I've never done this before, but will give it my best shot. After this year, I have my evaluations on the different positions on the team and how I believe they did this year on a scale of A+ to F. I look forward to your opinion's and comments as to how off or on I might be. After reading, go on over to my blog at www.martytadman.com as I discuss my personal thoughts on the bowl selections and BCS system. So here goes my rankings.
Overall team grade- A-double minus
The reason for this grade is because there were some areas of the team that seemed to digress throughout the season. And to me, constant improvement must continue happening for a team to get an A+. They won all games they should have, a great win against Georgia at Georgia was unbelievable. However the fact that we lost to TCU at home is a big deal to me as we DO NOT LOSE ON THE BLUE. Also, there were several games we started very slowly, several positions never improved. Overall thought, the team did great, I do believe that the talent was so much that it was hard for them to meet my expectations. I think they underperformed just a bit. I look at the team not as the win and loss record only, and not by the score only or the stats, but by watching them play all 60 minutes of every game and watch if they get better. One of the best traits a player and team can have is to be able to fix their mistakes and improve them. There were several areas that didn't happen and I know injuries played a large role with some and inexperience of players at certain positions played a role in that as well, but I just didn't see enough to give an A+. So they get a solid grade, very good grade, but if A+ was my expectation, I don't feel they lived up to my personal expectations as a fan and former player this year.
Overall Offense grade-A-
The only reason it's not an A+ is because of the slow starts they had in many games. Also there were untimely turnovers that took place and dropped passes on occasion. The run game improved throughout the year but half the year it really struggled. So a very solid near perfect grade of A-.
Kellen played great. He improved again this year. He made some throws that really impressed me and shows his arm strength as it's grown since I saw him as my scout team quarterback my senior year. Made many successful pre-read decisions that enabled him to pick apart defenses and took what they gave him without forcing more than a handful of passes all year. The only concern I have for Kellen at the next level, outside of his height and agility, is that as a safety watching him play, he is fairly easy to read where he's going with the ball outside of seem routes. I would like to see him keep his shoulders square a bit more and level as well without dipping to early or opening up too early for passes long or to his backside. But he was a great BSU quarterback, in my opinion, with the guys I've personally seen, which only goes back to watching film from the late 90's till now, he is the best overall QB I've seen. And more importantly, he's one of the best human beings I've known to wear the uniform.
Receivers/tight ends- A-
It was very hard to replace Titus and Austin and Jeremy Childs, but Miller and Mitch and Tyler and Efaw did it in my opinion. They did show the step down in talent just a bit by not having as much Yards after catch, or jaw dropping moves after the catch. But they were just solid receivers who ran good routes, and caught most the balls they should have. They did drop some easy passes throughout the year but that's too be expected. However, the biggest reason they get such a good solid grade by me is because they improved throughout the year. They went from a few catches/years of experience to growing enough to see them mature and get better week in and week out on the field.
Running backs- A-
I was asked when I left BSU who I thought were the future stars of the team, and the one guy I knew and believed in was Doug Martin. As a freshman scout teamer with me, I knew he was something special. He is the best running back I have ever played with by far...even when he was just a scout team running back. However, the lack of depth really hurt us when DJ and Doug were out verses TCU, we had a younger inexperienced guy fumble the ball at a crucial stage in the game which cost the touchdown that ended up being the winning score. So Doug was an A+ by far, DJ was a A+ spell back, but that 1 fumble brings it down to an A- for me as it really hurt us as a team.
Offensive line- B+
These guys were so impressive to me. They started the year with a pretty bad grade in the run game for me. But man, they really improved about mid way through the season. I was very impressed with their running game. However, it seemed Kellen was under more pressure this year than before, and they gave up quite a few sacks. So because in my opinion the pass game was hurt a bit from the dline getting pressure, gotta bring it too a B+.
Overall Defensive grade- B+
Early in the year they were an A, but after injuries hurt the secondary, the grade has too be dropped. You will see why it has to be a B+ because of the position rankings. Most position players did awesome, but a certain group I used to be a part of got hurt, and no one stepped up in a big way so it has to drop their grade a bit.
Defensive line- A-
This was the #1 strength of the entire team in my opinion. We had depth and could rotate guys freely. They constantly made plays in the backfield and pressured the quarterback. The reason it's not an A+ is because of the TCU game. The lack of secondary coverage combined with the lack of pressure really hurt us. The fact that TCU's QB could stand back there on a 7 step drop and pump fake and still not be pressured killed us. Other than that one game, these guys were outstanding all season long.
They were outstanding all year. Very solid. Early in the year they seemed to be struggling with screen passes and getting outside, and reading the screen, but they fixed that problem and the screens didn't hurt them nearly as much later in the year. Aaron Tevis impressed me a ton. He is a very athletic and smart player. He can do a lot of things others can't with his athleticism.
Defensive backs- C-
I may be tough on these guys because it was my former position. But they got worse throughout the year. Injuries are the main reason I think that happened. But you have to be prepared as a back up to step up if needed. They constantly got beat deep. We got very lucky in several games that the DLINE got to their QB often enough to pressure them into missing the pass long, but there were numerous receivers every game that got behind out guys. The #1 role of a DB is too not get beat deep at all. They defended the short and intermediate passes well, but deep balls hurt us. Obviously TCU was really bad, as we kept biting on double routes and never learned our lesson and just couldn't come up with that big play that was needed.
Overall Special teams grade- D
Every team was great except our kicking game. Our kicking game all year was bad...need I say more.
Let me know how bad I did, thanks bronco nation!
Check out my blog www.martytadman.com as this week I discuss my thoughts on the Bowl selection and BCS