- I was very, very impressed with the defense overall. I loved the new scheme. Mixed up coverages and blitzes. I loved the speed that was on the field and how it was used. Much more aggressive and unpredictable. The secondary was more aggressive yet still sound. Loved it.
- The D-line looked athletic. Bijon played so very hard. Harder than I have ever seen him play. I thought Capps looked good too. T.J. Smith showed me why and how he won the job over people with more recruiting stars. (Don’t get me started about *'s)
- I am thrilled with the linebackers. They need to stay healthy…but wow, we have big-time LBers. Grant Morgan will be a playmaker for years to come. And our starters are absolutely as good as anything I saw watching games all-day yesterday. Dre looked rusty…but he can still fly and make tackles. He got fooled a few times. But the kid is literally rusty. He will be fine if he stays healthy. Scoota looked as good as any Arkansas LBer we have had in recent years. We shall see if he continues to look like that. But his LBer technique is excellent…his shuffle is as fast as some dude’s can run…he reads really things well…he can flat run…and he can really hit. He’s a natural Mike (within a 3-4 scheme I understand there’s no true Mike…but you get my point). Super excited about those two. Then there is Ramsey. My goodness. He delivered on what we heard he was doing in practice. He’s the freak sort of athlete we see on top 5 teams.
- Tolliver played well…and the safeties played very well (their test is next week though). We have something in Curl. Callaway too…though he did get burned.
- On offense, I am very excited about the RB position. And fullback. We have what we need there. Haydon is special. Everyone is flipping out over him, and its warranted. Don’t sleep on Devwah though. He got stopped 2-3 times when perimeter blocks were missed. Haydon is said to be faster…but I see very little difference with their first 2-3 step burst. Devwah can go 0-60 really quickly. I am envisioning the true Thunder/Lightening combo we have longed for and talked about (Collins and JWill were a great combo…but neither was a true burner like Haydon).
- I was really happy with the interior 3 offensive lineman. I was expecting to feel like that. But I wasn’t expected to see Ty Clary…and certainly wasn’t expecting him to look that good. Yes, it was against a weak team. But we owned the A gap…which we did against exactly NOONE ever last year.
- I was happy with the TE play. Patton blocked quite well. That was great to see. They didn’t throw his way…but I assume he has that aspect in the holster. O’Grady looks like a stud. And we all knew what we had with big ole 44. He is a flat our beast.
- Kick-off man! Finally!! We have one!!!
- Offensive tackle. I have made it clear that I have read and taken seriously what the Henry men say about football for literally my entire life. Clay and Orville have always talked about the importance of tackles. Both sides of the ball. I am concerned about how Colton Jackson looked for a quarter. And the fact that Wallace just can’t seem to get it all together. Johnny Gipson actually looked good at tackle, and may be the answer. But he shouldn’t have had to be. I was concerned when I heard that they were coaching Wallace via earpiece in practice. That tells me he just may not be able to do it in the mental aspect. Reading things etc. He’s not especially nimble either…but I sense its the mental more than the physical. Unless he just can’t go hard consistently. I have heard and read his conditioning is sometimes an issue. In any case…chalk up tackle as a concern.
- Pulley. Losing him is an enormous concern. There’s no way to sugarcoat that. You scheme around a lockdown corner…if you have one. Ours just went away. They will have to adjust not only personnel but scheme. I suspect Curl will man the vacated spot when in nickel. But I bet they play KRed at corner when in base. No sense KRed not being on the field given these circumstances. KRed at corner in base then at nickel when in nickel (or dime). I bet we see that. If not then Curl is clearly really good.
- WRer. We gotta get that settled down. Alot are concerned about AA. I am not. I think you saw a QB who was not seeing WRers read things like he was…and he was hesitant. We need JRed badly while the young guys get some seasoning. And Pettway…make that catch my man and you might be running still. I was impressed with Nance and the bubble screen game. And I suspect we didn’t show everything. But I think I know what was going on. With live bullets…the mesh between QB and WR was not what it needs to be. Resulting in a hesitant AA.
Not-concerned…it will be fine
- Austin Allen. I agree with Quinn Grovey. If Austin’s play was our only concern, we could all be thrilled. AA will be fine. He has a running game now I suspect (c’mon tackles)…and that will open up play-action. He needs the tackle spot to solidify…and our inexperienced WR’s to start to “get-it” in a live-game environment.
- TE’s in the pass game. We didn’t throw to them much. Not sure why. Maybe this will be unleashed next week. Or maybe they needed them in pass pro. I am not concerned about the TE position in the pass game. I am concerned if they are needed in pass pro…but that concern goes back to the tackles.
Having seen the Hogs in a game now, I project an 8-9 win season. It could have been better if the tackles looked better and if Pulley hadn’t gone down. I think we run it down the Horned Frog’s throats next week…hit them over the top…and deal with their offense MUCH better than we did last year (not to dismiss Brook’s pick-six…I’ll take another one of those please!!!).
One last word. When the Hogs play…I feel so very close to my deceased parents. Everyone…ENJOY the Hogs. They are a treasure for all of us that grew up with them. I get stressed too. Have to leave the room all too often when my heart rate is through the roof. But LOVE the Hogs without the anger.
Just my 2-cents.
Woo pig Sooooie.