Can someone PLEASE TACKLE this fool!!!!!
My take on the West Virginia Game...
What I LOVED
1. Overcoming an early deficit/adversity--I was interested to see how this team would respond being down 2 scores. Didn't take long to find out (they handled it much better than I did)! Fighting an uphill battle seemingly all night, both sides made the plays necessary to get a victory.
2. Coach Trooper Taylor's enthusiasm!--Sure I wonder like you, "How are we making necessary in-game adjustments while our assistant head coach is acting more like Aubie than a football coach?!" I don't know...but I do know his enthusiasm is infectious and I would have loved to play for someone as exciteable and openly enthusiastic for his players successes.
3. Opportunistic Defense--The turnovers were the difference in the game. We'll talk about the tackling under things I HATED!
4. The fans hanging tough through the rain delay--Gotta say, if I had been there I'd been somewhere with a roof over my head. Kudos to the fans for braving the severe weather, packing the house, and being noisy. It means everything to a player!
5. Darvin Adams--He gets my game ball, no contest!
6. Capitalizing on turnovers--24 points off of turnovers is deadly. Making our opponents pay with touchdowns as opposed to field goals is equally as devastating for the opposition.
What I Liked
1. Chris Todd--Converted some difficult third down conversions. 4 TD passes! Still throws the ball into a crowd without hesitation. And can't stand it when we have designed running plays for Chris. But overall, another steady, poised performance and without it we lose this game big.
2. Punt protection--West Virginia never got close! Still hate the formation though as it limits communication.
3. Wes Byrum's consistency--The field goal to get the first points on the board was a must have and he nailed it from over 45 yards out.
What I Disliked
1. Kickoff return coverage--Way too many yards allowed...West Virginia started from the 50 yard line all night. That's unacceptable and too difficult a position to put the defense in.
2. Our running game--We had a few nice pops here and there, but overall, the running game left a lot to be desired. Our only nice running plays were straight downhill, not the lateral garbage. There's a time and place to run a few east-west plays, but you can't base out of it in this conference. The defenses are just too fast. 100 yards rushing won't cut it most weekends from here on out.
3. Seeing Zeimba jump offsides--I thought those days were over, but Zeimba continues to increase his NCAA all-time record of offensive tackle false starts in a career.
4. Offensive speed of play--I also thought the days of lining up only to look over at the coaching staff prior to running a play were long gone as well...obviously I was mistaken. Again, I understand the premise, but for a team that has gone out of its way to tell us how incredibly fast this offense can be run...let's see it!
What I Hated
1. TACKLING...or better stated..Attempting to Dive within the Vicinity of the Ball Carrier--As a former AU defender, this made me exorbitantly ill! This was the worst attempt at tackling and containment of a quarterback since, well, last years West Virginia game. Perhaps the field conditions played a part (a wet field favors the guy who knows where he is headed prior to the snap, no question). Maybe West Virginia's skill players are faster than I believe they are. Either way, I've never seen anything like it and it has to be corrected in a hurry. A physical, fast team with like Tennessee will run around and through us if we don't improve. The only reason I can come up with for the pathetic nature of our tackling is our limited amount of preseason scrimmaging and "live" work due to limited numbers. We couldn't afford to lose anyone, so we limited contact in practice. Time to get back to the fundamentals, see what you hit, and don't leave your feet.
2. Return game--We are losing the hidden yards with our return game both, punt returns, and most significantly kickoff returns. Don't know if we returned one past the 30 all night.
Overall, pleased to be 3-0. Better tackling and improved running game, and we're well on our way! With an inferior opponent coming town in Ball State, getting back to basic fundamentals will be heavy on the agenda this week for the Tigers! War Eagle!