Monday, March 17, 2008

IrishGlory Q&A

It has been a while since I have stopped to answer some reader submitted questions, so I wanted to take the opportunity to do that today. Thank you for emailing the questions and please keep them coming to

Q: Will the Irish be deep enough on the OL to run a no huddle offense next year?
A: Will they be deep enough? Yes. Will they be capable enough? We can't answer that yet. From a sheer numbers standpoint, the Irish are not in terrible shape along the OL. Where they need to improve is in their attitude and their mental awareness. In order to successfully run a no huddle offense during a game, every guy on the field better have a pretty darn good understanding of the offense because there is no time to stop and think, no time for someone to tell you in the huddle where to go or what your responsibilities are. I did not see that level of understanding last year, which is somewhat understandable in light of the inexperience across the board. That will need to improve dramatically this season.

Q: With Jon Tenuta coming in, do you think the Irish will switch back to being a 4-3 team?
A: No. The Irish have spent a great deal of time evolving their defense from being a pure 4-3 defense to being a hybrid type of 3-4 personnel defense. They have recruited (successfully) for the 3-4 personnel look and I expect them to stick with it. Having said that, I expect that you will see plenty of 4 man line looks from the Irish this season. That is why I refer to the Irish defense as a 3-4 hybrid. I expect that on many snaps, you will see what looks like a 4-3 front. I would not be surprised to see many snaps where Kerry Neal, Mo Richardson, Brian Smith, John Ryan, etc. have their hands on the ground as DEs. Short answer is I think the Irish want to generate confusion and chaos for their opponents this year and want to dictate the play more so than the past. I think they will move guys around quite a bit to create different looks and generate pressure.

Q: Can you pick one guy you think might surprise on offense and one on defense?
A: This is difficult, as spring practice hasn't even started yet. I will try anyway, but this is just based on my own thoughts, not any evidence from the offseason or practice, etc. On offense, my pick is Armando Allen. When I say Armando, that doesn't mean I think he is going to necessarily win the starting job. I just think that at the end of the year, he was really an improved player. I do not see Armando being a 20 carry per game guy for the Irish. I do see him making a big time impact this season. On defense, I want to say Toryan Smith, because the Irish desperately need him to step up, but we haven't seen those flashes in games yet. Therefore, I am going to go with a position -- DE. I think either Justin Brown or Emeka Nwankwo is going to step up and give the Irish some solid play. If you look back to Trevor Laws as a senior vs. Trevor Laws as a 5th year, the difference is night and day. While Justin is not as talented as Trevor, he does have the ability to make a significant improvement in his level/consistency of play. If he doesn't, a guy I am very high on in Emeka Nwankwo will be pushing him hard.

Q: What are the Irish going to do with only 1 scholarship TE this spring?
A. Good question. Let's hope Mike Ragone is in good shape as he is going to playing quite a bit this spring. Honestly, I would think a guy like Luke Schmidt may slide over and take snaps there and also fill in with some walk-ons at the position. No doubt, the numbers there are not ideal. The good part is I expect Will Yeatman along with 2 freshmen to arrive in the fall.

Q: IrishGlory, in the past you said that if you had the #1 pick in the NFL draft, you would take Jake Long. Do you still feel that way?
A. Yes. Here is my thinking, because I know many disagreed with me when I made that statement. First, I think Jake Long is a big time OT. While he is not Joe Thomas, who is a franchise LT, I think Jake is a future 10 year starter at RT for some NFL team. Second, there is no other player I look at and don't have some question about them in some aspect of their game/character. Third, my philosophy of the #1 pick is that you cannot afford to gamble and miss. The salary cap ramifications, etc. will set you back 5 years. Therefore, if I am going to give out big money to a #1 pick, I want it to be a guy I know is going to be a franchise fixture type guy. He doesn't need to be a hall of famer. He needs to be a big time guy who is going to help my franchise for years to come. Many disagree and that is fine. My question though, is who would you take instead????


Sir John said...

Another good Q & A session. I have a fe 'hopes' on players but am keeping them close to my vest.

Face Mask said...

IG,I don't think there are many out there that understand hoe the game is played as well as you do.Especialy defense.Nobody wants to talk about the most important phase of the game.You are spot on when you say we will see many diferent looks on D and especialy the D line.It is the only way to servive with the depth chart as is.When you say this is to cause confusion on the opponents O line,once again you display a great understanding of defense.Creating confusion is one of the main goals of a defense.You must cause the opponent to miss their blocking assingments to control the line and make them unable to play THEIR game.Great,great job IG.

Anonymous said...

With our lack of DL depth no way could we go back to a true 4-3 defense this year! The 3-4 seems perfectly suited to that and getting an extra athletic LB on the field. Until we can improve both our DL depth and have 3 stud LB's imo Corwin is exactly right with his approach. This year I expect Tenuta to help with blitz variety & schemes to get us even more QB pressure which should equal more turnovers & defensive scores.

IrishGlory said...

Anonymous - You are right when you say we could not switch back to a true 4-3 all the time (nor do they want or intend to). However, the Irish do have quite a bit of depth that could be used in 4 man line situations. While we can all name the DL in our 3-4 sets, in a 4 man line, you would also see Kerry, Brian Smith, John Ryan, Mo Richardson as DL. That is the kind of positional flexibility that Charlie and Corwin really like.

Sir John said...

This s where i come to get the low down. lory has the word

wsmitheGH said...

You have done it again Irish Glory thank you for your posts!

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