We’re a solid 6 months away from the 2023 pre-season from getting started, and all the talk right now is centered on way-too-early rankings and transfer portal happenings.
I’m more interested in what everyone hopes to see in 2023. Obviously we’d all love 15-0 or GTFO, but I’m talking a bit more about the nitty gritty. Any particular things you’re all hoping for in 2023?
For me, I’m very interested in Drew Allar, said Captain Obvious.
What I mean is that when watching Drew come in during the 2022 season, I was curious to see his decision-making, mechanics, and intangibles when mostly playing in games that were completely decided.
For starters, I thought his decision-making was so-so. Given that this was a true freshman who hadn’t had the opportunity to enroll early, it wasn’t unexpected. For instance, in the lone drive he led against Purdue in the season opener, there was one instance on third and long (I believe) where the defense cleared the middle of the field and he very easily could have walked for a first down. Instead, he opted to throw a bullet behind his intended receiver, and the Lions had to punt.
Later in the season, it seemed the coaches had told him to look for the scramble if it was there, and he would take off when there were no viable passing options, but the man couldn’t - or wouldn’t - slide to save his life. I’m all for making defenses pay with a QB that is surprisingly nimble for his size, but don’t take unnecessary hits. Those have a way of derailing a season (see: Clifford, Sean, at Iowa 2021).
But again, true freshman, in mop up duty, I expect the decision-making will improve.
Mechanics is something else I watched, and I saw two things - one, he has a laser-rocket arm. When he drives the ball, it’ll damn near punch a hole in a receiver’s chest. What I also saw were some issues with accuracy (see previous mention of missing a receiver on third-and-long against Purdue), and some of his throws having more than a little wobble on them. It’s hard enough to catch a bullet, it’s harder still when it’s in a hard to catch location with a wobble.
I have no doubt that Mike Yurcich is whispering as we speak, and working on all of the above with Allar. But if we’re seriously going to entertain any discussions of 15-0 or GTFO, the fundamentals have to be sound. By all accounts, the run game should be set, the offensive line should be solid (if not a strength), and there are a bevy of talented pass catchers on the roster. If Drew can sort out some of these issues that I noticed from 2022, the offense could really sing.
But don’t be surprised if we also see some head-scratchers due to misplaced balls or trying to force throws when an easy scramble was there for the taking.