMO. I think the potential is there to have a good (if not very good) line, they just need to develop and gel.

    I know this thread is about the players, but THE most important person for this offense will be Tom Herman. How our offense performs will come down to two things:

    1 - How quickly and how well can he install is offense. I don't think his offense is particularly complicated, but we need to have a good chunk of it in and a good chunk of it down pat by the start of conference play. It is always a problem for 1st year coaches to get their new offense up and running, and this will not be an exception.

    2 - Game day coaching/play calling. This was our biggest problem last year. I scratched my head so many times last year that I started to go bald. As I said, our offense has a lot of good players and they moved the ball with ease at times last year. Yet, we still couldn't get it into the endzone. Will Herman do a better job of this? I think so (it can't get much worse), but he will have to prove it.



  9. #9
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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Aclone View Post
    Good of you to point out that it takes an entire two deep--or more--for an offensive (or defensive) unit to be truly successful.



    Oh, I don't know that Bo has Pro Bowl type talent, but he just might have NFL type talent--which I'm not sure that Alexander Robinson does. But I'm sure that we'll see on both counts when the season rolls around.
    Don't sell ARob short. Right now he's clearly the best overall RB we have in terms of the overall package. There is a lot more to being a RB at the NFL level than having good size and speed. If you cannot pass protect or catch passes... you will NEVER be an NFL RB. Right now ARob is head and shoulders above anyone else on the team at those things. So at this point, ARob would indeed be a better NFL back than Bo.

    I'm not knocking Bo at all though. He could potentially be our best RB, I just don't know and I haven't seen any proof of what he can do against Big 12 caliber competition on gameday? ARob has proven himself already on the field against the best competition in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans on gameday. Until Bo or Schwartz or anyone else proves what they can do... ARob is the best we have.

    Same goes for Money or Bellamy or any other newcomers. The Big 12 will be different than what any of them have seen or experienced. To put someone like Money ahead of Hamilton, Jones, Darks, or Sed is ridiculous at this point. Not to say Money or anyone else won't end up being our best weapon, but they will need to PROVE themselves to the coaches and the fans on the field. Nothing is handed to anyone.



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Due to the Oline’s impact on the entire offense, I have to put improvement at: center (Alvarez?) at #2, guard (Stephens/KO) at #3 and RT (Lamaak?) at #4. If these positions play at a high level, it will make the others look so much better. Haughton has a huge impact. Not only is he our best lineman, he is at the most important position on the line in Herman's offense, he allows the other players to "shift-down" to positions they are better suited for (making G, C, and RT better), and at the very least adds another Big 12 lineman (depth).
    After that my keys players:
    #5 AA , #6 ARob, #7 Money, #8 Franklin, #9 Back-up Olinemen, #10 Sed, #11 Schwartz, #12 Tiller (who had 7 BCS offers out of high school).

    I have Grant on ST, but he is behind only the Dline, Oline, LB, and AA overall.



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    I am most concerned about center. On paper we look weak and thin at this position coming out of spring practices. If we can't find someone to give us good play at this position, I think it will hold us back. It's a crucial position, and I don't feel good about it at this point.



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    I just wish I could get myself excited for the new JUCO Wrs...


    Who was the last really good JUCO WR at ISU?

    Lance Young? Craig Campbell?


    Last edited by ajk4st8; 07-12-2009 at 02:02 PM.

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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Quote Originally Posted by swarthmoreCY View Post
    Due to the Oline’s impact on the entire offense, I have to put improvement at: center (Alvarez?) at #2, guard (Stephens/KO) at #3 and RT (Lamaak?) at #4. If these positions play at a high level, it will make the others look so much better. Haughton has a huge impact. Not only is he our best lineman, he is at the most important position on the line in Herman's offense, he allows the other players to "shift-down" to positions they are better suited for (making G, C, and RT better), and at the very least adds another Big 12 lineman (depth).
    After that my keys players:
    #5 AA , #6 ARob, #7 Money, #8 Franklin, #9 Back-up Olinemen, #10 Sed, #11 Schwartz, #12 Tiller (who had 7 BCS offers out of high school).

    I have Grant on ST, but he is behind only the Dline, Oline, LB, and AA overall.
    Ok... with all the talk about how important Haughton is going to be... has anyone heard how he's doing? Is he likely to be playing for us this fall? What's the scoop?



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Quote Originally Posted by swarthmoreCY View Post
    Due to the Oline’s impact on the entire offense, I have to put improvement at: center (Alvarez?) at #2, guard (Stephens/KO) at #3 and RT (Lamaak?) at #4. If these positions play at a high level, it will make the others look so much better. Haughton has a huge impact. Not only is he our best lineman, he is at the most important position on the line in Herman's offense, he allows the other players to "shift-down" to positions they are better suited for (making G, C, and RT better), and at the very least adds another Big 12 lineman (depth).
    After that my keys players:
    #5 AA , #6 ARob, #7 Money, #8 Franklin, #9 Back-up Olinemen, #10 Sed, #11 Schwartz, #12 Tiller (who had 7 BCS offers out of high school).

    I have Grant on ST, but he is behind only the Dline, Oline, LB, and AA overall.
    I totally agree about Haughton. IMO he's the difference between a good offense and a great one. If he's able to take over LT, that allows Lamaak or Stephens to move inside to center and Hicks would be the LG. In the spring game, whoever we put out there at tackle had troubles with Maggitt and Laing (Lyle didn't play). I think that we have the QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs to be a dominant offense. They just need the OL to be able to protect and open holes for the running game. With Haughton in the lineup, that becomes a lot easier.

    Just my opinion, but I think that Sed Johnson and Colin Franklin are going to be great players for us this year.



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    Re: 09 Key Offensive Players

    Lamaak will likely be at center whether Haughton qualifies or not IMO.



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