Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Clawson at Media Day

So, we don't have a lot on what Coach Clawson said today, and some of it could be the typical spring-training, everyone is undefeated talk.  For example, saying that you have never felt better about our program just before you start your third year is something, but it isn't saying too much either.  I did find a few of his comments illuminating, however.

First, the rebuilding last year and this year's youth are part of the plan he had for the program.  His goal was to build the program from the bottom up, redshirt as many as possible and not raid JUCOs.  We've certainly done a little of that--we are counting on JUCOs and redshirt FR this year, for example--but his point was that we wanted to be able to have a young team get better and more experienced and then yield the benefits of that as they become juniors and seniors.

He notes that 2-10 was not "an accident."  We did a bunch of things poorly.  He also thinks that in the MAC, where teams "flip" quicker, we have the capacity to get better quickly.

"We now have good players and depth across the board. What we don't have is experience, but we will get that."

"Not only do we have good players, but we have them spaced out across all our classes."

He said that offensive football begins up front, that our Oline last year was a "train wreck."  With 4 returning starters, he hopes to see that a year can make a big difference.  He also likes our recruiting here.  (My note.  If the line does not improve, then the ceiling on the offense is very low and the team will need defense to win).

We have 4 RBs in contention now and he would like there to be 2 primary backs, although it is not clear who they will be.

The defensive backfield is deeper.  He says he has 4 corners he would play and 4-5 good safeties.

Special teams--obviously a need area.  We have a scholarship kicker (full ride), he thinks we will have the best punt returner in the conference and a good kick return game too.

On defense, Chris Jones and Dwayne Woods were with Coach, and they were both feeling very good, saying that the program has been known for offense and now can be known for defense.  If you want my opinion, that's how we win this year, but that remains to be seen.

Coach said we want to play our base very well, which is very typical of our philosophy.  If you do what you do effectively, and that includes getting pressure by rushing 4, you will be very hard to move the ball against.  If you have to blitz to get pressure, you open up holes.  The secondary will be the key.

Here's an odd one.  He says that we want to redshirt, but he thinks that half of our freshman class might redshirt (and therefore, half might not).  This shows how short we are in certain places....50% redshirts is a pretty low number, when normally you'd like to redshirt 100%. He says freshmen could make an impact at secondary, defensive line, offensive line, and wide receiver.

In a related note, he says that half of the program's seniors (!!) are WRs. We need some reps to go to younger players this year.  (Amen, there probably isn't another FBS team with that kind of distribution).

QB!  You know you want to to know.  Coach says we need BOTH QBs playing at a high level...the top 5 teams in the MAC used 2 QBs last year, and we saw what impact a lack of depth had when Schilz was injured.

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