There is no doubt that Willingham left the cupboard pretty bare in both the senior and junior classes; however, the current staff has made some huge blunders that can't be ignored. In addition to the poor plannnin/game planning this year, what were they thinking last year. They knew that Quinn and at least 3 starting offensive linemen were going to be gone and they did nothing to start preparing the replacements last year when they should have. Sharpley got a total of about 20 minutes playing time last year and only got to throw 2 passes. He should have been given the chance to play some regular offense instead of just running down the clock. And besides not preparing a QB for this year what, if Quinn had gotten hurt last year? For the back-up linemen, Turkovich only got 23 minutes playing time last year including special teams. Carufel got 2 minutes and Wenger a grand total of "0" minutes playing time. The only back-up lineman that received some decent playing time was Duncan at 84 minutes. And it isn't like there wasn't ample oppotunity. There were good chances to get them in against Stanford, North Carolina, Army, Navy, and Air Force. And why not put them in against some of the good teams when we were getting blown out by Michigan, USC, and LSU? The coaching staff totally blew the opportunity to help get these guys prepared for what they knew the situation was going to be this year. As for Quinn, I realize that part of leaving him in was to pad his stats as a Heiseman hopeful, but lets face it, after Michigan, it wasn't going to happen for Quinn. Plus you can't sacrifice what's best for the team to try to get an individual award for one player. I just hope the coaching staff has learned something and doesn't ever let this happen again. Go Irish! Beat Michigan State!
I am not arguing that these guys are great, but the linemen I mentioned are what we are stuck with for this year and they are all playing now, whether they "deserve" it or not. And that said, as it is all we have and the coaching staff knew this, a little foresight tells you that they would have been way better off getting some playing time in games that we clearly had one or lost last year, instead of throwing them to the wolves this year. It makes no sense to say that even though we know we are going to have to play these guys next year, we aren't going to give them any reps this year because they don't deserve it. The fact that you're stuck with them and they may not be that good is all the more reason why they should have been better prepared by getting game experience.
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa my friend. You seem to indicate that these backups deserved playing time last year. Show me one thing they've done on the field this year that proves that? The point is they weren't any good last year and they aren't any good this year. They just don't have it. The future is in the young talent and there's nothing other than that on this team. The talent has to be preceeded by young on this team 'cause that's all that's there. Patience my friend, it'll come back around.
A little bit of playing time last year might've helped some, I'll acknowledge that. But the fact of the matter is, the competition at practice is significantly "affected" by the lack of depth (talent). The complacency of the starters sets in and they don't get pushed for their spots on a daily basis. We just don't have it, yet. 2 years from now, things will be completely different. Charlie absolutely deserves 5 years because he's done so well in recruting to address the needs we have. Ty didn't do that and showed no signs of ever improving that situation.