Underrated Players

I often get lost in my thoughts about the upcoming football season around this time of year. The distractions are abundant as I think about our schedule, our players, our expectations. Everything starts with the players though. Coaches can draw up schemes, but players execute (see Robb Smith). So my question is this: in order for us to exceed expectations, which players are we going to have to be surprised with?

Last year, I made the call that Pulley would step up as an outstanding cornerback. This year, I’m making another call. Henre Toliver will be better than any other corner we’ve had since Chris Houston. He’s always been our nickel guy, so we haven’t had the opportunity to see him be THE guy.

The other one on my list is Brian Wallace. If he takes himself seriously this summer, I don’t see a reason why he can’t turn some heads. He’s got the talent and size, but he needs the drive to make himself better. I think our O-Line success will derive from the sort of success Wallace has.

Most of the spring coverage goes to a handful of players (Agim, Allen, Pulley, Whaley, Ragnow). But it’s players like Toliver and Wallace that are needed for a special season. Thoughts? Comments?

I think Pulley will remain the best cornerback, Kevin Richardson will be the leader and a key piece and look forward to seeing how the length of Britto Tutt plays into the equation.

I think it will certainly be an improved secondary both in terms of play and depth.

This should be the year Brian Wallace reaches his potential, but as for most improved on the OL I will go with Hjalte Froholdt.

That’s in part because he has so much room to improve and in part because of the work ethic he has and the condition he is now in.

Tolliver showed so much promise as a true freshman. I thought he was going to be a very good corner and possibly a star. I’ve been disappointed in his development. Hoping he shines as a senior.

I personally think he is just a step too slow. He’s talented and has great size, just lacking the necessary speed.

I think people totally underestimated the loss of Richardson. His versatility and leadership was sorely missed after his injury. People close to the program believed he was a MAJOR loss.

I think Pulley is the best corner on the roster, but I think that is the best position on the defense rather easily. Toliver was impressive in the spring. It’ll be interesting to see how much more success, if any, the younger WRs have in fall camp.

I think the TEs as a group are underrated. I have a suspicion that O’Grady in particular may break out as a pass catcher, though all the attention is on Patton.

I think Scoota Harris is going to have a nice year at LB. I think Capps will improve enough to either be a really good starter or be part of a really nice tandem with B. Jackson at NG.

Agree–along with losing Tutt meant we lost our quality depth. Our secondary improved overall last year but would have been better with some in game rest, I think. I also think Tolliver hasn’t progressed as I thought he would–hope that changes this year.

Where I hope to see the most improvement is on the offensive line, mostly Hjalte Froholdt’s play. I know Coach B and observers have said the change is like night and day, but I am going to remain skeptical until I see it on game day. About the only area I think is under-rated and will surprise people is the defensive line, mostly Capps and Jackson. The previous poster may be right about that and that our tight ends will come on strong compared to last year.

Other than that, I’m hoping the receiving corp surprises everyone big time.

As i understand it, Henre Tolliver has been playing out of position and that had a lot to do with his performance last year. I think Clay said that Tolliver has thrived in the new defense.