just had a thought. For the past several years, we have had mediocre offense and mediocre defense (usually worse than mediocre really).
How do you possibly get better when that is the situation?
If your terrible offense moves the ball against the terrible defense... the terrible offense will not get a chance to show what it can and cannot do against a good defense. Getting separation from players that can't cover you is not being able to get separation. Avoiding sacks from mediocre defensive line is not the same as blocking a good defense. Breaking the tackles of unable-to-wrap-up linebackers does not carry over.
I think that this was the primary problem with the G-Rob era. His terrible defense was not able to allow the offense to truly test itself. The plays that worked in practice only worked in practice because of his poor defense. Yeah, he saw great flashes during the week.... but that was against his inept defensive strategies. Against a real team, we would sputter.
For the first time since G-Rob's first year, we have a chance at having a top 40 defense. This will make the offense better. In practice, our line has to block against a good line and linebackers... our QB/WRs have to deal with good DBs... and so on. Our offense should look forward to playing against other teams.
The risk, of course, is that our defense is not sufficiently tested to match up to the offenses it will see. But you have to start somewhere. The sooner you can develop one side of the ball to be top 40, the sooner you can start developing both sides of the ball to be bowl-quality.
And the good news is that Savage is the most-experienced QB in the Big East--a true sophomore. The defense will face substantial obstacles... but all Big East teams are largely in the same inexperienced QB boat.
I don't make predictions. It is foolish given that we could lose our entire LB core to injury in August and end up 2-12. Conversely, this team could gel and surprise. it's a one game season, starting @ Akron in 3 weeks.
See you there.