Thursday, September 2, 2010

Preseason Thoughts

1. The differences in the passing game this year should be apparent by the 2nd quarter Saturday. Watch how Brantley progresses in his reads and how every receivers prepares as if he could be getting the ball. Last year, it appeared as though each passing play had a main target and if he wasn't open, the ball wasn't thrown at all.

2. Big two weeks (maybe more) for Marcus Gilbert. Can the line communicate properly now that there has be so much player movement due to injuries? This year there is no room for what happened in Kentucky. Tyler Murphy, an unheralded freshman, is the backup QB and God help us if he has to play meaningful downs. Trey Burton has been moved to fullback and will play QB only from the single wing set. For those of you who have followed Meyer's career, Burton will play the role of Ben Moa.

3. Omarius Hines will catch a ton of passes this year. Hines is playing the role of Aaron Hernandez - a hybrid TE/WR. He is too big for corners (6' 220lbs) and faster than most linebackers (4.45). By mid-year, I expect Hines to become Brantley's favorite go to receiver.

4. Last year the slot position was a mess, exemplified with Brandon James, who had no business ever playing at there. This year we should see significantly more production from Chris Rainey and Andre Debose. Debose is currently listed as the backup at the X WR position - Deonte Thompson's backup - but he should move back to the slot once Stephen Alli gets over his injury.

5. Without the threat of Tebow, it should be interesting to see how we develop our running game. The optimist in me thinks that Emmanuel Moody is going to have a big year. I expect us to use a ton of I formation sets and take advantage of our veteran o-line (once everyone returns from injury).

6. Defensively, I think we will be better than last year. I see this defense as a more athletic version of the 2006 team. The key will be the play of our defensive tackles. The starters, Jaye Howard and Omar Hunter, will be expected to get a push up the middle and be disruptive forces. I also expect to see highly touted freshman Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd in the DT rotation by the middle of the year.

7. While the key to the defense in my opinion is the DTs, the biggest question mark is the DEs. If this defense is going to reach its potential, Trattou, Lemmons and Green will have to be able to get to the QB.

8. Hard to imagine but this might be our most talented group of linebackers since Meyer has been here. AJ Jones was compared to Ryan Stamper this week by Meyer. Jones has the ability to play all three linebacker positions. Bostic and Jelani Jenkins should be the other two guys getting most of the reps. Expect to Bostic to play both outside and inside to take advantage of his abilities.

9. We all know Janoris Jenkins can play, we just hope he plays more like 2008 than 2009. I think the move to the boundary corner position will invigorate Jenkins's game. Jeremy Brown, who has been injured for the past 2 years, should start at the other corner. Moses Jenkins will also see a ton of action playing in Nickel and Dime packages, depending on the opponents personnel.

10. The Safety position is loaded with talent. Will Hill has All-American ability, if he prepares properly. Hill admitted this offseason that was something he didn't do last year. With Major Wright in Chicago, Ahmad Black should be able to get into a better rhythm this year. In my opinion, last year's rotation of the 3 safeties (Hill, Wright and Black) took away from the effectiveness of all 3 players. This year most of the meaningful snaps will go to Hill and Black, with true freshman Matt Elam playing in the Nickel package.

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