It seems apparent that Garrett Wilson is having a good Spring according to Coach Hartline. It also seems promising that Jeremy Ruckert is going to get opportunities to get on the field in non traditional TE roles. To me that’s a lot to be excited about.
So this begs this question, if Coach Meyer was still here would this be occurring? I ask because it was well understood that if a young skilled player was going to get time, it had to be after he demonstrated special teams heart or blocking acumen.
Coach Meyer didn’t become one of the historically great coaches in CFB by accident. As a fan, I was at times frustrated that young players of promise couldn’t get on the field to catch passes, lock a receiver down, or be a TE threat in the middle of the field. Why? Because they didn’t have the physicality to be a blocking stalwart, or the mentality to be a missle on kick coverage.
Of course to have a successful ground and pound game a skinny TE that can streak down the field might not be great leading JK into a hole on the read O. The 85 yard scamper through the South doesn’t happen without great downfield blocking.
I don’t pretend to know if Chris Olave was a good blocking wideout last year. He was decent on punt coverage if I recall, so there’s that, but look how he flashed doing what he does best.
Flash forward to this year does Ruckert get on the field even if he can’t grind a linebacker to dust? Can Wilson get opportunities to get isolation match ups?
I was grateful that Coach Day bullied his offensive philosophy into action last year with the magnificent Haskins transforming apparent pedestrian receivers into NFL draft day one talk. My fear with Fields is that we revert back to being heavily RO focused, ergo the need for physicality at the skilled positions.
Donte Wilson was one exception that I can think of where Coach Meyer tried to force his skill set onto the field minus the required special team mentality or blocking ability. It didn’t work out too well, (injuries played a part).
So will Coach Day demand Fields rise to the challenge of fitting his pro set offense, or will he have to concede to the dual threat ability of Fields? If so, IMHO, this may hurt the opportunities of especially talented guys like the Ruckerts, Wilsons, and yes, even the Olaves.