Sunday, September 28, 2008

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Rhode Island

No grades this week. Why bother? The game was lopsided. The conditions stunk. And in fairness I didn’t get to watch the game back a second time. These are my thoughts from the scrimmagegame.

Offense: NA

As you would hope, the offensive line played well. Their size and skill advantage was evident from the first snap. The only player who had what could even be termed a bad day was Matt Tennant. His snaps out of the shotgun were much more wild than usual. I assume it was due to the wet balls. Tennant was also involved in our only turnover, when he snapped the ball and it hit an in motion Purvis. I have no idea if it was Crane who called for the snap or if Purvis shouldn’t have been there or if Tennant just jumped the gun. Regardless, it was a turnover and would have been much more important against an ACC team. The good news is that most of the second team guys got on the field. Spinney, Murphy, Sheil and Richman all saw time (Rossi rotated in earlier). They opened up big holes and kept the QBs safe, so no complaints about the offensive line.

The poor wide receivers and tight ends. Here we are playing a team meant for stat padding and we only throw the ball nine times…(nine times!). Give the group credit though. Despite the weather and the lack of passing they sustained their blocks downfield. Robinson’s one catch was nice. Purvis’ catches were nice timing patterns. Momah dropped a nice throw from Davis. Jarvis and Davis had a mix up in the end zone right before Jarvis got popped. If I were grading this, the pass catchers would certainly get an incomplete.

I am not going to go overboard just yet, but I am starting to get excited out Montel Harris’ upside. Sure it was only Rhode Island but he was able to break the initial tackles and make multiple people miss. We still don’t know the extent of his speed or strength, but he’s clearly got balance and vision. Considering he ran for nearly 80 yards, it was a pretty ho-hum game for Jeff Smith. The good news is that he showed more power than he has in the past. We know Jeff Smith can run away from people. In this case he ran through people a bit more. Haden was a non factor and according to Jags is still nursing his ankle injury. Razzie Smith was part of mop up duty which doesn’t tell you much.

Some are using this game as reason to move Crane to the bench permanently and hand things over to Davis. I don’t think it is time yet. If the coaches feel that Chris Crane didn’t earn a benching after Georgia Tech and UCF, then a cameo against URI shouldn’t make a difference. Granted Davis looked better, but the conditions were still so unique you can’t read too much into it. As for going forward, don't be surprised if this game turns into a template: Crane starting, Davis coming in and the coaches going with the hot hand for the majority of the game.

There are three ways to use a game like this. 1. Experiment with new things and sharpen your sloppy areas. 2. Play close to the vest and just dominate with a simple gameplan. 3. See what works early and just stick with it. The passing wasn’t working so Logan ran, ran and ran some more. 42-0 later there wasn’t much to say. I don't mind the lack of passing as it means TOB has to prepare with little game film. One thing that did please me is that Logan added a bit of variety in the redzone playcalling when Davis was in.

Defense: NA

The defensive line played well. For the first time since Albright went down, or DEs got to the QBs. Newman had some real athletic plays. Raji and Brace played well and even dropped into coverage on occasion. Ramsey saw plenty of snaps. Scafe was very active. Willette played well. Holloway still didn't get on the field, which makes me think he will probably redshirt.

Herzy had another great game. Although he was called for pass interference, I thought it was a bad call. Toal looked good early. Francois played well. McLaughlin played well. Williams and Thompson looked good.

Akins spent most of his time at CB. He played well. Fletcher continued to look good. Bowman and Davis played well. Anderson continued his high level of play. He made some really nice tackles.

Special teams: NA
Rhode Island threw the kitchen sink at us during special teams. A well-played onsides kick kept the ball away from Jeff Smith on his one chance to return the ball. They also tried a variety of punt formations.

Gunnell’s decisions on punt returns were good. He was a step away from breaking his long return for a TD.

Quigley looked much better after his attempts at placing the ball last week.

Overall: NA

In the post game press conference, Jags mentioned seeing things he didn’t like. That makes two of us. The game could have been even more lopsided than it was. The passing was not sharp and there were a few mental mistakes and dumb penalties. But the win counts, so I'll take it.


Big Jack Krack said...

I'll be in Raleigh on Saturday. We're only 7 1/2 point favorites, so we might as well start showing how good we really can be this weekend!!

We owe NC State payback on their field big time.


Eagle1 said...

"Some are using this game as reason to move Crane to the bench permanently and hand things over to Davis. I don’t think it is time yet."

Agreed 100%. I still am not in love with either Davis' arm nor Davis' poise in the pocket. One of these guys is going to have to step up this weekend. TOB is going to stack the box, and we're going to need to throw.

Raj said...

also traveling to raleigh this weekend... and i dont know if crane should be starting. We all know he'll be out the next series or possibly the 3rd series. Did you see him overthrow haden on that screen pass. Crane might have a stronger arm than davis, but we dont have super speed guys that are going to beat guys down the field and go get the overthrown ball.
im not sold on davis completely, but he's an upgrade. I think he is fairly accurate on simpole throws, and thats all we really need to beat nc state.

Alex F. said...

The game is still available on ESPN 360 if you want to re-watch it