Aug 24 2010

2010 Game-by-Game Predictions

I’ve been looking at this for a week now agonizing over how I see the 2010 NC State Football season playing out.  I’ve always been the eternal optimist when it comes to NC State Football.  Exhibit A – I thought there was no way we would win less than 8 games last year.  I’ve been burned like that way too much over the past few years so this year I made myself look harder at everything.

A month ago I would have told you we’d be lucky to win 3 games.  It’s not that I don’t think we have the talent, it’s more I don’t have much faith in this coaching staff and our schedule is absolutely brutal.  Last year with 8 home games and an offense that averaged 30.3 ppg we only managed 5 wins.  This year we only have 6 home games (TOB’s road record at State is 4-11 overall; 1-9 in games outside of NC), our ACC cross-division games are all tough, and none of the 3 BCS non-conference games are gimmes.   I’ve warmed up a little from 3 wins, but unlike last year now I think everything would have to fall in place perfectly for us to win even 7 games.  What a difference a year makes.

Anyway, my game by game predictions are below:

Western Carolina — TOB is 0-3 in season openers since arriving at State, but that streak should end this year.  We are 5-0 all time against WCU with an average score of 48-11.  This year should be a lot of the same.  Prediction:  Win

@ Central Florida — TOB is also 0-3 in road season openers since arriving at State and that streak will be a lot tougher to end than everybody thinks.  UCF was 8-5 last year including a St. Petersburg Bowl loss to Rutgers.  They return 15 starters (including stud DE Bruce Miller the reigning C-USA Defensive POY) and are expected to contend for the C-USA title.  This game will tell us a lot about the season.  If we can get to 2-0 we could be looking at a bowl game, but if we lose it could be another sub .500 season for TOB in year #4.  Prediction:  Loss

Cincinnati — The reigning Big East champs will not be able to match their 12-1 record from last year after losing HC Brian Kelly, QB Tony Pike, and WR Mardy Gilyard.  They do return a lot of firepower on offense in QB Zach Collaros, RB Isaiah Pead, and WR Armon Binns so they can still contend in a wide open Big East race.  It’s a short week for both teams and under the Prime Time lights so it’ll be a game where both teams hope to make a statement. TOB’s career ESPN Thursday Night record is 1-7, but I’m bucking the trend here.  Prediction:  Win

@ Georgia Tech — We are 3-10 all time in Atlanta (1-7 in last 8 dating back to 1990).  Everybody knows how prolific Tech’s running attack has been since Paul Johnson took over.  With reigning 1st Team All-ACC QB Joshua Nesbitt returning to run the triple-option offense it will be just as strong as last year.  This one will probably be a blow out.  Prediction:  Loss

Virginia Tech — Frank Beamer is at the top of the class when it comes to ACC coaches.  His Hokies have won 10 or more games 11 of the past 15 years (including the last 6 in a row).  They’re ranked in the top 10 in both the AP (10) and USA Today (6) preseason polls and many consider them National Champion contenders.  I think that’s crazy talk, but with QB Tyrod Taylor and RB Ryan Williams leading the way you never know.  Last year’s game in Blacksburg was a blowout, but with only 4 returning starters on defense for the Hokies I think this one will be close.  Prediction:  Loss

Boston College — Under Chuck Amato we always had success against his former team (4-3 vs. FSU), but TOB has found it very tough sledding against BC with an 0-3 record and an average losing margin of 19.7 points.  BC has one of the best O-lines in the ACC and with the return of LB Mark Herzlich could have one of the best LB corps in the NCAA.  Add to that RB Montel Harris (264 yds and 5 TDs last year against us) and this should be another blowout, but I have a gut feeling on this one.  Prediction:  Win

@ East Carolina — Only 8 returning starters (2 on defense) so this is a very inexperienced Pirates team in Ruffin McNeill’s first year.  McNeill plans to install the same spread pass happy offense from Texas Tech and the Pirates do return their top two WRs in Dwayne Harris and Darryl Freeney so if they can find a competent QB they should be able to score some points.  This is a game where the Pack is the better team and must take care of business.  Prediction:  Win

Florida State — Last year’s game was fun to watch with the teams combining for 87 points and 1093 total yards of offense.  Jimbo Fisher takes over for the legendary Bobby Bowden so there is a little bit of uncertainty with the Noles.  FSU is once again the media’s pick to win the ACC Atlantic Division.  With Heisman hopeful QB Christian Ponder, one of the best O-lines in the country, and an improved defense you can see why the media loves them.  This could be a replay of last year and if so TOB’s Thursday Night struggles will continue.  Prediction:  Loss

@ Clemson — The Tigers have absolutely dominated the Textile Bowl with 8 wins in the last 10 meetings.  The reigning ACC Atlantic Champs lose All-World RB C.J. Spiller, but they are so athletic up and down the lineup I think they could surprise everybody and repeat.  That is if Dabo Swinney can actually coach which is still up for debate in my opinion.  Regardless I think he gets the best of TOB in Death Valley.  Prediction:  Loss

Wake Forest — After losing Riley Skinner, best QB in Wake history and a perennial thorn in the side of the Wolfpack, the Demon Deacons are switching their offense back to the option.  This does not appear to be a very good team, but the option will give everybody fits and help Wake hang around in games they probably shouldn’t.  Jim Grobe is a great coach, but this is a home game and we are the better team so this is a game that you absolutely cannot lose.  Prediction:  Win

@ North Carolina — Before the whole Agent Scandal I thought the Tarheels could contend for the ACC title.  Please don’t shoot!  At least I take some joy in helping to put the jinx on them.  Anyway, until the NCAA investigation is complete it’s hard to project how this team will do, but I think the damage has been done.  I now see this team being a huge bust which would be sweet music to Wolfpack Nation’s ears.  All the upperclassmen who spurned the NFL Draft to return did so for two reasons … to make a BCS bowl and to beat NC State.  That first dream will be over well before Halloween so when we make the drive over to Chapel Hill we will definitely get their full attention.  TOB’s 3-0 honeymoon sadly comes to an end.  Prediction:  Loss

@ Maryland — The Terps are strong at RB, WR, LB, and Special Teams but pretty weak everywhere else.  Last year we tried our hardest to give this game away but finally did prevail.  The Terps have won 7 of the last 10 in this series.  I think the Pack has the better team, but a possible bowl trip on the line and the Terps playing to send the Fridge out with a win in what could be his final game at Maryland doesn’t give me a good feeling.  Prediction:  Loss

So I said we could win as few as 3 and as many as 7 games.  I admit I totally copped out by taking the middle and predicting a 5-7 overall record.  I think it’ll be worse, but I just can’t bring myself to actually publish anything worse than that so the optimism is still there just not nearly as strong as it use to be.  I hope TOB & Co. prove me wrong and make it to a bowl, but I just don’t see it happening this year with this schedule.  Feel free to comment with your predictions and tell me how smart or stupid you think I am.


Jun 3 2010

Payback’s a B*tch

Sunday the Wolfpack played in the 2010 ACC Baseball Tournament Championship Game against Florida State.  Being a former NC State baseball player and with the game being just a couple hours up the road at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, I canceled my tee time and made the trek up to root on the Pack.  As I waited for the game to get underway I remembered back to the run my last NC State team made in the 2001 ACC Baseball Tournament.  We survived the play-in game and then fought our way through the loser’s bracket to make the Championship Game against Wake Forest.

The night before and morning of the game all I could think about was becoming ACC champs and jumping on top of the celebration pile.  I could taste my place in NC State sports history and could feel the championship ring on my finger.  I wasn’t overconfident or taking Wake Forest for granted, but truly felt that it was our destiny and I wanted it oh so badly.  Wake Forest, however, had other plans and we never really had a chance (boxscore).  I didn’t play in the game, but it was still the toughest loss of my athletic career and it still hurts to this day.

Bring me to Sunday.  The stage was set for the Pack baseball program to finally end its ACC championship drought that dates back to 1992.   With the Pack clinging to a 3-2 lead going into the 7th inning I started believing that it could actually happen.  Florida State scored two in the 7th to take a 4-3 lead, but I still had faith in our potent offense pulling us through.  Tournament MVP Harold Riggins led off the 8th inning with a ‘hand of god double’ and I just knew it was finally our year, but we left him stranded.  Then in the bottom of the 8th this happened:

As a former catcher, a throw coming in from right field where you are blind to the runner coming down the third base line is exactly the play you fear.  That is where you rely on the rule book/umpires to protect you.  Or at least that’s what I thought before this ACC umpiring crew total blundered the call.

“MLB rule 7.06(b) :  If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible.  NOTE:  The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score.  The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding the ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.

While Pack catcher Chris Schaeffer didn’t yet have the ball, he was in the act of ‘fielding the ball’ and thus had a right to be in the base line.  The ball was less than 10 feet away from him when FSU’s James Ramsey maliciously ran over him resulting in a grade 3 concussion for Schaeffer and a 25+ minute delay of the game while he was being attended to by medical personnel.  There was no obstruction because Schaeffer was trying to make a play.  If this was MLB then the play would have been perfectly legal, but the college rules differ from MLB in that “there is an automatic ejection for maliciously running into a defender who is trying to tag a runner or a force out” and thus Ramsey should have been ejected from the game because he clearly broke that rule.  There is even a college provision that allows instant replay to be used in tournament games to determine if a slide was malicious which, but somehow this umpiring crew blundered that as well.  Why am I not surprised?

FSU's James Ramsey delivers malicious hit to Pack's Chris Schaeffer

The Seminoles went on to win the game and the ACC championship.  The loss was another tough one for me and the baseball program, but there was some good news for the Pack.  Schaeffer was treated and released from the hospital late Sunday night, but he will not be able to play in this weekend’s NCAA Regional in Myrtle Beach.  For a preview of the regional check out StateFansNation.  As for Ramsey, I’m not buying the bullshit response he gave to the media yesterday.  Bad news for him is he’s just a Sophomore so my advice for his trip up to Doak Field next year is to bring some extra tubes of Icy Hot and a new helmet.  How’s the saying go?  Oh yeah … payback’s a bitch!


May 21 2010

Post Spring ACC Rankings

So Spring Practices for most schools ended over a month ago and I’ve been crunching numbers ever since to come up with these rankings.  Not really, I’ve just been slack.  Actually I’ve been caught up in all the conference expansion talk.  Just by mentioning that I should get twice as many page views.  What can I say … I’m a page view whore.  Moving on.  A lot of people give total conference rankings, but what good does that do.  It doesn’t matter if the top 4 or bottom 3 are all from the same division, what matters is who will be meeting in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium on December 4th for the ACC Championship Game.  Without further ado here is my rankings with as little commentary as possible so I can fool people into thinking I actually know what I’m talking about.

Atlantic Division

  1. Boston College – Easy schedule, good defense, and they just know how to win.
  2. Florida State – Great QB, but terrible defense and new coaching staff will underachieve.
  3. Clemson – Athletic defense will be very good, but without C.J. Spiller they will struggle to score points.
  4. NC State – Great offense + horrendous defense = exciting games – actual wins.
  5. Wake Forest – New focus on running game will hope to soften the hangover from Riley Skinner’s departure.
  6. Maryland – The Fridge’s farewell tour will be painful and ugly.

Coastal Division

  1. North Carolina – Defense wins championships and this is a NFL caliber defense.
  2. Virginia Tech – They always have high expectations and always seem to live up to them.
  3. Miami – I just watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 called The U and I think they start returning to past form.
  4. Georgia Tech – Too bad they’re not in the Atlantic Division, they’d easily win it this year.
  5. Duke – They’ve gotten a lot better, but they are still Duke and this is not basketball.
  6. Virginia – Mike London will make the Wahoos good, just not this year.

I’m wrong a lot even though I hate admitting it, as I’m sure Mrs. DFCF would be glad to tell you, but this is one instance where I would love to admit being wrong.  Maybe that is partly why my rankings look the way they do.  Anyway, this is how I see the 2010 season going.  And if BC and Carolina were to meet in the ACC Championship Game I would give the edge to Carolina.  Am I actually predicting the Tarheels to win the ACC football championship this year?  Damn, I guess so.  On that note it’s time to end this post and remove the fist lodged in my gut.


May 5 2010

Bottom of the Atlantic

Now that Spring Practice is over a lot of media outlets are releasing their reviews and post-Spring rankings.  In the grand scheme of things these rankings mean very little since we actually play games and decide this stuff on the field.  Nevertheless, these rankings are very important as they often shape public perception of a program and definitely influence high school recruits.

Obviously a lot can change between now and September when the games finally start, like Nate Irving’s car wreck last year, but individual conference projections are usually a lot more accurate than their Top 25 counterparts (if you’re so inclined … and I know you are … here’s post-Spring Top 25 rankings from ESPN and Sports Illustrated).  At least that’s the illusion that I’ve always been under.  Sorry I don’t feel like putting in the research to affirm or dispel that notion so we’re going to treat it as fact.  Hey I never said I wanted to be a journalist, just a delirious internet blogger.  Anyway, let’s take a look at a few ACC projections.

Tony Barnhart (a.k.a. Mr. College Football)  of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution released his Spring Practice review of the ACC Atlantic Division today.  Click here for the article.  [Update:  Here's his take on the ACC Coastal Division.] His projected order of finish for the 2010 season is:

  1. Florida State
  2. Clemson
  3. Boston College
  4. NC State
  5. Wake Forest
  6. Maryland

Heather Dinich, the ACC blogger for ESPN, released her pre-Spring power rankings back in February with NC State at #8.  This week she released her post-Spring power rankings with NC State falling to #10.  Her complete 2010 rankings are:

  1. Virginia Tech
  2. Florida State
  3. Miami
  4. Clemson
  5. Georgia Tech
  6. North Carolina
  7. Boston College
  8. Maryland
  9. Wake Forest
  10. NC State
  11. Duke
  12. Virginia

I haven’t had enough time to put together my own projections or even opine about these.  Maybe I’ll do that sometime this week.  Things are a little slow here at work, hence the reasoning for a rare mid-day post, so what better way to waste time than blogging.  Don’t worry, none of my 13 subscribers are co-workers.  [Note:  If you're not a subscriber what are you waiting for ... subscribe now ... it's not like it costs anything.] Hope not anyway or these mid-day posts might become less rare.  I’ll also be doing game by game projections of the 2010 Wolfpack season, but that won’t be until much closer to the season so make sure to check back in late August for that.  Uh-oh my boss just walked by my office and gave me that ‘what the hell are you doing’ look so I better get back to work.  Ciao!


Feb 5 2010

Contact Your Travel Agent Now

The ACC released the 2010 NC State football schedule today.  Looks like a pretty tough “road” for the Wolfpack, literally.  A whopping six road games this year is the most since the 2002 season and that year we had a 13 game schedule.  That’s not really a great thing since we have a 4-10 record on the road during the TOB era.

So that leaves us with only six home games and of the six home games two of them are on Thursday nights.  While there’s no doubt the exposure from a nationally televised game on ESPN is always great exposure for the program, call me old school, I just love playing on Saturdays when college football games are meant to be played.  Plus we do have a 0-3 record on Thursday nights during the TOB era and I have to take two days vacation at work because my boss man would never ever believe me if I were to call in “sick.”

I could go into more detail and analyze the makeup of the schedule, but that’s an absolute waste of time.  What it all comes down to is the team strapping on their helmets and playing some damn football.  So here’s the schedule.  Contact your travel agent now and make your plans to join me on the road.

2010 NC State Football Schedule
Sept. 4 WESTERN CAROLINA
Sept. 11 at Central Florida
Sept. 16 CINCINNATI (Thurs. ESPN)
Sept. 25 at Georgia Tech
Oct. 2 VIRGINIA TECH
Oct. 9 BOSTON COLLEGE
Oct. 16 at East Carolina
Oct. 28 FLORIDA ST. (Thurs. ESPN)
Nov. 6 at Clemson
Nov. 13 WAKE FOREST
Nov. 20 at North Carolina
Nov. 27 at Maryland



Nov 8 2009

Terminating The Terps

kellieharperhomecoming

Women's Basketball Coach Kellie Harper was Grand Marshal of the Homecoming Parade.

What do Terminate the Terps, Operation T.O.B. (Take Out Boston College), Crush the Cavs, Send the Jackets PACKIN, Dismiss Southern Miss, DevaSTATE Wake, and Beat the Buzz have in common?  If you answered corny NC State Homecoming slogans then you’re our winner.  Come on down and get your prize.  There’s really no prize so just enjoy yesterday’s win.

Maryland is not a very good football team, but we took care of business.  The much-maligned Pack defense played really well holding the Maryland offense to only 270 yards, 14 first downs, and 17 points.  Maybe we can build a little confidence from that and play better these last three games.  The Pack offense continued its hot play piling up 482 yards, 31 first downs, and 38 points.  From these stats you can see how this game should have been a blowout, but it was a nail biter that wasn’t decided until the last play of the game.  No time to be picky for us Pack fans, though.  A win is a win and it feels so good to be back in the W column keeping our slim bowl hopes alive.

It’s going to be tough to become bowl eligible needing to win all our remaining games (Clemson, @Virginia Tech, and North Carolina), but until we are officially eliminated I’m going to hold out hope.  We pulled it off last year so why not do it again.  Stranger things have happened.  Any team can win on any given Saturday.  Oh I’m such a douche for using cliches like that, but I believe.  In order to do it, though, we have to shore up the special teams and Russell has to be smarter with the football.

Our special teams has struggled all year and yesterday was no different.  We did kick a 48 yard field goal and block a Maryland field goal attempt, but those don’t come close to making up for botching a punt and giving up a kickoff return touchdown.  With C.J. Spiller coming to town next week it could get worse too.  Defensive coordinator Mike Archer has been getting a lot of heat for how the defense has played, but what about special teams coach Jerry Petercuskie?  The special teams has been even worse than the defense, believe it or not, so they must get better and fast.

We all knew that Russell Wilson’s record setting interception free streak was going to end sooner or later.  It was an impressive streak that was made possible by a lot of skill, good decisions, and a little luck.  When it finally did come to an end in the Wake Forest game we all expected Russell to start another streak.  Well he has started another streak, but not the kind of streak we had in mind.  He’s now thrown nine interceptions over the last five games with at least one in each game.  Game by game his interceptions have been 2, 1, 1, 2, and 3.  I understand that we are throwing the ball more and interceptions are going to happen, but the majority of Russell’s nine interceptions have been caused by terrible decisions and forced throws.  Going forward he has to be a lot smarter and protect the football better to give us a chance.


Oct 21 2009

Our Freedom Trail

Game sucked so at least I got to look at cheerleaders.

The game sucked so at least I got to look at cheerleaders.

So I’m not going to break down the BC game because it was just that bad.  Thankfully this is our bye week so I’ll at least have one weekend the rest of this fall free of nightmares about the opposing team’s offense.  Saturday I plan on going to my makeshift shooting range at the in-law’s house to take out some frustration with my Glock.  The paper silhouette targets don’t deserve the carnage that I plan to impose on them.

Speaking of bye weeks, the last two years TOB has really worked his magic during the bye week with our combined record improving from 3-9 before to 8-5 after.  Hopefully he has it up his sleeve again this year because we need to win 4 of our 5 remaining games to qualify for a bowl.  I love my brother and all, but I really don’t want him to be home for Christmas.  So here are the changes I would love to see to help turn around our season.  Some of these are obvious and some may seem outrageous, but at this point in the season you have to do whatever it takes to make the team better.  Sticking with the Boston theme for one more blog entry, I’ll call this our “Freedom Trail” to a winning season.

  1. Be creative and unpredictable with the running game. Use more two TE sets or a FB to lead block.  Try running to the left side of the field a few times.  Set a limit of 3 running plays out of the shotgun per game.  Don’t call a running play just because it’s first down.  And  call more designed runs for Russell.
  2. Shake up the O-line. The talent level between the seniors and underclassmen is minimal so start playing for next year.  Bench LG Julian Williams for a rotation of Andrew Wallace and Zach Allen.  Give RG R.J. Mattes every snap and quit rotating him out for Andy Barbee.
  3. Run shorter quicker passing routes. The golden rule says, “do unto others as they have done unto you.”  Well not exactly, but that’s how we need to apply it.  Our receivers struggle to get open consistently because the opposing defenses rush four guys and drop seven into coverage and all we run are straight long slow routes that are easy to cover.  Follow the examples of Duke and Wake, run more screens, slants, quick outs, pick routes, etc.
  4. Get tougher and nastier on defense. You can’t fix the lack of instincts and bad tackling in the small amount of time left in the season, but we can put guys in there that are tough and nasty.  Audie Cole is terrible so bench him and move Bobby Floyd to his spot.  Put J.R. Sweezy at MLB.  Burn redshirts before putting Koyal George or Justin Byers back on the field.  Play Clem Johnson deep in cover one and bring Brandan Bishop and Earl Wolff up closer to the line so they can be physical in run support, underneath coverage, and blitzing the QB.
  5. Be aggressive on 3rd and 4th downs. Teams have been killing us all year on 3rd and 4th down because that is when we sit back in soft ultra conservative mode.  Play tight man coverage on the outside and blitz, blitz, blitz.  Dare the other team to beat us deep instead of giving them the wide open short passes.  Our D-line is the strongest unit on our team so make the QB hold the ball longer in the pocket so they have time to do their thing.

Oct 9 2009

Cruisin’ The Atlantic

The Atlantic division of the ACC is a heap of mediocrity.  I wanted to look at it a little further and see what the Pack’s chances are of finishing on top and representing the division in the ACC Championship Game.  The current standings are in the chart below.

atlanticstandings

Maryland – Ralph Friedgen is a shell of his former self, literally (he lost over 100 lbs. since last year) and figuratively (his teams just aren’t as good as they used to be).  Maryland has a good running game, but are no better than average everywhere else.  Friedgen does still seem to always find a way to win a game or two that he shouldn’t, like last week’s win over Clemson.

Boston College – I’m just mystified by the Eagles 4-1 start.  This is a team that before the season I thought would be lucky to win 4 games.  First year head coach Frank Spaziani has done a remarkable job so far, but I’m not buying stock in BC.  They are a well coached team and the two time reigning Atlantic division champs, but I just don’t see it in the cards again this year.

Wake Forest – Riley Skinner is a solid QB and Jim Grobe is a good coach.  Even after winning the ACC in 2006 teams still sleep on Wake a little and they love that role.  Their defense is not very good.  They lost 4 starters to the NFL, but they absolutely cannot stop anybody.  They are going to have to get much better on defense or depend on Skinner to win a bunch of shootouts.

Clemson – There is no denying that Clemson has the athletes to be a great team.  Over the past 5 years or so they have consistently brought in top 15 recruiting classes.  They have great fans and a good football tradition.  Too bad they still don’t have a good coach.  They got rid of Tommy Bowden because his teams underperformed and now they have much of the same in Dabo Swinney.

NC State – It’s hard for me to take off my red colored shades and look subjectively at the Wolfpack, but I’ll try.  The main problem so far has been special teams.  Yeah the defense has struggled, but they have been put in a lot of difficult situations due to the special teams giving up big returns.  When the opposing team starts at the 40 yard line every drive the defense doesn’t have much room for mistakes.  The special teams have made it tough on the offense as well.  Russell Wilson is one of the most dynamic players in the ACC, but even he can only do so much when he starts inside his 15 yard line so often.  TOB has the tools in place.  It’s up to him to find the right pieces and make it happen.

Florida State – The turmoil at Florida State is just sad.  I’ve always been a big fan of Bobby Bowden, but it’s hard to be successful when some of your assistants and a big group of your fans are against you.  They still have the best athletes of any of the teams in the Atlantic division, but I’m not sure you can expect much out of them the rest of the season.  They will have games where they look like world beaters and then games where they look like a high school team.

This division is absolutely wide open.  There is not a really good football team that stands out above the rest so I still think any team could win it.  It’s been 30 years … let me repeat that … 30 long, agonizing, painful years since the Wolfpack won its last ACC football championship (1979 to be exact).  The chance is there for this team to step up its play and make it to the ACC championship game.  All I want for Christmas is for 60 minutes in Tampa for a shot at ending that streak.  GO PACK!!!


Oct 8 2009

Run! Russell! Run!

I wanted to put together some more videos from last week’s game, but I just haven’t had the time.  You know, that whole job thing.  It’s probably a good thing I have a job that keeps me busy, because if it wasn’t for that I’d spend way too much time writing entries for this blog.  Some people might say I have a problem.  Maybe I do, but that’s not the point.  The other thing I wanted to look at was Russell’s throwaways.

Seems like it happened 10 times last week (probably not quite that many).  I don’t mind him throwing the ball away, but on several of these he scrambled around for 5 seconds or more before throwing it away.  He could have tucked the ball and got 3-4 yards easy, if not a lot more.  Wake was spying him a lot with the LBs, but chunking it in the first row of the stands does nothing but give us 2nd or 3rd and longs.  TOB in his weekly press conference is still harping on Russell staying in the pocket and not running as much.  I flat out don’t like this.

The thing that makes him so tough to defend is his scrambling.  Yeah, we don’t want him getting injured, but he has gotten a lot better this year at running out of bounds and sliding to avoid taking nasty hits.  We really need his dynamic playmaking ability.  I say … Run Russell! Run!


Oct 7 2009

Don’t Mind the Defensive Ends

So the video is a little crude.  I am far from a video editing guru, but this will work for now.  Maybe Mrs. DFCF can get me into a video editing class at SPCC and find a way to waive the tuition.  Crossing fingers.

I’m far from a college football coach too, but some things are pretty obvious when looking at the video.  When running out of shotgun we:  1. always run right & 2. never block the LE.  If we were running out of the Wildcat formation this might work, but the hesitation required to make the handoff gives the LE time to crash down and make a play almost every time.  What makes it worse is that Vermiglio fails to block anybody down field so we would be better off keeping him at the line and at least holding up the LE.  We do run play action passes out of this formation, but it doesn’t hold the LE from crashing because we block differently.  If we are dead set on leaving the LE unblocked, then the only way to slow him down is to call some designed fakes and let Russell run the ball back at his vacated area.  I think we did this one time against Wake.

The video is only the first half of the game, so the sample size is small, but still this is an obvious trend.  If we line up with the RB to the right of Russell then you can just flip everything (run left, RE unblocked) and it still holds pretty true. We had more success running the ball on plays were we lined up under center with a FB lead blocker.  Just some of my observations.