Usually at the midpoint of the season we like to look at where the team stands as opposed to what we thought the team would be and do during and after fall camp. We are a week late on that but who cares?
Suffice to say I think I can speak with certainty when writing that no one saw this first half (seven games actually) coming. Two posters who I can remember were pretty adamant that we’d win four games at the most and they may be found to be right on the mark.
I thought that we would be 1-3 after four games but I figured we’d win enough to get up to my prediction of 7 wins (or no less than 6) that I stated back then. I’m sure I’ll be wrong on that.
But most of us thought we’d see a dip from 2016 and not a nose dive. Every so often a poster would throw 8, 9 or 10 wins out there but we already knew they were crazy anyway.
But that said I did have some real reservations about this 2017 team that I wrote about and pretty much everything I predicted as far as play on the field has come true. I assigned red question marks to the negative predictions and green check marks to who I thought would do well.
Here are some of them, both things I got right (so far) and things I swung and missed on – and share your correct/incorrect thoughts you had earlier with us in the comments:
Max Browne was not going to play well for us. I figured he’d have a poor outing and he did. One key fact that jumps out at me when looking at his Pitt body of work is that, aside from the Rice game, he had no TDs in regulation play in his other five contests. Not one. He did have an overtime TD for the win against FCS Youngstown State but other than that he was almost totally ineffective.
The conversations I had with those SoCal sportswriters back in May were true as described – he was not going to be a successful D1 QB.
Our Offensive Line play was going to be poor. I based this on two factors. First being that we were replacing Bisnowaty and Johnson, both great college OLs, with untalented Jared Jones-Smith and Alex Officer, who I thought didn’t play all that well at Center and would not fare well with the switch to another line spot.
Second was that we have zero depth at the second string offensive line. Both of those things have contributed to no running game whatsoever. Next year will be bad also I think.
Chris Clark was going to be a non-factor in our offense. This partially because Watson doesn’t use TEs as much as Canada did and partially because I felt Clark’s history and his 5* recruit rating didn’t add up. When Narduzzi got rsSR TE Mike Flanagan to transfer out of Rutgers I wrote that he was brought in to compete (and probably win) the starting job and not just add TE depth.
Quadree Henderson being given the starting WR2 job was a mistake. I have felt for sometime that Henderson is not an adequate talent as a receiver to be taking this spot from another more consistent WR. What we have seen transpire is that Rafael Araujo-Lopes has risen to the #2 spot and done very well there as our leading receiver to date as shown here:
But since Watson will never use a double TE formation we will still see three WRs out there on almost every offensive formation we have.
The bottom line with Henderson is that the staff wants him on the field every play so they can use him as a receiver, running back or a decoy – and it is that latter role where he seems to be much of the time. Last season at this time QH had 32 rushes for 349 yards and 17 catches for 174… way more used and productive last year than this.