“We're young to begin with, now we'll get younger because guys will play more quickly than we expected." -- Tom O’Brien in the Boston Globe referencing the Glasper and Ramella injuries.
I understand some coaches down play expectations. When it is your team and the media starts to buy into the excuse du jour, I start to get annoyed. Despite the injuries the “young” excuse is pretty hollow. Take a look:
Quarterback: Upperclass Junior who took a redshirt, so he has age and playing experience. Played as a Freshman. Took over as starter as a Sophmore. Verdict: Not Young.
Running Backs: The Fullback and starting Tailback will be upperclassmen. All have extensive playing experience and numerous starts. The youngest player in the mix (Brooks) is a redshirt Sophomore who started a game as a true freshman. Verdict: Not Young.
Offensive Line: Lost two starters. Replacing them with experienced Juniors. The remaining starters are all upper classmen. Verdict: Not Young.
Tight Ends: Four guys are in the mix. Three are Juniors. The one Sophomore played last season. (I am expected McMichael to redshirt.) Verdict: Not Young.
Wide Receiver: The expected starters are upperclassmen. Verdict: Not Young.
The Defensive side of the ball is a little younger, but even so there is still plenty of experience.
Defensive Line: Anchored by two Juniors. The rest of the group is very green. Verdict: Young.
Linebackers: Dunbar and Toal are two experienced Juniors. The third LB is also likely to be a Junior. Verdict: Not Young
Defensive Backs: Even with the loss of Glasper, three of the remaining four starters are upperclassmen. Verdict: Not Young
Special Teamers: Both Juniors. Verdict: Not Young.
In the end a good staff would rather have talent than experience. This team will have challenges. Depth will be an issue. Age and experience will not. Let us stop the excuses and raise the expectations.