Where we left off

Total Red

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With August camp about to open it's a good time to review where we left off last spring. There were some new names among the award winners. If these players can pick up where they left off, they are destined for playing time in the fall.

This year's winners included:
Offensive Most Improved – J'Kalon Carter - WR
Defensive Most Improved – Cody Zugenbuehler - DL
Offensive Newcomer of the Year – Zack Annexstad - QB
Defensive Newcomer of the Year – Cameron Wilson - DB
Offensive MVP – Wenkers Wright - RB
Defensive MVP – Zeke Vandenburgh - LB
Hammer Award – Cole Mueller - RB
 

Dmills

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It's going to be interesting to watch how the WR's play this year. I really like seeing J'Kalon as most improved.

Key returners include Jalen Carr, J'Kalon Carter, Treshawn Watson, Jabari Khepera, Tristan Bailey, and Micah Jones. I wouldn't mind seeing a guy like Nigel White line up in the slot. Transfers include Jerome Buckner (Ohio) and Brock Annexstad (Minnesota). It's going to be really interesting to see if Brock will have any opportunities to go out and catch passes from his brother. He was the primary punt returner at Minnesota but did not catch any passes.

The concern for me with the WR group is if we have someone who can emerge as the #1 WR. I don't really see one with the group we have. We don't seem to have an Andrew Edgar, Taylor Grimes, Cam Meredith, Anthony Warrum, Spencer Schnell, or Tyrone Walker type player.

Even if our WR group isn't real strong, we will have options in the passing game with Cole Mueller and others in the backfield as well as a solid TE group... Tanner Taula, Bryson Deming, Brett Spaulding, and Javon Charles. I thought Mitchell Lewis and Jacob Carl were still with the team, but they are not. It looks like Carl retired from football, not sure about Lewis.
 

fourthandshort

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It's going to be interesting to watch how the WR's play this year. I really like seeing J'Kalon as most improved.

Key returners include Jalen Carr, J'Kalon Carter, Treshawn Watson, Jabari Khepera, Tristan Bailey, and Micah Jones. I wouldn't mind seeing a guy like Nigel White line up in the slot. Transfers include Jerome Buckner (Ohio) and Brock Annexstad (Minnesota). It's going to be really interesting to see if Brock will have any opportunities to go out and catch passes from his brother. He was the primary punt returner at Minnesota but did not catch any passes.

The concern for me with the WR group is if we have someone who can emerge as the #1 WR. I don't really see one with the group we have. We don't seem to have an Andrew Edgar, Taylor Grimes, Cam Meredith, Anthony Warrum, Spencer Schnell, or Tyrone Walker type player.

Even if our WR group isn't real strong, we will have options in the passing game with Cole Mueller and others in the backfield as well as a solid TE group... Tanner Taula, Bryson Deming, Brett Spaulding, and Javon Charles. I thought Mitchell Lewis and Jacob Carl were still with the team, but they are not. It looks like Carl retired from football, not sure about Lewis.
we may not have any 1st team All Conference guys at this point .. but if our OC and QB pull this together, 3 months from now we'll be talking about 2 or 3 receivers we didn't realize were this good. Plus we've got decent TEs ... I just hope we use them.
 

Birddog

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Anyone have thoughts on the O-Line? Starting 5? None of this works if they are below average and last year they appeared to be a disheveled mess at times.

I’ll hang up and listen to your answer.
 

Birdswin

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From what I saw at the Saturday practice - the offense has a long ways to go to correct poor habits.
 

Total Red

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last year they appeared to be a disheveled mess at times.
Yes at times. It was a banged up group, especially late in the season. LT Asche was lost early and RS FR Zambrano had to take over at tackle. Wright, a former walk-on, started a game at guard and true freshman Gudaitis was forced into action. A healthy Peyton Asche will help stabilize things but I still see it as fragile and vulnerable unit if injuries pop up again.

Rios is the first man off the bench, at least on the interior. When Bones missed the opening practices due to Best Man duties, then Rios replaced Bussone at G and Bussone moved over to Center.
 

MadBird

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Yes at times. It was a banged up group, especially late in the season. LT Asche was lost early and RS FR Zambrano had to take over at tackle. Wright, a former walk-on, started a game at guard and true freshman Gudaitis was forced into action. A healthy Peyton Asche will help stabilize things but I still see it as fragile and vulnerable unit if injuries pop up again.

Rios is the first man off the bench, at least on the interior. When Bones missed the opening practices due to Best Man duties, then Rios replaced Bussone at G and Bussone moved over to Center.
I know it's kinda "old school", but Rios should be ready to step in - a JC transfer, so a 3rd year player who played for a national championship last year. I think our OL is gonna be okay, some good talent there. Let 'em loose!
 

Virginia Redbird

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Yep, there were issues on the O-Line last year. The overall offense last year did not help the line out though. When your offense becomes one-dimensional as the Redbirds were for much of last year it makes it much easier for the defense. If they can balance out the offense and make the defense play honest it will help the O-Line quite a bit. This is another spot where I expect an experienced Offensive Coordinator will have an impact. Keep the defense guessing, make them defend the whole field, and take some pressure off the guys up front. I am anxiously waiting for the first few games to see what the offense looks like.
 

Total Red

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With August camp about to open it's a good time to review where we left off last spring. There were some new names among the award winners. If these players can pick up where they left off, they are destined for playing time in the fall.

This year's winners included:
Offensive Most Improved – J'Kalon Carter - WR
Defensive Most Improved – Cody Zugenbuehler - DL
Offensive Newcomer of the Year – Zack Annexstad - QB
Defensive Newcomer of the Year – Cameron Wilson - DB
Offensive MVP – Wenkers Wright - RB
Defensive MVP – Zeke Vandenburgh - LB
Hammer Award – Cole Mueller - RB
Here's a head scratcher from the "Where we left off" list. Zug was awarded the Defense Most Improved award. He made significant progress as a D-lineman. He might have been 3rd team Nosetackle, but that's a position that get banged around a lot with doubleteam blocking, so you need to play at least 2 and sometimes 3. But instead Zugenbuehler is now an offensive lineman, and he may not see any playing time unless the O-Line gets hit by the injury bug.
The D-front does look fairly solid with starters Lewan, Hickcox and Deming. Backups include Dinga, Okolo, and Stevens. Okolo appears ready to split time with Hickcox and I suppose he could play any of the 3 down lineman positions. Kessler might be a year away, but he looks like a good prospect for the future. Good news -Cincy DL transfer Monrrow is clearly much bigger than his listed 250 lbs. Bad News - that weight is not solid. Maybe he will look better in full contact but right now he looks slow. That's the risk with transfers. If they aren't here for off-season weightlifting and conditioning, they may not report in prime condition.
 

MadBird

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Just looking through the roster yesterday will reading these few "pre-season" threads we have here. Our RB situation is really kind of a mystery to me, or leaves me wondering if it's a strength or not or ???

I see 7 guys who are pretty much, in my eyes, pretty even, altho Cole Mueller proved it in spades last year on the field. Okay, so one guy leading the pack by performance and then 6 guys ready to get it on (I have no explanation for the class listings, from the roster, Covid and redshirt rules are what they are):

Cole Mueller Soph, 6', 210 lbs
Nigel White, Jr., 5'9, 175 lbs
Sean Allen, Fr, 5'10, 190 lbs
Pha'Leak Brown, So, 5'10, 210 lbs
Lavarion Logan, Fr., 5'9, 185 lbs
Rashad Lampkin, So, 5'10, 210 lbs
Wenkers Wright, Fr, 6'1, 190 lbs

Brown and White have played some, showed some good, but in the end Mueller passed them both by. Wright saw the field some last year, had a good preseason camp last fall, and was named offensive MVP during the spring. Allen and Lampkin were tough HS players, highly regarded. Logan is a true freshman, switched his commitment from So. Dakota St. to the Birds, and showed quite a bit in HS (also played a year at Joliet Catholic for what that's worth).

So pretty young, no one fits the def of a bruiser, you'd say, nobody over 210 lbs. I would never have picked Mueller to stand out from this group. My personal picks would be Lampkin and Allen, with White as the change of pace. Wright has looked good tho, Mueller has the track record. Hard to believe at least a couple of these guys won't be around for next year as its pretty crowded.
 

Dmills

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Great article here about the running back room. Sounds like it could shape out to be:
1. Mueller
2. Wright
3. Brown
4. White
 

DaveBird10

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Great article here about the running back room. Sounds like it could shape out to be:
1. Mueller
2. Wright
3. Brown
4. White
That doesn't even include Lavarion Logan and Rashad Lampkin, 2 other kids who look pretty good.

Here's a head scratcher from the "Where we left off" list. Zug was awarded the Defense Most Improved award. He made significant progress as a D-lineman. He might have been 3rd team Nosetackle, but that's a position that get banged around a lot with doubleteam blocking, so you need to play at least 2 and sometimes 3. But instead Zugenbuehler is now an offensive lineman, and he may not see any playing time unless the O-Line gets hit by the injury bug.
The D-front does look fairly solid with starters Lewan, Hickcox and Deming. Backups include Dinga, Okolo, and Stevens. Okolo appears ready to split time with Hickcox and I suppose he could play any of the 3 down lineman positions. Kessler might be a year away, but he looks like a good prospect for the future. Good news -Cincy DL transfer Monrrow is clearly much bigger than his listed 250 lbs. Bad News - that weight is not solid. Maybe he will look better in full contact but right now he looks slow. That's the risk with transfers. If they aren't here for off-season weightlifting and conditioning, they may not report in prime condition.
I notiticed a few things since the roster has been updated with the correct weights, they again have Zugenbuehler listed as a DL again at 310 and Monrrow the transfer from Cincinnati is up to 325lbs. That d-line room is now really experienced with the starters and some nice young kids as backups who could step in and give you some solid reps during games.
 

fourthandshort

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Great article here about the running back room. Sounds like it could shape out to be:
1. Mueller
2. Wright
3. Brown
4. White
the Wenkers Wright kid looks way to happy .... he needs a new profile pick ... just saying.
 

MadBird

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Great article here about the running back room. Sounds like it could shape out to be:
1. Mueller
2. Wright
3. Brown
4. White
Thanks for this link!! Had some computer issues and my "favorites" list got "adjusted" and I lost the P State Pigskin and forgot to retrieve it. Nice article.
 
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