It feels good to be back to answering some positive questions again. Louisville pitched their first shutout since Charlie Strong was here and the staff has the fanbase excited for the potential of the team.
As usual, send your questions via twitter (@keith_wynne) or email (email@example.com).
@Keith_Wynne for the next mailbag, obviously the small/fast guys (Hawkins, Hall, Tutu) are key to this system. Who else on the roster/ '20 recruits fit this mold that we should be expecting to see more of over the next couple years? Any key undecided recruits perfect for this?— WarrenFan922 fka CF922 (@CardsFan922) September 6, 2019
I think that a guy we will see more of as the season goes on is Josh Johnson. He’s not the burner that Tutu is but I think that he can make some plays in space with the ball in his hands. At running back, I’m not sure if they have other guys that really fit all that well but the staff really seems to like Aidan Robbins. The positive from a roster standpoint is that they have Tutu and Hawkins for a while longer and Hall will be around also. They shouldn’t be in desperate need for another guy outside of an injury. What’s kind of funny is that Marcus Riley would’ve been great in the slot but he decided to transfer.
Dexter Rentz is the recruit in the class that should slide into the slot role as a backup to Johnson and Tutu. He’s that twitchy/speedy type of athlete that does well in space. Braden Smith seems like a guy that could play inside or outside but he should be an option also. I’m not sure if they are even looking to take a running back in this class with so many guys in the room but one guy they’ve been after is Jordon Simmons.
Hard for me to evaulate individual O-Line play. But it seems like Haycraft has played really well, right? Helps if we can confidently run off both sides of the line? Also, who has looked better at center in your opinion?— Chace Bland (@chace_bland) September 8, 2019
The line has played great so far. It’s just crazy to see these guys work together as a unit and they’ve also played well in straight pass sets. I expected the play action stuff to help them but I thought they’d look just as bad as the line has looked for the last few years on straight dropbacks. That hasn’t been the case which is great. I do think that Haycraft has played extremely well. He moves so well and that’s why I think they’ve run those speed option plays to the right side. He and Bell can get out into space and create those seams for the play to go through. In general, they’re more balanced than I thought they’d be in the run game. Don’t sleep on Marshon Ford’s role, either. He’s been great as a lead blocker.
It’s easier to judge the offensive line play in this system because they’re not doing super complicated things but center play is hard to get a feel for because the calls and communication is so important. I have been impressed with Bentley’s blocking in space. I’d bet you could go back to the film reviews from last year and I called him out more than once for whiffing on a second level block. He’s shown multiple times already that he can get out into space and keep his body under control and land his block. That’s been great to see. But McCoy could be doing things out there that just don’t get noticed. At the end of the day, it’s a good thing that the staff feels comfortable playing either guy.
If all of our opponents had equal talent which scheme would give us the most problems. E.G. is Boston Colleges bully ball more problematic than Wakes hurry up and go Clawfense?— BlackOutCard (@SpiralPilot) September 9, 2019
I love this question. Clemson’s scheme on both sides of the ball would cause the most issues because their quick passing game makes it hard to be aggressive and Brent Venables just matches his gameplan to whatever the offense is doing. So, let’s just eliminate them. I’d say that the Clawfense would be the hardest for Bryan Brown to handle. The pace is one thing but they’re a little more weaponized now and they’re taking shots down the field now. They also might be able to run the ball pretty well with that weird rugby scrum thing they call a run game.
Virginia’s 3-4 is the most worrisome defense to me. They are similar to Louisville in the way that they really go all out up front and create havoc with effort and then their linebackers get to just fly around. Their front three guys might not make a tackle all game but they stone people at the line and make plays behind it. Then they get you in third and long and come after you. That’s not good for Louisville with their struggles passing the ball.
Does the lack of depth keep us from winning a couple close games second half of the season?— Cardinal Obvious (@CardinalObvious) September 9, 2019
I think it could if there are injuries at specific spots. Louisville is pretty much two deep at nose tackle. I’m about 90% sure that the third stringer that came in against EKU was Roman Puryear who is a walk on freshman that is listed as a linebacker. Quarterback is also an obvious issue if they have an injury. The offensive line might be able to handle an interior guy going down because Bentley is so versatile but it’d be all bad if they lost a tackle.
But in general, I think the staff did well to add depth with grad transfers and they’ve also done well to get guys on the field so far. I actually feel good about their depth everywhere outside of those spots I mentioned. Rotating guys like they are will help in the long term also. Not as much wear and tear.
Pass didn't start well this week but settled down in the end. How much do you think was nerves and then him settling down vs EKU wearing down? How much do you read into Pass' ability moving forward from this game? #WynnedBag— Steve Cannon (@StevenLCannon) September 9, 2019
I’m still pretty bullish on Pass’ potential in this offense. He doesn’t have to light the world on fire to lead the offense but he has to be able to hit the open guys. He has the skills to make all of the throws but he hasn’t ever shown the ability to do that consistently. Against Notre Dame he had four passes that were broken up by good coverage and Satterfield said they had four drops. You add eight more completions to his numbers and I doubt anyone is complaining.
I do think that he misfires mostly because he gets jittery. He starts aiming the ball and that leads to these wildly high and low throws. I also think that he still throws the deep ball with too flat of a trajectory. It was an issue for him and Lamar and I always wondered if it was coached that way by the previous staff. It wasn’t really an issue for Lamar as he hit his deep throws the vast majority of the time but Pass has overthrown guys a lot. Satterfield specifically noted that he had improved on getting more air on the ball before the season stared but we saw that flat ball again against EKU. When guys revert back to old habits it usually means that they are rushing things or their nerves are getting the best of them. I think that’s his issue and he started to improve as the game went on.