POD: The Talent is there

There apear to be a few concerns over on the football board about how the Football Cats are playing right now. Gladescat points out that in his opinion, its not because of a lack of talent...

I disagree with you about the talent on this team.
We have that kind of talent. Tyrell Sutton at RB is a gifted slashing, high-energy guy that can easily rip off a 40 yard run. He might be the best NU has ever had at RB when his career is over. Terrell Jordan can easily take a handoff and erupt up the middle for 20-25 yards like he did against Miami. He is also an excellent power back for NU, someone that could easily gain 1000 yards under different circumstances.

We have decent linemen that have to get used to the pressure that they are going to feel this year with teams stacking inside. Ryan Keenan is as athletic a lineman as you will find in the Big 10. Trevor Rees has started out slow but is regaining the form that made him one of the top centers in the Big 10. Dylan Thiry is a big, rangy tackle that can guard the outside. I hope we can start getting Kurt Mattes and Ramon Diaz some playing experience for the future.

Our receivers are good but need to just get damn hungry for the ball this year. This year may be much like 1998 when Gavin Hoffman was at the helm. Our WRs may have to really claw to get yardage this year. Be always prepared for going for the out of position throw while we break in 3 new QBs.

Our D line is very close to being as talented as the championship teams of the past. John Gill is perhaps a year away from having the strength, quickness and savy that Matt Rice showed in 95-96. Gill is a very good athlete on our DL. Adam Hahn technically looks good, but needs to get stronger and develop more quickness for handling OL at the point of attack. I like what I see right now, though.

I don't know why Kevin Mims isn't moved inside to take advantage of both his good size, good quickness, and play-making ability. He can handle the furnace in the middle based upon his play last year against ASU. He is very versatile - so use him!

David Ngene is finally having the injury-free year we have all hoped for him. He is exceptionally strong and very quick. Much more athletic than the best NU has ever had at DE! That includes Casy Dailey and Dwayne Missouri. Ngene is a scorcher! He should put up some serious numbers if he stays healthy this year.

Corey Wootton is a force that cannot be denied. Unpolished and undisciplined at times, he just goes out there and makes pass blocks, sacks and interceptions one way or another. I hope he learns to appreciate disciplined play before he blatently costs us a game with a QB bootleg or scramble around end for a TD. He is a talent that is difficult to assign a permanent position for on NU right now. With his height and lower body strength, he might be best suited for OT in many programs. However, NU is reaping benefits by keeping him at DE and seeing how he develops.

Mark Koehn is as talented a DE as any you'll find starting in the Big Ten. He is big and fast, very fast. He just needs to make some plays and get noticed!

The LB's certainly have talent with Nick Roach flying around making plays and Eddie Simpson slashing and dshing to make plays.

The defensive backfield should be as good as the best squads we've had in 15 years. The loss of Bryan Heinz has been heatbreaking because he represents IMO the heart of the entire NU defense. He is the guy that really brings the courage and lumber for NU on D. He has always been that guy. An absolutely tremendous playmaker against the run, I just know the team loves and rallies around this guy. He reminds me of players when I played that would get reamed out during films by the coaches until they showed several plays displaying their amazing heart that would leave the coaches speechless with admiration. He has got to heal up and get back out there and create the wonderful mayhem that his teammates are missing right now.

Smittee [Brendan Smith] is also having a great season as he applies what he has learned from last year.

Quice, [Marquice Cole] I love you, but you have got to bust out of your self-imposed shell and start showing the world just exactly, precisely, and profoundly how great a shut-down corner and all around bad-assed dude you are on defense. If a guy goes more than 20 yards, then just go all out, hunt him down, shut him off, clean him out, and box him up like you did last year. What do you have to fear? 10 yards and a 1st down if they call interference? You are a tremendous, self-made, body by Marquice talent that has to let it all go and enjoy your last year here.

Deante Battle is now stepping onto the big stage. Just keep doing everything to the best that you can do. You are going to be tested. Why hold back? Don't worry, be happy! Both Deante and Marquice form potentially the best corners we've had since Rodney Ray and Chris Martin. Granted that is a tall order to live up to as they were the hardest working most amazing sellout corners I have ever seen. Damn, the memories! The shut down coverage on Derrick Mayes, Amani Toomer, Mercury Hayes, Freddie Scott, and Bobby Engram!! WOW!! They were Kyptonite to a half dozen future NFL superstars!

The success of this team the rest of the way hinges so much on finding a QB that can handle the great pressure that is going to be forced upon them ast starting QBs. Teams will be pressuring the QBs constantly until the rest of the team can execute, slam the blitzing backers, and bail our QBs out on a long pass or well blocked screen to the flats, etc.

It will seem hopeless at times until things start falling into place and defenses have to respect the pass. NU fans just have to be patient while this metamorphosis occurs. Meanwhile, enjoy the abundant talent that is developed or emerging on this team! I don't look much at the scoreboard right now, I just the play on the field and I like many things that I see.

We are not untalented by any means: Sutton, Jordan, Lane, Keenan, Rees, Thiry, Ngene, Gill, Wootten, Mims, Koehn, Roach, Simpson, Cole, Battle, Smith, Heinz. That is good talent!
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