Stocks to buy
The transition to the 3-4 defense is toughest among defensive backs and inside linebackers, but Darrin Kirkland Jr.’s play alone will keep this unit afloat. His photographic memory is a huge deal, and that’s already showing. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that a drop in production is on the horizon.
With Kirkland’s help, the other guys like Daniel Bituli and Quart’e Sapp can come along as well. It’s much easier to do your job in the new scheme when you can trust that the other guy is doing his. And it’s only natural that these guys will get better as they get more used to the system. As a result, these guys are only going to get better. They need the outside linebackers to catch up to them.
We said buy this stock last week because the offensive line looked much better in the second half against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Saying that and then their poor play this week could reveal there’s a trend here. But that’s not likely.
As Jeremy Pruitt noted, the line is very inexperienced. One extra week wasn’t going to change that too much. And Brandon Kennedy’s injury threw everything for a loop this past week. That was naturally going to mess things up on Saturday. As a result, buy the line improving over time.
After a rough first game, Joe Doyle definitely looked better than Paxton Brooks against ETSU. He averaged over 45 yards a punt, nailed one inside the 20-yard line and had one go for 52 yards. Now, to be fair, he did have one for a touchback. But as a walk-on starting his second game, he is clearly improving. So we say take a chance on him.