I have some concerns about the team and coaching staff that are making me concerned about our next few games. I was watching the game somewhat haphazardly yesterday so I am sure some of these are incorrect or irrational. Let me know what you think.
1) I think our Punt Returners are going to lose 3+ more fumbles this year and cost us a game. Aaron Williams does not appear to be a natural punt returner and doesn't seem to deserve time at that position. He has already cost us one big turnover against Rice and he never really looks comfortable fielding the punt. Even after he catches the ball, he doesn't seem to have great return skills despite above average speed. Based on productivity and apparent comfort fielding punts, I think Curtis Brown should be the guy ...even though he doesn't appear completely natural returning punts either.
The coaching staff should have prepared Desean Hales or DJ Monroe or some other fast, shifty role player to be THE Punt Returner for this year. Major fail to have our star CBs fielding punts (despite mediocre return skills), risking injury and potentially causing turnovers. I was OK with Shipley returning punts last year because he was an elite talent at the postion...so the risk of injury was tolerable given the upside.
2) I think our coaching staff has done a poor job of evaluating and recruiting Running Backs in the last 3 years or so. This probably surprises no one. I actually love our guys, but I'm absolutely jealous of about 100 other backs I see in other programs. Any coach who thought Chris Whaley had a high probability of being be an elite talent at RB was just ignoring all the data. There are only a handful of backs in history with Whaley's leg length and mediocre speed who have been succesful at RB. What a waste of a scholly (no offense Chris) and what a high opportunity cost since we had to pass on other Rbs to get him.
Now we're stuck with guys who should be role players...Newton and Cojo..and one small dynamic back who should be a 3rd down specialist...Fozzy.
3) I think there is a large contingency of fans here on BON who ignore point #2 below when they say confidently Malcolm Brown is going to be the starter and savior at RB next year. Let's set aside OL and scheme issues for a second.
First, in any situation it is highly unlikely for a freshman RB to start and/or dominate. 2nd, look at our track record over the past 3 years in terms of RB recruiting and freshman RBs earning playing time. There is a high probability that Malcolm Brown will not start as a freshman and will not outperform an upperclassman even if he gets some carries. I'm just hoping some BON'ers will start to think more rationally about Malcolm Brown and his potential contributions as a freshman.
Ahhh...that felt good to write out.