Football (to me) is the ultimate "chicken or egg" sport. What comes first when you play the blame game on offense? Is it bad quarterback play that makes receivers look bad? Is it bad receivers that make the quarterback look bad? Is it a bad line that messes them both up? Inevitably, it's impossible to tell (no matter how you feel about offensive line play, can you really say that a better line would have made up for Schroeder and the lack of depth/talent at WR last season? An argument can be made, sure, but no one definitively knows.) This was the biggest change that I had to make when approaching the games in the Norm Chow era. Even after June left, Coach Mac applied many of the same offensive principles, ultimately leading to a slightly altered version of the same exciting, high scoring offense. Norm, however, and his pro-style system tore everything down and is currently in the process of building it back up again. Here comes year 2 of the wide receiver project.
We've talked QB ad nauseum on the site already so we'll be moving on (for now). I don't know enough about O-Line to talk intelligently about their strengths and weaknesses. Travis can handle that. Which leaves me with the wide receivers. Truthfully, I think I've (we've) been spoiled as fans in this regard: Over the last decade, we've been attending games played by Ashley Lelie, Chad Owens, Davone Bess, Grice, Jeremiah Cochran, Jason Rivers. All of them pro-caliber players (regardless of whether they actually played in the league) and all of them outstanding in college. So really, going from always having at least one of those guys on a team to...the junior junior varsity that was our WR corps last year was almost too traumatic for me to recover from.
Thankfully though, it looks like we'll be bouncing back. Trevor Davis, in particular, appears to be fully recovered from his injury plagued sophomore campaign and has been basically unstoppable in practice so far this spring. It's pretty clear that he's the #1 option and Taylor Graham confirmed this by zoning in on him on just about every non-run play that was called. My biggest trepidation here with Trevor has always been his weight. He has spectacular hands and athleticism, but somehow always looked like he was one big hit away from bending and breaking (he was listed last year at 170 which was...generous to say the least.) This year he looks quite a bit more filled out and frankly, attacks the ball with a hunger that I hadn't seen from him before. Add to that the returning tight ends (finally looking to be a part of the offense now that they have someone to get them the ball), Bubba Poueu-Luna (I know, I know, I'm shocked by this too, but if John swears by him I'll include him in the list) and incoming freshman Keith Kirkwood and we absolutely have the promise of something resembling a coherent passing attack. Whether it actually produces as such remains to be seen. Still, it's better to go into the season full of hope than despair and I think year two will yield some fantastic play-making talent. Stay Tuned.