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The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
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Rabid Squirrel Offline
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Post: #1
The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
2022 never happened. It was a 12 game exhibition merely to prepare this team for 2023. So let’s take what we learned in these 12 exhibitions and prepare this team for 2023.

What we learned on defense:
1 - soft coverage doesn’t work. It felt like cover 3 a lot but idk I am never sure exactly what they're in on TV. But lets just say they need to fix the pass defense scheme. SOLUTION: fire Jackson, promote Benedetto. Not that Benedetto is a savior but heads needed to roll for this year's performance

2 - Byrd is not your nickel corner. Gandy and Rogers are solid. SOLUTION: CB transfer or hope Byrd improves on ball awareness I don't really have anyone else on this roster that I see as the potential 3rd corner. Hopefully you do.

3 - Lack of speed at safety. SOLUTION: none. They’re solid tacklers. Not ideal but not a priority

4 - No playmakers at LB. Love Kyle and he’s a lifetime Huskie but he’s not the same player. SOLUTION: Kyle will graduate. Rattin will takeover full-time and hold down the Middle. Alvarado may be THAT GUY along with Lafayette and Rayner we will get more big plays. These 2 are good athletes coming into their prime and Alvarado just looks like he has that knack for making plays.

5 - D-line is pretty good. SOLUTION: transfer pass rusher. This team should finish with around 33 sacks and is 2nd in the conf in rushing yards allowed. Gotta give them props as they are the second best unit on the team. But you can always use a great pass rusher as the best solution to a suspect secondary is QB pressure. There's several young guys on this team with good size. This is one of the positions where Ham was getting those P5 sized players he so envies. Time to develop 1 or 2 along with a portal IGM again. It's too late now but DE is a place a certain 6'3", 220Lb great athlete rotting on the bench as the 5th string QB might have done well at.

What we learned on offense:
1 - No QB depth. SOLUTION: Hope. Hope Rocky doesn’t get hurt. Hope we get another transfer. Ham may be relying on transfers if he wants a real #1 QB for years ahead. Clearly a recruiting issue. We have watched other Mac teams forced to play their #2 QBs and saw much more potential. If not THE biggest issue going forward it’s definitely one of them.

2 - WR talent. SOLUTION: see #1. Prey Jalen Johnson is a stud.

3 - TE talent. SOLUTION: see #2. Recruiting has just got to improve on offense. Bottom line. For now commit Gumbs to TE give him that full offseason to improve.

4 - Play calling. We’ve questioned the commitment to running right into a wall. Questioned the lack of TE usage. Questioned the the lack of deep ball, the usage of Lynch, the bad 4th down decisions. We have had A LOT to question. SOLUTION: Healthy Rocky and Rudolph plus consistency. The offense was directionless without those guys. Eidsness just had nothing that regularly worked. He could not turn this talentless offense into anything more than a RB breaking away for a 75 yard TD. Eidsness may not be a problem solver but if given no serious problems I think he can run a good offense.

This was easily the most disappointing season I've ever experienced. The negative mentality it created was cancerous and the off season may do us all, and the team, some good. Nearly everything is fixable except Ham's recruiting. We are just going to have to depend on the portal and hope for a little luck like we had finding rudolph. It's still the MAC guys and the MAC sucks so we can compete. But give me Rocky, Rudolph, Waylee/Brown for 12 games and I will promise you 8 wins. I can also promise a much more enjoyable season. F you '22.
11-17-2022 12:31 PM
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BigChilla Offline
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Post: #2
RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
Byrd is pretty awful - but maybe just awful at corner? Move him to free safety?

Linebackers…I feel better than I did weeks ago. Rayner Rattin Alvarado. That’s ok with me. Who knows what they are doing at “Huskie” that positions was awful this year. Everyone they threw out there.

The d line is ok. I don’t have them ranked as a concern.

Safety…last night when they rolled Brown over the top in the middle it made me nervous. He isn’t fast enough to cover the whole centerfield. Get faster players? Not much of a fix…I don’t know what to say. Find a center fielder.

Corners are bad, but if they stop giving a huge cushion things could go better.

Offense…eh…fix everywhere? Recruiting 100 oline men is not gonna fix it.
11-17-2022 01:41 PM
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badmoonrising13 Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
We underestimated the loss of Rudolph. When he went down, we didn't have a downfield threat. Tuck and Rutk are solid but let's face it, they're not nearly the threat Rudolph is. Then when Rocky went down, we went from one of the best offenses in the MAC to the worst. We would have loved to have seen Justin being given a chance to throw but I think we know what the result probably would've been from the small sample we did see. Hope Nevan can improve a ton and become a solid No. 2 next year.
How do we have so many Division I receivers and TEs that can't catch a lick? Why did we have to see wide open guys drop easy throws in crucial situations. Do we not put enough pressure on them in practices? It was extremely frustrating and it definitely cost us at least three games. We need to problem solve that as well.
The defense did show improvement.
11-17-2022 01:48 PM
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Rabid Squirrel Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
The defense is a couple good secondary players away from Respectability. Believe it or not, since MAC play NIU is only giving up about 2 points a game more than Toledo. Around 30 to 28. And I thought the Rockets had a very good defense. They don’t but it was good enough to get to a MACC.
11-17-2022 01:57 PM
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Big Red Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-17-2022 01:57 PM)Rabid Squirrel Wrote:  The defense is a couple good secondary players away from Respectability. Believe it or not, since MAC play NIU is only giving up about 2 points a game more than Toledo. Around 30 to 28. And I thought the Rockets had a very good defense. They don’t but it was good enough to get to a MACC.

If there was just one more decent team in the West, Toledo would be looking up at them.

As it stands now, Eastern Michigan (of all damn teams...) can still tie them for 1st place (as if Toledo is going to lose to Western...but maybe). Obviously, Toledo beat them so they own the tiebreaker but not an outright West 1st place finish.
11-17-2022 02:02 PM
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Rabid Squirrel Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-17-2022 02:02 PM)Big Red Wrote:  
(11-17-2022 01:57 PM)Rabid Squirrel Wrote:  The defense is a couple good secondary players away from Respectability. Believe it or not, since MAC play NIU is only giving up about 2 points a game more than Toledo. Around 30 to 28. And I thought the Rockets had a very good defense. They don’t but it was good enough to get to a MACC.

If there was just one more decent team in the West, Toledo would be looking up at them.

As it stands now, Eastern Michigan (of all damn teams...) can still tie them for 1st place (as if Toledo is going to lose to Western...but maybe). Obviously, Toledo beat them so they own the tiebreaker but not an outright West 1st place finish.

EMU could finish 8-4 and Toledo 7-5 and Toledo still wins the West due to both being 5-3 in conf. but Tol with H2H. I’m sure it’s been done plenty but I wonder when the last division champ had a worse overall record than a division foe.
11-17-2022 02:24 PM
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bikechuck Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
I am waiting to see if there is a mass exodus from our program after the season wraps up. I hope not but losing can at times create a toxic environment. The team has continued to battle so hopefully we retain our key guys.
11-17-2022 04:12 PM
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M4l4z4n Offline
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Post: #8
RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-17-2022 12:31 PM)Rabid Squirrel Wrote:  2022 never happened. It was a 12 game exhibition merely to prepare this team for 2023. So let’s take what we learned in these 12 exhibitions and prepare this team for 2023.

What we learned on defense:
1 - soft coverage doesn’t work. It felt like cover 3 a lot but idk I am never sure exactly what they're in on TV. But lets just say they need to fix the pass defense scheme. SOLUTION: fire Jackson, promote Benedetto. Not that Benedetto is a savior but heads needed to roll for this year's performance

2 - Byrd is not your nickel corner. Gandy and Rogers are solid. SOLUTION: CB transfer or hope Byrd improves on ball awareness I don't really have anyone else on this roster that I see as the potential 3rd corner. Hopefully you do.

3 - Lack of speed at safety. SOLUTION: none. They’re solid tacklers. Not ideal but not a priority

4 - No playmakers at LB. Love Kyle and he’s a lifetime Huskie but he’s not the same player. SOLUTION: Kyle will graduate. Rattin will takeover full-time and hold down the Middle. Alvarado may be THAT GUY along with Lafayette and Rayner we will get more big plays. These 2 are good athletes coming into their prime and Alvarado just looks like he has that knack for making plays.

5 - D-line is pretty good. SOLUTION: transfer pass rusher. This team should finish with around 33 sacks and is 2nd in the conf in rushing yards allowed. Gotta give them props as they are the second best unit on the team. But you can always use a great pass rusher as the best solution to a suspect secondary is QB pressure. There's several young guys on this team with good size. This is one of the positions where Ham was getting those P5 sized players he so envies. Time to develop 1 or 2 along with a portal IGM again. It's too late now but DE is a place a certain 6'3", 220Lb great athlete rotting on the bench as the 5th string QB might have done well at.

What we learned on offense:
1 - No QB depth. SOLUTION: Hope. Hope Rocky doesn’t get hurt. Hope we get another transfer. Ham may be relying on transfers if he wants a real #1 QB for years ahead. Clearly a recruiting issue. We have watched other Mac teams forced to play their #2 QBs and saw much more potential. If not THE biggest issue going forward it’s definitely one of them.

2 - WR talent. SOLUTION: see #1. Prey Jalen Johnson is a stud.

3 - TE talent. SOLUTION: see #2. Recruiting has just got to improve on offense. Bottom line. For now commit Gumbs to TE give him that full offseason to improve.

4 - Play calling. We’ve questioned the commitment to running right into a wall. Questioned the lack of TE usage. Questioned the the lack of deep ball, the usage of Lynch, the bad 4th down decisions. We have had A LOT to question. SOLUTION: Healthy Rocky and Rudolph plus consistency. The offense was directionless without those guys. Eidsness just had nothing that regularly worked. He could not turn this talentless offense into anything more than a RB breaking away for a 75 yard TD. Eidsness may not be a problem solver but if given no serious problems I think he can run a good offense.

This was easily the most disappointing season I've ever experienced. The negative mentality it created was cancerous and the off season may do us all, and the team, some good. Nearly everything is fixable except Ham's recruiting. We are just going to have to depend on the portal and hope for a little luck like we had finding rudolph. It's still the MAC guys and the MAC sucks so we can compete. But give me Rocky, Rudolph, Waylee/Brown for 12 games and I will promise you 8 wins. I can also promise a much more enjoyable season. F you '22.

Great post, great research and not just complaining but attempting reasonable solutions.
Love it.

But in what world is/was Gandy solid this year? He was benched in at least 2 games this year, wasn't able to cover, didn't make any plays on the ball, and was an ABSOLUTE liability tackling. I can remember at least 3 plays where he was in off coverage (why? probably bad DC scheme) got beat of the line and missed a tackle for a touchdown.

Anyone else here seeing what I'm seeing, or am I crazy one?

EVERYBODY NOW!! "F you '22"
11-17-2022 04:28 PM
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NIUfilmmaker Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
1) Less injuries to key players;

2) Less going for it on 4th and 6 from our own 34 yard line;

3) More fruitful game day promotion and increased overall effectiveness from our lack-luster AD.

Fingers crossed.

Also wondering when NIU will pop the first modern multi-year (500 mil?) fundraiser they teased about a few months back, and wondering if any of that $ will spill over into our stadium? :)

GO HUSKIES!
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2022 04:40 PM by NIUfilmmaker.)
11-17-2022 04:39 PM
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Rabid Squirrel Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-17-2022 04:28 PM)M4l4z4n Wrote:  Great post, great research and not just complaining but attempting reasonable solutions.
Love it.

But in what world is/was Gandy solid this year? He was benched in at least 2 games this year, wasn't able to cover, didn't make any plays on the ball, and was an ABSOLUTE liability tackling. I can remember at least 3 plays where he was in off coverage (why? probably bad DC scheme) got beat of the line and missed a tackle for a touchdown.

Anyone else here seeing what I'm seeing, or am I crazy one?

EVERYBODY NOW!! "F you '22"

I guess serviceable is better than solid when describing Gandy. I appreciate how difficult it is to be a corner in todays game. They get flagged for the slightest contact while I swear that every receiver extends an arm to create space for themselves before the catch and never get flagged for a push off. So being that difficult to find quality corners I'm going to stick with Gandy and replace Byrd. Replacing both Byrd and Gandy seems unlikely. But I agree that he is far from a quality cover guy.
11-17-2022 04:49 PM
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epasnoopy Online
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
Scheme or coaching personnel changes need to be made after this season. This defense is not working. We have the 2nd worst defense in the MAC and they've been healthier on that side of the ball than the offense.

Also kickoff/punt returns. Do we really have no one except Rudolph who is quick, shifty, and can return punts? Tucker fair catches everything and Blakemore is too slow for kickoffs.
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2022 04:53 PM by epasnoopy.)
11-17-2022 04:53 PM
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NIU05 Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
Healthy for 2023 and we will win 7,8 games. We found a SOLID safety in White, kid can play. We need LBs on D, they need to be more physical. Obvious we need cover corners. Everyone is ALWAYS looking for dlineman and cover corners. I like our D line. On offense we need outside speed our guys are rarely have separation. We have a decent enough back-up at Qb in Nevan , who I do expect to improve. We will have 8 Qbs on scholly if no one transfer out. Rocky, Nevan, Hampton, Lynch, Lomax, Fletcher and the 2 recruits. That's is a lot of Qbs.

Espany mentioned special team returners, damn we are bad at that. Tommie Lee where you! Fleck and Danny Sheldon back in the day. This is more of a sign of a lack of team speed and hands, which equals slow receivers with bad hands.

Someone mention if we will have a mass exodus of players, don't believe we will. Usually the players that leave are having a tough time finding playing time. I would be more concerned with our better lineman and Rbs checking out other spots, moving up and not laterally or lower.
11-17-2022 10:35 PM
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
I'm going to be pessimistic for 2023. Seems to work better than being optimistic with this team.
Hopefully a "worst-to-first-to-worst-back-to-first" story.

This year was particularly disappointing because expectations were so high. And Toledo taking the west is just salt in the wound.
11-18-2022 07:59 AM
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HawaiiToNIU Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-18-2022 07:59 AM)MiamiHuskie Wrote:  I'm going to be pessimistic for 2023. Seems to work better than being optimistic with this team.
Hopefully a "worst-to-first-to-worst-back-to-first" story.

This year was particularly disappointing because expectations were so high. And Toledo taking the west is just salt in the wound.

Good idea. Better to be pleasantly surprised than hopelessly underwhelmed. I was one of the people who thought this year would be special.

I'm only wishing for improvement next year. I anticipate numerous transfers, as that's just how kids roll nowdays.
11-18-2022 10:33 AM
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Rabid Squirrel Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-18-2022 10:33 AM)HawaiiToNIU Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 07:59 AM)MiamiHuskie Wrote:  I'm going to be pessimistic for 2023. Seems to work better than being optimistic with this team.
Hopefully a "worst-to-first-to-worst-back-to-first" story.

This year was particularly disappointing because expectations were so high. And Toledo taking the west is just salt in the wound.

Good idea. Better to be pleasantly surprised than hopelessly underwhelmed. I was one of the people who thought this year would be special.

I'm only wishing for improvement next year. I anticipate numerous transfers, as that's just how kids roll nowdays.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the RB’s transfers. I don’t think Rudolph will. Not coming off an injury and also knowing he will get 8-10 targets a game here. Maybe Lynch or Lomax leaves. No one on D is good enough to transfer. Maybe one of the rotating Husky backers leaves for a FCS full time gig. My biggest worry would be Ester grad transferring.
11-18-2022 10:45 AM
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HawaiiToNIU Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-18-2022 10:45 AM)Rabid Squirrel Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 10:33 AM)HawaiiToNIU Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 07:59 AM)MiamiHuskie Wrote:  I'm going to be pessimistic for 2023. Seems to work better than being optimistic with this team.
Hopefully a "worst-to-first-to-worst-back-to-first" story.

This year was particularly disappointing because expectations were so high. And Toledo taking the west is just salt in the wound.

Good idea. Better to be pleasantly surprised than hopelessly underwhelmed. I was one of the people who thought this year would be special.

I'm only wishing for improvement next year. I anticipate numerous transfers, as that's just how kids roll nowdays.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the RB’s transfers. I don’t think Rudolph will. Not coming off an injury and also knowing he will get 8-10 targets a game here. Maybe Lynch or Lomax leaves. No one on D is good enough to transfer. Maybe one of the rotating Husky backers leaves for a FCS full time gig. My biggest worry would be Ester grad transferring.

I really think Antario ends up leaving. He's too good to be second fiddle. He's still young and he's got all the measurables to be a great back somewhere.
11-18-2022 10:55 AM
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-18-2022 10:45 AM)Rabid Squirrel Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 10:33 AM)HawaiiToNIU Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 07:59 AM)MiamiHuskie Wrote:  I'm going to be pessimistic for 2023. Seems to work better than being optimistic with this team.
Hopefully a "worst-to-first-to-worst-back-to-first" story.

This year was particularly disappointing because expectations were so high. And Toledo taking the west is just salt in the wound.

Good idea. Better to be pleasantly surprised than hopelessly underwhelmed. I was one of the people who thought this year would be special.

I'm only wishing for improvement next year. I anticipate numerous transfers, as that's just how kids roll nowdays.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the RB’s transfers. I don’t think Rudolph will. Not coming off an injury and also knowing he will get 8-10 targets a game here. Maybe Lynch or Lomax leaves. No one on D is good enough to transfer. Maybe one of the rotating Husky backers leaves for a FCS full time gig. My biggest worry would be Ester grad transferring.
Ester is a redshirt sophomore and his family seems all in with Hammock and NIU, so I feel comfortable there. I am in the camp that A. Brown is most likely to transfer... fingers crossed he sticks with us because he could be dominant for us the next couple of years.
11-18-2022 11:07 AM
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Rabid Squirrel Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-18-2022 10:55 AM)HawaiiToNIU Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 10:45 AM)Rabid Squirrel Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 10:33 AM)HawaiiToNIU Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 07:59 AM)MiamiHuskie Wrote:  I'm going to be pessimistic for 2023. Seems to work better than being optimistic with this team.
Hopefully a "worst-to-first-to-worst-back-to-first" story.

This year was particularly disappointing because expectations were so high. And Toledo taking the west is just salt in the wound.

Good idea. Better to be pleasantly surprised than hopelessly underwhelmed. I was one of the people who thought this year would be special.

I'm only wishing for improvement next year. I anticipate numerous transfers, as that's just how kids roll nowdays.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the RB’s transfers. I don’t think Rudolph will. Not coming off an injury and also knowing he will get 8-10 targets a game here. Maybe Lynch or Lomax leaves. No one on D is good enough to transfer. Maybe one of the rotating Husky backers leaves for a FCS full time gig. My biggest worry would be Ester grad transferring.

I really think Antario ends up leaving. He's too good to be second fiddle. He's still young and he's got all the measurables to be a great back somewhere.

Yeah. That’s the guy I figured could leave. Besides all the rumor stuff, he had the offers and talent to go to a bigger program. Maybe he thought he could have a Lou Nichols type season here and rush for 1,800 yards in this conference. I don’t think he ever planned on being in a RB-by-committee.
11-18-2022 11:08 AM
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Rabid Squirrel Offline
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
(11-18-2022 11:07 AM)ChicagoHuskie Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 10:45 AM)Rabid Squirrel Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 10:33 AM)HawaiiToNIU Wrote:  
(11-18-2022 07:59 AM)MiamiHuskie Wrote:  I'm going to be pessimistic for 2023. Seems to work better than being optimistic with this team.
Hopefully a "worst-to-first-to-worst-back-to-first" story.

This year was particularly disappointing because expectations were so high. And Toledo taking the west is just salt in the wound.

Good idea. Better to be pleasantly surprised than hopelessly underwhelmed. I was one of the people who thought this year would be special.

I'm only wishing for improvement next year. I anticipate numerous transfers, as that's just how kids roll nowdays.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the RB’s transfers. I don’t think Rudolph will. Not coming off an injury and also knowing he will get 8-10 targets a game here. Maybe Lynch or Lomax leaves. No one on D is good enough to transfer. Maybe one of the rotating Husky backers leaves for a FCS full time gig. My biggest worry would be Ester grad transferring.
Ester is a redshirt sophomore and his family seems all in with Hammock and NIU, so I feel comfortable there. I am in the camp that A. Brown is most likely to transfer... fingers crossed he sticks with us because he could be dominant for us the next couple of years.

The Covid stuff throws that eligibility off. Ester came here in 2019 so he has finished his 4th year at NIU and most likely will have his bachelors. I don’t think he would transfer for football reasons, I was just speculating he may want to get a graduate degree somewhere else by using his eligibility.
11-18-2022 11:12 AM
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RE: The 2022 nightmare is over. Fixes for 2023.
Not too concerned with an offense that scores as much as this one does. With injuries at QB and WR all year this team averaged a FG less per game than last year. They'll likely continue scoring points next year.

Defense: The DLine is solid but unspectacular. Stout in the run game. Area of concern is that they don't make a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. They use they're situational pass rushers very well. The two sack leaders on this team aren't every down players but are pretty productive. O'Malley is an excellent interior pass rusher. He'd be next level if he finished more. Kennedy's production will need to be replaced. Hopefully one of the young edge players or Thomas steps forward.

The back 7/8 are a mess. They play too many guys at too many different positions. The only LB that should be penciled in as a starter next year is Rayner. given that the DTs are pretty stout they should probably go with more speed at MIKE.

Who is the HUSKIE??? The HUSKIE is really a glorified nickelback but given the way college offenses, and particularly MAC ones spread defenses out its super important. Should be best athlete on D. Is Lafayette the Huskie or a safety? Same thing with White.What is Brown? Tough guy. Good tackler. Plays hard. Liability in coverage no matter where he is on the field. Figure out who's a true safety and who's the HUSKIE and let them stay there. The constant musical chairs combined with the amount of coverages they play (1, 2, 3, and 6 mostly) hurts. They end up with Brown in deep coverage or Hansen playing man.

Rogers and Gandy are just guys at corner. More hope for Rogers developing because I have a feeling that he may have played most of the year banged up. Byrd has physical toos but hasnt put together the mental and technical parts of the position. Upside is he's young. I know the staff is extremely high on Knighten, but needs to gain significant strength.

Special teams is pretty blah. I don't think the staff plays enough starters. I know some programs reward guys who work hard in practice with these snaps but having "star" players on teams units is a big benefit. Finding punt retuners is hard. Not an easy job. There's a reason guys make NFL rosters for their sole ability as a punt returner. That being said, the return unit was one of the worst in conference. My guess here is that because Tucker was the only player they truly trusted back there, they made him fair catch a ton to not get him hurt.
11-18-2022 11:41 AM
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