"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
1) Who has lived up to your offseason expectations? Funchess once they finally figured out the man needs to be spread out. I've said it since he was coming in.
2) Who has disappointed based on offseason expectations? Norfleet and it's more that they just don't use him. But I'm also dissapointed by the lack of big returns and the first punt to him this season.
Funchess exceeded my expectations. I felt like I was pretty high on him to start the season, but wasn't expecting back-to-back 100+ yards games. He already has over double his receiving yards from last season (492 vs. 234). His emergence makes it tough for Ds to key only on Gallon and opens up the passing game.
So here is a sad kitten
1) Devin Gardner
2) Devin Gardner
2) Defensive Front 4; though I didn't expect an LSU-style D-Line I expected more than what they've shown.
Jake Butt has exceeded expecations in a way, though, I think he's even more capable than what he's shown (more as an offensive weapon than on the line as a blocker).
Glad I'm not the only one really impressed with Jake Butt. I was so suprised by his size, I really think he will be a "match up nightmare" kind of guy in the future. Reminds me of a Kyle Rudolph type, even though he doesn't look like he has that type of speed, he was getting downfield really well on a few plays earlier in the year.
Has Kalis been that bad? He was terrible in the PSU game, but other than that, I thought he's been decent.
He lost his job, didn't he?
1. I want to say Gallon because 119 ypg and 7 TDs in 7 games is very good and while we all thought he might get a 1000 yds, we werent expecting him breaking Braylon's record. HOWEVER, it you look at the stats you realize that 553, 66.54% have come in two games. Take away the ND and Indiana game and now the only performance in which you can really say, "thats good" is the Penn State one (7 95 1). SO, I am going to go with Funchess, 70 ypg is more then I thought, even though I ecpected him to lead in TD's, he has really come on and maybe Gallon's lack of production from ND-Minnesota, was because he was the only deep threat until Funchess, 120 ypg in B1G 10 play came along. Now for him you can also take away 3 of the 7 and it isnt that good but he has been consistent in the past 3.
2. The obvious answer is Gardner and it would have been after the UCONN game. But since he has only had 1 bad half out of 6, and put up 360 yds vs Penn State and 584 vs Indiana. His footwork in the pocket has also gotten better. The 328 ypg and 22 TD's is very good. Its is either Toussaint or the O-line and I think I will have to go with the O-line. Until the IU game they have just been plain bad, and because it was the IU defense, you cant be sure. I mean take away Gardner and you have 3.71 ypc by the runnning backs. Penn State was just an absolute disaster and Gardner was pressured vs UCONN and Akron.
For fun, projected record: I think Gardner has improved his decision making (if he had 2 ints in 3 games the whole season, he would have 5 picks now instead of 10) and Funchess on the outside means that the defense now has 2 big time playmakers to worry about. I am not convinced in the O-line yet but it cant get much worse then PSU and we had that game won for 59 minutes. Secondary has some issues but no offense is as good as IU's (in the B1G 10). Unfortunatly while we have the talent to beat OSU they have a mch more complete team as of now, if I am a betting man, we lose to OSU.
What do Funchess' stats look like after taking out his top 2 games?
3) Most surpassed expectations - Funchess, sudden secondary destroying WR of Doom
i completely agree about Norfleet. He can at times give you a good return to about the 40 and start you with great field position, but i would bet he doesnt take one to the house in his 4 years here....im glad someone agrees with me
I tend to agree with you.
He's exciting because he is shifty and gives the illusion that he is about to break one. The problem is his top end speed is lacking, so what you really get is a bunch of jukes in a short space with no real chance of going much further.
As for his potential contribution to the offense, I'm not mad that he hasn't been used more. He has shown exactly nothing. I wish him a great career, but none of us have seen anything to give us any high expectations.
I agree that he hasn't shown much, but "nothing" is another matter. I believe he has had at least a few moments on offense.
Others have mentioned a lack of top-end speed, which I agree reduces the odds that he'll "break one." No one has mentioned his lack of bulk, which is another trait that limits his usefulness on the field.
I still think he could end up being useful as a RichRod-style (sorry, a few of you, for any PTSD that may induce) slot receiver who can exploit mismatches in space. I also think that, with some seasoning, he could be a decent punt returner. A few extra yards from jukes are always welcome.
I don't mean to be harsh about it. I'm not saying he has looked bad, rather, he hasn't looked like anything. I understand the idea that he could be a RR-style back, but I see no evidence for it. That's not to say its not possible, just that we have no real reason, grounded in anything we've seen, to have such expectations.
I like your point on punt returns. He is exactly the type of guy I like, able to make a little something out of nothing. The problem is, he has shown nothing in the PR game either. We don't even know if he can catch them.
That return he pulled off on Saturday knocked him down a few notches for me. I have to imagine the coaches weren't happy he used a double-spinorama move to turn a decent return into a terrible one
If Dileo weren't dinged they probably would have pulled him after that. They know what they have in Norfleet. Coach him up or don't play him. Street ball works in HS not in CFB and especially not in the NFL. We've seen this before. The coaches need to take action. Chaos sometimes works but that is what that was.
Not to be too harsh. Norflleet has skills. On a HS level those allowed him to succeed with that type of return. He's not in that world now. The coaches need to tell him that by pulling him aside. I'm sure they are doing that... but this is not a new thing with Norfleet.
The Norfleet hype has been around since he committed and Brian called him his favorite recruit in the class. Since then it's been a lot of confirmation bias (seeing what you want to see) and extrapolated hype from the mgoechochamber. I think he's good - and can be great - but the way people talk about him despite all the evidence to the contrary is just another example of the masses parroting Brian.
It's obvious his yards in high school were due to his quickness and enough speed to pull away from the secondary after getting by the first few defenders. I'm guessing and hoping that coaches are working with him to become a Dileo like receiver, although I think if he becomes as good as route running as Drew his YAC should be high. I'm not certain if OL woes are the fault of OC or OL coach because I simply don't know if Al is designing blocking schemes for his plays or if it's Funk. No matter, by this time they both know what they have at these positions and should call running plays accordingly. Personally, I'd like to see more toss sweeps with the DE sealed properly to allow Fitz to use his juking ability which, of course, he's incapable of doing when being met three to five yards in the backfiled. This is my biggest concern in the running game and doesn't need to be practiced any more this year. It should be tossed completely and we have to attack outside with the occasional draws we saw vs. IN. This will work against blitzing teams that are prone to leave the middle open. MSU's backers play like ND's, always coming forward. This can be beaten with proper play calling and allowing DG to audible into proper plays based on his defensive reads.
1 - Gallon, Funchess, Gardner
2 - Gibbons, Schofield, Dileo (not his fault), Hoke
The second one not so sure, Dileo can do more, but it isn't his fault and Schofield? he's been our most constant player, and our second best O lineman (close to Lewan, as he filled in as LT and did well) I'd say Kalis, Miller was a question since the begging but Kalis was regarded as sure fire.
In No. 1 honorary mention i'd throw in Glasgow (Graham).
1) Gardner has lived up to my expectations. He's made some mistakes, but for the most part he's been terrific. I bought into the offseason hype surrounding him and, despite some rough patches, I think he's proving it was well-founded.
2) The WDEs have been disappointing. I never really thought Clark was going to be all that great, but I did expect bigger things out him than what we've seen, and I also though Ojemudia and maybe Charlton would becomore more prominent contributors. Clark has been a bit more productive over the past couple weeks, but I still feel as though a lot of his stats are from being in the right place at the right time, more than superior performance. We're still waiting on Ojemudia to really break out, and Charlton hasn't gotten in much lately.
3) Jerod Wilson is the player who has far exceeded my expectations. I wasn't as worried about him headed into the season as some people were, but I did think he would be a bit of a liability in coverage and a non-factor in run support. Instead, he's been mostly steady and had a critical pick against Akron. He's only going to continue getting better, so it's good to know that we're set at FS through 2015.
2. Both Lines
Not really a fair question since a lot of guys had monster hype and lived up to them (Gallon, for example), but here are some of the surprises to me.
Graham Glasgow: Who would've thought the walk-on would be the lone bright spot on the interior line?
Jarrod Wilson: Dispelled prognostications of doom, made key plays.
Mario Ojemudia: In shadow of Clark and thought to be immediately passed by Taco, but emerged as the best of the trio.
Failed to meet:
Kyle Kalis: Probably unfair expectations for a young OL, just hasn't shown the tenacity people saw in his HS film
Derrick Green: Again, expectaions probably not fair, but weight did indeed seem to rob him of some agility.
Frank Clark: Not really surprising, but still. Showed some signs of improvement, fell well short of the "leap" people were expecting
Incomplete (Guys that just aren't seening the field that you expected to see based on hype and depth chart)
Ben Braden: Seemed like the answer at LG, then fell off a cliff, ended up behind a true freshman. Might just not be a guard, but wasn't first off bench at tackle either.
Cam Gordan: Conspicuously missing. Beyer was better than expected, but this is a position with lots of rotation so should have seen him more.
Taco Charlton: Probably more due to Ojemudia emerging in front of him than issues, but would have liked to see him on the field by now given rotation on DL
Dymonte Thomas: As with Taco, probably has more to do with options in front of him than him not being good.
1.) Funchess, Gallon, Taylor, Clark
2.) Borges, Norfleet, Gibbons, Fitz
Might get slammed for this but hey I have my reasons. Borges is obvious, Norfleet has done nothing (showboater, acts like he busted a 80 yarder every run), Gibbons sorry but you don't get three tries in OT, Fitz because he is a leader on this team and he just can't seem to dominate at all.
I also feel Gardner should not be be wearing 98. Sorry to be brutal, Funchess is The next Megatron!!!
Agree with a lot of what's been said so far. One guy I haven't seen mentioned as meeting/exceeding expectations but should be is Countess...one of the nation's leaders in INTs, has provided really good coverage all year, and on the rare occasions when he's been beaten, he often shows good recovery speed and makes a play anyway. Definitely a strong return from his injury imo.
If I had to choose another guy who hasn't been mentioned, I don't think James Ross has really lived up to expectations. That might be/probably is because those expectations were so high after his breakout freshman campaign, but his tackling hasn't taken the step forward I had hoped to see.
OMVP: Jeremy Gallon
Runner Up: n/a
DMVP: Blake Countess
Runner Up: Jibreel Black
(O) Most Improved Player: Graham Glasgow
Runner Up: Jeremy Jackson
(D) Most Improved Player: Jarrod Wilson
Runner Up: Frank Clark
(O) Most Underrated Player: Jake Butt
Runner Up: Jordan Paskorz
(D) Most Underrated Player: Brennen Beyer
Runner Up: Desmond Morgan
(O) Most Disappointing Player: Al Borges/Devin Gardner (just because of the TOs)
Runner Up: Kyle Kalis / Derrick Green (just because of the hype)
(D) Most Disappointing Player: Courtney Avery
Runner Up: Dymonte Thomas (just because of the hype)
I try to limit expectations, so I don't ever count on Freshmen. If they contribute, great, but I honestly never expect them to. So, no Green of Thomas or Charlton for me.
Has exceeded expectations
1. Bake Countess - thought his return would be slower.
2. Graham Glasgow - still not sold, but he's better than the rest.
3. Jarrod Wilson - solid.
4. Funchess - can catch.
Hasn't met expectations
1. Clark - crazy physical gains, yet to really translate.
2. Kalis - not expected to be good, but he's been outright bad.
3. Miller - same boat as Kalis, but worse.
4 Funchess - can't block.
5. AJ Williams - can't block, despite being nominal blocking TE.
6. Lewan - he's been fine, but I expected him to dominate.
...has dominated at least 90% of the time.
He's still 1 of 5 though.
Your opinion, but I think Schofield has been less "dominating" than expected.
1. Gallon. He is on pace to be all big ten and setting records along the way.
2. Gardner. When he turns it over, which is just about every game, we are very beatable.
I know, the kids unreal. I only wish he was wearing the number one jersey.
you're all bananas if you don't think Glasgow is the pick for exceeding expectations. From absolute unknown and fear to solid B1G starter with size, smarts, effort, and upside... who can play two positions. And have you forgotten that sweater.
And he is, although a lot better than I thought but I will go with jarrod Wilson for exceeding expectations. He has had a nice quiet year, steady with a few big plays. Disappointing - gibbons has not made me too happy lately and I was hoping Bryant would stick in the lineup all summer, if he got the chance.
Not sure until after the MSU game.
1.) Funchess, Gallon, Glasgow, Bosch (not expected to contribute)
2.) Gibbons, Gardner ( INTs), Clark (pre-Season hype)
Gardner is turning the tide. If last game is any indication, his time on list 2 will be short.
I'm disappointed in our offensive line but, I'm looking for some insight from you all. I'm unsure how much responsibility lands with Al and how they are being used. It seems to me that the coaches brought in a bunch of downhill road graders but have designed run plays with so much lateral movement, finess and combo blocks that the kids' strengths are lost in the shuffle. I could see a senior laden offensive line succeding within the intricate framework Al has designed but I think these youngsters are better suited to just hammer away at the oposing defensive line. All the lateral movement of the line is getting blown up behind the line of scrimage. Thoughts?
I posted a similar topic at TTB.
1) The staff and team
2) People who think midseason awards include disappointments.