Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where Did All The Talent Go?



We started Saturday night’s game in a nickel package with Abry Jones and Demarcus Dobbs the only two defensive linemen in the game. Over the course of the next 60 minutes we substituted two other players, Kiante Tripp and DeAngelo Tyson.

Dobbs made three tackles (2 solo) and Tyson made one, Jones was credited with one quarterback hurry.

Brandon Wood, Kwame Geathers and Derrick Lott did not play. Freshmen Mike Thornton and Garrison Smith have not played at all this year. Justin Anderson had surgery and is out for the season.

Our four starting linebackers were Justin Houston, Akeem Dent, Christian Robinson and Cornelius Washington. The only other two involved in the game were Darryl Gamble and Marcus Dowtin.

Missing were Reuben Faloughi, Akeem Hebron, Jeremy Longo and Chase Vasser. Mike Gilliard and T.J. Stripling did see action on special teams.

The three starting cornerbacks were Brandon Boykin, Vance Cuff and Branden Smith. Bacarri Rambo and Jakar Hamilton were the starting safeties.

Jordan Love, Sanders Commings and Shawn Williams played on defense along with Chad Gloer, Nick Williams, Alec Ogletree, Derek Owens and walk-on Blake Sailors on special teams.

Mississippi State controlled the ball for 19:21 of the second half, they scored 17 points and rushed for 116 yards that included a 10 play, 93 yard drive in the 4th quarter to seal the game against a tired defense.

We had one interception, one pass break-up, one forced fumble, two tackles for a loss and one quarterback hurry. Mississippi State’s quarterback rushed for 97 yards.

We substituted a total of 7 players all night on defense, two linemen, two linebackers and three defensive backs.


Our starting five on the offensive line were Clint Boling at left tackle, Cordy Glenn at left guard, Ben Jones at center, Tanner Strickland at right guard and Josh Davis at right tackle. Trinton Sturdivant and Chris Davis also saw action.

Not playing were Dallas Lee, A.J. Harmon, Kenarious Gates, Ben Hardin, Kolton Houston and Austin Long. Chris Burnett is injured and did not play.

Murray played the entire game at quarterback, we played all three of the tightends plus walk-on Derek Rich on special teams.

We played all three tailbacks and both the fullbacks along with the six wide receivers that made the trip.

We substituted a total of 11 players on offense, two linemen, two tightends, one fullback, two tailbacks and four wide receivers.

We had a total of 13 that only played on special teams including two kickers, one punter and one long snapper.

Of the 70 players allowed to travel for a conference road game, we played a total of 53. Mississippi State used 58 players.

The Trend

Against Arkansas we used 16 players other than the 22 starters, a total of 38. Arkansas used 50.

Against South Carolina we used a total of 55 players, 15 of them on special teams only. South Carolina used 54.

For all our recruiting prowess the past five years, we are playing with 38 to 40 players that are actually seeing meaningful snaps. Take the three kickers and long snapper out and the number drops to about 35 players.

That’s less than half of the 85 man roster.

We are red-shirting 13, that leaves 32 scholarshipped athletes that are either injured, too young or simply not good enough to contribute beyond special teams.

It doesn’t take very many recruiting misses to separate the top of the conference from the bottom and there isn’t room for much dead wood if you are going to compete at the highest level. The Dawgs have signed 30 players in the past 5 classes that for one reason or another are no longer on the team, four of them used all of their eligibility.

Coaching can take you only so far before reaching a point where you must have the players capable of making plays consistently to win a championship.

All that and an occasional smile from old lady luck.

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