Here's your daily collection of links covering FSU, its rivals, and the general world of CFB.
The 'Noles will pick up the lightning delay in the 6th inning at noon, leading 8-1 over Alabama. If FSU wins, it advances. If the 'Noles lose, they will play another game.
Miami picked up a decent QB commitment over the weekend, as well as a defensive back who FSU did not offer. If history is any indication, some writer will bang out a piece proclaiming Miami as "back."
You want to know what Minnesota is going to look like under Jerry Kill? It’s simply, really: just pop in a tape of Northern Illinois over the last three years. And if you have game tape of Kill’s teams at Southern Illinois, Emporia State or Saginaw Valley State, those will work as well. It’s a simple philosophy, one that hasn’t changed all that much since Kill was calling plays for Pittsburg State back in 1991: run the ball, don’t turn it over in the passing game, get to the quarterback and stop the run. So simple it would work anywhere, and will work at Minnesota — I do believe that the Gophers will be perennial bowl participants in the near future under Kill. That’s something I’m very confident in. You know what I’m not confident in? This year’s specific team: I don’t think it’s going to go swimmingly in Kill’s first season. Let’s start by touching on the most intangible reason why: Kill has to change a pillow-soft mentality, thanks to his predecessor, and I don’t think that’s an alteration that’s going to occur overnight, or in the span of one set of spring practices, summer workouts and fall play. It may take more than that, but Kill’s resume does signal that the change can occur relatively quickly. Now, the more specific reasons: I love Gray’s athleticism but can’t shake the feeling he’s better suited for receiver, not quarterback; I wonder whether the offensive line can embrace being physical; and question marks dot the defense. So I like the hire but don’t really like this team, though the schedule should yield another win in the standings. The good news, however: Minnesota will begin to play tough, physical football after a slight, four-year detour towards finesse. That was a big mistake.
Four factors triggered Middle Tennessee State’s slide a year ago. One was Dwight Dasher’s suspension, which set the year off on a sour note. The second was turnovers. The third and fourth were the hires at offensive and defensive coordinator, respectively. Luckily, the Blue Raiders can address each of these in 2011. They just haven’t, at least not yet, and at least not on the first two. The quarterback situation remains unsettled. We won’t know about the turnover conundrum until the Blue Raiders return to the field come September. Stockstill did make changes at the coordinator spots, and while it was wise to promote assistants familiar with the program, we don’t yet know how each will take to his new role. The bottom line is that there are more questions than answers, both along the coaching staff and on the depth chart — beyond just quarterback. The offensive line has some minor injury issues to address, though I think they’ll resolve themselves by the fall; and I think the line is a strength, not a weakness. The running game needs to find a new leader. The receiver corps is defined by how much it has underachieved. The defensive line is a complete mystery, the secondary only slightly less so. How could anyone — minus the most optimistic portion of the fan base — predict Middle Tennessee to do more than scuffle along in five-win territory? One thing I do feel has happened thus far in 2011, though I don’t this is a trend, merely an occurrence: Middle Tennessee is at best standing still while its prime Sun Belt competition is moving forward. I don’t think it will last, but I think this team will struggle getting back to last season’s win total.
To make the Under work, a good SAM linebacker is crucial. The best ones are truly freak athletes with great ball skills, capable of dropping into coverage without looking awkward, and yet be strong enough to handle one-on-one blocks from Tackles and TEs every down. As such, to see a freshman excel here is uncommon. Because of the unique job of this position, and the amount he has to learn, blitzing from here is not as prevalent as the other two LB positions in the Under.
Another excellent piece. Damn.