Way too early look at 2019

GV Dad
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:09 am

I know it's just Dec 1st, and we have 271 days until the season opener at North Alabama, but wanted to take a moment to look forward to 2019. There are lots of reasons to be excited and optimistic, but also a ton of question marks. Let's start with the reasons to be excited.

1) There will be a significant facilities announcement. These improvements will level the playing field for our Coaching staff in recruiting and retention. It will also give the team the room it needs to be more efficient in their day to day activities. I think everyone, Fans, players, staff and other WIU athletic teams will be excited when this info is released.
2) Our schedule. Strength of Schedule will be much more in our favor. Not a parade of patsies by any means, but I really don't think as a MVFC team you want the #2 toughest SOS in the Country. Our Conf sched alone will have us in the top 15. We should also have 12 games instead of 11. There is a lso a Non Conf game at Colorado State, a game won by Illinois St last year. This will be a GREAT trip for alums, Boosters and Families. I would imagine a trip to Ft Collins will be a prize at the Purple and Gold Auction.
3) We will have an experienced and talented Offensive Line. Coach Howle did a great job with this group this past season. The Montana State game was a mess. By the end of the season, they were much better. Give this group an off season in the weight room, add competition from some great Freshman from the 2018 class, and this position should be a strength next year.
4) Offensive playmakers. Ratkovitch, Tate, Wahee and Brunner. All 4 are very explosive. As we break in a new QB, very likely Conner Sampson, these guys plus the improved OL play should ease in the transition.

Now the Question marks...

1) QB. All college teams start with the QB position. We are losing a stud, no doubt. I really like Conner Sampson. He has a BIG arm, and he's been behind McGuire for 3 years. That being said, how is the kid going to react when it's his team? When he's down 3 with 2 mins and the ball at UNI, can he move the team? I'm sure he will have some growing pains, but I also think Elliott and Rocco will have him prepared.
2) Our defense will be very athletic, but also very inexperienced. I would wager that our 2 deep will be well over 50% R-Fr and Sophs. Can the athleticism overcome the inexperience? I would say at times yes and at times no. Either way, can't wait to see what this D can do in 2021!
3) Pass rush is also an unknown. We didn't blitz much last year, having Saunders and Swenson. We actually played mostly a 4 man front, even though we claim or base D is a 3-4. I can't remember Swenson doing anything other than DE responsibilities. Will someone step up at OLB or will we need to change back to strict 3-4 responsibilities, including LB blitzes?
4) ILB. Will Glisan step up? Moon stepped up and had great season replacing Taylor at Mike. Can Glisan do the same, or will one of the R-Fr step in? Or maybe Transfer?

As far as record for 2019, I think best case we finish 9-3, worst case 5-7. My guess would always be somewhere in the middle. WE have a lot of questions, but not all will have bad answers. Some will actually pay off and maybe even improve over last season. Coach Elliott and the Coordinators will have their first year under their belt. They are smart guys, so they will learn from year 1 and improve in year 2. My way too early prediction is 8-4 and back in the playoffs.
leatherneckcountry
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:37 am

I like your optimism I wish I could be that way I thought Wahee was a one year guy for us.
GV Dad
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:49 am

leatherneckcountry wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:37 am
I like your optimism I wish I could be that way I thought Wahee was a one year guy for us.
My understanding, he graduated in 3 years and came to us with 2 to play.
WIU2DC
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:09 pm

GV DAD:

I love your input and think you have some very good points too. Personally I’m worried about next year not because we won’t have talent and our coaches won’t get better but because of the talent we let slip through our fingers this year. For me, I think our recruitment class will say a lot about what will happen next year. I love that our team will be young next year, (meaning they should be all studs their Jr, Sr years. Could be a real magical two years then) but, I also hope we can get a grad transfer or JUCO transfer to replace some of our big named seniors. It looks like we’ve filled the McShane slot with that JUCO RB that runs a 4.4, hopefully he’s more elusive than McShane. I’m hoping a DL, LB transfer in so we can have some age on those positions so they can help the younger guys too.

The schedule I 100% agree with you. I don’t want WIU to schedule D3 teams, and I love how aggressive we are with our OOC games but we could throw in a FCS bottom feeder before conference play too.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish it was August 2019 already, and I’ll either be at the CSU (I was at the ISU vs CSU and their facility is beautiful.) or NAU game next year.

One last thing, I’m going to hope/expect #4 (can’t remember his last name) on defense to be even better next year and maybe take over as the leader. He was really impressive this year. And Bruner to be our #1 WR next year. If he can work on the drops, he could be our next great WR making it into the NFL. Plus, we will need a reliable WR to help our new QB out.


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ST_Lawson
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:14 pm

GV Dad wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:49 am
leatherneckcountry wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:37 am
I like your optimism I wish I could be that way I thought Wahee was a one year guy for us.
My understanding, he graduated in 3 years and came to us with 2 to play.
That is also what I have heard. I believe he has one more year on our roster.
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RedNeck
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:05 pm

Why the secrecy with facilities improvement? Obviously a group of people know what is for sure happening.

Is there something to be gained by waiting to reveal....Recruiting? (I would think sooner is better than later).

People don't have to fear announcing multi million dollar projects. Western is actually practiced and effective at it.
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ST_Lawson
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:15 pm

RedNeck wrote:Why the secrecy with facilities improvement? Obviously a group of people know what is for sure happening.

Is there something to be gained by waiting to reveal....Recruiting? (I would think sooner is better than later).

People don't have to fear announcing multi million dollar projects. Western is actually practiced and effective at it.
5 years ago, they would probably go ahead and announce it. Problem is, it's bad optics if they're announcing building new athletics facilities the same time that they're announcing layoffs and dorms closing. I think most people here realize that the money is coming from different places and that most (all?) of the funding is coming from private donations, but a lot of people don't understand that.

How do you think an average civil service employee would feel if they got notified of getting fired the same week that the athletics department announces that they're building a new building?


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RedNeck
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:36 pm

ST_Lawson wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:15 pm
RedNeck wrote:Why the secrecy with facilities improvement? Obviously a group of people know what is for sure happening.

Is there something to be gained by waiting to reveal....Recruiting? (I would think sooner is better than later).

People don't have to fear announcing multi million dollar projects. Western is actually practiced and effective at it.
5 years ago, they would probably go ahead and announce it. Problem is, it's bad optics if they're announcing building new athletics facilities the same time that they're announcing layoffs and dorms closing. I think most people here realize that the money is coming from different places and that most (all?) of the funding is coming from private donations, but a lot of people don't understand that.

How do you think an average civil service employee would feel if they got notified of getting fired the same week that the athletics department announces that they're building a new building?


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Valid perspective.
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RedNeck
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:27 pm

GV Dad,

Are these facilities upgrades in the proposition phase or are they on an implementation time frame?
GV Dad
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Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:01 pm

There's a timeline in place. I can definitely see Scott's point, but I'm with you, I wish they would go public in time for it to benefit this recruiting class.
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