The 5 Wide: Five Takeaways From the 2023 Blue-Gold Game

Greetings, Lion fans, and there is a lot to unpack from the events of this weekend, so let’s get right to it. First off was what could only have been described as a wildly successful Junior Day.

A group of selected high school student athletes entering their senior season in 2023 were invited to Commerce this past weekend to receive new information about the football program, and the standards that would be expected. Several offensive and defensive assistant coaches spoke. They were then taken on a tour of the campus and were guests at the game. This was a well planned and executed event, that although there is no idea on how many commitments it will produce in the upcoming recruiting season, events like this plant the thought of Texas A&M- Commerce in the mind of the young men, and this small show of interest could make a difference. To Clint Dolezel and his staff…. well done, gentlemen.

Saturday’s events concluded with the annual Blue-Gold Spring football game, so let’s dive right in and break it all down:

  1. Atmosphere- In what can only be described as a breath of fresh air, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air Saturday evening, that in spite of the chill that resembled late October instead of lat April, that saw a very good size crowd in addition to the aforementioned junior recruits. Dolezel and several of his assistants circulated through the crowd, doing the meet and greet , in addition to continually working recruits. New AD Jim Curry was there and with a hat tip to Dr. Rudin, this was a fantastic hire. Curry took the time to shake hands with everyone, and one gets the sense that not only does he listen to what you are saying, but that he hears you. He came into the press area and spoke to Brian and me for a solid half hour, asking questions about traditions, ideas for a more exciting and different game day experience, etc. Not only did he sincerely listen, he took notes. We were just among the few that he spoke with, but the impression that we took away was this. We”ve got a good one here, and if you haven’t met Jim Curry yet, you should. Add to this a scaled down version of the Pride Band much like would perform at basketball games, and the Spring game had a real fall like feel to it.
  2. They Are Who We Thought They Were- To borrow a quote from the late Dennis Green, Kyle Williams and the Blue Gang have not changed one bit. Even against their own teammates, they were determined that altough they might surrender some yardage, they would not allow the offense to cross the goal line. Example: the offense had worked the ball into a 1st and goal inside the three yard line. Three plays later, the offense was kicking a field goal from the 8 yard line. The secondary, led by Max Epps, Dariyon Taylor, and others are among the most physical in the country. And this is against their own team! Jaheim Lowe and Mekhi Roberson had a good outing at linebacker, and among the defensive line, Clifford Funderburk, was just one of many that stood out. The Blue Gang was swarming, and they were physical.
  3. Special, Indeed-In a word, wow. Emmanuel Adagbon connected twice from 22 yards, once from 35 yards, and blasted one down the middle from 53 yards out. His only miss was from 51 yards that had the distance, but drifted just outside the goal posts at the last minute. Aiden Martin continued to hammer kickoffs deep into the end zone, and Mitchell McGarry was outstanding both with and against the wind.
  4. Promising, but There’s Work Still To Be Done- There were some flashes of great things to happen with the Lion offense, but as expected this early in the year, and especially against Top 10 defense like the Lions have, there were bound to be some misfires. The running game with Reggie Branch and DeMarcus Hosey were good in spots, especially at the edges. Spencer Long, the Lions human Swiss Army Knife, just continues right along. A smart, tough runner who also is a very good receiver out of the backfield, Long just comtinues to impress. Keith Miller, the transfer from Colorado, had a very nice game, and tight end Austin Samaha had some good catches in the middle of the field. Tyson Oliver was a pleasant surprise, showed some good decision making and was very mobile in the pocket. Transfer Josh Magana threw some very catchable balls that weren’t always caught, but the more time he has to work with his receivers, the better he will be. Peter Parrish had a solid start.
  5. Coaching- The question that we had here at The Wire was answered Saturday. Who was going to be the offensive coordinator? Was Dolezel going to call his own plays? Former Lion great Bobby Bounds was officially announced as offensive coordinator, and although with was almost certainly a very limited playbook to show, still displayed a variety of three and four wide receiver sets and sprinkled in some two and at times a full house backfield in a diamond type formation. Dolezel was content to observe, and allow Bounds, Kyle Williams, and their staffs to manage the game, All in all, a promising showing.

There is truly a new day dawning on Commerce, America, Lion fans. Brighter days lie ahead.

129 days. See You at The Hawk.

Roar Back Here.....

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