It's hard to measure the 2013 HBU season and not arrive at the conclusion that the first year program was a success. If not a success on the field, the Huskies were a success by getting to the field. Vic Shealy and his staff are aiming a bit higher than just showing up. Summer school looks at how the new kids can get better.
Questions that need answering...
How are the kids doing?
Last season the Huskies started 14 freshman in their final game against Texas A&M Commerce. When 2/3 of your starters can't score a six pack without help, you're going to struggle. The depth chart is back for 2014 and by depth chart we mean the whole, entire thing.
Coach Shealy and crew's number one priority last year, this spring, this summer and into fall camp is to continue to develop the youth. So, while most Summer School sessions are devoted to schools filling holes at certain positions, HBU just needs to continue to grow their numbers as well as their FCS caliber players. A new crop are showing up on campus in the fall. The Huskies should show some improvement just based on the number of recruited bodies they'll have to choose from.
This means that the depth chart, however it looks coming out of the spring, will be a work in progress as the coaching staff assesses the newcomers who will make up another huge percentage of the roster. Ideally a staff could redshirt players, in particular on the offensive and defensive fronts, to get them acclimated before throwing them into the fire. HBU doesn't have that luxury, yet.
How is quarterback developing?
Ka'Darius Baker took his first snap in a competitive college game on the road against the #4 team in the FCS, Sam Houston State. The results were undertandably rough, but to Baker's credit, his season didn't stall out there. The freshman from Navasota kept plugging a way.
The encouraging portion of 2013 comes from Baker's performance against future Southland foe ACU, where baker completed 68% of his passes. The frustration comes from the same performance where Baker's 22 completions yielded only 80 yards.
Bottom line, it's a lot to ask a true freshman to walk in and start. Even more so if that freshman is asked to lead a brand new team against very good competition. Baker's improvement or improved quarterback play in general will be critical to HBU's success in 2014.
Jonathan Fleming acted as the primary back for the Huskies last season but results for Fleming weren't exactly awe inspiring. A number of redshirt and true freshman will look to contribute to the cause including Adam Beck and true freshman Isaiah Hall from Burleson.
Are they eating?
HBU needs more size across the board. Whether on the offensive or defensive fronts, at linebacker, tightend, ANYWHERE, these athletes will need to get bigger, stronger, faster. Again, it's unfair to ask a group of freshman to take on Sam Houston State, but they'll be better having a full off-season under their belts.
Part of that off-season has been and will be spent in the weightroom with Football Athletics Performance Director Paul Constantine. That's a big title for the guy who's charged with taking 18 year old kids and getting them ready to play 21 year old men. They'll have the benefit of the HBU Football Training Center, opened in 2013 as well as an actual home field, coming in the fall.
The biggest improvement may come from the fact that the Husky offensive and defensive lineman, who would typically sit for 2-3 years, will now have had another full off-season to grow into their frames. Players like Mark Hibler, Eduardo Osegueda, Hunter Barron and Cortez Iwaguwu will be more seasoned.
Who's that guy?
Taylor Thompson Safety So. 5-11 175 Bellville.
Taylor Thompson had a pretty nice 2013 all things considered. The former Bellville Brahma posted 4 picks and 43 tackles from his safety position for the Huskies.
Thompson was placed on the College Football Performance Awards list for 2014. He was a bright spot on a defense that sorely needed one. He shot right out of the box against #4 Sam Houston State with 9 stops and was named CFPA's player of the week for his performance against Texas College. HBU just needs a few more like him. Ok, quite a few more.