Recruiting needs - offense

Total Red

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
2,751
Location
One mile west of Hancock
Recruiting needs - offense

Let's start up front - Tackles Zambrano and Asche with Pope challenging plus Gudaitis. G/C - it depends. Is Bussone going to play C or G? If Bussone is the Center, then Mueller and Rios at G. If Bromagen is the C, then I would look for Mueller and Bussone at G.

Looks good on paper but none of the players listed started every game. Drew Bones was the iron man on the O-Line, starting every game this year but he is gone. If the O-Line avoids the rash of injuries it had this year it could be substantially improved. I would take a player that could provide immediate help at G/C.

TE - We lose our top two (Taula and Deming) so we could take a transfer here but we do have TE's in the pipeline. Spaulding and Charles got some playing time this year. Presson looks like a good prospect. Is he a TE? H-back? FB? I'm including him with the TE's because there is playing time available here. We have more good prospects in reserve.

RB - It will be hard to attract a transfer RB because a healthy Mueller will be hard to beat out. None of the existing backs will overtake him. We'll go back to Mueller #1 and Wright #2 next fall and see how long they last.

QB - Zack Annexstad is the projected starter but I do not have the same feeling about him that I do about Mueller. Zack will need to compete for the job in the spring and summer. We should evaluate the progress of Tommy Rittenhouse and take a hard look at Valpo transfer Kaplan. The good news is that the QB position was much better in '22 than it was in '21, and it could improve again in '23. If we do take another transfer it is likely to be a young one like Kaplan.

WR - WR is a major recruiting need and I thought that before receivers starting heading for the transfer portal. Our top two receivers this year were Sobkowicz and Carr. Thankfully they are both coming back as of this writing. But both players have deficiencies. Carr doesn't have much length and his hands are only average. He can be deadly after the catch due his speed but it is not easy to get the ball in his hands. Sobkowicz has great hands, and he is surprisingly shifty, but his speed is average at best for a WR. He doesn't get much separation which explains why Zack frequently throws him back-shoulder passes. He's not really open so his best chance to catch the ball is to turn before the defender knows the ball is there.

Naturally we want a transfer that has it all. Size, speed, great hands, great moves after the catch etc. We'll probably only get some of that but I'm not giving up on the idea that we could get it all. If you're a WR at Alabama or USC do you know how many WR's you have to compete with? You could be a 4-star receiver behind 5-star guys. You've had the big school glory but you haven't been targeted nearly as much as you would like. You want an 80 catch, 1,000 yard plus season the NFL scouts will notice so you start looking at D-I schools that really need someone to step in and be the man. That's us.
 

Virginia Redbird

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,366
Location
Chesapeake, Virginia
Recruiting needs - offense

Let's start up front - Tackles Zambrano and Asche with Pope challenging plus Gudaitis. G/C - it depends. Is Bussone going to play C or G? If Bussone is the Center, then Mueller and Rios at G. If Bromagen is the C, then I would look for Mueller and Bussone at G.

Looks good on paper but none of the players listed started every game. Drew Bones was the iron man on the O-Line, starting every game this year but he is gone. If the O-Line avoids the rash of injuries it had this year it could be substantially improved. I would take a player that could provide immediate help at G/C.

TE - We lose our top two (Taula and Deming) so we could take a transfer here but we do have TE's in the pipeline. Spaulding and Charles got some playing time this year. Presson looks like a good prospect. Is he a TE? H-back? FB? I'm including him with the TE's because there is playing time available here. We have more good prospects in reserve.

RB - It will be hard to attract a transfer RB because a healthy Mueller will be hard to beat out. None of the existing backs will overtake him. We'll go back to Mueller #1 and Wright #2 next fall and see how long they last.

QB - Zack Annexstad is the projected starter but I do not have the same feeling about him that I do about Mueller. Zack will need to compete for the job in the spring and summer. We should evaluate the progress of Tommy Rittenhouse and take a hard look at Valpo transfer Kaplan. The good news is that the QB position was much better in '22 than it was in '21, and it could improve again in '23. If we do take another transfer it is likely to be a young one like Kaplan.

WR - WR is a major recruiting need and I thought that before receivers starting heading for the transfer portal. Our top two receivers this year were Sobkowicz and Carr. Thankfully they are both coming back as of this writing. But both players have deficiencies. Carr doesn't have much length and his hands are only average. He can be deadly after the catch due his speed but it is not easy to get the ball in his hands. Sobkowicz has great hands, and he is surprisingly shifty, but his speed is average at best for a WR. He doesn't get much separation which explains why Zack frequently throws him back-shoulder passes. He's not really open so his best chance to catch the ball is to turn before the defender knows the ball is there.

Naturally we want a transfer that has it all. Size, speed, great hands, great moves after the catch etc. We'll probably only get some of that but I'm not giving up on the idea that we could get it all. If you're a WR at Alabama or USC do you know how many WR's you have to compete with? You could be a 4-star receiver behind 5-star guys. You've had the big school glory but you haven't been targeted nearly as much as you would like. You want an 80 catch, 1,000 yard plus season the NFL scouts will notice so you start looking at D-I schools that really need someone to step in and be the man. That's us.
Yes, the WR corps needs some talent injected into it. The players that entered the portal made that more of a priority. I would like to see them get some O-line transfers. Some players could jump in right away and contribute. The injuries hurt but I don't think this O-line was as talented as some the Birds have had. I agree with the RB but only hope that Mueller makes a full recovery by the fall. He had a very serious injury. He will need time to fully recover. I hope all goes well there. If there is a good tight end in the portal stuck behind a stud this could be a very desirable option. Whether you win the starting position or not the position is wide open and both 1 and 2 will probably get decent playing time. QB needs competition and the coaching staff needs to fill the roster for the future if Zach remains the starter. I don't think we have seen the best of Zach. The line was not stable most of the year due to injuries, the WR corps was not the best and the running backs were banged up. I think he will be much more effective if they can shore up the people around him and stay relatively injury free.
 

fourthandshort

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
8,864
Recruiting needs - offense

Let's start up front - Tackles Zambrano and Asche with Pope challenging plus Gudaitis. G/C - it depends. Is Bussone going to play C or G? If Bussone is the Center, then Mueller and Rios at G. If Bromagen is the C, then I would look for Mueller and Bussone at G.

Looks good on paper but none of the players listed started every game. Drew Bones was the iron man on the O-Line, starting every game this year but he is gone. If the O-Line avoids the rash of injuries it had this year it could be substantially improved. I would take a player that could provide immediate help at G/C.

TE - We lose our top two (Taula and Deming) so we could take a transfer here but we do have TE's in the pipeline. Spaulding and Charles got some playing time this year. Presson looks like a good prospect. Is he a TE? H-back? FB? I'm including him with the TE's because there is playing time available here. We have more good prospects in reserve.

RB - It will be hard to attract a transfer RB because a healthy Mueller will be hard to beat out. None of the existing backs will overtake him. We'll go back to Mueller #1 and Wright #2 next fall and see how long they last.

QB - Zack Annexstad is the projected starter but I do not have the same feeling about him that I do about Mueller. Zack will need to compete for the job in the spring and summer. We should evaluate the progress of Tommy Rittenhouse and take a hard look at Valpo transfer Kaplan. The good news is that the QB position was much better in '22 than it was in '21, and it could improve again in '23. If we do take another transfer it is likely to be a young one like Kaplan.

WR - WR is a major recruiting need and I thought that before receivers starting heading for the transfer portal. Our top two receivers this year were Sobkowicz and Carr. Thankfully they are both coming back as of this writing. But both players have deficiencies. Carr doesn't have much length and his hands are only average. He can be deadly after the catch due his speed but it is not easy to get the ball in his hands. Sobkowicz has great hands, and he is surprisingly shifty, but his speed is average at best for a WR. He doesn't get much separation which explains why Zack frequently throws him back-shoulder passes. He's not really open so his best chance to catch the ball is to turn before the defender knows the ball is there.

Naturally we want a transfer that has it all. Size, speed, great hands, great moves after the catch etc. We'll probably only get some of that but I'm not giving up on the idea that we could get it all. If you're a WR at Alabama or USC do you know how many WR's you have to compete with? You could be a 4-star receiver behind 5-star guys. You've had the big school glory but you haven't been targeted nearly as much as you would like. You want an 80 catch, 1,000 yard plus season the NFL scouts will notice so you start looking at D-I schools that really need someone to step in and be the man. That's us.
Agree or trust your views on most of your post, except QB Annexstad. I think he's viewed as a lock, and we will likely see more production from him next year. We got off to such a slow uneven start, I don't think we've seen how good Zach can be. Full offseason with OC Peterson and QB Annexstad, plus a healthy RB Mueller/Wright tag team, plus some roster improvements on offense, should translate to more production out of the gate next season .. biggest variable being health and roster additions to offense.

That said, do agree it would be nice to bring in some younger QB competition, to push him in 2023 and succeed him in 2024. Need competition at QB position .. roster doesn't have that right now.

Nice recap of OL situation .. I don't follow that group well anymore. Plus I didn't get to watch many games this season. Appreciate your insights.

As for TE .. agree we likely need a transfer ... dig this Transfer Portal Tight Ends ... Taula and Deming combined for 48 catches and 432 yards, in essentially 9 games, with Annexstad being out the last 2 games, and despite a slow start. That ought to make it easy to find a TE in transfer portal ... 48 catches by a TE is unheard of at ISU. Credit to QB Annexstad and OC Peterson for redefining the TE positions from Tackle Eligible to Tight End at ISU !!!!

Losing Zeke will be big, but I fully trust Spack on defense .. so no need for me to spew my nonsense.

But we sorely need to shore up kicking one way or another. Placekicking and kickoffs need to be much better .. adequate would be much better than we had.
 
Last edited:

Total Red

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
2,751
Location
One mile west of Hancock
I'm not down on Zack at all but next season will be his 6th year. He can still improve but he no longer has the upside potential that Rittenhouse and Kaplan have as much younger players. Tommy R is already a better runner than Zack. If his passing improves are you still going to rule him out? And Kaplan was a late grower. He didn't get recruited because he was only 5'9 as a junior in HS. He's now 6'2 claiming 6'3 and 220lbs. He's still adjusting to a much bigger body than what he had a few years ago.

Fun fact about Mason Kaplan. I can guarantee that this is the first time that we've recruited a QB with an 80% completion percentage against North Dakota St. in the Fargodome. But don't get too excited. Valpo lost 64-0.

VALPO - Passing
PlayerCmpAtt.Yds.TDINTLongSack
Ben Nimz9146300131
Mason Kaplan453800112
Jeffrey Jackson141101110
Totals142311201133
NDSU - Passing
PlayerCmpAtt.Yds.TDInt.LongSack
Quincy Patterson4510210651
Cam Miller112310230
Totals5612520651
 

Virginia Redbird

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,366
Location
Chesapeake, Virginia
OLine needs to be much better. We got pushed around quite a bit.
I am in total agreement with this. Injuries hurt no doubt but the O-line was not as talented or as deep from my view as ISU has had in the recent past. I watch this group closer than any other due to my personal bias. The entire offense goes according to how the O-line goes. That is just simply the truth. You are not going to pass effectively if the line cant gives the QB time to view the field and the receivers to get open. The running game is not going to go if the line cant open holes. Short yardage is not successful if the line can't push the D back or worse if the D gets penetration. I would like to see some portal transfers if they can get them. Replacing Bones will not be easy. He was pretty much a rock all season. The offensive design can certainly help the O-line by not being predictable and mixing things up but you need guys that can win the one-on-one battles consistently. Timmy pointed out in a post somewhere that the predictability and vanilla look of the offense did not force the opposing D-Coordinator to have to prepare as much. If you are that vanilla and that predictable you are placing a ton of pressure on your O-line. The D knows what you are going to do and where you are going to go. Don't be too hard on the O-line, the OC and game plan did not always help them much.
 

TIMMY

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
5,218
Location
1050 W Addison
I am in total agreement with this. Injuries hurt no doubt but the O-line was not as talented or as deep from my view as ISU has had in the recent past. I watch this group closer than any other due to my personal bias. The entire offense goes according to how the O-line goes. That is just simply the truth. You are not going to pass effectively if the line cant gives the QB time to view the field and the receivers to get open. The running game is not going to go if the line cant open holes. Short yardage is not successful if the line can't push the D back or worse if the D gets penetration. I would like to see some portal transfers if they can get them. Replacing Bones will not be easy. He was pretty much a rock all season. The offensive design can certainly help the O-line by not being predictable and mixing things up but you need guys that can win the one-on-one battles consistently. Timmy pointed out in a post somewhere that the predictability and vanilla look of the offense did not force the opposing D-Coordinator to have to prepare as much. If you are that vanilla and that predictable you are placing a ton of pressure on your O-line. The D knows what you are going to do and where you are going to go. Don't be too hard on the O-line, the OC and game plan did not always help them much.
Well said, gentlemen. The key to winning football games is the Oline and Dline. If you don't win those battles it doesn't matter what you do. Pile on the linemen and everyone else gets better. I've had Triple S kids run for 1000 yards behind a great offensive line, (Triple S = Small, Slow and Stupid)
 

Birdswin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2017
Messages
2,033
I am in total agreement on improving the offense - especially the O-Line and WR. However, how do you attract those good offensive players with what our offense looks like over the past several years???? If you were a player or a player's parent - How excited would you be in talking with ISU coaches regarding offense????? Opposing recruiters would pull up quotes from Spack - "Punting is not a bad play" and then point out what the Redbird offense looks like in the second half of a game when they have the lead.
 

Total Red

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
2,751
Location
One mile west of Hancock
I am in total agreement on improving the offense - especially the O-Line and WR. However, how do you attract those good offensive players with what our offense looks like over the past several years???? If you were a player or a player's parent - How excited would you be in talking with ISU coaches regarding offense????? Opposing recruiters would pull up quotes from Spack - "Punting is not a bad play" and then point out what the Redbird offense looks like in the second half of a game when they have the lead.
Fair question, but I felt like it got answered this time last year. We needed a new QB. We hadn't had a dynamic offense since QB Davis went down to injury late in 2019. On top of that we had a co-coordinator situation on offense that wasn't working well. We had not hired a new Off Coord yet but that did not stop Coach Spack. He went out and recruited a QB that had previous experience as a starter in the Big 10. Two things can help make that possible. First, your head coach has to be a good recruiter. Second, sell what you've got. You have playing time. Veteran players want to play and the clock is ticking. Coach Spack would have talked to Zack Annexstad about coming in and competing for the starting job right away. Zack would have looked at our roster and said, "I've got this."

Now the obvious retort is that we got a QB we were excited about, but the offense remained stagnant for much of the season. The injuries that started right away with RB Mueller have been well documented. But even with injuries we should expect more from the offense, so we completely agree on this part. The offense needs to improve in all phases. Special teams also needs to improve and defense needs to strive to improve as well. It definitely can't afford to step backwards. We'll need an infusion of talent with some players ready to play right away. As noted, I would like an interior O-Lineman, a TE and two or more transfer WRs. Zack can still be the guy at QB but he needs to come back better. The backups may not be that far behind if behind at all.

So the challenge to recruit WRs is similar to the challenge we faced last year at QB. Coach Spack can point to players like Cam Meredith and James O'Shaughnessy. Meredith went from being a walk-on, back up college QB, to become an NFL WR. Shaggy went from being a lightly recruited HS WR to become an NFL TE. Still playing. If you can catch, this program can help you get to the NFL. Coach Petersen may need to take the lead on this, after all he coaches the WRs. His pitch - "I've got so much more in mind for this offense, but I need big-time playmakers to take it to the next level. You can make it to the next level as well. " The search is on - Next Level Redbirds
 

fourthandshort

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
8,864
Fair question, but I felt like it got answered this time last year. We needed a new QB. We hadn't had a dynamic offense since QB Davis went down to injury late in 2019. On top of that we had a co-coordinator situation on offense that wasn't working well. We had not hired a new Off Coord yet but that did not stop Coach Spack. He went out and recruited a QB that had previous experience as a starter in the Big 10. Two things can help make that possible. First, your head coach has to be a good recruiter. Second, sell what you've got. You have playing time. Veteran players want to play and the clock is ticking. Coach Spack would have talked to Zack Annexstad about coming in and competing for the starting job right away. Zack would have looked at our roster and said, "I've got this."

Now the obvious retort is that we got a QB we were excited about, but the offense remained stagnant for much of the season. The injuries that started right away with RB Mueller have been well documented. But even with injuries we should expect more from the offense, so we completely agree on this part. The offense needs to improve in all phases. Special teams also needs to improve and defense needs to strive to improve as well. It definitely can't afford to step backwards. We'll need an infusion of talent with some players ready to play right away. As noted, I would like an interior O-Lineman, a TE and two or more transfer WRs. Zack can still be the guy at QB but he needs to come back better. The backups may not be that far behind if behind at all.

So the challenge to recruit WRs is similar to the challenge we faced last year at QB. Coach Spack can point to players like Cam Meredith and James O'Shaughnessy. Meredith went from being a walk-on, back up college QB, to become an NFL WR. Shaggy went from being a lightly recruited HS WR to become an NFL TE. Still playing. If you can catch, this program can help you get to the NFL. Coach Petersen may need to take the lead on this, after all he coaches the WRs. His pitch - "I've got so much more in mind for this offense, but I need big-time playmakers to take it to the next level. You can make it to the next level as well. " The search is on - Next Level Redbirds
The impressive thing about former TE James Osh AND current OC/QB Peterson/Annexstad, is this:

- James had just 29 catches in 15 games in 2014 .. and he still got drafted. Granted he was a great blocker and special teams beast at 6"4, 245 lbs, and ran 4.68 forty. Add 3 catches for Farmer, and TEs totaled 32 catches inn 15 games .. just over 2 per game.
- Taula/Deming got 48 catches in 11 games in 2022. Just under 5 catches per game. Considering Annexstad was out the last 3 games, it could have been even better. It was 41 catches thru 8 games with Annexstad.

James was without doubt a great all around athlete, and a tweener coming our of HS where he was also under utilized. Spack knows how to recruit guys with upside like this, then move them to their optimal position sooner or later. With Meredith, it was later (RS JR season), but fromm what I heard, they were trying to move him earlier, but his he and/or his dad strongly objected.

But this is also one of Spacks strengths in recruiting .. he recruits bodies and usually does very well "projecting" that body type. whether a change in position is needed or not.
 

Redbird15

Active member
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
225
The impressive thing about former TE James Osh AND current OC/QB Peterson/Annexstad, is this:

- James had just 29 catches in 15 games in 2014 .. and he still got drafted. Granted he was a great blocker and special teams beast at 6"4, 245 lbs, and ran 4.68 forty. Add 3 catches for Farmer, and TEs totaled 32 catches inn 15 games .. just over 2 per game.
- Taula/Deming got 48 catches in 11 games in 2022. Just under 5 catches per game. Considering Annexstad was out the last 3 games, it could have been even better. It was 41 catches thru 8 games with Annexstad.

James was without doubt a great all around athlete, and a tweener coming our of HS where he was also under utilized. Spack knows how to recruit guys with upside like this, then move them to their optimal position sooner or later. With Meredith, it was later (RS JR season), but fromm what I heard, they were trying to move him earlier, but his he and/or his dad strongly objected.

But this is also one of Spacks strengths in recruiting .. he recruits bodies and usually does very well "projecting" that body type. whether a change in position is needed or not.
Special Teams on Kick Returns rank 4th in the valley even then that could have been #1 on a few returns needing 1 block from seeing Carr go for major yards. As for Punt returns we only attempted 1 return the entire yr. All in all this was by far the the most attempted KR in about 5 yrs . Kick off and Punt coverage was great also !
 

Attachments

  • 24D39A60-C5B8-4EF9-8DA7-715AAA79451D.png
    24D39A60-C5B8-4EF9-8DA7-715AAA79451D.png
    376 KB · Views: 3
  • 9B410BB2-6F4B-4432-BC8A-727ECEF484E4.png
    9B410BB2-6F4B-4432-BC8A-727ECEF484E4.png
    873.6 KB · Views: 3
Top Bottom