The excuse of Age

Submitted by poseidon7902 on January 11th, 2018 at 9:41 AM

One of the big things we have heard all year was how age would be a huge problem for this team.  It's roundly said here and pretty much everywhere, and is also roundly decried by opposing fans from their coolers and farm yards.  I was considering doing a breakdown on age and it's true effects, but before I wasted any of my time was curious if anyone had already done something similar.  We saw a very young QB in GA and AL play in the national championship, but are those aberrations, or does age really have little to do with the outcome.  



January 11th, 2018 at 9:44 AM ^

I will make this as simple as possible for you. You can win with Youth.

You cant win with a half ass pass protection and 3 different quarterbacks who regress as the year goes on. 


January 11th, 2018 at 10:51 AM ^

So our two senior offensive linemen, senior tight end didn't count as experience? Or the fact that our second year starter and 4th year qb couldn't make the offense work either?

We weren't good this year.  It was a playcalling and talent issue, not a youth issue. Lewerke was less experienced and younger than Speight throwing to a wr core that had all of one player above sophmore experience and 4 freshmen and was playing behind an offensive line that started a true freshman, redshirt freshman, redshirt sophmore, rs jr and one single senior. I.e. a younger line. That offense outperformed our offense in a road game against a superior defense.  The offense was bad this year because the players weren't good enough and the coaching and gameplan were atrocious, it had nothing to do with age or experience.


January 11th, 2018 at 11:04 AM ^

strictly bad coaching and play calling offensively the whole year besides the osu game, M was kicking osu ass that first half and osu is most talented team in country next to bama and uga, lost that game cuz okorn, and if refs knew what a hold was on hurst osu wouldnt have scored. 

get some good play calling out of offense and creativity and this team could be very special next year. lots of talent. top 7 classes 2016 and 2017 and some other good players sprinkled in, they r second most talented in big ten behind osu.

Next year is no excuse, talent and experience there. big ten champ or bust


January 11th, 2018 at 11:42 AM ^

Why people don’t believe it is a talent issue as well is beyond me! Talented players can make up for some bad play calling at times. Our QB’s were not good, but they weren’t helped or bailed out by our receivers a lot this season by constant drops or running incorrect routes. Our backs failed to pass protect this year and our OL was spotty at best. We can lump it all on Pep & Drev(yes I want them gone too!), yet if the players who are actually out there on the field don’t perform any better next season expect a similar result. MSU has complained about their offensive staff for years! I don’t think it magically got great this year, just that their players went out and performed better than ours. Same youth and inexperience, yet somehow they outplayed us all season long.


January 11th, 2018 at 3:45 PM ^

You're absolutely right.Talent CAN make up for bad playcalling... and it did. Look at DPJ's punt return vs. AF, or Higdon bailing us out against Indiana. Michigan has good players and this season could have gone far worse if not for their heroics. Imagine the meltdown had we blown it at Indiana (thanks, Karan!) 

However, raw talent only gets a team so far (see Ole Miss doing nothing under Hugh Freeze, or OSU the one year under Fickell, despite the ridiculous amount of talent). The offense here has major problems, but talent is far from one of the biggest if you ask me. It should be so much better, even with apparent QB deficiencies. 



January 11th, 2018 at 3:33 PM ^

Ian Bunting was a senior I believe. He got beat out by younger players but was on the two deep to start the season.

Our defense was the young side of the ball, not the offense.  The offense to start the year against Florida had two senior offensive linemen, a sophmore with a full year of starting experience, a rs jr QB with a year of starting experience and 2 years under Harbaugh, who was backed up by a SR QB with a year of starting experience and 2 years under Harbaugh. 

The starting TE was a rs jr in Bunting and the inline TE was a rs sophmore with a fair amount of experience in Wheatley. The WR's were young but still brough back Perry, Crawford, and McDoom who all had extensive playing time as backups or in the case of Perry starting experience.  That is the offense that struggled with Cincinnati, Air Force, and the first half of Purdue. Sure they could have improved and injuries set them back, but the offense was bad enough that people were calling for Okorn to start by game two.

Red is Blue

January 11th, 2018 at 6:30 PM ^

For how experienced we were he points to Sophomores with some game experience and seniors who previously weren't good enough to see the field or weren't good enough to stay on it. Totally neglecting the talent component.

JOK proved to be not talented enough. Why did he see the field? Because the talent behind him didn't have a high enough combination of talent and experience to supplant him.


January 11th, 2018 at 7:48 PM ^

After the way Bunting played in last years bowl game, I thought he was going to be the next Butt. I though this would be the season Wheatley was going to step it up.  Overall the QB, WR and OL development really did not happen this season. I hope things get back on track and I think it will start with who ever wins the QB competition. Peters did not help himself in the bowl game but I think all 3 will be starting out as equals by the summer camp.


January 11th, 2018 at 5:06 PM ^

Meh. We had, what, half a dozen scholarship offensive players who were upperclassmen? The ones who played pretty much got their playing time by default. Mason Cole was not at his strongest position. There's a reason Kuegler didn't see the field much until this year and he was the only realistic center on the team, and yet he would probably make a better guard. These aren't freshmen and sophomores who proved themselves better than upperclassmen. They were mostly freshmen and sophomores who played by default.


January 11th, 2018 at 9:32 PM ^

Sure but that is a different argument than youth was the problem. That argument is that the players weren't good enough, not tied to youth. Our hope for next year is that players will develop and be good but our just ignoring that the failure of this teams offense (and it really is just the offense) was due to players not developing. If Kekoa Crawford develops like you think a highly rated sophmore receiver with experience should he and Grant Perry form a good enough receiving core that DPJ and Tarik Black would have filled out a good receiving core. Sort of like how Bama's third best receiver was a true freshman. 

MSU built a better right side of their offensive line with a true freshman and RS freshman than we could build out of a sophmore and rs jr/sophmore/freshman shit rotation.  Yet our hope of next year is that a group of sophmores will develop and be good when the staff didn't do it successfully this year.  It is certainly possible, but it didn't happen this year and it wasn't a youth problem, it was a player development and offensive playcalling issue.


January 11th, 2018 at 10:11 AM ^

Consistently questionable play-calling is the story of 2017.

Verrrry interested to see how these coaching staff changes shake out. Will there be much change? If not, I’m probably not alone in tempering expectations for next year’s ceiling. Especially with the schedule gauntlet.

Hand me the popcorn...


January 11th, 2018 at 11:15 AM ^

Alabama has 16/22 players on their starting depth chart that are juniors or seniors. 17/22 Georgia starters were juniors or seniors. They had young QBs, but they had incredibly experienced and talented rosters. Michigan had 10/22 that were juniors or seniors, including a QB that was a senior that got hurt. They were way more experienced and better. 


January 11th, 2018 at 9:44 AM ^

On the game winning touchdown, a true freshman 5* was at LT, a true freshman 5* QB threw the TD pass, and a true freshman 5* caught the game winner. Stars DO matter. Baker Mayfield is the exception.


January 11th, 2018 at 9:56 AM ^

Lamar Jackson
Bradley Chubb
James Washington
Devin Bush
Hercules Mata’afa
Michael Gallup
Joe Giles-Harris
Rashaad Penny
Harold Landry
Vita Vea
Mazzi Wilkins
Courtland Sutton
Jonathan Taylor
Dante Pettis
Khaleke Hudson

If you get angry that we aren’t recruiting multiple five-star recruits per year, I would think you are just a casual fan.


January 11th, 2018 at 10:10 AM ^

Yes, but there is pretty damn good evidence they cheat their asses off. Along with most other programs that bring in that many 5* players.

We. Will. Never. Recruit. At. Alabama’s. Level.

We are recruiting at a VERY high level, however. Keep in mind we still have a top-15 class. Harbaugh will have had three years of recruiting under his belt when next season starts. This is his team now, not Hoke’s.


January 11th, 2018 at 10:21 AM ^

THANK YOU.  Academics, lack of high end bag man ops, whatever - We aren't going to recruit at Bama/OSU level, probably ever.  Beat them according to class rankings once every 5 years?  Maybe.  Even if we were to win a National Championship next year, it's not going to line up 5 star dudes begging to play here.  Accept that we will recruit well, and we will have down years when we're low on experienced guys and end up young at a few too many positions.  Such is life for basically every good to great program in CFB outside of a couple.


January 11th, 2018 at 11:59 AM ^

What evidence is there that they cheat and we don't? The reason 5*s want to go to OSU/Bama is because they have a much longer and better track record of playing in big games and winning championships. Notre Dame outrecruited us this year and won a bunch of recruiting battles where it was basically head to head with Michigan. The academic requirements are also pretty overblown, because a lot of the guys Alabama signed, Michigan worked their ass off to sign. We won't recruit at Alabama's level because we're not nearly as good, and because our coaching staff isn't as good.


January 11th, 2018 at 12:16 PM ^

Dude, come on.  If there was ample obvious evidence they would eventually get busted (see Ole Miss).  Bag man networks that are "smart" are hard to catch.  Start here:…

Unless, of course, you think that article was just completely made up.  If so, I can guarantee you don't live in the south because this stuff is well known and accepted here.


January 11th, 2018 at 1:01 PM ^

Harvard doesn't care if they win, Alabama doesn't care if they cheat. Michigan (the school, maybe not some of the fans) cares about both.  It is what it is.

The actual gap on the field created by cheating is not that huge, and we definitely can and need to find a way to win regardless.  To borrow a good perspective from Sam Webb, college football is mainly your top 30 guys vs. the other team's top 30 guys.  4th and 5th year 3/4 star guys will frequently match up well against frosh/soph/junior 4/5 star guys with good coaching. 

The whole 85 man roster and massive recruiting depth comes more into play over the course of the year with injuries and guys that just don't work out, or when early NFL draft entry or attrition takes a huge chunk of your talent "off schedule."  Extremely high level recruting (top 5ish every year) offsets a lot of the bumps in the road, and I would surmise that almost all of the teams that are always in that range for recruiting are a bit questionable.