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OL Recruiting 2008-2009

  • With the escalating criticism of Elliott, I thought we could all use a little reminder of just how bad our OL recruiting was before he got here. Ideally, you have RS seniors and juniors starting at most positions while younger players are rotated in. The problem is that our recruiting was so bad in 2008-2009 that there were no veterans to put in there this year other than Johnson. Take a look at the players signed as OL in the classes that should have been providing our veteran starters fpr 2012:

    RS seniors (2008 class): Johnson, Elliot Williams

    Johnson was obviously a solid signing, but that is about it. We did move some DL over to fill the holes. Jarriel King was a JUCO DL moved over to OL who was up and down and would not be around this year under any scenario. Kenny Davis was moved to OL after being unable to make an impact at DL. His scholarship was not renewed.

    RS Juniors (2009 class): Nick Allison, Rok Watkins, Steven Singleton.

    So 2 JUCOs who would not be here this year under any scenario and a developmental player who, according to Rivals, had no other offers and washed out after a year.

    RS Sophomores (2010 class): AJ Cann, Corey Robinson, Ronald Patrick, Cody Gibson, Tramell Williams, Duvon Milsap

    Elliott was hired weeks before this class was signed, so he had no real chance to recruit or evaluate for this year. Wolford at least set us up with the type of numbers you need to bring in each year, even if Cann was the only elite recruit. Millsap did not have the grades, and of the others Tramell Williams is the only one who even had another SEC offer per Rivals, and it was from Vandy (although Williams & Patrick are shown with a FSU offer). So I think it is fair to say Cann is the only one who seemed likely to be ready for early PT, and that the others would need some time and solid coaching to develop.

    So Elliott had only one upperclassman due to the whiffs in 2008-2009, and has, I think, done a remarkable job getting his most veteran group (the RS sophomores) ready on an accelerated timeline.

    No coach is perfect, and he missed on Broome and apparently K. Harris. But using JUCOs is always a crapshoot, and Broome was being recruited precisely to fill the sizable hole in our depth chart caused by earlier failures. And it appears Elliott was right about Waldrop (although he will likely have growing pains due again to the accelerated timeline), Zandi, Matulis, etc.

    This post was edited by PalmettoLaw 15 months ago

  • Good post. Good info. But it matters not. Best be prepared for a steady diet of Elliot criticism. I think it's reasonable to expect the OL to be improved next year but unreasonable to expect some quantum leap forward. I think a likely best case scenario is a line that is around the middle of the pack in terms of the SEC but hopefully more consistent from game to game.
    That will not suffice, however, and Sean Elliot will be the reason why. The wheels have been set in motion on that one.

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  • If posters can't see that Elliott is a fantastic OL coach then they are idiots. There is a reason he has been sought after for several other jobs.

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    #3peat

  • CL4170

    Good post, but I don't think anybody should spend much time defending SE. Criticism of him is retarded.

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  • Agreed.

    If you are unable to see the tremendous impact that Elliots had on not just the OL, but the entire program...you aren't worth arguing with. Because you sir, are mentally deficient.

    These things dont happen overnight, but for the first time in years we have DEPTH, quality depth at that, even though were still very young at the position. The days of moving ineffective DL's over to the O-line out of absolute necessity are over because Elliot has recruited his ass off and has done a great job as an evaluator. Not to mention he's an excellent motivator and his kids will run through a brick wall for him.

    Future is bright, be patient.

  • CockAtLaw

    I like this thread. Great points by all.

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    You may run like Hayes, but you hit like $*!#

  • Also, if you notice him during games, he is coaching and pumping up everyone on the team. He was pulling players off of the field after Clowney obliterated that Mich RB so that we would not get a penalty. He's also the best motivational speech coach that we have. He has affected this program in so many positive ways it is hard to fathom. He's a great coach, and a few impatient fans do not change that.

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    Ally will beat the crap out of Uga.

  • This is accurate. And, for me personally, I get it. My sole point was that - seeing the class that signed when you're hired, and the guys that made it in, wouldn't you sign more than one prospect in your first full class(2011), that you felt confident would get in to school, that would be capable of competing with each other for TJ Johnsons spot once he graduated? That's it. Beyond that, I think he's done a very adequate job considering what he inherited. As you stated, most success comes from JR's and SR's on the OL. Currently, at best, it seems that won't happen until 2015. Hopefully we can hold on to him long enough for him to coach that group as well.

    Maybe he felt confident that some of the guys already here could do the job. Like Patrick, or Cann? Don't recall those names being tossed around as a potential replacement for TJ, but could very well be wrong.

  • And I don't think that small bit of criticism is over the top.

  • It always STARTS small. Then it grows into the absurd from there:)

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  • MrNiceGuy

    And now that the WRs have shown that JR does a great job of developing players, those who are always overly critical of the coaching staff now have to find a new scapegoat. I think Jrs criticism mainly came from the fact that he was SOS's son.

    Elliot is simply the best OL coach we have had that I can recall, maybe if Wolford had been here for a while he could have proven differently. The OL situation is not that bad and quite frankly anyone expecting much better from USC simply does not have realistic expectations or a grasp of the situation.

    This post was edited by Cockbert 15 months ago

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    Elliott "Small" Fry

  • I get what you're saying about loading up on the online if its depleted. However the biggest concern with doing that is you need to balance your recruiting. We are doing that overall although lb and cb have become somewhat of a concern but that's not due to recruiting as much as guys not panning out. The bottom line is had we signed 8 or 9 OL we would be lacking bodies elsewhere. What Elliot has done is set the table for us to bring in 4 or 5 OL every year and let them redshirt and get themselves acclimated to the SEC grind.

  • Part a - Inaccurate. Jr needs to do more, IMO, than have a nice season with Ace and Ellington to change my mind. And that includes Alshon and Kenny. Part of it is that his dad is the boss, but mostly its the long list of names he's brought in and done nothing to minimal with. It's much longer than the Alshon and Kenny list.

    Part b - very well could be 100% accurate.

  • These are all great points and I believe we are headed in the right direction, however, it will be 2 more years before Elliott truly has an SEC line to work with. I think one thing many are hesitant to say is that Johnson is truly a solid, but average SEC lineman and it is hard to develop a great SEC line with an average center and 4 young starters beside him. Now we get to christen a freshman center to go along with a little more experience around him, but still just second year starters at tackle so this will probably not be the year---freshman center and 2nd year starters at tackle. Hopefully, experience at QB, RB, and WR will help overcome some inconsistency in the line and lead to more big plays like the bowl game, more points, and less pressure on the line and defense.

    The one thing that is frustrating with the line (that directly relates to coaching) is our inability to consistently put a hat on a hat. Most of our major breakdowns are mental --- with a Senior center and 55 starts so will this improve? I can live with a lineman getting ran over, but a defensive player running free on a simple run play is not acceptable and that happens 5-10 times per game and effectively shuts down our run game unless we are running the read option which allows us to read and avoid the unblocked player.

    I have a ton of confidence in Elliott, but we have to get better mentally OR simplify our blocking schemes which is what the I formation does.

    Great 2012 and cant wait until 2013.

  • MrNiceGuy

    Um, I guess you forgot the development of that guy named Rice too right? He developed three guys into NFL WRs, and add Gurley being on a practice squad. Ace and probably Bruce will be NFL guys. JR has done plenty IMO. If he gets three guys a year and every three years he puts a guy in the league then he has done his job. Name me another WR coach who has been more productive over the last 8 years.

    Also, it is clear as day to anyone with any football knowledge that the lack of numbers for WRs the last two years have not been the development of the WRs. It has CLEARLY been the playcalling, and the unwillingness of Shaw to throw the ball. I have no problem with having a run first offense. This means WR production is going to be down compared to prior years, or as I should BL, before Lattimore.

    If Ace returns, the WRs will be one of the strengths of the team next year. And they quietly were a strength this year. Once Lattimore went down they stepped up. Ace's quote the other day reflecting on this was spot on. If Thompson is the starter next year, which I doubt, then you will say a huge increase in production.

    This post was edited by MrNiceGuy 15 months ago

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    Elliott "Small" Fry

  • SwanseaGCOCK

    You do realize that list of busts/small contributors vs star players is larger by a large stretch on virtually very position coaches resume don't you? In fact name me one who's been doing it for more than 5 years (had to recruit own players) that has a longer star list. For every Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson, Sidney Rice, Alshon Jeffery, Michael Crabtree, there are 10-15 players we've never heard of. In Jr's time here his wideouts have broken several records, and if Sid would've stayed for his 3rd functional year who knows how high he would've set the bar. Ace and Bruce really turned it up down the stretch after Jr switched them. Jones is playing very well. Byrd is getting better and Shaq made a nice catch though he was OB. The catching part has been his problem early on in his limited opportunities

    Harping on SE is insane IMO. It's like several posters on here that used complain about Ray Tanner. Well we know how that story ended. No I'm not comparing SE or Jr to RT, but the situation is similar. Let the man in charge be IN CHARGE if SOS' sees an issue he'll address it. Wolford had virtually nothing to work with, but did get some pretty good guys in his last and SE's first class. SE has upgraded the talent each year and landed some big time prospects last season and I think he will this season too. It takes time to develop lineman. Even Bama and LSU have/had line problems at times this year. Hell LSU couldn't block Malicah freaking Goodman nor get short yardage against the urange putty tats. Youth causes misses and mistakes. The only cure for youth is PT and years. That takes TIME. If after next season we're still wondering about the OL (IE no progression) then your continuing criticism might could be justified. We lose one starting OL next year and no depth of consequence. TJ is a huge cog and started every game in his career so that's a huge loss, but guys like Robinson, Shell and Matulis now know what SEC speed is all about, and are better for it. Cann is going to be a very solid G next year IMO. Patrick I do have concerns about. The OL hasn't had the type of depth and talent in my lifetime or basically ever IMO (yes I know #38 had some maulers in front of him, but they weren't playing SEC DL week in week out either, and we had some decent OL's under Lou, but not this deep). There is no magic ball or potion for recruiting OL and developing them. If there were don't you think we'd be using it? The only answer is numbers and WORK. I think Elliot is doing both. People need to step back look at the 2012 schedule and say we went 11-2 for the SECOND TIME IN HISTORY, spanked our rival for the fourth straight year WOW that's pretty impressive. Sure the two losses SUCKED OUT LOUD as ALL LOSSES do, but neither one was solely on the OL. There were in any number of plays that could've swung that game. Hell if we'd played anywhere else or maybe even just not at night we beat them. The UF game was an anomaly caused by fumbles, the LSU loss, and the SEC schedule makers. Step back and enjoy the success the last two years have brought. It's nearly akin to someone complaining we finished second in baseball after winning B2B titles. Someone always has to find something to whine about.

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    34-17, 4-3, 7-1, 29-7, 34-13 ALL STOP!!! It's a GREAT TIME TO BE A GAMECOCK! Back 2 Back Natty's! DOMINATION By GAMECOCK NATION!

  • I also recall reports during Rice's Fr year that he was the best WR on the team while he RS'd - prior to Jr ever showing up. But, if you want to give him Rice and Gurley, that's fine. My list looks like this - Chris Hail, Larry Freeman, Matt Clements, Deon Lecorn, DL Moore, OJ Murdock, Joe Hills, Mark Barnes, Jason Barnes, Moe Brown, Lamar Scruggs, Freddie Brown, DeDe Smith, DeMario Bennett, etc..... if we're counting Rice, do we also count Whiteside, Kris Clark, etc that were here when he arrived too?

    This post was edited by europhilz 15 months ago

  • BCMCock05

    I haven't been part of any Elliott criticism but just wanted to throw out something.

    Don't think our line struggled this year due to coaching, and don't think age matters as much as people like to think.

    Sure having 5 5 year guys is preferable, but there are good young players throughout the SEC and the country. Tennessee's OL was the exact age as ours with the exception of 1 year for 1 player.

    Talent might be more of the problem.

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  • Offensive Line is a position that you have to volume recruit. It is imperative to sign 4-5 per class to get good at that position. There is so much development and it is really difficult to project/analyze OL against high school competition.

    We signed no OL is Spurrier's first class, and it was really tough to overcome that.

    This post was edited by ajcock 15 months ago

  • Sent you a PM about Jr. Don't want to detract from the OP. Edit: at least attmpted to. Keeps kicking me out of PM?

    And I agree with most of what you say about our OL and SE.

    This post was edited by europhilz 15 months ago

  • suffoletta

    It took us 3 years to build quality depth at the QB position, and I think that is a reasonable time frame. That's a one deep position. Thinking it will take 3 years to build the same type quality depth at a 5 deep position is not realistic. the sheer numbers required can't be obtained in that short amount of time. We sign 4-6 lineman a year and that is a good number w/o taking away from other positions. then you have to physically develop and a few guys simply can't either gain the correct type of weight or lose the wrong type then you have to teach them to play their position. some guys won't ever get this, then finally they have to be taught to work as a 5 man group. These things can be done simultaneously just pointing out that there are 3 distinct areas of development of an O line. It's not a simple task as signing 2-3 guys and the problem goes away. 2011 we had a difficult time pass protecting but ran well, this year pass pro was pretty decent but couldn't run block. 4 of 5 starters will be back so there is reasonable expectation to see improvement. don't expect to push the likes of BAMA LSU or UF around the line, should be able to hold our own though.

    I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I am all out of bubble gum.

  • Well if we are talking about what he should have prioritized in the 2011 class, we signed 6 OL in that 2010 class, 3 of whom were interior linemen (Tramel Williams made it into school but transferred right around signing day in 2011). Seems reasonable for me that he would have thought he would be able to find a center after TJ from one of those 3 or Harris. And for all we know, Cann or Patrick could end up at center next year if that helps get the best 5 on the field.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by PalmettoLaw 15 months ago

  • Very possible. Hopefully it's a strength next year.

  • Tenn was 4 and USC was 5 in SEC scoring offense. USC won 11- tenn. won 5. Didn't go to a bowl didn't play LSU. Did play Akron Troy and Georgia St. and coach was fired. They couldn't run the ball but the line was great in pass protection. I like our guys.

  • BCMCock05

    UT didn't lose games because of their offense. Their defense was AWFUL. I just used them as an example because they compare well age wise, and people have praised their offense, and OL, all year. Don't know why you say they couldn't run the ball since they did better than us.

    My point was age vs talent, like I said. And that I like Elliott. Not comparing the 2012 USC and UT teams.

    Anyway, if it's stats you're after here ya go:

    Rushing offense
    USC 83rd nationally, 10th SEC
    UT 61, 8

    Passing
    USC 65, 7
    UT 15, 2

    Scoring
    USC 47, 5, 31 ppg
    UT 23, 4, 36 ppg

    Total
    USC 86, 10, 372 ypg
    UT 20, 2, 476 ypg

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