Clay's postgame thoughts on the spring game

http://www.wholehogsports.com/news/2018 … -receiver/

Nice job Clay. I was there. I had a wool cap pulled down over my ears, an all-weather heavy trench coat, scarf and gloves and it was still very uncomfortable. I’m not sure if it was the wind, rain, sleet, snow or just the wet bench that made the 30 degree temperature hard to take. It was pretty brutal out there. Pettway looks excellent and although Michael Brown had a couple of drops, he is a break-away type and it’s hard to believe he’s a freshman. Dewah looked good.

I’m giving a shout out to my lovely wife of 46 years. She sat through the rain, sleet and snow not to mention brisk breeze and never complained. Her only complaint was she didn’t know if she should root for the red or white team. I told her root for both.

We sat right behind the white bench. Pettway is a chiseled dude. Kelley is always laughing and talking and Nance was not happy (I assume for not getting throws to him).

Glad we made the effort. As with every spring game I attended you couldn’t really get a feel for how the team will play against SEC opponents. But I’m certain that we need more SEC players to work with. I think CCM will get them. I sure hope he does.

I really hope I’m wrong, bit it Looksnlije next season is going to be brutal.

I think we will be slightly improved during this transition year because of the system and because the defense looks like it has the potential to be better. Primarily because these coaches have placed people in positions that are better fits. The defensive backfield will be the most notable improvement. The thing I liked most about the scrimmage was seeing younger, eager coaches who looked enthusiastic and mostly in shape! I’m sorry. But I never liked the idea of big fat coaches sitting down on a fold-up chair to talk to the players. I think coaches set an example. I noticed the players Saturday weren’t bundled up huddled by heaters. There were no rain jackets or heaters. They weren’t there to be made comfortable. I’m also noticing less injuries. Previously, it appeared we were taking it easier in practices and scrimmages and not hitting each other at full speed. There was some fast play and game-type hits Saturday and no injuries. Go figure.

There are a few injuries, but overall, there’s not a lot for the doctors to do this April. That’s excellent news.

Austin Capps is back at practice after having surgery for sports hernia. He didn’t have any contact after returning this week. Most of everything else is a sprain here or there. I know Derrick Munson turned an ankle Thursday and didn’t play. He would have rotated with the ones at nickle with D’Vone McClure.

As far as others, tight end Jeremy Patton has had an ankle injury for several weeks and aggravated it Saturday. Cheyenne O’Grady landed on the point of his elbow and didn’t play in the second half. I think he could have returned but coaches elected to hold him out.

The injury that has probably been the most disappointed has been a chronic injury Brandon Martin is battling with his leg (and it may be an ankle). That’s kept him from getting proper practice time to learn the new system. Maybe he’ll catch up this summer.

The backs have had a lot of contact and all are healthy. That’s a terrific sign.

There were not a lot of the bells and whistles yesterday that would have tested either side. No blitzes that John Chavis loves. No RPO perimeter game that Morris loves. And they have worked on that stuff almost every day so it’s not like they couldn’t run it. They just didn’t want to show any of it.

Just to remind, there are two practices left this spring. They are at 13 right now. The last two will be this week and be run throughs of what a summer workout is supposed to look like. They want to coach them in the drills they expect the players to lead all summer.

I asked Cole Kelley what that might be like. He said, “We have installed a lot of stuff, but we don’t have any timing down between quarterbacks and receivers. We are going to get straight what we are going to perfect and then we are going to get that timing fixed. I don’t think our timing is there yet and I didn’t think it was today.”

This team will be better than the one fielded last season but it will still be a struggle to win more than six games next year. The biggest task will be if Coach Morris can secure a good group of talented players that they are seeking in the recruiting battles. We need speed but equally we need more play makers in all areas as SEC quality level depth is still short in some critical areas such as the lines.

We also have many receivers and tight ends and those have underperformed so far which is probably why we have so many . The QB play will dictate how the offensive goes and to have two players basically equal with three years of college ball behind them underscores that we need more athletic and faster decision making or the offense will be under pressure with the SEC defenses we will face. These QB’s should not miss open receivers at this point in a scrimmage like the one Saturday. There is a real opening for the new recruits if their decision making is faster than these two.

I think the staff knows where they are short handed and taking it step by step until they have the talent to make this work like we all want. We will be better than last year but it just shows how far we have to go and that we were not as close as Coach B had indicated.

Too early to know victory total. Other teams are unknown to me right now. Who is going forward? Who is backing up? I’m not sure.

What I can say is Chad Morris is heading in right direction. There are no serious injuries right now. They didn’t lose a Rawleigh Williams or something like that which cannot be solved.

Defensive secondary is improved. O-line will be much better in this system. Those were the two most glaring issues the last two seasons.

Clay,

I agree with your assessment. We are headed in the right directions… :slight_smile:

I like that the coaches will discuss the summer plan in the last two practices. The QBs, RBs, and WRs should be able to work out the timing that was slightly off on Saturday. The defense seems to have a lot more confidence and that in itself will produce results. I still think the big question is which QB and then, will that particular QB work this summer with the first team RBs and WRs. With six QBs on the field on Saturday and two more slated to come in for the summer workouts, there will be a LOT of opportunity for competition for those first team reps.

You need arms in summer. Lots of passes to throw for all those WRs.

True, but when your allowable roster consists of 10% quarterbacks, you have to be short somewhere for the regular season.

The pure guts to bring an aggressive defense on the field is an improvement
I hated watching the bend don’t break junk over the past few years!
The QB position may be a mess but they have plenty of options! If they can be competitive this year and get to 6 or 7 wins I would be happy!
The hogs will improve I just hope our fan base will give this coaching staff a little slack and give them time to get it done!
We talked in the car all the way home from the spring game about this season and the importance to get to a bowl game! I have hope!

I am sure there are ways of breaking the team up into practicing units making sure the best of the best right now get time together and that everyone gets a lot of snaps and opportunities for improvement as well. I doubt it will be one huge group with lots of players standing around waiting turns… I think the coaching staff knows how to organize this next phase so everyone has the chance to be prepared and ready for fall ball.