The 2014 season is nearly upon us and we are heading into summer's final stretch. As the excitement builds, Ralphie Report will take a look at some intriguing positions and players on both sides of the ball before the season opener. Today we focus on breakout players for the offense. Now there are two simple requirements to be a breakout player for the offense. You have to play offense, and you can't be a true freshman. Simple enough? Off we go!
Many this offseason are talking about Spruce's breakout year and Bobo's marvelous spring. While both of those qualify as "breakout " players, since both are somewhat expected I decided to exclude them from this countdown and focus on a little more under-the-radar (literally., because he's short) player. D.D. will most likely step into the starting slot receiver role, and in Lindgren's spread offense, he should be used heavily. Last year was a good sign of things to come from this dynamo. The 75-yard TD against Oregon, the CSU game, and even the spring game showcased a big dose of Goodson, and for good reason. He's an explosive playmaker, more quick than fast, but has both in bunches. Additionally, with another year in the offensive system under the collective belt, expect more end-arounds, bubble screens, and other trickerations coming D.D's way. He has the potential to take it to house every touch, so watch for this Percy Harvin'esque player next season.
Let me confess something... I have a bit of a player-crush on Michael Adkins. In my honest opinion, he is the best back since Rodney Stewart (not much competition I know), and could potentially best Speedy when his career is done. He and Sefo have the potential to be a Pac-12 backfield that can strike some fear in the hearts of their conference opponents. But I digress. This year, Adkins will have to settle for taking over the No.1 RB position and rushing into the hearts of Buff fans. He's quick enough to get away from defenders, strong enough to shrug off tacklers, and fast enough to take it to the house (watch all of the above here). Also, both Powell and Adkins were injured for much of last year. If an injured true freshman is leading your team in rushing touchdowns, your rushing offense sucked or your freshman RB was amazing. I think a little bit of both was true. Watch him on off-tackle runs this year, as the spread offense rewards edge speed handsomely. Adkins could be a top-6 back in the conference, a giant leap forward and a sign for things to come.
O-Line (Right Side)
Hear me out. I know this is a trick answer, but I make the rules on this post. The right side of the offensive line, Daniel Munyer at guard and Stephane Nembot at tackle, is already decided and has been decided since spring of 2013. They have worked together for a full year and already have great chemistry. Munyer is probably the best offensive lineman on the team, and is healthy for basically the first offseason since he was a Buff. Nembot is coming into his junior year eager to prove that he can in fact pass protect. I was debating putting "Running to the Right" in this post, but I thought that we be giving these two gentlemen not enough credit. They already form a deadly tandem run-blocking, but the struggle last year was protecting Sefo. Nembot has to, and will, get better at pass-blocking. If that happens, watch out for these two. Whatever questions remain on the the left side, more specifically LT, have been silenced on the right side. In order to take advantage of this, watch for CU to run a lot of off-tackle runs to the right. Nembot excels at run-blocking, and the spread offense will make you pay if a runner can get to the edge.