Friday, November 07, 2008

Sanders Blowing Smoke On Scout Team Talent?

Today, Marvin Sanders spoke in Omaha at the Big Red Breakfast and talked up the youngsters on the Husker defense:
There was Will Compton, Sean Fisher and Alonzo Whaley at linebacker. Two of the three were strong candidates to play this season.

Then there was the secondary, which Sanders handles for head coach Bo Pelini.

"I looked at the back end, and I saw 6-2-plus safeties with Courtney Osborne and P.J. Smith," Sanders said. "John Levorson over at corner. Walk-on Jase Dean at a corner. Anthony Blue who's coming back (from knee surgery)."
When I read this, my BS-detector started to send off all sorts of warning signals. To be sure, it's probably still a little hypersensitive after the fraud perpetrated by the Recruitniks the last few years. But Sanders record speaks for itself with names such as Bullocks and Washington.

Certainly Blankman makes no bones about his belief that there is plenty of talent being redshirted this season. If these guys could contribute this season, why aren't they out on the field? Good question. In some respects, I think Pelini and company know they have the luxury to do that this season. (The heat might get a little hotter if NU loses to Kansas, but right now, the Huskers are on pace to show improvement from 2007.) I'd consider this "living beneath your means"; saving up talent for future years. Letting them acclimate to football at this level. These players might not have been ready to contribute at the start of the season, so why not save them for 2012?

I do think it's interesting that guys like Matt Holt, Matt O'Hanlon, and Lance Thorell have been called upon to pick up the slack this season instead of players like Blake Lawrence and Major Culbert. For whatever reason, Pelini seems to be putting more emphasis on fundamentally sound play over raw athleticism:
"It's not always what you think by the naked eye," Pelini said. "To play good football, you've got to have 11 guys doing the right thing every play and playing their responsibilities so it all fits and works. We haven't had that consistently the whole year."
But how does a true freshman walk-on such as Holt nail down this defense better than a 4-star player like Lawrence who has a year of college experience and had a six month head start in learning the defense? Is it a coaching problem, or a player problem? Or is it both? Or does it really matter? In the end, all that matter is that we're not continuing to discuss this issue two or three years from now.

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