Sunday, June 26, 2011

Phil Steele on the Falcons

So, there's been some time to begin to digest the Phil Steele College Football Preview ("Jampacked with information") and I'd like to review some of the items as it relates to the Falcons.

In general, Phil likes our direction.  In fact, he thinks we might be better this year than we were in 2009.  He seems to think that might not show up in the final record because we play a very tough schedule...we don't play Akron, and our cross-over games are against WMU and UT and NIU, which he thinks will be the top 3 teams in the West.  He thinks we might be dogs in every MAC game.


So, let's look at the particulars.  I will do a preview later on in the summer, but I think that Falcon fans do need to have careful expectations.  It is certainly possible that we could pull a Miami, but the odds are certainly against it.  I do think there is room to grow between what Steele sees and what we could have.

Of course, at 2-10, there is only one direction to go.  We lost a lot of close games, so it might not be as bad as it looks, but there is really one way to go.

And I do think we are on the right track.  We just may need enough track to get to next season.

Anyway, let's look.

At QB, for example, he thinks we will be vastly improved over last year, and still tied with 4 other teams for the bottom of the conference.

He thinks our RBs will be better (we could hardly produce less on the rush), but still 12th in the MAC.

He thinks our O-line will be "one of the most improved in the country" but still 10th in the conference.

At WR, he expects us to be 5th in the MAC.

On defense...

On the defensive line, we should be "much improved" but 12th in the MAC.
LB looks "much stronger and are picked for 4th
DB, more experienced, better front 7, 7th in the MAC.

Special teams...improved if we can get a kicker...he projects us for 8th.

Here's the thing.  I can see where he is going with all that.  But, as bad as it was, it is hard to imagine our O-line being among the most improved units in the country and only getting to 10th in the MAC.  Similarly, with better protection and blocking it is hard to imagine that they aren't higher than 10th and 12th.  That' what I mean when I say there is room for us to grow here....if these things DO all come together, starting up front, I can't imagine we don't at least reach the middle of the pack in the conference.

On defense, I think its pretty important that the D-line be better than 12th.  And, as Steele notes, that potential exists.  If the line can keep blockers off the LB, we could be effective and if there could be some pressure on the QB, that helps everyone.  Again, I can see how we could get to the middle of the pack on defense, if we get anywhere near Steele expects.

From the Steele preview, I think the team is building and getting better.  I think that if we really are as improved as we think, we will be better than his final ratings.

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