This is the time of the year where we're all optimistic, everything is possible and all of the glasses are half-full.
While last year's season was a roller-coaster ride the likes we haven't seen in quite some time--if ever--this season gives us plenty to look forward to. Here Wesley and I break down some of the things that have us plenty excited about the 2011 season.
1M) Gary Tranquil is gone
Free at last, free at last! Thank Spaz almighty, I’m free at last! The ever-painful Tranq era blissfully comes to an end. Is Kevin Rogers the answer? I don’t know, but I can tell you one thing—the answer sure as hell wasn’t Gary Tranquil. The fact that I don’t have to watch: run off guard on 1st down, run off tackle 2nd down, and 7 yard pass play on 3rd and 8 drive in and drive out virtually guarantees it will be more fun to be an Eagles fan this year.
I’m sure Gary Tranquil is a nice guy (hell, maybe he’s a real a-hole, I don’t know), but as a football coach I don’t think I can think of one that was so ba….oh wait. Actually, Dana Bible was pretty brutal---but arguably much better than Tranq—something I never thought I would be able to say about anyone.
Which reminds me…why did we get rid of Steve Logan again? Anyone? Anyone?
2W) Returning QB that SHOULD show progression.
Man it sure is hard to follow up with that one. As all the draft experts probably would have taken that in the first round as well.
I am going with Rettig returning. Last year we anticipated that Shins would be back, and progress from where he left off in 2009, heck I was definitely cheering for the guy, and still am. But he didn’t progress, somehow he actually regressed in my opinion. Rettig played this year as a true frosh, and we had a record over .500, well I think with the OC change, and added focus, time etc for Rettig he will show that those glimpses of greatness were just foreshadowing the rest of his career at the Heights.
3M) This is how we do it
It’s Saturday, and I feel OK. The game is here on the East Coast, so I look to Montel and he turns it up—O-Line U made a hole bigger than a truck. Hit the TD dance ‘cause he made it—Eagles in the stands say “Monty yo you made it!”
The hood has been good to Montel ever since he was a lower case RB…but now he’s got the records---dolla dolla bills y’all!
Okay, enough of that—but it really will be terrific to have Montel back next year—and HEALTHY! I think the Andre Williams mix-up in tempo and style will really help Montel keep fresh and beat up defenses. Our running attack should be an excellent one next year if we can keep both of our backs healthy.
4W) No question on 1-2 punch
It seems like it’s a trend the past few seasons the backup RB leaves about midseason, now im not going to dive into why they left, how they left,etc. I wish both of them good fortune in their life. But it just seems like the 2 punch , of the 1-2 punch is a hard position to fill. At the end of the regular season last year I feel that question has been answered, and answered well. Andre Williams is a GREAT change of pace from a the shifty Harris. I truly feel confident with our running game, now they just need a crafty nickname.
5M) No Gary Tranquil
That’s right, I’m putting it here again. It’s not that I have a lack of other things to say, but rather this one deserves two high round call-outs.
I swear, I'm not being lazy here. The Tranquil offense literally drove me insane. The only person that's possibly more happy about this change than I am is my wife--as she'll enjoy not having to hear me kvetch about his play-calling / offense any longer.
6W) O-Line U back in rhythm
This is a prediction, mixed with hope and fluffy pink bunnies.
In 2010 , there was ENTIRELY too much rotation for an offensive line to create any cohesion , and even with VERY good players, they were put into bad positions. Another issue was the Man to Zone, Zone- Man, then back to Man issue, another topic really but stability is key on the offensive line. Although we are losing some great men from the line, I feel that the Offensive line is going to take a HUGE step forward from last year., and very excited to see the product they bring to the field.
7M) Young Guns playing early…again
One of the nice things about Spaz is that he’s shown he doesn’t care if you’re a 5th year senior or a true frosh—if you’re talented and the best guy for the job; it’s yours to take. Last year we saw plenty of young guys stepping in and making an impact as true freshman, which is exciting if you follow recruiting and like to get a glimpse of what the new guys bring to the table. I think you’ll see a lot of young guys hit the field this year again for our Eagles which I always really enjoy.
8W) Better Schedule
I am soo sick and DAMN tired of watching my team on ESPN3, or espn 360 if that’s what you wanna call it. Football isn’t intended to be watching intensely on a computer. Its made to watch on 70 inch screens, with the volume up full bore with multiple pitchers of beer on standby. With the dramatic improvement in the schedule we should have a lot more games that are televised in the more traditional manner.
9M) Sleeping Soundly with the kicking game
Truly a luxury, how many teams and fans can go into the year secure and happy with not one good kicker—but two in Twigs and Freese. We stressed this last year a good bit but it deserves mention again. Special teams truly are a large part of every game and not having to worry about a kicker who’s mentally schizo or a punter who gets a case of the shanks at an inopportune time, we have to guys who we can rely on game in and game out. It’s like a nice warm blanket of kicking confidence.
10W) And you thought they couldn’t be any better..
Granted we will miss Herzy, Morrissey, and others , our Linebacker corps will without question be better., with even more depth than they had last year. We have 3 very talented incoming freshman at LB, that will more than likely redshirt, or play sparingly. But the further emergence of KPL, and Superman Keeks, it would be hard to contend that we still will have one of the best group of linebackers in the league.. Only question is who fills the open void and plays with these two monsters? With plenty of options, I am going to sleep well tonight that we are like some waffle house hash browns in this area. (scattered, smothered and covered)
BCMike drafted: No more Tranq, Montel, Tranq gone, Young Guns, Kicking Game
Wesley drafted: Rettig progression, One two punch, OLine U, better TV sched, LB Corps