Thursday, January 03, 2008

Football 2007 In Review: Biggest Disappointments Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

In the past I labeled this post the biggest disappointments. The title and the tone were perceived as overly harsh (mainly by Mrs. Atl_eagle). Ultimately I appreciate all of our players and thank them for their work and contribution to the school. However, that doesn’t mean they all performed at the level that was expected of them or didn’t blow an opportunity or two. Because this is a public forum and because I am not an expert, people may say this post is out of line. Yet similar things are being said in coaches' offices and scouting rooms. As always, especially when I take on a touchy subject, please let me know what you think.

1. AJ Brooks. He was supposed to be one of the players to benefit from the coaching change. No longer in the doghouse and given a new offense to maximize his talent, there was a chance for something big (or at least the chance to become a regular contributor). Instead he fumbled away this fresh start early in his season. Later he added onto his costly fumbles with an equally costly off the field fracas. His return next season remains in doubt. If he does return, hopefully he take advantage of his third chance.

2. Gosder Cherilus. I actually feel bad for Gos. He was one of our best players last year. He dominated at Right Tackle. My only gripe last season were his occasional stupid penalties. This year he moved to Left Tackle. Two things happened -- his play declined and his penalties increased. He’d look good for times and then he'd get beat soundly by a pass rush or fall down on a run. It hurts because by all accounts he's a good kid who came back to improve his draft stock. Instead I think he set it back.

3. Dejuan Tribble (the punt returner). Tribble had a good season as a Corner. His punt returning was extremely frustrating. He was beyond tentative...almost passive in letting numerous balls roll downfield. This put us in precarious field position too many times. As Jamie Silva showed as his fill in, even the smallest return can make a difference.


ToTheHeights said...

I think you were fair with this. I would put Billy Bennett up for honorable mention. We were told great things about him and in the end it seems to have been only hype. I don't think you can blame Aponavicius. I think that we expected too much from a walk-on kicker and it is on the coaches for continuing to stick with him.

crazer said...

I believe Bennett has a fairly serious back injury so I think you have to give him a pass...

BCNorCal07 said...

But aren't injuries a major contribution to "disappointment"? It's all about expectation. Case in point: Tribble the kick-returner. As Bill points out, it was Tribble's injury that showed how helpful an aggressive punt return game can be. Same with Bennett. Though he didn't get on the field, Bennett was expected to produce this year and then Apon started to struggle with PATs. I think one game in particular would have turned out differently with better kicking and THAT is disappointing.

John said...

ToTheHeights, Apon. is no longer a walk-on, he received a scholarship, so a little more was expected of him. That being said, Bennett was a huge loss.

Big Jack Krack said...

The kicking game was responsible for our loss to Va Tech in the ACCCG.

But let's not forget that the long snapper, Jack Geiser was out as well - kind of a last minute scratch. I think he was injured the week before the game in practice.

Coach Jags specifically mentioned the timing on the snaps in that game - and I'm not blaming McLaughlin. This timing thing requires much practice between the snapper, holder and kicker.

I think Apon looked much better in the Champs Sports Bowl - and much of that may have been due to the extra time to practice with Mike.

I don't know what Bennett's future is, but we should probably not count on him for now.

Bill said...


Just to clarify, Geiser was injured (broken patella) during the Maryland game.

- Bill -

Eagle in Brighton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eagle in Brighton said...

The injuries sustained by the team in general (particularly on the defensive side of the ball) were truly the disappointment for me.

Not only Tribble and Dunbar hobbled, but the loss of Albright and Poles (OL) was huge. Can you imagine that unit them playing/100% down the stretch? That's even before Brian Toal is mentioned.

I know injuries are part of the game, but in terms of what if's, not seeing them all together for that tough stretch v. FSU/Maryland/ACCCG was the only real lament for me as a fan.