Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Much Better

Now that's the way games against over matched opponents are supposed to go: Offensive excellence early and often, defense getting enough stops and turnovers to keep the game out of reach, and lots of young players getting their first substantial action on both sides of the ball. In the long run this game probably means about as much as last week's game -- its a win, read more into the game at your own peril -- but it is certainly funner to discuss and to relive, so here goes:
-The media seems to be overplaying the Denard injury just a little bit. It seemed fairly clear that he was alright, based on the way he was jumping around on the sideline. I still don't get the idea that he would be any more prone to injury as a QB running the ball than a running back carrying the ball.
-Yes, patsy opponent and all, but Tate Forcier looked good. The ovation he got when he took the field was heartwarming, and his comments after the game were encouraging. I know I was ready to write him off after his comments in the immediate aftermath of the UConn win, but his subsequent walk back of those comments and behavior since then show that maybe, just maybe, he's grown up a little bit through this whole ordeal.
-Gardner also looked good, but I think if Denard were to go down for any period of time, we'd be better off with Tate at the helm, even though he doesn't bring Devin's overall athleticism. I think Tate just brings some better reads and more accuracy. Either way, we have some of the better QB backups in the country.
-I liked the new punt formation, with three returners back, Odoms, Gallon, and Dileo, to combat the rugby style roll punts from the spread formation that a lot of teams are running these days. The extra returners allowed us to return a few punts that previously had ended up bouncing 20 yards, or had turned into turnovers when Gallon tried to dive after the ball.
-Not a bad first career carry by Fitz Toussaint, huh? I'd worry more about him being caught from behind if he weren't wearing a knee brace.
-I thought the freshman Ray Vinopal showed a good nose for the ball on his late interception. Now if we could just put a few pounds on him so he doesn't cough the ball up after his interception.

Thoughts from other games:
-I wonder if Alabama's come from behind win in Arkansas was just the first of many such games for the defending champs this year. With the way their schedule is set up, with many teams getting bye weeks before they play them, they're gonna get everyone's best shot, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them fall behind against Florida, LSU, South Carolina, or Auburn. But they just seem to have that Rasputin like quality that they're never dead even after you think you've killed them.
-What the heck has happened to Georgia? Losing to Miss. State? I don't know anything about the situation on the ground in Athens, but from the outside it doesn't look good for Mark Richt -- losing record this year, losing ground in the rivalry with Florida, a new AD, and a gaggle of legal troubles for this players. His only saving grace might be that Tennessee might be worse, and the luster is coming off Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech a little bit.
-Speaking of the Vols, you gotta feel a little for UAB, miss five field goals in regulation and lose in 2OT to Tennessee. Ouch!
-I couldn't help but think in the wake of UCLA's somewhat shocking demolition of Texas that it was the Bruin's 66-3 win in Austin that effectively ended the last Longhorn coach's tenure. I don't think Mack Brown is going anywhere anytime soon, but maybe they shouldn't invite UCLA to town anymore.
-I watched a little bit of the Temple / PSU game. It's kinda a shame that the Big East kicked Temple out, since I think that if Al Golden stays there, they will outgrow the MAC real fast. If they are seriously considering adding Villanova, they should first bring Temple back. Of course, Golden's a Penn State alum, so he might be on their short list if/when Paterno finally hangs them up / kicks the bucket (whichever comes first).
-Odd Stat of the week: Every touchdown scored in Florida's 41-14 win over Kentucky was scored by #8 -- Florida's Trey Burton (who scored six touchdowns), Jeremy Brown (INT returned for a TD), and Kentucky's Chris Matthews (Two TD receptions) all wear number 8. I wonder what the odds are on three different players with the same number all scoring in the same game, let alone scoring nine touchdowns.
-Some more Golden rankings stuff later this week -- conference rankings and a look at a new rankings feature this year, looking at average points scored and allowed vs. the opponents averages.