Sunday, January 30, 2011

Year in Review: Top Surprises

This is Part II of my Year in Review series. For this, I try to highlight guys or groups that I didn't expect much from and in turn exceeded my expectations.

1. Alex Amidon and Bobby Swigert

Their Bowl game was bad and they were maligned throughout the season by the talking heads, but these two guys really stepped. Swigert had more of an impact and became one of the few consistent aspects of our passing game. Amidon did not have the same sort of impact but towards the end of the season was making some tough catches in traffic. We have a lot of problems on offense, but don't let people fool you on these two. They can play.

2. The Defensive Backs coaching and system.

People hate our reliance on zone defense and the corners playing well off the line. You will also hear plenty of complaints about Mike Siravo as recruiting coordinator. But those gripes aside, it is hard to deny how well prepared the DBs were this season. Davis goes down. Other guys step up. Gause goes down. Fox looks good. Fox gets dinged and Ryan Lindsey plays corner. But roster shuffling isn't what it is all about. Fox, Noel and Okoroha all had breakout seasons. Their position coach deserves credit for having them ready.

3. Andre Williams

His real impact was only felt late in the season, but what an impact it was. Williams provided a combination of power and explosiveness we haven't had at the position in a long time. Nevada adjusted to his style and he still has many areas for improvement, but I don't think anyone would have guessed that he had this much potential heading into the season.


Scott said...

Initially I thought some of Amidon's struggles related to him being slower than his reported times. But I searched around, and he's always posted one of the best times at the Nike SPARQ combines.

Turns out, he even beat Miles Shuler by a nose, posting an electronically times 4.54 (shuler did 4.55). I know both Amidon and Shuler have reported closer to 4.4 at other camps, so I'm assuming these times reflect Nike using a credible electronic timing system.

By the way, it seems that Ameer Richardson's 4.69 time came from the exact same Nike camp (at PSU) where Shuler posted a 4.55. So maybe Ameer is faster than we thought. Looking around, I saw a few write ups that he has very quick feet. In fact, some blog reporters said he had the fastest feet/cuts of any RB at the PSU camp. And he was labeled the "biggest surprise" and "impressive" by ESPN who covered the camp.

mod34b said...

The DL really exceeded expectations too.

Erik said...

I think Amidon will develop into a nice player, but I felt we had better options this past year for many of the snaps he saw. Of course, there's no way to actually know this, it was my gut feeling. His experience this year will only help in the future, though.
I'm really excited for Larmond, Jr to come back.

Andre Williams' size is amazing for his age. Similar to how Craig Smith came in looking like a beast as a freshman. Williams should just keep getting better as he masters the playbook, learns to make great cuts & reads, and works on speed with the S&C staff. I can only imagine he'll be great in pass blocking given his build (I didn't take notice this year).

Erik said...

Good Heights article on Albert Louis-Jean settling in.

JBQ said...

Did BC take two good athletes and give them experience or did they take two mediocre athletes and do the same thing? The future will tell. There were seniors on the squad who could hve done better and specifically Jordan McMichael and Billy Flutie and others. Spaziani decided to "bury" them, throw away the season, and go with freshman. So what was the deal with Momah and his "iron hands" with all of the speculation on playing offense and defense at 6 foot 6 and then "fizzling out"? Hopefully, the new o.c. will straighten this out. The way things are right now, the coming season will be an unmitigated disaster with a very good defense (against the run) and no offense. Don't you think that Florida State, among others, knows that you can clobber BC by passing the ball?

Scott said...

Is JBQ a petulant child, drunk, dimwitted, or related to McMichael & Billy Flutie?? It's the same assined argument you made long ago that no one believed.

Billy just didn't have much talent (just about ever school to recruit him did so as a kicker, and we essentially did the same). No one who played infront of Billy had equal or less talent. McMichael was hurt forever, never really develped as a result (and may only be a shawdow of himself0, and was just not as good (when he was able to play) as Lars or Pantelle.

There is a sad story to tell about Michael and Billy, but has nothing to do with being denied time they earned.

Oh ... and it makes perfect sense to say the coaches decided to throw away the season mid-year, and turn to frosh .... just as we went on our 5 game win streak.

Joseph said...

News flash!!

After reading a recent comment by JBQ, Boston College has just announced that it will no longer tolerate programs that do measure up to the high standards set by this expert. Accordingly the football program has been eliminated.

Joseph said...

News flash!!

After reading a recent comment by JBQ, Boston College has just announced that it will no longer tolerate programs that do measure up to the high standards set by this expert. Accordingly the football program has been eliminated.

Benjamin said...

I, for one, cannot wait for our unmitigated disaster next year!

Scott, interesting stats about Amidon. I wonder then if the 'slowness' of our receivers professed by announcers is simply a young receiving corps getting the fundamentals down and learning their routes. Hopefully, Rettig to Swigert, Amidon, Coleman, etc. will be a common theme next year. That, and Montel just breaking all sorts of awesomeness records.

Scott said...

For Ben, I think Amidon needs to get much better coming off the line, that's partially strength, but there is a lot of skill. Too many times he got thrown off his route (or timing) by press or hand-checking.

Also, the easiest way to get faster is to not telegraph it, so the DB has to defend you in all directions. This simply means better route running to set up cuts.

EasyRider said...

Good point about the crispness in the routes. 40 times are over hyped. Few people realize this but Jerry Rice only ran a 4.6. Breaking quickly and not telegraphing routes are much more important than blazing straight line speed.

Big Jack Krack said...

Wouldn't it be nice if one or both of those guys could develop into a mini Jordan Shipley.

One potential advantage to good strong development is that they will be with the same QB for 4 years - that's the way it looks now, anyway.

Amidon and Swigert could be Wes Welker-types, and our other receivers (Larmond, Coleman, Lee, Phillips) can open them up with their ability to go long.

Just a thought. The future could be bright, if Rettig can deliver the ball - especially to Larmond - hit him in stride, and don't make him wait or have to slow down. With such a threat, Swigert and Amidon could have stellar careers, as the defense won't be able to cover them all, I hope.

Hopefully Colin will be fully recovered from his knee injury.

The new Offensive Coordinator will have some serious options, besides RRPP - no excuses.

mod10aeagle said...

In general, I think it's very difficult, if not impossible, to do a fair and accurate assessment of receivers when you're dealing with a true freshman at QB. The timing isn't there, they tend to hold the ball just a tick too long giving defenders time to react to a cut and close on the receiver. I really think this was a significant factor -- BC receivers' simply could not sustain separation long enough to compensate for the late delivery.

I'm hopeful that Rettig and his young receivers will improve their timing next year.

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