We have so much talent at the skilled positions....

sWiley

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It truly amazes me how much talent we have at the skilled positions across our team. In particular RB, WR, QB, and DB. We’ve also got great players at the LB position. Our LBs are the most underrated talent in CUSA IMO thanks to poor previous coaching. Look for them to have an absolute break out year under Shafer. Call me crazy, but between Melton, Sanders, and D. Harris, at least one of them will be drafted (Probably Sanders).

Despite our great talent at the skilled positions, I find us severely lacking (and it’s a problem most G5 schools have), on the offensive and defensive lines. Sure, we weren’t awful on the OL last year on pass protection as we gave up a remarkably low number of sacks per pass attempt, but against most defenses with a pulse we had real problems opening up holes to run the ball. Not gonna win games being one dimensional.

Unfortunately, our OL will likely even take a step back this year as we lose a ton of key contributors and must rely on Chandler Brewer & Carlos Johnson to stay healthy and anchor the line. OL is by far the biggest position of concern heading into the 2017 season as numbers are thin and experience is limited. Really wish our staff would dedicate another ship or two towards the OL numbers because that’s where you are going to win your games. There's no point having all these talented playmakers in the backfield if our OL can't block for $hit. If we don't achieve our goals in 2017, you'll not need to look any further than the OL to find out why. We are a few key injuries on the OL away from a 4 or 5 win season.

With regards to the DL, I truly don’t even know where to begin. At this point, I’m not even sure if it’s due to a lack of talent or just a completely incompetent defensive coordinator. Thankfully, the hiring of Shafer will stamp out the possibility of it being a coordinator problem. It’s going to be very interesting to see just how big of an improvement he can make. Remember Manny’s first year when he came in with all that talent and played an aggressive, attacking defense? In my opinion, there’s no reason we can’t see that happen again in 2017 (if we can get our DL into the shape they need to be….seems like our previous staff let them eat themselves into 325+ lbs which made them worthless). I personally believe the talent is there with front 7 players like Peter Bailey, DJ Sanders, Darius Harris, Chris Melton, Walter Brady, Rakavian Poydras, Malik Manciel, Rosheem Collins, and Tavares Thomas.

With 2017 approaching, I really hope we can get our weaknesses patched up because we truly do have a big opportunity on our plate this year. There isn’t a single game on the schedule that is a guaranteed loss.
 
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sWiley

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I agree space. I see an 8-5 season again this year, which is quite unfortunate. Every game on the schedule is a winnable game. There are no Oklahoma's or Alabama's of the world. Our skill players are good enough to win every game on the schedule this season.

But our OL and DL (specifically the OL) will likely falter big time in the games against the stronger competition (Vandy, Minnesota, Syracuse, WKU). They may step up for one of those games and we come away with an unexpected win, but this isn't gonna be some magical season. The talent and depth just isn't there at OL. You win the line of scrimmage, you win the game. Simple as that. Can't believe we havn't dedicated more numbers to the OL.