Sunday, September 11, 2005

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Army game

Upon watching a second time, I agree with TOB’s conclusion that the score was deceptive. The team played well, but not great (if that makes any sense). Here are my thoughts and grade reports.

Offense: B+

Porter continues to get the job done. Each game he makes plays that show his maturity and cuts down on plays that make me yell “ah, Quinton!” The one play that really stood out as progress was his TD pass to Gonzalez. The previous play, the coverage was tight so he tucked the ball and ran. He was caught from behind for a 1-yard gain. This was classic 2003 Porter. So the next play he has time in the pocket, but no one was open. He shuffled his feet and you could see him fight the urge to run for the first down. But he showed patience and maturity, stayed in the pocket, let Gonzalez get free and hit him in stride for the Touchdown. He was also fairly accurate. And for the second straight game, he effectively ran the two minute offense before the half. His game was not without flaws. He floated a long ball to Lester (can’t use altitude as an excuse this week), got caught from behind on the bootleg pass (Peterson’s bread and butter play) and had some exchange problems with Sheridan when Sheridan was subbing in for Ross. Overall, he is improving and putting up good numbers. I am not worried about Porter heading into next week.

I am worried about the ground game. Once again, neither Callender or Whitworth stood out. Whitworth had the better game, but still has trouble if his initial hole is not open. In the second half, his reactions improved. In space he is great. I would like to see them get him the ball on screens or on the swing pass more. Callender clearly has the better ability adapting to where the holes are but is not doing enough to get the starting job back. TOB got in his face when he shied away from contact and missed a first down by a yard. He also took a few jabs at Callender in his radio show last week. Next week one of them will have to step up if we are going to beat Florida State.

Goalline specialist Brian Toal was a nice addition to the package. He scored twice and showed better feel for finding the holes than either of our featured backs.

The receivers looked good, but that is to be expected against the USMA. Gonzalez is proving to have great hands and is very reliable. Blackmon is showing that it might have been a mistake to leave him on defense for three years. He is really raw on his routes and didn’t know what to do when the play broke down, but man, he is great when he has the ball. I liked the play calling to get him the ball on end-arounds. His TD run off the screen was awesome. The Tight Ends were quiet after last week’s big game.

The line was solid and I appreciate the fact that the coaching staff got the backups in for long stretches. The only blight was Kevin Sheridan having problems with the snap when he was in for Ross.

Defense: B

The defense shut Army down for most of the day, but the opening drive was so bad that I can’t give the unit an “A” effort.

First Kiwi. As expected, he is the opponent's focus. Spaz keeps flip flopping where he is lined up. All this did to Army was cause them to shift their Tight End to the weakside. The doubleteaming frustration led to Kiwi losing his cool for the first time. He was whistled for a roughing the passer and an offsides. Both moves contributed to Amry’s one scoring drive. He needs to stay focused and recognize that as a focal point he is still contributing. If he is taking all that attention someone will be able to step up. So far that isn’t his opposite end, Nick Larkin. Larkin has been MIA so far. The DTackles have played well and I was glad to see the young Willis get some tackles. The linebackers continue to play well and Pruitt was great filling in for Brown.

The corners gave Army way too much space on the lines. The Cadets exploited this with a series of quick slants. They can’t give FSU that much cushion next week.

After the first drive the attitude changed and run defense buckled down. But is was disappointing to see the team come out flat. There are no excuses next week.

Special teams: B-

The coverage teams were fine. The punting effective. Army missed one field goal (but that was more of an Army missing thing as opposed to a BC blocking). The cause for concern remains Ohliger. He yanked a PAT and that doesn’t inspire confidence. I think the coaching staff feels the same way. They elected to go for it twice on fourth down in field goal range. You could say they had confidence in the offense. I say, they felt their odds were better throwing than letting Ohliger try a long FG. The kid is going to have to make a kick at some point this season. Instead of protecting him, the coaching staff should figure out now if he has the head to be a DIA kicker.

Overall: B

I liked the play calling. I am glad they got in most of the second team for long stretches. The defense responded. But still not a perfect game. There is a lot of work to do before the Seminoles but 2-0 feels nice.

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