2021 Fall Camp - wind down & thoughts

The 2nd scrimmage is in the books.

The big topic is who the starting QB will be, in a race so close multiple players & those close to the program have said they legitimately don’t know who it will be. Ken Scott & Covey both said they wouldn’t want to have to make that decision.

  • My hunch is it will be Brewer, based mostly on his demeanor, a large base of experience at Baylor, accuracy.

  • But I was wrong on Troy Williams vs Huntley, and I think most expected it to be Bentley last year based on experience, though Whitt revealed late the differentiator: accuracy.

  • This year I think the differentiator will be experience.

No matter who gets the nod, odds are we’ll see the other guy, as well - getting through a PAC schedule with one QB is unlikely.

Running Back - unlike the QB position, we’re likely to see a RB-by-committee, unless somebody demonstrates they can be an every down back .

  • Tavion Thomas #9’ name keeps coming up, he’s a big back - 6-2/225 - but with deceptive burst past the LOS and at the edges. Thomas came in at 240 & they wanted him to drop some weight, but noting his burst at the edge (or up the middle) even at a higher weight reveals he’s seriously athletic. (EDIT - Thomas is fast, was the anchor on his HS team’s 4x100 state championship in Ohio.)

  • Whitt compared TJ Pledger #5 to John White IV (who is still playing in the CFL and was a great back for us in 2 years). That’s high praise, he could be a potent weapon that keeps defenses on their heels and helps open up the middle game.

  • I’ve heard less about Curry #0, other than he’s more of a power back. Having Thomas & Curry as backs who can punch it 2-3 yards if need, along with Pledger & some of the youngsters as more evasive backs is a good position to be in.

  • Whitt mentioned Micah Bernard #2 is athletic enough to play WR. (Is that a sign? We’ll see)

WRs

  • Solomon Enis #21, Covey #18, Jaylen Dixon #25 are known quantities. Solo is a leader & definitely due for a breakout. Devaughn Vele #17 likewise seems primed for a breakout, after a couple of promising years in development.

  • UCLA / OU transfer Theo Howard #1 is intriguing at 6-0/190, seems like he could be a rough replacement for Bryan Thompson. I remember Howard at UCLA doing damage in PAC play. If he just wanted some snaps he would have transferred down to be a star, but with Thompson & Nacua departing, Howard saw a P5 opportunity. Another transfer whose name comes up is Munir McClain #13, 6-4/210 from USC.

Whitt said they feel like they have 7 solid WRs - I listed 6 - so we’ll see how this develops. The enthusiasm Solo expressed after the spring game where Brewer was 15-15 was notable - I’m interested to see how things open up for a group that has felt neglected.

Defense

Safeties - It’s great to have Vonte Davis #9 back, and from there it appears UW transfer Brandon McKinney #28 has the inside lane on the other spot, with freshmen Kamo’i Latu #13 & Cole Bishop #6 at the 2s.

Corners / NBs - JT Broughton #4 is only a SO (!), has NFL size & speed. Clark Phillips #8 was thrown into 100% reps at Nickel during this scrimmage, so if something happens with Malone Mataele #15 he’ll be credible playing inside, which meant a lot of snaps were given to yesterday to others:

  • Fabian Marks #23 got plenty of game reps last year, looked promising.
  • Caine Savage #5, Drew Rawls #3, Aaron Lowe #2, Kenzel Lawler #25 - who will step up and demand game snaps?

Scalley mentioned last year they played a lot of zone because with all the youngsters they didn’t have time to work extensively on man technique. I think it’s an advantage to be able to switch up man & zone, so we’ll see who emerges among the 2s in terms of who has got man coverage down, and I hope to see some changeup looks with zone thrown in, to confuse opposing QBs.

DEs

With Tupai out, who will be opposite Mika Tafua #42?

Van Fillinger #7 (6-4/260) and Xavier Carlton #44 (6-6/272) are both still true FR and got plenty of game snaps & an offseason. Their size is impressive, but depending on the opponent could be an issue if technique hasn’t been perfected ala Bradlee Anae.

I’ve heard Jonah Ellis #83 (of course!) mentioned along with the DEs, so we’ll see. He’s just 6-3/232, but could probably get up to 245 pretty quickly, if that’s what they’re looking at to get some speed off the edge. (Remember, Tafua is just 250 lbs)

The LBs and DTs have less intrigue, other than who will be the 2s at LB and how many DL we see.

Time to get amped up! We got out of 2020 exactly what we needed - game snaps for teenagers - and I’m hesitant to compare this team to 2019, but that idea is out there, so the challenge is on!

Van Fillinger is the real deal. He is a man amongst boys and you guys got yourself a good one with him.

Whit said the only unresolved area is the one I always worry about the most. Continuity with the OL. He brought it up like 3 times. Here’s to hoping it gets resolved. But I kind of feel like fool me once… So I’m not expecting great things there. Really hope I am wrong, but more so hope the talent on the rest of the team is enough to win the South again.

I’m hoping the OL benefits from both more experience and a more diversified attack.

In 2019 our offense seemed like it turned a corner, Huntley & Moss were the heart & soul, and our passing game came through when it needed to, eg at UW. But by the CU game we were either worn down or we got figured out, or some combination, and then Oregon feasted on that film, and let’s not talk about the bowl game.

I’m really interested to see what Ludwig does with this set of ingredients. Huntley and Moss are playing on Sundays, so nothing but respect to those two, but I wonder if we became too predictable & that made things up front more difficult.

The point could be made that Moss bailed us out too often in short yardage situations, picking up 8 yards on a 3rd and short after contact in the backfield. Everyone in the stadium and watching on TV knew the ball was going to Moss.

When the D knows where the play is going life is miserable for the OL.

Lud has something like 500 plays in his playbook accumulated over the years, and in any given year we use maybe 100 plays. Ideally we build on the playbook each week, adding wrinkles and plays that haven’t been seen, and with the weapons at Brewer’s & Rising’s disposal, we should be less predictable, overall.

That’s what I’m hoping for. We’ll be able to out-talent some of the teams, but by the end of the year the offense needs to be like a symphony.

If the rest of the offense is effective, it should take a little pressure off the OL and we keep opposing defenses off balance, then the OL looks great.

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Spot on. You’ve touched on my biggest area of concern in the offense. The late season collapse two years ago was painful to see, totally unexpected. Even last year, except for the Drew Lisk miracle every game was a disappointment on offense even as Utah won three. The line and Qb was 90% of that.

When the plays devolve to tackle dive, tackle dive, pass, (punt), there is nothing the OL can do to block 9 in the box.

The problem is we watched that work against BYU for an almost 10 minute drive to crush their souls. Sometimes it does work and we don’t have to punt.

Hopefully we are able to become more unpredictable.

BTW, when it comes to NIL, has anyone heard about Covey getting to do Medicare Supplement commercials yet?

He’s actually working with AARP and LifeAlert

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Damn, Steve’s wife leaking info. Lol.

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Getting scooped by your wife has got to suck a bit.

I wonder if there was a bet involved. If there was, somebody named Steve Bartle just got tabbed to cook dinner and clean the kitchen. :joy::joy::joy:

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Now that Brewer is the starter any bets on who will be the first to sign him to an NIL contract? Uinta? Epic? Wasatch?

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So Brewer is the starter. They tried hard to make Rising feel loved to keep him here. Hopefully he stays. Does that mean we are:

'21: Brewer
'22 and '23: Rising

If so, do we lose Costelli? We have a million QBs on the roster. I have to assume some are going to transfer. I guess that’s how it works now. The better you are, the more top QBs you attract for your QB competition. Then you pick a starter and lose all the others. Rinse and repeat.

“Does that mean we lose Costelli”

Probably. That is just the new reality. Plus, don’t sleep on Jackson. He’s a top 15 pick at QB, TE, LB or S. IF you can get him to pan out at QB, he’s a star. He’s a talent we’ve never had before. But I’d bet that Costelli or Rising leave after this year, whoever doesn’t win the job out of spring ball.

Then hope Jackson develops as a QB. IF he does, then Costelli definitely is gone. If he doesn’t, then he either transfers to play QB or switches to defense.

I’d bet we see a lot of Jackson this year. I bet Ludwig uses him like Urban used Tebow his freshman year. Jackson is just too good, too big, too fast to not get him on the field. If Brewer stays healthy then I’d bet that Jackson gets the second most QB reps this fall.

IF Brewer can pan out as a QB, he has Cam Newton potential. His ceiling is sky high. He’s a bigger, faster, more talented Weddle.

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I think that’s a decent “Plan A” description.

But as Rising knows, things can & often do change. Whitt mentioned that figuring out who the 3 is will be pretty important. If it’s Jackson, almost guaranteed Costelli takes off.

If it’s Costelli, they better have sold the other options to Jackson. If he’s insistent on being a QB, Jackson’s likely gone. If he wants to play on Sundays, like you said he has the potential in multiple areas… and could probably keep the “curve ball package” at QB, if he becomes a TE.

Based on what Costelli has said, he’s in absorb mode, smartly soaking up as much as possible. If he has a good arm, he could be really good, 6-3 / 215 with a 10.8x 100m time. (For that matter, he might make a helluva TE)

It looks like a logjam and makes getting Nate Johnson a longer shot, but if Jackson (or Costelli) change positions, next year could be 2 QBs + Johnson.

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I love that we have this problem. Just need to make sure we keep enough around to have 3 deep (injuries, development). Hope we can convince athletes to contribute however (Jackson) and show them that they can make the league at that position even more easily than at QB.

I know we are all in this year, so experience of Brewer matters. Hopefully Covey’s 7th junior season will be special.

Is it just me or do people stick to QB too long - they likely were QB in pee-wee, HS, etc. and it just is WHO they are. Sure, it’s a glamour position and the best athlete often gets put there and continues to develop (sometimes even into college). But that innate athletic talent and drive starts to be matched at a position by the really talented folks at that position, so take that innate talent and apply it to some other position that matches your size and skills and be an absolute star.

Just saw on Instagram that Rising is a captain (+Covey, Markgraf, Lloyd, Tafua). Last year, Bentley was a captain but Rising started. Interesting.

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Given JaQuinden’s size, speed, and having been a QB, he could become the next Chase Hansen. I remember a lot of TDS folks saying Chase would never switch from QB.

He did…he thrived…and the PAC 12 faced a terror for three years.

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