1. The statement regarding players was in the context of a year two bump. Keep that in mind.
2. Yes Mahon and Bates were effective at left tackle. But, for their to be a year two bump, we need more from that position. From what I saw, I think both players have a lower than ideal ceiling at THAT position. Mahon was much better on the right side when given the opportunity. Likewise, I think Bates is better served inside. Both could be 1st team all Big Ten at those positions. That leaves left tackle open. Maybe Fries isn't ready but we won't know without taking a risk.
3. I never advocated for a blocking tight end but rather a tight end that can block. Gesicki has a role and maybe he is the third receiver with another tight end starting as well.
4. We don't challenge the entire field because we can't with the offense as configured. Opposing defenses don't even worry about the middle third in the passing game because we don't attack is by design. Even the deep passing game has significant limitations. Look at the deep throws, they are almost always thrown away from the safety when the DB is face guarding the receiver. If the safety is present or the DB is looking back, they don't throw the ball.
5. Yes, some comes from experience, some comes from getting more talented players on the field regardless of experience. Experience is great, however, at some point, talent outweighs experience.
I for one don't think State is ready to really compete for a title for another year which makes this a transition year. Even if it means benching a returning starter, you get the best players on the field now, not later.