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Offensive backfield depth

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Total Red
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Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:18 pm

We had a lot of departures in the offensive backfield so a big question this spring involves depth at RB and QB.

Markel Smith's exit in particular left a big void behind Robinson. Jeff Proctor has been a pleasant surprise and he appears capable of filling those shoes. We knew he was fast but I was afraid that he would have strickly straight line speed. Not a problem. Proctor can cut and change directions. He doesn't have the size of Smith but speed is power so he doesn't go down easily. If a LB'er tries to reach out and arm tackle him he can be dragged 3,4 or more yards. If we have any concerns with size behind Robinson it could come in the form of pass blocking. Proctor and Kevin Brown aren't built for pass blocking blitizing LB'ers so it might be better to have them swing out as safety valve receivers on pass plays.

Speaking of pass protection it's being stress-tested this spring. The defense often has the early lead on the offense and the D is hitting them with a variety of blitzes. A lot of them work. You may have noticed a large number of TFL's in the practice reports. Davis gets frustrated when rushers come clean and end his passing attempts before they even start. The offense sometimes sputters with sacks, false starts and bad snaps. If you get past those Davis is looking good. His throws are mostly sharp and his release is quicker than I remember. So far I'd say his chances of getting his completion % over 60% are fairly good even with the youthful receiving group. Depth at QB is not as reassuring. Bryce Jefferson throws ok but it would be a noticeable dropoff from Davis. If Jefferson had to start a game it would be similar to Broadnax starting at SD St. in '17. Broadnax had just 102 yards passing in an OT loss. We should have a RPO package ready for Jefferson. It could be effective.

So the starters (Robinson and Davis) should be very good. Maybe as good as Coprich and Roberson with Robinson possibly exceeding Coprich and Davis close to Roberson in overall ability even though his skills lie in different areas.
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Virginia Redbird
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Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:23 am

Total Red wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:18 pm
We had a lot of departures in the offensive backfield so a big question this spring involves depth at RB and QB.

Markel Smith's exit in particular left a big void behind Robinson. Jeff Proctor has been a pleasant surprise and he appears capable of filling those shoes. We knew he was fast but I was afraid that he would have strickly straight line speed. Not a problem. Proctor can cut and change directions. He doesn't have the size of Smith but speed is power so he doesn't go down easily. If a LB'er tries to reach out and arm tackle him he can be dragged 3,4 or more yards. If we have any concerns with size behind Robinson it could come in the form of pass blocking. Proctor and Kevin Brown aren't built for pass blocking blitizing LB'ers so it might be better to have them swing out as safety valve receivers on pass plays.

Speaking of pass protection it's being stress-tested this spring. The defense often has the early lead on the offense and the D is hitting them with a variety of blitzes. A lot of them work. You may have noticed a large number of TFL's in the practice reports. Davis gets frustrated when rushers come clean and end his passing attempts before they even start. The offense sometimes sputters with sacks, false starts and bad snaps. If you get past those Davis is looking good. His throws are mostly sharp and his release is quicker than I remember. So far I'd say his chances of getting his completion % over 60% are fairly good even with the youthful receiving group. Depth at QB is not as reassuring. Bryce Jefferson throws ok but it would be a noticeable dropoff from Davis. If Jefferson had to start a game it would be similar to Broadnax starting at SD St. in '17. Broadnax had just 102 yards passing in an OT loss. We should have a RPO package ready for Jefferson. It could be effective.

So the starters (Robinson and Davis) should be very good. Maybe as good as Coprich and Roberson with Robinson possibly exceeding Coprich and Davis close to Roberson in overall ability even though his skills lie in different areas.
Thanks for the insight TR! We have spent so much time on the board talking about the IPF that I almost forgot spring ball is ongoing!
I have been critical of Davis on this board regarding his performance last season but I sincerely hope he is the player we expected he would be in 2019. An exceptional season at QB would go a long way towards getting the Birds back in the playoff conversation. Last year the running back position seemed to be overflowing with talent and that evaporated so quickly. Robinson will be very solid of course but it is good to hear there are RBs on the roster that look like they can take up the slack. Time goes by so fast. It seems like just a year ago we were watching Robinson as the freshman phenom and now he is entering his senior season. Where did that time go!
“When you have great players, playing great, well that’s great football!”
John Madden
fourthandshort
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Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:58 pm

Proctor looks amd sounds like real deal ... the thing I liked about Markel Smith was the morale crushing reality check when he came into game and how he much more he punished tacklers playing 2nd string to Robinson ... who is no slouch when he decides to punish a tackler rather than avoid the tackler. That said, Proctor looks really tough for his size ... not Markel Smith, but still tough to bring down ... big difference between Juco tacklers and MVFC tacklers, but still has impressive physicality ..... and he is certainly faster/quicker than Smith. So I think bringing him in for Robinson will be a different kind of demoralizing for defenses ... now we have a speed/quicks guy coming for Robinson, that requires different game planning compared to bring a Markel Smith into game .. different dimension will catch defenses a bit off guard preparing for all american Robinson.

Only disagreement with TR ... though I have not seen Bryce Jefferson throw yet, other than HS video .... highly doubt his arm is as suspect as Broadnax at FCS level .... if it is, I'm even more concerned with our HS QB recruitment. Dual threat QBs are helpful .... but they have to be able to throw or they will fail !!!!! I like Broadnax physical skils and how he managed that SDSU game with no real mistakes .... but he is/was not a throwing QB and was never going to be.

I have much higher hopes for Bryce Jeffferson.
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StLRedbird
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Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:31 am

fourthandshort wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:58 pm
Only disagreement with TR ... though I have not seen Bryce Jefferson throw yet, other than HS video .... highly doubt his arm is as suspect as Broadnax at FCS level .... if it is, I'm even more concerned with our HS QB recruitment. Dual threat QBs are helpful .... but they have to be able to throw or they will fail !!!!! I like Broadnax physical skils and how he managed that SDSU game with no real mistakes .... but he is/was not a throwing QB and was never going to be.
It does appear that we emphasize dual threat as a skill at QB, but that's a recent development. Would appreciate corrections if my memory is faulty, but our typical QB for years was of the Winkler/Kolbe skillset. Even Glenn was used as a drop back QB despite a clear ability to run with the football.

So if you're at ISU's place in the football pecking order and want to target dual threat QBs in recruiting you may have to roll the dice on your ability to teach a kid to pass. Roberson had a shortcoming in the short-intermediate passing game, but was such a punishing runner that it didn't matter.

We also appear to be developing an affinity for the FBS transfer approach. Kids that are blocked nowadays want to move to a place where they'll have an opportunity, so our classification as FCS is an advantage.

Robinson will be a senior. It will feel like we've wasted our time with this really skilled RB if we don't make some noise in the playoffs.
ISUBU
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Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:48 pm

We signed a freshman QB in the early signing period, Jack Baltz, more of a traditional passer. I doubt he'll be even the backup as long as Davis is here, but he might be the guy in the future. Tall, skinny for now.
fourthandshort
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Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:38 am

StLRedbird wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:31 am
fourthandshort wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:58 pm
Only disagreement with TR ... though I have not seen Bryce Jefferson throw yet, other than HS video .... highly doubt his arm is as suspect as Broadnax at FCS level .... if it is, I'm even more concerned with our HS QB recruitment. Dual threat QBs are helpful .... but they have to be able to throw or they will fail !!!!! I like Broadnax physical skils and how he managed that SDSU game with no real mistakes .... but he is/was not a throwing QB and was never going to be.
It does appear that we emphasize dual threat as a skill at QB, but that's a recent development. Would appreciate corrections if my memory is faulty, but our typical QB for years was of the Winkler/Kolbe skillset. Even Glenn was used as a drop back QB despite a clear ability to run with the football.

So if you're at ISU's place in the football pecking order and want to target dual threat QBs in recruiting you may have to roll the dice on your ability to teach a kid to pass. Roberson had a shortcoming in the short-intermediate passing game, but was such a punishing runner that it didn't matter.

We also appear to be developing an affinity for the FBS transfer approach. Kids that are blocked nowadays want to move to a place where they'll have an opportunity, so our classification as FCS is an advantage.

Robinson will be a senior. It will feel like we've wasted our time with this really skilled RB if we don't make some noise in the playoffs.
When Spack arrived in 2009, he already had 3 good QBs here ... all primarily passers ... RS FR Brown, SO Kiel, and RS FR Lancaster. It was possibly the deepest we were ever at the QB position and Brown would eventually take the job after Kiel suffered injury. All were recruited prior to Spack regime.

Here is what happened at QB position since 2009:

2010: Brown named starter, later Kiel transfereed out, Lancaster was #2, the 2 Spack recruits, Younger (dual threat) and Meredith (dual threat) were on QB depth chart .. both would later move to WR

2011: Brown starter, Lancaster eventually quits/transfers out, Meredith #2, Spack brings in Justin Lane (pocket passer)

2012: Brown starter, Meredith #2, Pittser #3 transfers in , Spack brings in Winkler (pocket). Lane transfers out

2013: Barnett (dual threat) transfers in (started 3 games, benched, quit), Winkler becomes #1, Meredith moves to WR, Pittser #2, Rea #3

2014: Roberson transfers in (dual threat), Winkler #2, Pittser #3 (moved to DT !!!), Spack brings Kolbe

2015: Roberson #1, Kolbe #2, Spack brings in Thelen (pocket) and Demarco Washington (dual)

2016: Kolbe #1, Thelan #2, Broadnax (dual) #3, Tristan Smith #4, Donohoe #5, Demarco Washington moves to LB .... think about that move behind this QB group

2017: Kolbe #1, Broadnax #2, Spack brings in Smith #3 (pocket), Hatfield (dual) #4, Connor Joyce #5

2018: Davis #1 transfers in, Kolbe #2, Broadnax moved to Safety, Hatfield moved to RB, Smith #3, Spack brings in Jeffersen (dual)

2019: Davis #1, Jefferson #2 .. Smith transfers, Broadnax transfers, Harfield moves to Safety, Spack brings in Baltz (pocket)

So here is list of Spack HS QB recruits in order: Younger, Meredith, Lane, Winkler, Rea, Thelan, Washington, Kolbe, Broadnax, Smith, Donohoe, Hatfield, Jeffersen, Baltz.

Every HS QB recruit who was dual threat eventually changed positions, except Jeffersen ... so far .... let that sink in !!

Only HS QB recruit to stay all 4/5 years at QB position in Spack regime ... Kolbe.

Not exactly a good track record recruiting QBs ... we have no trouble recruiting at any other position except QB. I accept that it is the hardest position to recruit and develop consistently, but Houston .... we have a problem !!
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ISUBU
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Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:49 am

Except that some of these "QBs" were recruited as athletes. They were given a chance to make it as a QB, before realizing they'd play some other position.

I remember Todd Berry saying that he recruited lots of high school QBs knowing that they weren't suited for the position in college. By being the most skilled player on their team, they were the QB in high school.

Many major league pitchers can't hit professionally, but were the sluggers on their high school team. Same thing, different sport.

Another way to look at it is that I believe we've rarely been in the bottom half of the league in our QB play. Some good development is going on.
Last edited by ISUBU on Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
fourthandshort
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Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:27 am

ISUBU wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:49 am
Except that some of these "QBs" were recruited as athletes. They were given a chance to make it as a QB, before realizing they'd play some other position.

I remember Todd Berry saying that he recruited lots of high school QBs knowing that they weren't suited for the position in college. By being the most skilled player on their team, they were the QB in high school.

Many major league pitchers can't hit professionally, but were the sluggers on their high school team. Same thing, different sport.

Another way to look at it is that I believe we've rarely been in the bottom half of the league in our QB play. Some good development is going on.
True some were recruited as athletes with coaches thinking about position change ,, but I think the track record above speaks for itself and as stlrb said ... we have been forced to look to transfers more often than our home grown guys. Fact remains, not a single home grown guy has ever started as a SR QB in Spack's tenure

Brown was not Spack's and Kolbe is the only one that even lasted and played as QB his final season. Winkler eventually lost his spot in 2014 and left program after that RS SO season. I think he graduated early. So Kolbe stands alone in that regard.

So Kolbe is Spack's most successful HS QB recruit by far. Now I was the one who stuck with Kolbe longer than most people, but eventually conceded he wasn't the guy. I happen to put more blame on OC position and the roster having led to Kolbe demise in 2017 after a promising RS SO 2016 season. Nonetheless, Kolbe is the only HS QB recruit to play all 4/5 years and even he got benched eventually as SR for a transfer who also struggled.

Don't get me wrong, I think Spack does a very good job recruiting overall at all other positions most of the time ... but QB has been his achilles heal ... and it happens to be the reason we fall short of expectations more often than not since 2014. Even 2015 was down year (from expectations standpoint) and Roberson had to play with soft cast on his throwing hand because Kolbe was not viewed as ready. So our passing offense never quite came together in 2015 .. not even close to 2014 level.

But we have competed well and flirted with top 10 every year since 2014 run, because of our run game, our defense and our physicality .. but QB position has been reason we've fallen short every year.

We'll see if transfer Davis and OC Beathard work things out this fall ... but again, Davis is a transfer. I'm much more optimistic headin into 2019 than I was in 2018. And now Davis gets another shot in 2020, which is helpful in terms of taking some pressure off 2019 if I'm Beathard.

After that, maybe Jeffersen or Baltz will buck this trend .. hope springs eternal !!!
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Virginia Redbird
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Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:25 pm

fourthandshort wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:27 am
ISUBU wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:49 am
Except that some of these "QBs" were recruited as athletes. They were given a chance to make it as a QB, before realizing they'd play some other position.

I remember Todd Berry saying that he recruited lots of high school QBs knowing that they weren't suited for the position in college. By being the most skilled player on their team, they were the QB in high school.

Many major league pitchers can't hit professionally, but were the sluggers on their high school team. Same thing, different sport.

Another way to look at it is that I believe we've rarely been in the bottom half of the league in our QB play. Some good development is going on.
True some were recruited as athletes with coaches thinking about position change ,, but I think the track record above speaks for itself and as stlrb said ... we have been forced to look to transfers more often than our home grown guys. Fact remains, not a single home grown guy has ever started as a SR QB in Spack's tenure

Brown was not Spack's and Kolbe is the only one that even lasted and played as QB his final season. Winkler eventually lost his spot in 2014 and left program after that RS SO season. I think he graduated early. So Kolbe stands alone in that regard.

So Kolbe is Spack's most successful HS QB recruit by far. Now I was the one who stuck with Kolbe longer than most people, but eventually conceded he wasn't the guy. I happen to put more blame on OC position and the roster having led to Kolbe demise in 2017 after a promising RS SO 2016 season. Nonetheless, Kolbe is the only HS QB recruit to play all 4/5 years and even he got benched eventually as SR for a transfer who also struggled.

Don't get me wrong, I think Spack does a very good job recruiting overall at all other positions most of the time ... but QB has been his achilles heal ... and it happens to be the reason we fall short of expectations more often than not since 2014. Even 2015 was down year (from expectations standpoint) and Roberson had to play with soft cast on his throwing hand because Kolbe was not viewed as ready. So our passing offense never quite came together in 2015 .. not even close to 2014 level.

But we have competed well and flirted with top 10 every year since 2014 run, because of our run game, our defense and our physicality .. but QB position has been reason we've fallen short every year.

We'll see if transfer Davis and OC Beathard work things out this fall ... but again, Davis is a transfer. I'm much more optimistic headin into 2019 than I was in 2018. And now Davis gets another shot in 2020, which is helpful in terms of taking some pressure off 2019 if I'm Beathard.

After that, maybe Jeffersen or Baltz will buck this trend .. hope springs eternal !!!
I have mentioned this before on this board that Coach Spack is just not an offensive or QB guy...he is just not. No matter what happens or how many players the Birds lose he turns out good defense and defensive coaches love a solid run game and ball control. Coach Spack is beginning to remind me very much of Lovie Smith. Great defensive guy but not so great on the other side of the ball. Failure to recruit even one QB that was "the guy". The best QBs in his tenure were transfers (Davis & Roberson) and a guy that was already here (Brown)and recruited by someone else. That Dual Offensive Coordinator fiasco is another example of a lack of offensive vision! Look at his time here and outside of Roberson...how much offensive punch did his teams really have. They live on solid defense, solid run game and special teams have been pretty good overall as well. I am not down on Coach Spack at all. He has given us some of the best years in the program history but if you expect to see a QB light up the sky with pinpoint passes and picking a defense apart you better look elsewhere than Hancock. Maybe it changes this year but the current team looks much the same. Defense looks solid, O line looks solid, running backs look good, receivers...maybe and QB is still a big question mark for now.
As time goes on I am really beginning to think that it was really just Roberson that was the difference. Not so much the coaches all that much. Just a very solid team and one really dynamic player. at the QB position.
“When you have great players, playing great, well that’s great football!”
John Madden
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Redbird28
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Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:32 am

Virginia Redbird wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:25 pm
fourthandshort wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:27 am
ISUBU wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:49 am
Except that some of these "QBs" were recruited as athletes. They were given a chance to make it as a QB, before realizing they'd play some other position.

I remember Todd Berry saying that he recruited lots of high school QBs knowing that they weren't suited for the position in college. By being the most skilled player on their team, they were the QB in high school.

Many major league pitchers can't hit professionally, but were the sluggers on their high school team. Same thing, different sport.

Another way to look at it is that I believe we've rarely been in the bottom half of the league in our QB play. Some good development is going on.
True some were recruited as athletes with coaches thinking about position change ,, but I think the track record above speaks for itself and as stlrb said ... we have been forced to look to transfers more often than our home grown guys. Fact remains, not a single home grown guy has ever started as a SR QB in Spack's tenure

Brown was not Spack's and Kolbe is the only one that even lasted and played as QB his final season. Winkler eventually lost his spot in 2014 and left program after that RS SO season. I think he graduated early. So Kolbe stands alone in that regard.

So Kolbe is Spack's most successful HS QB recruit by far. Now I was the one who stuck with Kolbe longer than most people, but eventually conceded he wasn't the guy. I happen to put more blame on OC position and the roster having led to Kolbe demise in 2017 after a promising RS SO 2016 season. Nonetheless, Kolbe is the only HS QB recruit to play all 4/5 years and even he got benched eventually as SR for a transfer who also struggled.

Don't get me wrong, I think Spack does a very good job recruiting overall at all other positions most of the time ... but QB has been his achilles heal ... and it happens to be the reason we fall short of expectations more often than not since 2014. Even 2015 was down year (from expectations standpoint) and Roberson had to play with soft cast on his throwing hand because Kolbe was not viewed as ready. So our passing offense never quite came together in 2015 .. not even close to 2014 level.

But we have competed well and flirted with top 10 every year since 2014 run, because of our run game, our defense and our physicality .. but QB position has been reason we've fallen short every year.

We'll see if transfer Davis and OC Beathard work things out this fall ... but again, Davis is a transfer. I'm much more optimistic headin into 2019 than I was in 2018. And now Davis gets another shot in 2020, which is helpful in terms of taking some pressure off 2019 if I'm Beathard.

After that, maybe Jeffersen or Baltz will buck this trend .. hope springs eternal !!!
I have mentioned this before on this board that Coach Spack is just not an offensive or QB guy...he is just not. No matter what happens or how many players the Birds lose he turns out good defense and defensive coaches love a solid run game and ball control. Coach Spack is beginning to remind me very much of Lovie Smith. Great defensive guy but not so great on the other side of the ball. Failure to recruit even one QB that was "the guy". The best QBs in his tenure were transfers (Davis & Roberson) and a guy that was already here (Brown)and recruited by someone else. That Dual Offensive Coordinator fiasco is another example of a lack of offensive vision! Look at his time here and outside of Roberson...how much offensive punch did his teams really have. They live on solid defense, solid run game and special teams have been pretty good overall as well. I am not down on Coach Spack at all. He has given us some of the best years in the program history but if you expect to see a QB light up the sky with pinpoint passes and picking a defense apart you better look elsewhere than Hancock. Maybe it changes this year but the current team looks much the same. Defense looks solid, O line looks solid, running backs look good, receivers...maybe and QB is still a big question mark for now.
As time goes on I am really beginning to think that it was really just Roberson that was the difference. Not so much the coaches all that much. Just a very solid team and one really dynamic player. at the QB position.
It's fairly obvious, honestly. Spack does a great job of building a program that is tough to beat week to week, but in this game it generally takes an exceptional QB to take a team like that to another level. Roberson was that guy. I keep hoping they find another that can produce in the same manner. All the other pieces are there for the most part, they just need that spark to take them over the top.

Speaking of pieces, how does the kicking game look this year? Not really worried about Bohlken at P, moreso the FG K?
fourthandshort
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Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:45 pm

Virginia Redbird wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:25 pm
fourthandshort wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:27 am
ISUBU wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:49 am
Except that some of these "QBs" were recruited as athletes. They were given a chance to make it as a QB, before realizing they'd play some other position.

I remember Todd Berry saying that he recruited lots of high school QBs knowing that they weren't suited for the position in college. By being the most skilled player on their team, they were the QB in high school.

Many major league pitchers can't hit professionally, but were the sluggers on their high school team. Same thing, different sport.

Another way to look at it is that I believe we've rarely been in the bottom half of the league in our QB play. Some good development is going on.
True some were recruited as athletes with coaches thinking about position change ,, but I think the track record above speaks for itself and as stlrb said ... we have been forced to look to transfers more often than our home grown guys. Fact remains, not a single home grown guy has ever started as a SR QB in Spack's tenure

Brown was not Spack's and Kolbe is the only one that even lasted and played as QB his final season. Winkler eventually lost his spot in 2014 and left program after that RS SO season. I think he graduated early. So Kolbe stands alone in that regard.

So Kolbe is Spack's most successful HS QB recruit by far. Now I was the one who stuck with Kolbe longer than most people, but eventually conceded he wasn't the guy. I happen to put more blame on OC position and the roster having led to Kolbe demise in 2017 after a promising RS SO 2016 season. Nonetheless, Kolbe is the only HS QB recruit to play all 4/5 years and even he got benched eventually as SR for a transfer who also struggled.

Don't get me wrong, I think Spack does a very good job recruiting overall at all other positions most of the time ... but QB has been his achilles heal ... and it happens to be the reason we fall short of expectations more often than not since 2014. Even 2015 was down year (from expectations standpoint) and Roberson had to play with soft cast on his throwing hand because Kolbe was not viewed as ready. So our passing offense never quite came together in 2015 .. not even close to 2014 level.

But we have competed well and flirted with top 10 every year since 2014 run, because of our run game, our defense and our physicality .. but QB position has been reason we've fallen short every year.

We'll see if transfer Davis and OC Beathard work things out this fall ... but again, Davis is a transfer. I'm much more optimistic headin into 2019 than I was in 2018. And now Davis gets another shot in 2020, which is helpful in terms of taking some pressure off 2019 if I'm Beathard.

After that, maybe Jeffersen or Baltz will buck this trend .. hope springs eternal !!!
I have mentioned this before on this board that Coach Spack is just not an offensive or QB guy...he is just not. No matter what happens or how many players the Birds lose he turns out good defense and defensive coaches love a solid run game and ball control. Coach Spack is beginning to remind me very much of Lovie Smith. Great defensive guy but not so great on the other side of the ball. Failure to recruit even one QB that was "the guy". The best QBs in his tenure were transfers (Davis & Roberson) and a guy that was already here (Brown)and recruited by someone else. That Dual Offensive Coordinator fiasco is another example of a lack of offensive vision! Look at his time here and outside of Roberson...how much offensive punch did his teams really have. They live on solid defense, solid run game and special teams have been pretty good overall as well. I am not down on Coach Spack at all. He has given us some of the best years in the program history but if you expect to see a QB light up the sky with pinpoint passes and picking a defense apart you better look elsewhere than Hancock. Maybe it changes this year but the current team looks much the same. Defense looks solid, O line looks solid, running backs look good, receivers...maybe and QB is still a big question mark for now.
As time goes on I am really beginning to think that it was really just Roberson that was the difference. Not so much the coaches all that much. Just a very solid team and one really dynamic player. at the QB position.
Eh, I give lot of credit to OC Beathard in 2014 and 2015 .. that 2014 team was loaded on offense ... 3 guys in NFL, none named Roberson or Coprich. But Roberson really struggled in pass game the first 8 games in 2014 .. padded his stats against 2 patsies (no FBS that year) early that year, but was below average in the 6 other games to start the season. It wasn't until games 9 thru 15 that Roberson went on a tear .. passing and running. Then go to 2015 .. Roberson broke his hand in practice week leading up to MVFC opener and played with a soft cast on his throwing hand until playoffs. And we still went 9-2 and got 2 seed, made it to round of 8 with very little throwing. Sure, Robersons leg and deep ball kept teams honest, but it was nothing like 2014 ... OC Beathard and RB Coprich carried a very heavy load in 2015. And I believe Beathard figured out how to make Roberson a much more efficient QB in 2014 ... games 1-8 .. his QBR was very sporadic, other than the occasional deep ball. Games 9-15, I think he was #1 in QBR in all of FCS ... and finished 3rd for entire year. This is why I like Beathard so much .. he figured it out and brought it all together ini 2014 ... and to this day, I don't know how we went 9-2 and got a 2 seed in 2015, especially after a 5 seed in 2014 ... '14 team was far better and we lost a lot going into '15.
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Virginia Redbird
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Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:37 am

fourthandshort wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:45 pm
Virginia Redbird wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:25 pm
fourthandshort wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:27 am


True some were recruited as athletes with coaches thinking about position change ,, but I think the track record above speaks for itself and as stlrb said ... we have been forced to look to transfers more often than our home grown guys. Fact remains, not a single home grown guy has ever started as a SR QB in Spack's tenure

Brown was not Spack's and Kolbe is the only one that even lasted and played as QB his final season. Winkler eventually lost his spot in 2014 and left program after that RS SO season. I think he graduated early. So Kolbe stands alone in that regard.

So Kolbe is Spack's most successful HS QB recruit by far. Now I was the one who stuck with Kolbe longer than most people, but eventually conceded he wasn't the guy. I happen to put more blame on OC position and the roster having led to Kolbe demise in 2017 after a promising RS SO 2016 season. Nonetheless, Kolbe is the only HS QB recruit to play all 4/5 years and even he got benched eventually as SR for a transfer who also struggled.

Don't get me wrong, I think Spack does a very good job recruiting overall at all other positions most of the time ... but QB has been his achilles heal ... and it happens to be the reason we fall short of expectations more often than not since 2014. Even 2015 was down year (from expectations standpoint) and Roberson had to play with soft cast on his throwing hand because Kolbe was not viewed as ready. So our passing offense never quite came together in 2015 .. not even close to 2014 level.

But we have competed well and flirted with top 10 every year since 2014 run, because of our run game, our defense and our physicality .. but QB position has been reason we've fallen short every year.

We'll see if transfer Davis and OC Beathard work things out this fall ... but again, Davis is a transfer. I'm much more optimistic headin into 2019 than I was in 2018. And now Davis gets another shot in 2020, which is helpful in terms of taking some pressure off 2019 if I'm Beathard.

After that, maybe Jeffersen or Baltz will buck this trend .. hope springs eternal !!!
I have mentioned this before on this board that Coach Spack is just not an offensive or QB guy...he is just not. No matter what happens or how many players the Birds lose he turns out good defense and defensive coaches love a solid run game and ball control. Coach Spack is beginning to remind me very much of Lovie Smith. Great defensive guy but not so great on the other side of the ball. Failure to recruit even one QB that was "the guy". The best QBs in his tenure were transfers (Davis & Roberson) and a guy that was already here (Brown)and recruited by someone else. That Dual Offensive Coordinator fiasco is another example of a lack of offensive vision! Look at his time here and outside of Roberson...how much offensive punch did his teams really have. They live on solid defense, solid run game and special teams have been pretty good overall as well. I am not down on Coach Spack at all. He has given us some of the best years in the program history but if you expect to see a QB light up the sky with pinpoint passes and picking a defense apart you better look elsewhere than Hancock. Maybe it changes this year but the current team looks much the same. Defense looks solid, O line looks solid, running backs look good, receivers...maybe and QB is still a big question mark for now.
As time goes on I am really beginning to think that it was really just Roberson that was the difference. Not so much the coaches all that much. Just a very solid team and one really dynamic player. at the QB position.
Eh, I give lot of credit to OC Beathard in 2014 and 2015 .. that 2014 team was loaded on offense ... 3 guys in NFL, none named Roberson or Coprich. But Roberson really struggled in pass game the first 8 games in 2014 .. padded his stats against 2 patsies (no FBS that year) early that year, but was below average in the 6 other games to start the season. It wasn't until games 9 thru 15 that Roberson went on a tear .. passing and running. Then go to 2015 .. Roberson broke his hand in practice week leading up to MVFC opener and played with a soft cast on his throwing hand until playoffs. And we still went 9-2 and got 2 seed, made it to round of 8 with very little throwing. Sure, Robersons leg and deep ball kept teams honest, but it was nothing like 2014 ... OC Beathard and RB Coprich carried a very heavy load in 2015. And I believe Beathard figured out how to make Roberson a much more efficient QB in 2014 ... games 1-8 .. his QBR was very sporadic, other than the occasional deep ball. Games 9-15, I think he was #1 in QBR in all of FCS ... and finished 3rd for entire year. This is why I like Beathard so much .. he figured it out and brought it all together ini 2014 ... and to this day, I don't know how we went 9-2 and got a 2 seed in 2015, especially after a 5 seed in 2014 ... '14 team was far better and we lost a lot going into '15.
No argument the 2014 team was very talented and Beathard was a significant factor. Still, the Beathard touch was nowhere to be found with Davis last season. I know there were personal factors that were involved but the offense was not impressive last season for the most part. QB play was very average last season. If you compare Roberson with Davis frankly I think there is no comparison at all...at least so far. I think Roberson scared the hell out of Defensive coordinators and defensive players. They had to deal with Coprich but Roberson kept them on their heels. I did not see anyone that worried about Davis last season. That is why we started to see so many teams stacking the box and daring...just absolutely daring...the Redbirds to put the ball in the air. The only thing they were concerned about was stopping Robinson and the run game. I am not down on Davis or Beathard as I said before. I just did not see anything last season that was very impressive from either. Actually, the topic of the original post was just that Coach Spack's history is of not recruiting very good QBs out of High School. Arguably the best two QB's in Spack's tenure are the two we have been talking about, Roberson and Davis. Both transfers. It kind of speaks for itself and no real argument has to be made. A decade and not a single recruited QB that was "The Guy" at the QB position. It just is ... what it is.
“When you have great players, playing great, well that’s great football!”
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fourthandshort
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Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:02 am

Virginia Redbird wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:37 am
fourthandshort wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:45 pm
Virginia Redbird wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:25 pm


I have mentioned this before on this board that Coach Spack is just not an offensive or QB guy...he is just not. No matter what happens or how many players the Birds lose he turns out good defense and defensive coaches love a solid run game and ball control. Coach Spack is beginning to remind me very much of Lovie Smith. Great defensive guy but not so great on the other side of the ball. Failure to recruit even one QB that was "the guy". The best QBs in his tenure were transfers (Davis & Roberson) and a guy that was already here (Brown)and recruited by someone else. That Dual Offensive Coordinator fiasco is another example of a lack of offensive vision! Look at his time here and outside of Roberson...how much offensive punch did his teams really have. They live on solid defense, solid run game and special teams have been pretty good overall as well. I am not down on Coach Spack at all. He has given us some of the best years in the program history but if you expect to see a QB light up the sky with pinpoint passes and picking a defense apart you better look elsewhere than Hancock. Maybe it changes this year but the current team looks much the same. Defense looks solid, O line looks solid, running backs look good, receivers...maybe and QB is still a big question mark for now.
As time goes on I am really beginning to think that it was really just Roberson that was the difference. Not so much the coaches all that much. Just a very solid team and one really dynamic player. at the QB position.
Eh, I give lot of credit to OC Beathard in 2014 and 2015 .. that 2014 team was loaded on offense ... 3 guys in NFL, none named Roberson or Coprich. But Roberson really struggled in pass game the first 8 games in 2014 .. padded his stats against 2 patsies (no FBS that year) early that year, but was below average in the 6 other games to start the season. It wasn't until games 9 thru 15 that Roberson went on a tear .. passing and running. Then go to 2015 .. Roberson broke his hand in practice week leading up to MVFC opener and played with a soft cast on his throwing hand until playoffs. And we still went 9-2 and got 2 seed, made it to round of 8 with very little throwing. Sure, Robersons leg and deep ball kept teams honest, but it was nothing like 2014 ... OC Beathard and RB Coprich carried a very heavy load in 2015. And I believe Beathard figured out how to make Roberson a much more efficient QB in 2014 ... games 1-8 .. his QBR was very sporadic, other than the occasional deep ball. Games 9-15, I think he was #1 in QBR in all of FCS ... and finished 3rd for entire year. This is why I like Beathard so much .. he figured it out and brought it all together ini 2014 ... and to this day, I don't know how we went 9-2 and got a 2 seed in 2015, especially after a 5 seed in 2014 ... '14 team was far better and we lost a lot going into '15.
No argument the 2014 team was very talented and Beathard was a significant factor. Still, the Beathard touch was nowhere to be found with Davis last season. I know there were personal factors that were involved but the offense was not impressive last season for the most part. QB play was very average last season. If you compare Roberson with Davis frankly I think there is no comparison at all...at least so far. I think Roberson scared the hell out of Defensive coordinators and defensive players. They had to deal with Coprich but Roberson kept them on their heels. I did not see anyone that worried about Davis last season. That is why we started to see so many teams stacking the box and daring...just absolutely daring...the Redbirds to put the ball in the air. The only thing they were concerned about was stopping Robinson and the run game. I am not down on Davis or Beathard as I said before. I just did not see anything last season that was very impressive from either. Actually, the topic of the original post was just that Coach Spack's history is of not recruiting very good QBs out of High School. Arguably the best two QB's in Spack's tenure are the two we have been talking about, Roberson and Davis. Both transfers. It kind of speaks for itself and no real argument has to be made. A decade and not a single recruited QB that was "The Guy" at the QB position. It just is ... what it is.
do agree with just about everything you said there ... and this year will be a critical test for whether OC Beathard can bring it all together. You referenced his personal issue (wife was getting treated for cancer, hope her prognosis is good !) .. that was a likely distraction for him. But also having to integrate a brand new QB during August camp with different skill set than Kolbe. It started pretty well but faded fast.

Full offseason and fresh start should help matters. Time will tell.
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MadBird
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Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:54 pm

Well, I don't disagree that the failure to bring a 4-5 year QB from freshman class to a successful career is a weakness in Spack's program, but you also have to give him some credit for "recruiting" Roberson and Davis (anyone else I'm forgetting?) - I mean, they didn't just show up on the curb. Somebody talked them into coming to ISU. Granted, the relative weakness of the incumbents must have looked attractive to them, but they would have gone elsewhere if Spack and/or Beathard (or Dicken and the other guy) weren't halfway decent recruiters.

As for RB depth, I'm seeing on the roster a guy named Tyler Pennington, 5'10, 225 lbs., appears to have transferred in from Arkansas. He's from our Cary-Grove HS. Says he redshirted in 17 at Ark, looks like he was at Ark last year but didn't see the field. Listed as a LB at Ark. Gaudy HS stats, all time Cary-Grove rushing leader and 15 all-time IHSA!. Anyone know anything? Is he a dark horse to provide some depth?

https://www.nwherald.com/2018/12/02/foo ... s/a4l9li4/
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TIMMY
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Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:52 pm

MadBird wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:54 pm
Well, I don't disagree that the failure to bring a 4-5 year QB from freshman class to a successful career is a weakness in Spack's program, but you also have to give him some credit for "recruiting" Roberson and Davis (anyone else I'm forgetting?) - I mean, they didn't just show up on the curb. Somebody talked them into coming to ISU. Granted, the relative weakness of the incumbents must have looked attractive to them, but they would have gone elsewhere if Spack and/or Beathard (or Dicken and the other guy) weren't halfway decent recruiters.

As for RB depth, I'm seeing on the roster a guy named Tyler Pennington, 5'10, 225 lbs., appears to have transferred in from Arkansas. He's from our Cary-Grove HS. Says he redshirted in 17 at Ark, looks like he was at Ark last year but didn't see the field. Listed as a LB at Ark. Gaudy HS stats, all time Cary-Grove rushing leader and 15 all-time IHSA!. Anyone know anything? Is he a dark horse to provide some depth?

https://www.nwherald.com/2018/12/02/foo ... s/a4l9li4/
Cary-Grove runs the flexbone. Triple option and they're very disciplined and run it better than ANYONE. Tyler was the dive back (FB) in that offense. So those stats don't translate to real life. Dive, dive, dive straight ahead right down the field. He was very , very good at that, but we don't run anything close to that offense ever.
If you aren't familiar with the flexbone it's what Paul Johnson ran at Georgia Tech. I ran it for 20 some years. Love it.
I could see him at fullback blocking in our offense, or LB and contribute down the road.
fourthandshort
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Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:00 pm

MadBird wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:54 pm
Well, I don't disagree that the failure to bring a 4-5 year QB from freshman class to a successful career is a weakness in Spack's program, but you also have to give him some credit for "recruiting" Roberson and Davis (anyone else I'm forgetting?) - I mean, they didn't just show up on the curb. Somebody talked them into coming to ISU. Granted, the relative weakness of the incumbents must have looked attractive to them, but they would have gone elsewhere if Spack and/or Beathard (or Dicken and the other guy) weren't halfway decent recruiters.

As for RB depth, I'm seeing on the roster a guy named Tyler Pennington, 5'10, 225 lbs., appears to have transferred in from Arkansas. He's from our Cary-Grove HS. Says he redshirted in 17 at Ark, looks like he was at Ark last year but didn't see the field. Listed as a LB at Ark. Gaudy HS stats, all time Cary-Grove rushing leader and 15 all-time IHSA!. Anyone know anything? Is he a dark horse to provide some depth?

https://www.nwherald.com/2018/12/02/foo ... s/a4l9li4/
Agree Spack is good about finding and attracting FBS talent to plug holes as needed. Just wish we could identify, attract, and develop our QBs out of HS once in a while. We sure figured out the RB position .. in fact so well, we've lost some quality back up RBs who would evebtually start for half the MVFC teams.

Again, Spack is a strong recruiter overall .. just not at QB. Hoping Jefferson or Baltz breaks the trend and proves me wrong.
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Virginia Redbird
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Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:32 pm

fourthandshort wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:00 pm
MadBird wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:54 pm
Well, I don't disagree that the failure to bring a 4-5 year QB from freshman class to a successful career is a weakness in Spack's program, but you also have to give him some credit for "recruiting" Roberson and Davis (anyone else I'm forgetting?) - I mean, they didn't just show up on the curb. Somebody talked them into coming to ISU. Granted, the relative weakness of the incumbents must have looked attractive to them, but they would have gone elsewhere if Spack and/or Beathard (or Dicken and the other guy) weren't halfway decent recruiters.

As for RB depth, I'm seeing on the roster a guy named Tyler Pennington, 5'10, 225 lbs., appears to have transferred in from Arkansas. He's from our Cary-Grove HS. Says he redshirted in 17 at Ark, looks like he was at Ark last year but didn't see the field. Listed as a LB at Ark. Gaudy HS stats, all time Cary-Grove rushing leader and 15 all-time IHSA!. Anyone know anything? Is he a dark horse to provide some depth?

https://www.nwherald.com/2018/12/02/foo ... s/a4l9li4/
Agree Spack is good about finding and attracting FBS talent to plug holes as needed. Just wish we could identify, attract, and develop our QBs out of HS once in a while. We sure figured out the RB position .. in fact so well, we've lost some quality back up RBs who would evebtually start for half the MVFC teams.

Again, Spack is a strong recruiter overall .. just not at QB. Hoping Jefferson or Baltz breaks the trend and proves me wrong.
I don't want to give the impression that I am negative about Coach Spack, Beathard or Davis. I really am not. Coach Spack turned this program around and has done a really good job. Recruiting is pretty solid overall with the exception of QB. Every Coach and every program has weaknesses. It hurts bad when that is at the QB position. I wish nothing but the best for Coach Beathard. Football is his job but he had more important things to be concerned about last season. Davis I hope has a tremendous year and we see D Coordinators pull guys out of the box to help defend against the ISU aerial assault. But if you asked me what I was concerned about for the 2019 season it would be QB play, offensive productivity, receivers who can stretch the field and catch in traffic and the kicking game. Those are the areas the 2018 Redbirds struggled at times. Coach Spack will pull out a defense that will cause the opponents problems...I have no doubts about that. Offense...we will have to see what happens. Robinson will be a marked man. They better have something else in their game plan.
“When you have great players, playing great, well that’s great football!”
John Madden
MadBird
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Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:40 am

TIMMY wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:52 pm
MadBird wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:54 pm
Well, I don't disagree that the failure to bring a 4-5 year QB from freshman class to a successful career is a weakness in Spack's program, but you also have to give him some credit for "recruiting" Roberson and Davis (anyone else I'm forgetting?) - I mean, they didn't just show up on the curb. Somebody talked them into coming to ISU. Granted, the relative weakness of the incumbents must have looked attractive to them, but they would have gone elsewhere if Spack and/or Beathard (or Dicken and the other guy) weren't halfway decent recruiters.

As for RB depth, I'm seeing on the roster a guy named Tyler Pennington, 5'10, 225 lbs., appears to have transferred in from Arkansas. He's from our Cary-Grove HS. Says he redshirted in 17 at Ark, looks like he was at Ark last year but didn't see the field. Listed as a LB at Ark. Gaudy HS stats, all time Cary-Grove rushing leader and 15 all-time IHSA!. Anyone know anything? Is he a dark horse to provide some depth?

https://www.nwherald.com/2018/12/02/foo ... s/a4l9li4/
Cary-Grove runs the flexbone. Triple option and they're very disciplined and run it better than ANYONE. Tyler was the dive back (FB) in that offense. So those stats don't translate to real life. Dive, dive, dive straight ahead right down the field. He was very , very good at that, but we don't run anything close to that offense ever.
If you aren't familiar with the flexbone it's what Paul Johnson ran at Georgia Tech. I ran it for 20 some years. Love it.
I could see him at fullback blocking in our offense, or LB and contribute down the road.
Thanks for the insights, sir. I was afraid it was too good to be true :D .
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StLRedbird
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Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:41 am

Virginia Redbird wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:32 pm
But if you asked me what I was concerned about for the 2019 season it would be QB play, offensive productivity, receivers who can stretch the field and catch in traffic and the kicking game. Those are the areas the 2018 Redbirds struggled at times.
This comment really resonated with me, Virginia. Spot on, IMO. I believe that Davis threw some catchable balls to receivers that had trouble completing plays in traffic. Again, JMO, but I think that there were enough of them that the overall result in 2018 would have changed., maybe by a couple games in the W-L columns. Individual plays stick out in my mind from that stretch of four losses, but I can't recall which specific games. I guess my main point is that I think Davis is close and made some passes that were good enough except for receivers that didn't complete plays on their end. If he improves incrementally and the receiver corp steps it up 2019 we're a gonna win a couple of those close games we lost in 2018.
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Virginia Redbird
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Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:27 am

StLRedbird wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:41 am
Virginia Redbird wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:32 pm
But if you asked me what I was concerned about for the 2019 season it would be QB play, offensive productivity, receivers who can stretch the field and catch in traffic and the kicking game. Those are the areas the 2018 Redbirds struggled at times.
This comment really resonated with me, Virginia. Spot on, IMO. I believe that Davis threw some catchable balls to receivers that had trouble completing plays in traffic. Again, JMO, but I think that there were enough of them that the overall result in 2018 would have changed., maybe by a couple games in the W-L columns. Individual plays stick out in my mind from that stretch of four losses, but I can't recall which specific games. I guess my main point is that I think Davis is close and made some passes that were good enough except for receivers that didn't complete plays on their end. If he improves incrementally and the receiver corp steps it up 2019 we're a gonna win a couple of those close games we lost in 2018.
I would agree with you StL. Davis was way off at times but at other times the passes were just dropped. Defenses did not respect the ISU passing game for the most part in 2018. I can't stand the Green Bay Packers but I have discussed with my GB friends that Aaron Rodger's all-world standing as a QB was in great part due to some outstanding receivers who made great plays on the ball. Also an excellent O line for the first part of Rodger's career. Not taking anything away from Rodgers abilities but he does not look so great anymore since he is getting hit a lot more often and his receivers are not making those spectacular plays and not getting open the way Jordy Nelson did. I am confident the Birds O-line will protect Davis. Will Davis be more consistent and will the receivers get open and make plays...that is the concern in my opinion. Let's hope it all comes together.
I am hoping the Baltz will be the first HS recruit QB to be "the guy". I watched his HS highlights and he looks to have some skills. No real reason other than I myself am a Lincolnway alum (when it was just plain Lincolnway and there was no Central, East or anything else). I will, of course, root for the alum from my alma mater...even if it was East!
Happy Easter to all my fellow Redbirds!
“When you have great players, playing great, well that’s great football!”
John Madden
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