2021 Season Recap: Big shoutout first off all for Yaya going to get the fresh Jalen Rose fade up for picture day. Take pride in your appearance young boss. Speaking of, one thing we can’t not see this year is Yaya ‘fade’ from his performance in seasons past. In fact, we need much more from the Senior off the edge to be a productive defense. While I know I nerd out on stats a bit much, and that never paints the whole picture, Yaya didn’t really “fill the sheet” so to speak last season with only 3 TFL, and 2 sacks off the edge. He did add 39 tackles but I’d like to see more of those 3-4yard gains be closed out at the line or better yet, behind it. The encouraging stat for me last season was a team leading 7 QB hurries, meaning he is disrupting the play, albeit not as the result of a loss of yardage. Not a bad season, but left me wanting more.
2022 Season Outlook: Yaya has bulked up in the neighborhood of around 15-20lbs since last year and most of that appears to be muscle instead of Little Debbies (hand up). The edge rusher comes into the season with 19 starts under his belt at this level and I believe is ready to be a real problem for tackles off the edge. While his contribution in year one was helpful, I was frankly looking for a bit more last season that I’m hoping we see that happen, only a year delayed. The presence of Lole in the middle and Ashton on the other side will undoubtedly be to his benefit, and hopefully some of those aforementioned QB hurries turn into “grass in the facemask” sacks that leave bruises in places we don’t talk about. The emergence of the new and improved defensive front will rely heavy on the senior leadership and playmaking of Yaya and others. His number is being called in 2022 to make big plays, I think he’s ready.
As referenced above, the Chinet paper plates Yaya is stacking with grub are not the only plates he’s pushing around this offseason. My man is making Yasir look small in the background (sorry for the strays Yasir). Lets go move around some chunky O-line weight here in about a week.
2021 Season Recap: Coming into the game in a moments notice is never easy, especially when 10 seconds before you were holding a clipboard and calling out plays. The backup QB is one of the toughest gigs in college football and while we’ve seen the upside from Conley (see; 2019) last year wasn’t his best effort, going 10-19 for 79yds and a single touchdown. While some of those reps were in pressure situations, some were also in end of game situations where you would hope the opportunities would be there to makes some easy throws and pad the stats a bit. While the play of a guy who threw 19 passes last season doesn’t need to be overly scrutinized, the worry of course is that Malik has been known to take a shot that forces him out for a series or makes his miss parts of the game altogether. We found out in the spring that Conley required Shakira surgery (hips don’t lie) so some of the play may be a result of the injury but we’ve seen better from Evan in the past, and we need him to be ready to roll if his number is called.
2022 Season Outlook: I say all that above with the full understanding that Evan is not even the backup QB as I type this. We found out a couple days ago Brock Domann was named to that spot as a result of his play during camp, but in all fairness, Conley was just cleared to return to football activities a week or two before fall camp started up. MY gut says mid-season Conley may work his way back into that role, and we’ll need him to perform at a high level. As I write this I feel like I may be a bit overcritical of Conley, but what we have seen from him a times in the past was more than just “filler snaps” but play that directly resulted in Louisville winning football games. One of my favorite tweets from Kelly Dickey back in 2019 was the following…
UofL QBs named ACC Player of the Week:— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) November 25, 2019
Nov. 25, 2019 - Micale Cunningham
Oct. 14, 2019 - Evan Conley
Nov. 27, 2017 - Lamar Jackson
Nov. 20, 2017 - Lamar Jackson
Sep. 11, 2017 - Lamar Jackson
Nov. 7, 2016 - Lamar Jackson
Sep. 19, 2016 - Lamar Jackson
Sep. 12, 2016 - Lamar Jackson
(Shout-out QB1 as Micale) While Malik has added his name to that list a few more times since 2019 the fact that Conley slid his way in there with two of the greats at Louisville hopefully points to him being more than capable to do it again if needed. Wishing him a quick recovery.
Imagine strolling up to your favorite fishing hole and QB1 and Econ are just posting up reeling in whoppers. Side note, you pull something straight from the Ohio…maybe toss that one back before you scarf it down. I know a guy who knows a guy and…..that river….