Jun 12, 2009

Wu Am I? Chi-Town Colossal Ass-Kicker & Hayseed Tha Dragon-Slayer

Welcome to another edition of Wu Am I? for the 2009 season. Once again- I am trying to identify the 36 players of impact for the 2009 squad. So without any further bullshit, I open chambers 13 & 14...

Robert Hughes #33
Running Back
5'11" 237 lbs.
Junior
Chicago, Illinois
Wu Name: Chi-Town Colossal Ass-Kicker

Notre Dame has had more than its fair share of spectacular "Big Backs" in its history. None were better than Jerome Bettis. (Do not argue with me- for I know best). He is the bar that is set, for any back walking onto campus with a robust frame. Hughes was touted as the possible challenger to that title when he committed to Notre Dame after a long and grueling recruiting process that had Hughes heading to the Fighting Irish over Illinois and Michigan. In some ways he looked the part in 2007 as he looked like the best offensive player on a very bad team. His stock was soaring and most thought that 2008 would be a very big year for Hughes. It turned out to be a sophomore slump. Hughes doubled his carries, but dropped over 2 yards per attempt from 5.5 to 3.4 while ending 2008 with the same amount of TD's (4) as in 2007. Robert did suffer a nagging injury against San Diego St. that those close to the program had said bothered him all year.

2009 could be that special year. Hughes was asked by his coaches to figure out what type of back he wants to be. I think we will see a much more determined runner in 2009 than we saw in 2008. All indications are that the offensive line will be much better this year and the Notre Dame will have a "Cliche" pair of backs with Allen and Hughes. Robert has a tremendous skill set, and for a big back- he has great feet. The real question for Hughes is: Can he put it all together? If the answer is yes, and it should be, than the Fighting Irish offense will continue to improve and start scaring the shit out of its opponents. Hughes can be that difference maker. The one that keeps drives alive on a 3rd and 1 and the one that pushes the pile and score when its 4th and goal from the one, and the one that suddenly burst through the middle for a long run. He has the tools, now let's see if he learns how to use them. I vote-yes.

Harrison Smith #22
Safety
6'2" 206 lbs.
Junior
Knoxville, Tennessee
Wu Name: Hayseed Dragon-Slayer

Athletic. That's the best way to describe the long-haired Junior from Tennessee. He was a prize recruit from a state that produces few top prospects. He followed fellow Tennessee product, Golden Tate, to Notre Dame as an early Christmas present for Charlie Weis. If Tate didn't earn some state honor, Smith did. Because of a good two-deep at safety when Smith arrived, he was able to redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility. Out of necessity of depth and a need for speed and overall talent at the linebacker position- Smith was thrown over to Jon Tenuta to become his primary blitzer from the outside. Although the sacks didn't quite pile up, Smith made his presence known as he consistently applied pressure and was effective in batting down passes. He will probably be best known for his acrobatic rush style as he was in the air for a lot of those blitzes.

Flash forward. With a depleting depth chart at safety and an increase in talent at linebacker, Smith has been moved back to his natural safety position in 2009. Perhaps the short stint at linebacker, helped toughen Smith up and help make him a dangerous enforcer in the secondary. The potential for Smith is really, limitless. He has a big frame and could still add a few pounds while maintaining his good speed. I think Smith really has a banner year for the Irish as he will provide the opposing offenses a lot of headaches. he will be able to blitz effectively and provide solid run support- while at the same time be able to drop back in coverage against the pass. The Fighting Irish need a playmaker at safety, and Harrison Smith should be able to answer that call.

2 comments:

Sir John said...

Subway good reads. But you stole the name from a good Jackie Chan mive, Who am I? Hahahahah
SJ

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