Tale of the Tape — Evaluating the Spring Game Rosters
By Tony Gerdeman
On Wednesday we held our own Spring Game draft, and I was there to critique the picks like the tremendous second-guesser that I am.
To show that I am an equal opportunity poo-pooer, I have decided to take my talents to the actual Spring Game draft, and now will offer my apt critiques and accurate opinions on how Luke Fickell and Tom Herman did in their selections.
Without a draft order, however, all I'll have to go on are the results, whose value I'll be able to determine well in advance of any football game.
This is dangerous business that I am about to conduct here. You might want to put some goggles on.
Photo by Dan Harker
Herman (Scarlet): Braxton Miller and Justin Siems
Fickell (Gray): Kenny Guiton and Cardale Jones
Advantage: Herman. You probably don't know this, but in spring games all over the country, starting quarterbacks routinely throw for over 300 yards. With Urban Meyer teasing a pass-heavy offensive attack, I have to go with the best passer on the team. That being said, I understand that Kenny Guiton is part-American hero in spring games.
Herman (Scarlet): Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith
Fickell (Gray): Bri'onte Dunn and Jordan Hall
Advantage: Fickell. That advantage would have gone to whomever landed Jordan Hall. It's pretty clear to me that he and Carlos Hyde were the first two tailbacks chosen. But if you're going to go with a pass-heavy offense, it's good to get the best pass-catching tailback like Fickell did with Hall.
Herman (Scarlet): Zach Boren
Fickell (Gray): Adam Homan
Advantage: Herman. One of my mottos in life is "Have Boren, will travel."
Photo by Jim Davidson
Herman (Scarlet): Chris Fields, Frank Kangah, Ryan Ross, Evan Spencer, Michael Thomas and Tyrone Williams
Fickell (Gray): Corey Brown, Peter Gwilym, Verlon Reed, Taylor Rice and Devin Smith
Advantage: Fickell. Fickell landed the top two receivers on the board, which makes me wonder how they did the draft. Did they do it like the usual Spring Game draft, where once a position is opened up, they have to close the position out? If so, that means Tom Herman selected one of Chris Fields, Michael Thomas or Tyrone Williams ahead of either Philly Brown or Devin Smith. Still, I have to side with Fickell because he has Brown's versatility and Smith's deep speed.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Herman (Scarlet): Jeff Heuerman, Derek Burkholder and Nick Vannett
Fickell (Gray): Jake Stoneburner and Kyle Shuck
Advantage: Fickell. Again, I'm siding with the defensive guy about his offensive picks. Despite having both Heuerman and Vannett together, neither is Stoneburner. I don't want to criticize Herman's draft strategy already, but I really have no choice. I'm not normally wrong about stuff, so maybe Herman knows something about this offense that I don't.
Herman (Scarlet): Darryl Baldwin, Reid Fragel, Marcus Hall, Eric Kramer, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort and Tim Trummer
Fickell (Gray): Ivon Blackman, Brian Bobek, Jacoby Boren, Tommy Brown, Taylor Decker, Andrew Norwell, Ben St. John and Antonio Underwood
Advantage: Herman. Okay, now I'm starting to see what Herman was doing. He loaded up his offensive line like it was bacon at a salad bar and he was born without shame. Not only did Herman get four starting offensive linemen, but he also got three of the top four tackles.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Herman (Scarlet): Michael Bennett, Logan Beougher, Chase Farris, Joel Hale, Johnathan Hankins, William McCary, J.T. Moore, Se’Von Pittman and Kharim Stephens
Fickell (Gray): Adam Bellamy, Dalton Britt, Chris Carter, Garrett Goebel, Steve Miller, John Simon and Nathan Williams
Advantage: Push. This was a tough one. I immediately side with whomever selects John Simon, but I'm having a hard time not giving extra credit to Herman's defensive line based on the offensive line that it will be going against. Plus, Bennett and Farris have been really good this Spring. Oh, and Big Hank is over there too. Hale and Moore have finished the Spring strong as well. Fickell will surely have some pass rushers on his side, however, and the ever-steady presence in the middle of Goebel. Too close to call.
Herman (Scarlet): Connor Crowell, Storm Klein, Ryan Shazier and Stewart Smith
Fickell (Gray): Curtis Grant, Ross Oltorik, Joshua Perry, Andy Reed, Luke Roberts and Etienne Sabino
Advantage: Herman. This is a tricky one because of all of the injuries. In fact, I'm basing this judgment on walk-on Stewart Smith's experience. I have no idea if Klein will be playing, nor Grant or Perry. I can only go with I know who will be playing, and the trio of Crowell, Shazier and Smith seem to be the most solid group to side with right now.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Herman (Scarlet): C.J. Barnett, Christian Bryant, Doran Grant, Zach Domicone, Travis Howard, Vincent Petrella, Ron Tanner, Julian Vann and Jamie Wood
Fickell (Gray): Corey Brown, Adam Griffin, Orhian Johnson, Tyvis Powell, Bradley Roby, Nick Sarac
Advantage: Fickell. At first glance, Herman would seem to get the nod, but we don't know how healthy Barnett and Bryant are right now. The fact that Herman got both leads me to believe that one of them isn't playing. I'm also pretty okay with Fickell's safeties, as both have played well this Spring.
Herman (Scarlet): Drew Basil, Kyle Clinton and Kevin Niehoff
Fickell (Gray): Ben Buchanan, Kyle Clinton and Russell Doup
Advantage: Push. One guy gets the top kicker, the other gets the top punter. To choose one over the other could force me to be wrong down the line, and that just shouldn't happen. There are pros and cons to both sides, and we should probably all just get along.
Herman (Scarlet): Bryce Haynes
Fickell (Gray): George Makridis
Advantage: Herman. Nothing against Makridis, who is the returning starter, but Haynes' snaps should come with Bruce Lee movie sound effects.
Herman (Scarlet): Quarterbacks, Fullbacks, Offensive Line, Linebackers, Long Snapper
Fickell (Gray): Running Backs, Wide Receivers, Tight End, Defensive Backs
Push: Defensive Line, Kicker/Punter
What Tom Herman may lack in playmakers, he makes up for in long snapping and offensive line. While Fickell may have the "better" tailbacks and receivers, they may not look that great when their offensive line is getting constantly debacled.
Based on all of the science, I have to go with Scarlet by at least ten points here. I expect freshman receiver Mike Thomas to have a very good day on Saturday, though Braxton Miller will win any MVP award that might be presented.
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