Regarding Whaley . . .

I’ve had a nagging feeling for a while about Devwah, based on what I saw last year and in the spring.

I hate that I have to say the following - but, if I don’t, there will be a spate of “you’re just a hater”, etc. posts in response. So, I’ll say that I do like Devwah and WANT him to succeed - at the highest level. Of course, I have the same hope for all Hog players.

That said . . . I just don’t see him being our “premier” back in the long run (pardon the pun!). Obviously, he’s our most experienced guy right now, but I see Williams and the two freshmen getting a LOT of work this fall . . . SO LONG AS they can hold onto the ball, and figure out pass protection blocking so Austin doesn’t get killed. Probably taking over more-so in the second half of the season. This will be kind of a “RB by committee” kind of year, and a definite pecking order will be established by next fall (2018).

Devwah reminds me - to some degree - of Ronnie Wingo. I do think he is better than Ronnie; but I just don’t see the explosiveness or vision I had expected when I watch him run. I don’t mean this as a criticism, as I’m sure he’s running as hard as he can. It’s just my impression. And, remember - I came into this expecting and hoping that he would be a “lead” back. But, as of yet, I just haven’t seen it.

For the record, I posted this same sentiment “elsewhere” before the start of fall camp - so this is not just a reaction to DW’s ho-hum stats in the two fall scrummages. This has been in my head for a while now. Hope he proves me wrong, as it would be much better for us is he is another Alex, Jonathon or Rawleigh. Perhaps, with the main job his to lose, he will settle in and get some rhythm. I certainly hope so.

Good post Wizard, seems we are all over the spectrum on what we are going to get from Devwah, After last season I thought him and Raleigh would both be thousand yard rushers this season with a improved offensive line, but now he’s being thrust into the position of the go to guy. IMHO when season starts Devwah will show up and impress a lot of fans, he showed some giddyup at times last season and should this year as his confidence as the feature back developes behind the hopefully much improved O-line. WPS

I think last year was a steep learning curve for him, from high school to the SEC playing behind a below average Oline. I expect DW to play like a featured back this year as he has a better feel & knowledge of our our offense.
There’s a reason he was a top shelf recruit out of high school. I think we will see it this year. We saw flashes of it last year…

In the RB position, it comes down to health. A healthy DW will be a stud. If he has nagging injuries, then maybe not. We have seen over the last four years where key players played with injuries and we didn’t find out about it until the season was over. Once known, it explained a lot. Carrying the ball 20-30 times week in week out will wear a player down toward the end of the season. I just hope the coaches recognize the need to keep fresh legs in the game and to rest players when they aren’t 100%.

I disagree with your statement that DW lacks explosiveness and vision.

Let the guy, at minimal, play a few games into his true sophomore year before you draw those conclusions.

Devwah was apprehensive getting through the first level of the Def last year. He may have been thinking too much. He was unsure until he got into the LB level. He showed some of his ability when instinct took over when in the open field. I am hopeful that my assumption of apprehensive play in the first level is correct.

Whaley is more talented with better burst than Raleigh Williams. He should have an excellent year if he stays healthy. If you give him 18-20 carries, he is most likely going to be over 100 yards, and he showed last year he does have enough burst to make really good things happen when he gets to the second level. He also has a much better chance of staying healthy because we now know he is not going to have to carry it 25 times a game.

We also have two other big backs to grind the defenses up, a really flashy guy who is apparently going to be a big play threat almost any time he gets the ball, and several receivers who can run the jet sweep/exotics. The OL looks to be improved, which is of course the big thing. The running game is going to be good.

I feel Whaley is just as good as Williams or better. I had a hard time telling them apart a times last year. The only back I am concerned with is the new back from SC. Does he have the heart and “want to” to get the extra yards on 3rd and 2.

I am excited with Haden, but you’ll see him more in special situations.

While I respect your opinion, I disagree - especially with the comparison to Ronnie Wingo.

I think Whaley, Hayden and Williams will all get work, but that Devwah will be the star of the bunch.

He’s in great shape, showing great vision, speed and burst.

Dude is ready to be unleashed.

I also think Maleek Williams will likely redshirt unless there is an injury to one of the other three.

I get what you’re saying about his explosiveness. I’ve had that thought a few times.

But I do think Devwah has the ability to be a high-end SEC feature back provided his line does its part. I think he is more physically gifted than Rawleigh.

“Alex Collins doesn’t have breakaway speed” he promptly starts breaking long runs
“Raleigh Williams doesn’t have SEC speed” he runs for a regukar season leading amount of yardage
It stsrts again now with Devwah, if there is one position I do not worry about with CBB…its running back. Devwah will be fine.

Devwah is incredibly talented, I do not have any doubt that he will not be anything short of spectacular this year. Many times last ear he looked better than RW3.

Why the doubt? He was the #3 back in the country, is the only RB on our roster for the past several years with a Bama offer, no need, he’s the real deal.

If we need to worry about anything it’s the OL, DL, LBers, and Safeties.

I disagree with any statement questioning Devwah’s burst. He showed burst enough times for me to know its there. We all saw his top end speed too. Faster than Rawleigh. Probably faster than Collins and JWill. Slower that DMac, Felix (who’s 40 times never wowed anyone…but he took it to the house), Talley and Knile.

Devwah is strong as a bull.

He can cut…but not like Collins.

The drawback I think we all saw last year was occasional tentativeness. I attribute that to a weak o-line…and not having the physical and mental reps to be able to anticipate holes and cutback lanes.

That was why I had asked if Devwah seemed to be “seeing it” in live work. Dudley’s words are music to my ears. I trust his eyes from years and years of live, informed observation.

I say Devwah has a big year.

Appreciate your response, Dudley. A few thoughts after reading them.

•\tAs a reminder - I’m talking only about “on the field” when I compare Ronnie to Devwah. And I’m not saying that they’re “the same back”; just that I see elements of hesitation in DW’s running style that reminds me a little of RW. If I had to put my finger on it, it’s that (based on what I’ve seen so far), I can almost see both “thinking” about their run instead of just running instinctively. As mentioned in my OP, I believe (and hope) there’s a good chance DW grows out of that given more responsibility and more carries.

•\tI truly hope you are right, and my concerns are without merit. I’d love to see DW blossom into the runner most of us have expected him to become. And I respect the opinion of our coaches when they said things like “he’s got as much or more talent than any RB I’ve had”, which CBB has said more than once.

•\tIf it were me (and let’s ALL be glad it’s not!), I’d get Maleek Smith some reps in the early (hopefully) easy games on the likliood that - over the course of a 12 game SEC schedule - one of our featured 3 is likely to get dinged and miss a game or two somewhere along the way. We’ve seen that happen more times than not over the last couple of decades. IF and when that happens, I’d much rather he have already had his baptism under fire earlier in the year than for his first ever game to be, say, at Ole Miss.

I understand that by doing so, we are trading one partial year with not many carries for a 5th year RS senior season. But I also know we will be recruiting 1 or 2 RB for the next 4 years anyway.

That said, I hope that we are able to RS Maleek. I just don’t think we’ll be able to.

I think that Whaley is a back that has to get carries to get in a rhythm, last year he was getting 2 here and there and sometimes that is hard for aback to do. I think he will be just fine this year…

Whaley will be a beast. He will have a breakout year and be the best back in the SEC.

Guice was better than Fournette… best back in country IMO

Last year I thought he was the best of the two backs regardless of carries and total yards based on speed and vision. But I see what Wiz is saying with this spring and fall based on insider observation and the lack of performance by DW behind what we all know is a better line. Maybe the coaches are protecting him with limited carries but there’s not any dominance by a back I felt would be a high profile SEC player this fall. If he is nicked up or protected we’ll see when the lights come on, but lately his production is down relative to who we think he is.

I think Devwah Whaley will be an NFL player. He’s pretty good. Is he a great tailback? He might be. I don’t think we saw enough last year to know that for sure. I see some doubters here. I think you will see improvement over last year. Chase Hayden might be better. Not sure yet. But they are both rare talents. An SEC talent is the best athlete in the world. I believe that both Whaley and Hayden fit in that description as far as size, speed and ability to see what is going to happen before it happens. This system is complex and the reads are important. Experience matters in being able to track what is going to happen with gaps and linebacker fits. I think both Whaley and Hayden have the ability to make people miss.