We made it! We have finally reached the first week of August and camp season is upon us. In this article I will be taking a look at what you should be watching out for as your team begins fall camp. Due to playing in week zero games, Hawaii started camp last week. Most teams begin today and the rest will start shortly.
Every couple of years, each school faces the inevitable quarterback battle and this year is no different in the Mountain West. Multiple teams face questions at quarterback, including some teams that are expected to reach bowls come December. Boise State and Nevada appear to be the most notable teams with questions at quarterback.
Who is standing out:
Most days of camp conclude with interviews from coaches and veteran players. The most frequently asked question is usually “who is standing out?” These interviews often provide us with insight on some players you may not be familiar with. Make note of which names are being discussed, as they may end up playing meaningful roles during the season.
Which true freshman will play:
Every fall camp, avid fans get excited about the incoming class and often times have unrealistic expectations of how they will impact their team. With the new rule that allows true freshman to participate in four games without burning their redshirt, expectations are even greater. Listen to interviews, try to read between the lines of what is being said and look for highlight videos to try to see who is getting first or second team reps. Usually those things give you a good idea of who has a realistic opportunity to contribute.
On the flip side, those who don’t play right away can sometimes be forgotten about in the minds of fans and then suddenly burst on the scene again a year or two later. Every year there is a player or two that surprises or we forgot about. Often times, these players come in the form of redshirt freshman, players returning from injury, or walk-ons. Again, try to find the clues of who these players will be.
Can your team overcome loses from the previous season:
Every year teams lose impact players to graduation, leaving early for the league, or transfers. Recruiting and depth are tested early in the season. Teams like Boise State, Fresno State, and Utah State saw departures from many core players from the 2018 season. The Aggies especially lost many of their offensive weapons around Jordan Love. What will they look like this season?
Last year it was about Hawaii’s adjustment to their new/old run-and-shoot offense. This year the focus will be on San Diego Stat’s shift to a spread-formation on offense. Although less attention has been devoted to it, Jordan Love’s and new OC Mike Sanford’s adjustment to one another’s styles should not be overlooked. Will the changes be a success or a failure?
All the Positives:
Fall camp is this ever-optimistic time when everyone is positive, every thing looks great, and anything could happen. Talk of bowl games or even conference championships might be floating around camp or in interviews. Keep things in perspective but hope for the best as well. This August, keep a watchful eye on New Mexico, San Jose State, UNLV, and Colorado State to see if their improvement talk is legitimate or if it ends up being false-hope.
What are some questions you have your team as fall camp begins? Let’s discuss in the comments below.