My Hopes for the Coming Season
by tricio (2019-02-07 16:35:07)

The primary result I am looking for from spring training and fall camp is a balanced offense that features marked improvement in the ability to stretch the field with its WRs plus added use of TEs as receivers. If all the commentary and ratings about the talent at these positions is accurate, the Irish have plenty of talented players at these positions.

A fundamental requirement if this is to be realized is a QB with the arm strength to throw long with accuracy as well as to make a number of short and intermediate throws with zip. While Book played admirably this past season, his arm strength has been viewed as insufficient for long passes – possibly some intermediate ones. He will be entering his 4th year in the program, and it would seem this issue would have been addressed by now if there were a way to do so. As matters stand, it appears the only way to boost his arm strength is by attaching some form of bionic device to it.
So, I don’t want Book appointed QB1 by default. I think Jurkovec deserves a legitimate shot at being the starter as I have not heard any rumblings about his arm strength. I understand that they want him to change his arm motion to be more overhand, but I would think that should be doable (although I will note that Mahomes has demonstrated it may not be best for every situation). The QB1 needs to be the one who is better able to stretch the field with the talent the Irish supposedly now possess in its WR corps. Also, it is not at all clear that the NFL is anxious to draft Book which could mean he might want to play a 5th year. If that were to happen, Jurkovec possibly would be looking at not starting until his senior year. I sincerely doubt he would wait that long.

As for WR, I think the competition should be wide open also. There is a pool of talented younger players who deserve to have equal chances with the returning WRs. I am not interested at all in the transfer from VaTech. I prefer focusing on developing the players on hand. They were recruited because of their levels of talent and potential. Put the attention on them. If none of them can deliver, find new staff to recruit and coach WRs.

I also would like the TEs to become a larger part of the passing game. There is enough talent here to expand their roles here as well as serving as blockers. As odd as this may sound, I would like to see Claypool become a WR/TE hybrid. With the addition of 10-15 lbs and improvement in his blocking, he might fit well into certain sets as a quicker TE. And, with his size, he would remain an attractive target in the red zone. Using him in such a capacity also could introduce some complexities for defenses to cope with – particularly if TEs are more active in the passing game.

As for the running game, spring and the fall will need to determine who the leads will be, and how the amounts of speed and power the running will feature. However, if the passing side becomes more dynamic, the running game should have ample opportunities to provide sufficient balance.