To be young, or to be really young. Or really really really young. That is the question. Now that football season is in full swing and we have a little bit more of a grasp on our bipolar team, I have debated this question to myself while bored at work (yes my life is that pathetic):
Our team has no choice but to be young in some areas (QB and WR for example) but what about the rest of the team? It seems like we have a mix of veteran guys and then really really young guys, and then really really really young guys. So lets first examine positions where there is a conflict of young and old:
RB – We started out using Angus "the Beef" Quigly at RB and then quickly pulled the redshirt off James "here come ol flattop" Sims. Now it appears Quigs is third on the depth chart behind Sims and DeShaun Sands aka Quicksand. Before the season, I yelled that Opurum should start over Quigs because, above all else, the dude is younger and has more room to grow. It seems like Sims has cemented the RB 1 spot and I’m in favor of keeping a redshirt on Bourbon as long as Sands is healthy and productive (which he was against Bayou Mississippi).
OLine – Thorson looks baaaaad. Should Spencer play in his place? I mean, he’d gain valuable experience and he can’t be much worse than Thorson…right?
DLine – Seems like we have a mix of average veterans (Lapdance, Johnson, etc) mixed with young cats like Kevin Young. If the DLine continues to underperform, is it time to take time away from a mainstay like Lapdance and let a player like Young play to gain valuable experience?
DB – When Phil "FG Fiend" Strozier aka the Dozier made that pick on the HB pass play against Delta Mississippi, did you say to yourself "that dude still plays?" I know I did. Even the Mrs. Grad said "who is that guy, we should play him more." Should we? We have safeties as old as Rivet (O2, Strozier) and then young guys like Prinze Kande and Tyler "PacMan" Patmon. Again, go with the experience or throw the young cats into the fire?
Overall, I’m in favor of keeping redshirts on guys whenever we can (Bourbon, some of the young WRs, etc).So let that not factor into this argument. So now lets take a look at why (and why not) we should (and should not) play (or play not) our young (and young not…damnit) players:
First Option: Play experienced players or whoever provides the best opportunity to win
Have you seen what happens when we play some of these young cats? Prinze Kande lights up a punt returner who calls for a fair catch. Young lineman get pushed around and don’t know their assignments. Plus, we finally have the easier Big12 schedule. We may not be good, but with this schedule and who we play, this team could still win 6 games. Go to a bowl. A few wins over equally crappy teams (hello Colorado) and maybe steal a win or two and we are in. Besides, the young kids are getting valuable PT in practice and sech. How will they react in a close game, fourth quarter? We need experienced guys there, not young kids who will run train on a guy making a fair catch and cost us 15 yards when we are protecting a 3 point lead with two minutes left (yes Kande man you are still in my dog house). Plus Gill doesn't have time to plan ahead, he needs to win now. Thats football today.
Second Option: Play young guys as much as we can
Remember when we lost the opening game to North Dakota State? Yep…that pretty much may have cost us a bowl game possibility and kind of put a dark cloud over the season. Look, we aren’t going anywhere this season. We will probably be lucky to win 4 games. Get young players as much PT as we can, and gear up for next season. Remember how valuable it was for young guys to get seasoning in 2006? Yeah, like our defense that went from crappy to dominant the next year. Exactly. Plus its not like the veterans are doing anything. Jake Laptad hasn’t done a thing, why should he play over a young DE who could use some PT. There is no substitute for in-game experience, and we aren’t going to be good anyways. Put in the young guns. Besides its not like Gill is getting canned after ONE season, next year will be his time to shoine.
So, RCT… whaddya think?