This was originally posted as a comment by K. John. Because my comment display widget is screwed up, I thought I would promote it to a post, as it contains a lot of good discussion material, even though its premise is that the season is over, which it ain’t.
I too am glad the season is over. Something tells this was the last game this year. No plus one. No bowl game. Just the long wait until next September as I do not expect there to be a blue white scrimmage. I have seen a few things over the course of the season that I like, though I fear the finish will be blown out of proportions by much of the fan base and they’ll completely forget the flaws that led to a 0 and 5 start. The offensive is what it is. It was caught in a major transformation from college spread to pro-style in a season not conducive to such a shift. The defense however is another matter entirely. If Brent Pry is the D-coordinator next year, I may lose the rest of my hair.
The Good – Joey Porter has a future. He has the potential to be our best DB in a very long time. Jaquan Brisker has gotten better every game. He isn’t Adrian Amos but might be able to match Malik Golden or Troy Apke. Castro-Fields settled in before he got hurt. He will likely never hit his potential but is a keeper and will be better playing second fiddle to Porter. Porter should always be on the opponent’s top guy.
The Bad – Lamont Wade is not a free safety. He is a slot corner. Nothing more. If he returns, he can fill a valuable role on the team if he accepts it. More than likely, he’ll end up as a malcontent. Beyond Porter, nobody with superstar potential.
The Good – We have a lot of raw talent.
The Bad – We have a lot of raw talent.
The Good – They can hold up against an average offensive line.
The Bad – This might hit three paragraphs. I think we have enough talent to stand toe to toe with Ohio State but we continue to push forward with an even front when we have odd front talent. The defense doesn’t work without a combo end and a legit 3-technique tackle and only two players have shown they game be adequate in either role. Furthermore, PJ Mustipher is not a 3 technique. He is a 1. Same for Culpepper. Both could play 2 however. Antonio Shelton (should he return) is not a 1-technique, he is a 0. Same for Hansard. Move Thorpe to defense full time and you can run three-deep at 0 with Mustipher and Culpepper at base end and Beamon, Hawkins and Vanover at the 3/4-technique.
Looking at defensive end, we have a pile of 6, 7 and wide 9 pass rushers but only one spot in the current defense. This group has the purest talent on the team (maybe the entire Big Ten) but is consistently handicapped by Brent Pry’s inability or unwillingness to evolve the defense. Oweh, Toney and Isaac are wasted talent when they have to line up at the 5-technique. Stop doing it. Moving whoever is left to outside linebacker is an obvious move. They even showed it off in last year’s bowl game where they lined up in an odd front well over 50% of the time and several players ended up having career days to include Parson, Toney, Windsor and Gross-Matos.
I can keep ranting but I’ll stop here. Maybe I’ll get on my soap box regarding the offense later. Or maybe I’ll hit the cognac.
Big Al says
I have no idea what a “(fill in the number) technique” defensive lineman is. But my experience as an early 60s high school O lineman is that a D lineman really has only three options – he can try to: (1) go around you to his left, (2) go around you to his right, or (3) go through you. Most D lineman can’t execute these 3 options equally well. From what little I can observe on TV, State’s lineman have a problem with executing option 3 and probably need to be bigger and/or stronger. And they have a tendency make the wrong choice between Options 1 and 2 and take themselves out of the play. That issue can be improved with more experience and perhaps better coaching.
Although the DL needs to be better, State’s safeties are the biggest defense weakness going forward. They aren’t very talented to begin with and they make far too many mental mistakes. The safeties coach definitely needs to be replaced.