After the close of camp this fall, some of the questions that remained from spring were answered, and even more were posed. Probably the biggest thing we learned is….
The freshman are talented. And while maybe not all of them are ready to contribute at a high level this year, there's still something to be said for simply passing the eye test, particularly at receiver where we have been woefully thin/short/slow over the last two years.
Typically, the run and shoot worked effectively when there was a clear cut number 1 (ala Chad Owens and Ashley Lelie) and a bunch of guys who were super good in a supporting role (not particularly game-breaking, but very reliable, team-first players.) When it was truly dominant, there were two number 1's (Davone and Jason), a 1A (Grice) and ample support around them (Nate and Tafiti Uso). Contrary to what their record might have suggested, the most talented offensive team of my generation at Hawaii was probably the 2005 team that beat Arizona State in the Hawaii Bowl (even though the next years team was the one that went undefeated and to the Sugar Bowl.)
So why bring this up now? Especially since we no longer utilize the run and shoot? Mostly because I think that at its core, all offense works this way. And by "this way" I mean built around one or two elite talents, with all the pieces put into place around it. Think it seems self-explanatory? Well it is. But last year, we lacked that singular talent which in turn resulted in the sometimes tough, and sometimes catastrophically traumatic showing that we had on offense.
Which brings us to this year. I don't know which of the four unknown receivers will break out (between Ammon, Marcus, Keith and Vasquez) but odds are, ONE will. Maybe it'll be one each game as Taylor feeds the hot hand (ala the Atlanta Falcons) or maybe it'll be the same one the entire time (ala the Detroit Lions). If the latter is the case, then my money would probably be on Vasquez, who had the most impressive camp outside of Chris Gant. While the three amigos each have a similar skill set, I do have a concern about durability and strength. They've each stated to me how big of a transition it has been from high school to college and they haven't even played in a game yet. Somehow I think going from practice to a game will be an even bigger jump. And while I believe they can make it eventually, the time may not be right just yet.