Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hageman on Defense and Post-Scrimmage Thoughts

Both dailies have stories about true freshman tight end Ra'Shede Hageman taking some snaps with the defense as a pass-rushing end. The 6'6, 260 pound Washburn high alum is as big and fast as anybody the Gophs have playing that spot already, and with a lot of depth at TE, the coaches were looking for creative ways to get their best athletes on the field somehow, someway. Hageman was a top 100 recruit last year, and said he chose The U over some more prestigious schools because he wanted to play tight end, and soon. Still, sounds like he was very open to the idea of rushing the passer (Youngblood reports Hageman suggested it, while Fuller says it was D-line coach Tim Cross' idea), and wants to help the team wherever he can. It's not uncommon for players to come in at one position but end up switching due to depth or injury issues. This does not rule out Hageman from being a TE this year or down the road, but it adds some versatility for him and some more options to play sooner.

As for the scrimmage played Saturday, well, there's really not much to be taken from it. I mean, what's more vanilla than vanilla? What if we separated vanilla ice cream into ice and cream? Really, the Gophs showed next to nothing of substance in the scrimmage, and rightfully so. Why show ANYTHING in a meaningless scrimmage that's already being broadcasted on the Big Ten Network? Yeah, Weber didn't look great, and they didn't run the ball all that well, but I'm not putting much stock into the actual play. As Youngblood reports, Weber's still learning a new offense, and sounds like he was experimenting a bit with reads and throws. If he's throwing three picks and making some bad decisions against Syracuse and Air Force, then ok, that's going to be a concern. For now, chalk it up to his learning curve.

The team ran no wildcat formations with MarQueis because QB's were off limits for contact, and they also did nothing of substance to get Troy Stoudermire involved other than a couple of out patterns for minimal gains. It's expected Stoudermire will be used in a Percy Harvin-type role for the Gophs, lining up at RB, receiver, and maybe even QB in the Wildcat at time. As for Gray, the second team offense ran the ball a LOT. Gray didn't have many opportunities to throw, and when he did, they weren't running many plays to let him throw downfield. Again, very, very, VERY vanilla.

A few things that I did take away from it were who played where, and with whom:
- Heyo Carpenter spent the entire scrimmage with the second team, and I haven't seen any comments from Brewster whether this is because Carpenter isn't picking things up fast enough, or if Brandon Green is just outplaying him right now. As Youngblood muses, I have zero concerns about the receivers right now, and if Carpenter is only the fourth best guy at the moment, that's a really good problem to have.
- True frosh corner Michael Carter was the starting corner for the second team, and other than the first play where he got toasted by Decker for the TD, he played pretty well. Good sign that he's already moving up the depth chart, and as I said last week, the sooner we get him on the field on passing downs, the better.
- Still some questions on the offensive line, although part of that was expected starting center Jeff Tow-Arnett, one of seemingly 19 Tow-Arnett's on the team this year, didn't play because of injury. A good center is the key to every good line, so Tow-Arnett's health, or someone stepping up in his place, is going to be crucial for the success of the offense this season.

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