I never realized how scary (in a good way) AJ Williams looks until now....
Belated Recruiting Bits
Via Craig Ross, impressions from the signing day press conference.
Kyle Kalis: looks like an initial shot at RT according to Darrell Funk. No particular reason, he might end up elsewhere, but my impression is that Funk thinks this might be the best place for him to push for PT this year.
OL recruits. Funk says without hesitation that these are the best four he has ever had in a class in one year. All are possible/plausible to get to the 320 pound range. All “are big and can run, bend, move and play hard.” Funk emphasizes the “bend” element, looking for big guys who aren’t stiff. Funk says none of these guys seems destined for center, but doesn’t rule it out.
Nature of Evaluation. I asked Funk and Mark Smith about the nature of evaluation of players. Both said that the process is collaborative. That coaches tend to watch film together and/or ask others about his impressions of a player. Funk says he isn’t trump on any player. If he likes a player he has to convince others on the staff. Sometimes he is looking at an OL and notices a DL and passes this along.
While the “area” recruiter might be the first contact with a player, by the time the recruiting is over a recruit will know the position coach and “just about every, sometimes every” coach on the staff.
The Staff. While I often felt there were some outliers on the RR staff (I could be wrong, but Shafer really seemed disconnected), these coaches seem quite tight, quite collegial. They like each other and Borges, Hoke, Mattison, Funk, Hecklinski, Smith, Jackson and Mallory seem very comfortable with the media. These are the ones I have talked to. Borges was teasing Hecklinski as they left the building together, calling him a “media darling, a rock star.” I really like Funk and Smith (the ones I have talked to most). They are very smart, articulate, comfortable answering dopey questions and thoughtful questions. Hoke made some effort to recognize Mark Snyder and Rosenberg (pretty sure it was Mike) and that seems like a pretty good idea to me.
AJ Williams. He is listed as a TE and I wondered about the “talk” that he will end up at tackle. I asked Funk. He was definitive. “He’s a tight end.” Funk said “he can catch the ball, but we really need help at the point of attack at the TE spot and he’s a guy who might have some opportunity to play right away.” The message was clear (a) we need help at TE now, especially in the run game, (b) we sure as hell hope this kid can step up there soon and (c) no, we don’t have any thought of moving him away from the TE spot.
LBs. Smith says Ringer and Bolden are ILB but all four have the capacity to play inside or outside.
bolden has the hair to play outside.
interesting that kalis is going to compete with schofield for RT. i wonder if that means the coaches weren't all that impressed with schofield's work at G or that they were very impressed with omameh and barnum. now if we could just get barnum to learn how to snap the ball, we could have our 5 best linemen on the field at once.
Pure speculation on my part, but if Kalis can shore up RT, maybe Lewan-Schofield becomes a very destructive left side of the line? Then the winner of Omameh/Barnum at RG and the loser of that battle backing up both guard spots?
...Just a thought, although it might not be a very good one. Still need more tackle depth, regardless.
Or Barnum is going to slide over to center.
As noted before, especially true with the prospect of a lefty QB in the future.
Is about getting top 5 guys on the line however possible. Lewan/Schofield could be starting tackles, but I get the feeling coaches aren't necessarily enthused by their choices at guard if they do. Having Kalis at RT means Schofield can stay at LG with Lewan and then you only have 2 spots left and Omameh/Barnum/Khoury/Miller to fill them.
Schofield would be starting regardless, it's the interior you worry about if he starts at tackle.
"PT" doesn't necessarily mean as a starter.
I love getting this viewpoint (and the Mattison clinic the other day). It's great to hear these position guys give some insight into positional depth.
Is Montgomery an ass to the media or Craig just doesn't like him?
From all accounts Coach Montgomery is a sharp guy and quite approachable. I just haven't had the opportunity to talk to him.
For what it's worth, my favorite coaches on Rich Rod's staff were Calvin McGee and Rod Smith. Smith, in particular, was a tireless teacher, and had a compelling ability to convey constructs, even to a novice (like me).
I liked all of Lloyd's asistants that I talked to (most of them) but Scot Loeffler and Mike DeBord really were open and willing to try to teach me the basics. They may have more or less failed, but it wasn't because of their efforts or lack of teaching ability. The student was limited.
There is a certain disconnect between the coaching fraternity and the media fraternity, which (I suppose) I am sorta, kinda vaguely a part of. My surmise is that coaches think/assume the media knows nothing, and then the media tends to prove it with their questions (I admit to asking some obtuse whoppers) or their criticisms. On those occasions when I have asked (what a coach may have thought) was a good question, they have been willing to try to give me a real answer. On the other hand, I think the coaches tend to talk to the media like they know nothing, and this tends to complete the circle. The people in the media who do actually know something other than the surface of the game (Brian, for example) are disinclined to go to pressers because of this disconnect (my surmise). Plus, it is a fact, it is really hard to ask a concise and meaningful question at a presser. For my own part, I need to ramble on for about 10 minutes (Willie Heston, blah, blah, blah) of football history (Bears and Skins in 1941, death of the single wing, ya know) before I can get to the point. Woe on me.
The good news is that Brian has determined to go to coaching clinics (that's where he is at, right now) and maybe he can help many of us learn and appreciate more of the nuance of games.
I love the thought of seeing a 320 lb avg. across the OL. That will be fun to watch.
Sounds like we are building a OL that may look like a more agile Wisconsin line. Which to me just sounds fantastic!
Not sure if serious...
Hopefully minus the porn stars.
Could the reason for Kalis being at RT so that he is the future blindside tackle for Shane Morris? Plus he has a better shot of seeing playing time earlier behind Schofield instead of Lewan.
The reason might be that Kalis is too good to sit, and Schofield and Lewan were a dominating left-sided pairing they don't want to split up.
If Kalis can't swing it or gets hurt, they can kick Schofield to RT and put Barnum or Bryant in at LG.
They do have a lot of positional flexibility with the players on the line. That's good.
The staff thinks highly of both Lewan and Schofield, but who backs up the tackles? That is a serious question. this past year we had 3 legitimate tackles when you include Huyge. Huyge is now gone so they need to give the incoming guys an opportunity to back up the tackle spots because we have a LITTLE more flexibility at the gaurd spot. Kalis is know to be the "most ready" of the O-linemen we are bringing in.
Kalis doesn't really project as a blind side protector as much as a mauler, which is why he'll be a right tackle or guard. I think the coach's love for Schofield is the big reason for him at OT instead of OG.
Sounds to me that Kalis wants to play RT and the coachs will allow him to try to win the spot and play it, but all things equal, the coaches want him to play RG as having a new center could be a problem...and a guy like Kalis on the interior, freshman or not, can assuage that.
Out of all of your recruits, Bolden is the one that I most envy. I think we brought in some great LBs, but Bolden will be a stud at MLB. Perfect fit for the Big Ten IMO.
It's also a lot easier to get along (or at least appear to) when your team just won a BCS game as opposed to coming off not making a bowl game, which is what RRs offseasons were like.