28.Sep.2009 Markus Wheaton and the Redshirt

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Markus Wheaton’s stat sheet can be seen here: http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=482558

So far this season, Markus has 2 catches for 13 yards. He has rushed 4 times for 19 yards. Projected stats are 6 catches for 39 yards and 12 rushes for 57 yards.

He has not been used on kick returns or punt returns. His stat sheet for UNLV and Cincinnati reads “Did Not Play or did not accumulate any stats.”  On September 15th, Mike Riley said, ““Markus is not quite ready for prime time yet, but we hope to get that going this week. There are some things we’d like to do with him. Right now, we lose something running the fly sweep because he’s not as efficient with it yet.”

Someone needs to ask Mike Riley the tough question here: Why didn’t he redshirt Wheaton? If he wasn’t ready for primetime on the 15th, two games into the season, then logic tells you he certainly wasn’t ready the first game. Riley knew Catchings was returning for Cincinnati, and he didn’t even play Wheaton in the games that Catchings missed, so injury is not a valid excuse. Riley essentially wasted a year of Wheaton’s eligibility. That is a big deal given that Wheaton is the most explosive recruit from the 2008 class.

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  • Beavocalypse says:
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    I think this is going to be one of many Riley blunders this season, and unfortunately it’s going to rob us of a very capable player. And Angry, I love the site man. At first I drank the Kool-aid this season, and I thought you were overly skeptical and pessimistic, but that was before the UNLV game. Ever since then, things have gotten worse.

    And if I could make a suggestion, perhaps there could be guest writers, as it seems your message of being critical (but not calling for his head) of Riley and co. and their players is the best I’ve seen. You make a pretty balanced report of what you think is wrong, so kudos amigo.

    One last thing, I could totally see a segment called “Tough Questions”…the first being “Is Banker doing a good job?”

    And to that, good sir, I say nay. He has done a horrible job (and one good performance against a Pitt team that I felt was overrated doesn’t redeem it) since the Duck game. His defensive philosophy and recruiting has gotten stale, boring, and predictable and we are going to pay for it all season long. Am I crazy in thinking this will be a lot like our season in 2005 with a blow-out to Oregon at the end of it all?

    What do you think? (and sorry about all the suggestions, if you change nothing this blog will continue to kick ass.)

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Thanks Beavocalypse.

      The thing about Banker is that the Beavers just had 3 great seasons, finishing in the Top 25 both in the polls and total defense. So when trying to frame a case for Banker being a bum, you keep running into that reality and quickly lose merit. You say, “He’s done a horrible job since the the Duck game.” But that sample (5 games) is so small, and one of those games was a shutout (i.e. Pitt) and 2 were wins, so again the argument falls apart.

      I think a better argument is to say that Banker defenses don’t force turnovers (i.e. when was the last time a corner turned their head and intercepted a pass?) and Banker’s defenses over-pursue and easily lose contain (e.g. making Toby Gerhart look like Jahvid Best, or making Jeremiah Masoli look like Dennis Dixon). There are a litany of examples beyond these few. I think these criticisms have merit because they happened consistently during the past three seasons even while the team was winning.

      This current team is rebuilding. We have to come to grips with the fact we aren’t USC, Cal, or Oregon. That is, we can’t just “reload”, we have to rebuild. This year will be a lot like 2005. I guess if we have to do this every four years or so it’s not the end of the world. Most programs go through it. The problem I have, and what made me create this site and write so critically, is that I feel Riley has had major oversights (i.e. not going the JUCO route, not foreseeing this depth chart years ago, not taking advantage of winning seasons with higher caliber athletes, putting too much faith in coaching ability, etc etc). I simply don’t see ANY rational argument for having six walk-ons who are either starting or earning significant playing time after your program won 28 games over the past 3 years. No matter how many times Beaver fans cite Mike Haas or Johnathan Smith, nobody will ever convince me that this situation is a good thing.

      • Beavocalypse says:
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        Good call. I think perhaps the Arizona win is still lingering in my head and it just seems that Banker-led defenses don’t generate the sort of big plays when desperately needed and they make critical mistakes when they aren’t. And then they drop very, very big games that could define our program for the next couple of years.

        I guess my biggest problem is it seems that the secondary doesn’t utilize proper technique (namely, just looking for the frakkin’ ball). Has there ever been an explanation for that, or do you know?

        One would think a highly touted Juco player besides the unicorn known as Simi Kuli would love to play for us after we sent so many players to the NFL last year.

        @Ted I think the problem AB has is that we have a mess of receivers that should have been ready to step up (Kjos, Nichols, and even Kavanaugh- scratch that, he’s terrible)…and what should be more important is WHY is their such a problem at this position all of a sudden? Again, more issues with the depth chart, which AB mentioned in his reply. That’s something Riley should have anticipated, rather than hope a standout (as in he stands outside of class) guy like Reggie Dunn be our only Juco option here.

        • angrybeaver says:
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          Cliff Kirkpatrick told me that the CBs don’t look back because Banker teaches them that it slows them down. That makes little sense to me, since the WR has to turn around and it would slow him down as well.

      • brownale9000 says:
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        I don’t think it’s fair to say that Banker’s defense doesn’t create turnovers. Two years ago we were tied for 8th in the nation with 22 picks. The year before, we were tied for 15th. It IS fair to say that underskilled players fail to create turnovers. That’s what we have now. Guys with no experience who will simply take a while to adjust. I have some faith that it will happen at some time. (and I think MUCH of the problem is actually that we get no pressure on the QB this year because the DL sucks…at least so far. If they were putting hits on guys, we’d get more picks.)

  • Ted says:
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    “Riley knew Catchings was returning for Cincinnati, and he didn’t even play Wheaton in the games that Catchings missed, so injury is not a valid excuse.”

    Wheaton and Catchings don’t play the same position, so I’m not sure what your point is in trying to connect the two. And, Wheaton certainly played vs. PSU (not sure on UNLV), so the statement makes even less sense.

    The question would be: if you redshirt Wheaton, who do you have back up James Rodgers, as you can’t expect to utilize just one flanker on every snap?

    While he has not put up much statistically to date, I would say that when the season is 25% or less done, it’s far too early to make a declarative statement that a mistake was made in not redshirting him. Still too much of the season left to play and that’s something you can make an more educated comment on 10 weeks from now.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Ted, we both know the positions can be mixed and matched. Wheaton was a flanker early, then a split end later in camp. He vacillated between the two as needed.

      My point stands: Riley said Wheaton isn’t ready for primetime yet he took off the redshirt. Coupled with zero production and you have what constitutes a bad decision.

  • Chuck says:
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    Count me in the camp that agrees with burning his redshirt. We frankly do not have talent at the WR position this year, and with Catchings health being an issue (once again now, with the ankle) we need all the athletes we can muster at that position. I believe 2 of our top 6-7 WRs are either current or former walkons (regrettably neither of them have the last name “Hass”), and a third has a slow-recovering back injury. Had the NCAA not screwed Wheaton out of those last 2 weeks of fall camp with the clearinghouse issues he would be more of a factor at this point.

    My prediction is that he will see more action once we reach the bye week (OSU typically uses one of those weeks as a mini fall camp, which should help Wheaton). I don’t think we will view this season as a wasted year for Wheaton as we did when DE burned Derek Anderson’s redshirt in 2001.

    Cheers

  • Jake says:
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    Marcus is not producing in practice and thus not seeing the field. Look for him to be the next Payton. All the potential in the world with no work ethic. IF the kid had half of Sammies work ethic he would be a star already.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      What are you basing that on? You’ve been to practice and seen Wheaton slacking?

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