I see the biggest strength as the D-line, flowed closely by the WR corps. The biggest need is clearly the O-Line. What will it take for next year's team kick it up a notch and win the B1G championship?
While they show great potential, what about this past year would lead you to believe that our WR corps would be a strength? They still have plenty of potential, but were quite frankly pretty pedestrian in 2012.
Strengths should be QB, DL, and RB (never thought I would say that). The WR, DB, LB, and DB should be at least serviceable (maybe better) based on this year's performance and the returning players. The OL is the only real question mark, but I feel pretty confident about the ability level of the players we have brought in in recent years (even if we are lacking in experienced depth).
NU has the best blocking receivers in the B1G. Now that the QBs have a fll year to practice 7 on 7 with them, and Prater has time to get in shape, I expect better receiving performance next year as well.
WR's made plays when they had the chance. The problem wasn't our WR's, it was that we usually played a QB who ran the ball 80% of the time and when he didn't, the WR's had to more often or not make great catches to pull in passes underthrown or overthrown (usually underthrown).
When Trevor Siemian was playing, the WR's looked just fine. We looked like a big boy offense in the Gator Bowl when he came in on relief. Nothing wrong with the WR's.
I agree that nothing is wrong with our receivers. I think they are still a strength of the team. That being said, they didn't have a great year as there were more drops then in previous years. The passing game was lacking though. We were easily a run first team when Colter was in. Since Colter played most of the time, I can't help believe that it's harder for receivers to shine. His arm is limited and he is a careful QB with the ball, so he usually doesn't just chuck it up, but takes off.
The biggest need....No doubt the O-line. It could be good, fair or terrible. People want to believe that because guys may have talent there won't be growing pains. No CB Depth either.
The biggest strengths In my opinion are The experience at QB. the talent of the receivers, the expected development at DL and the starting safeties.
As above, I support the group who feels the WR were solid. I'm less worried about DB next year due to the young group we have returning plus the large number of recruits last year and this year who'll be in the d backfield. I'm a bit more worried about the lines on both sides - the O line for the reasons mentioned above and the D-line because we haven't recruited that many (though I hear Lancaster will be on the D).
I think the receivers should be much improved next season. Loved what Cam Dickerson did with limited opportunities. Guys like Pierre Youngblood-Ary are ready to step up. Still not sure whether Prater will be a significant contributor. But Christian Jones is a legit No. 1 guy and should see more targets in McCall's offense next season.
Love the safety combination of Ibraheim Campbell and Traveon Henry next year... Very athletic and with a year under his belt, Henry should make a major impact. Daniel Jones and Dwight White should spend a lot of time at corner opposite VanHoose.
Honestly, I was much more concerned about the O-line heading into this season considering Konopka and Porcelli (then Deiters) were major question marks. It spoke to Cushing's coaching ability that he brought those new guys along. I expect Jorgensen to be part of the starting mix.
I think it will be imperative next year to make sure Venric stays healthy. They need to spell him with Trumpy more often. That offensive game plan – as much as I've praised McCall's work – needs to be more concrete to avoid late-game slides.
And I haven't even mentioned some incredibly talented guys like Tyler Scott. Up to the coaching staff to maximize potential next year... Think this is a VERY GOOD team and I'm already anxiously awaiting the season opener.