Link City - Are You Excited...Or Are You Scared?
We are about 10 days from the start of fall camp. Back in April, I told you that the best way to assess how long a period of time is, is by looking into the past. Well, 10 days ago Joe Paterno still had a statue.
I don't know about you guys, but I still get butterflies in my stomach when football season starts getting closer. But on and off the field, these past 18 months have really thrown the program for a loop. I got the same feeling but it's more than excitement, I think I might be a little bit scared too. Anyone else?
Because of this, I'm taking a cue from the best blog on the internet, So Excited...So Scared, and start a quasi-regular feature for Link City (by quasi-regular I mean whenever I feel like it) by asking all of you a simple question...are you excited about this season or are you scared? Be sure to vote in the poll, and read my hastily put together list of 5 reasons to be both excited and scared about the upcoming season.
5 REASONS TO BE EXCITED
5. Staff Continuity
Say what you want about X's & O's, philosophies, and the gameday coaching of this staff, but this is the first year since 2003 that UM returns its entire coaching staff from the previous season. That's 9 years folks. That's gotta count for something right? We also return both Coordinators for the first time since 2005. I'd have a joke for that, but I'm not that fucking funny.
Fearless Prediction: Art Kehoe won't completely suck
4. The Offensive Line
People have been saying that they expect big things from the Offensive Line since 2008, so 1 more time shouldn't hurt anything...besides the fact that they're due. Even with Brandon Washington's ill advised decision to go pro, UM has a pretty solid group of 7 or 8 coming back that I'm comfortable with playing. By looking at Ofacekilla's eligibility chart, the depth chart is probably something like:
Fearless Prediction: 2 of the starting 5 will receive All-Conference honors (either 1st or 2nd team)
3. Stephen Morris
Between his strong arm and his mobility, he's the anti-Jacory. An observation driven home by his apparent lack of hideous Oakland Raiders overalls. Despite a solid senior campaign from Harris, an "anti-Jacory" is exactly what this team needs at the Quarterback position at this point. They were shitty opponents, but the game winning drive against Maryland in his first UM start and even his 4TH quarter against UVA in a losing effort back in 2010 showed he can be more than serviceable. BTW, if you haven't read this thread by stat1124, do it now.
Fearless Prediction: 2,000 yards passing, 16 td's, 12 ints
2. The 2012 Class As A Whole
With the holes left by the kids who left early, there are ample opportunities for freshmen to get early playing time, if not outright steal a starting spot from an upperclassmen. Ereck Flowers, Tracy Howard, Tyriq McCord, Deon Bush, Raphael Kirby, Malcolm Lewis and several others are expected to be factors as freshmen. But 1 sticks out more than others...
Fearless Prediction: At least 3 members from this class will start more than 6 games this year.
1. Duke Johnson
What a human. "Boner inducing" is the only way I know how to describe this kid's highlight clips. The way he stuck to his commitment through a shitty 2010 season, Shannon's firing, the hire of Golden, the Shapiro nonsense, and another shitty season in 2011 only cemented the man crush.
Fearless Prediction: He will lead all of the backs in total yards.
5 REASONS TO BE SCARED
5. The Secondary
You might be saying to yourself, "The Secondary? I'd rather take 2 freshmen over Lee Chambers and Mike Williams. Also Ray Ray's
distractions won't be a problem this year with him gone." If so, then read this:
Brandon McGee is our best and most experienced corner returning this year.
Say that to yourself 5 more times and move on to #4.
Silver Lining: Tracy Howard & Deon Bush will get a chance to shine.
4. We Replace 7 Starters on Offense and Defense
Back when Rosenhaus was convincing half our team to go pro, some people pretended to be happy that Golden was turning over the roster and getting rid of Shannon's players. Get real. UM has had 1 running back since McGahee that rushed for over 1,000 yards, and it wasn't Mike James. Also, who on the Defensive Line is getting pressure on the QB besides Chickillo? Don't you dare say Shayon Green.
3. Lots of Freshmen Will Play
It's the drawback to going with a youth movement. Football has alot cliches, one of them is you lose 1 game for every freshmen you start. Al Golden said recently that no less than 18 freshmen will see action this year. Remember the 2008 season? Expect a similar record.
Silver Lining: The 2008 team would've won the division if not for the last 2 games
2. Shapirocalypse Now
PHOTOSHOP BY @Canes305Native
We were reminded last week that Charles Robinson is miserable **** (not linking that assholes article here). Don't think he won't be lurking behind each and every corner this season waiting to pop out with some more bullshit to distract the team. Not to mention the possibility of the NCAA handing down the sentence before the season is over.
Silver Lining: It has to end some time.
1. The Defense
While the scoring Defense rated high nationally last year, they couldn't get off the field on 3rd or 4th down to save their lives....giving up yards by the ton in the process. Many people pointed to the fact that our secondary was so bad, they had to play this Charmin-soft zone which made the most mediocre of Quarterbacks look decent (see Chase Rettig). Now we assume that with Williams and Chambers gone, D'Onofrio will be able to mix up coverages better. But can he? What if Georgia Tech is the only offense D'Onofrio is capable of shutting down?
Silver Lining: We only have to wait 5 more weeks to find out.
Wait, what? Only 5 more weeks? There's no time! There's never any time!!