Alternative Title: Grad's SUPER AWESOME AND INFORMATIVE Spring Game Recap
Ah the good old spring game. Nice weather, minimal fans (and as a result awesome seats) and knowing your team will win no matter what (which I lost after the North Dakota State game last year) made for a fun afternoon. I think PenguinHawk did a good job of covering our offense, defense and special teams, so I will dive into some random things that stood out to me.
DJ Marshall – A touching tribute was given to DJ during the game which was cool, but I noticed him well before his moment. His motor was going 100%, and you could hear him in the stands screaming after big plays and pumping up his teammates. Whatever we get from DJ is great, but I really like the emotional lift he gives the defense. The guys seemed fired up, more so than last year.
Misdirection plays – Our first drive was big toime, and a lot of that came on misdirection runs. Seemed to really work well early on the game, and Beshears was used in a similar role from last year on a nice end around. However, later in the game the misdirection runs seemed to be less effective, which could have been the result of our defense figuring some things out. Speaking of Besheezy…
D.J. Beshears – With Daymond Daylight Patterson sidelined with an injury, D.J. got the bulk of the slot work and looked good. I mean really good. He ran crisp routes and got open in the passing game, and picked up some yards on the ground on a few carries. He is a playmaker and we need to continue to find ways to get him the ball.
Big WRs vs corners – Our bigger wideouts really got the best of our corners on a few plays; on one pass play Omigie (I think, or possibly McGriff) just kind of posted up Greg Brown and hauled in the pass. Our corners (who really had a bad day) are going to face a lot of big WRs this year (Rivet nodding)… can they hold them off?
Corners – Yeah I’m not done complaining about this. After hyping these guys up in my position previews, they didn’t look good yesterday. They struggled against bigger WRs and made some poor plays on the ball. Safeties looked good though – they covered well and provided good run support.
Speaking of the safeties, Lubbock Smith really really really likes hitting people. I hope someone buys him like a punching bag or something for his apartment. Remember Terry Tate, the office linebacker? That is totally going to be Lubbock in ten years.
DLine – Big boys looked pretty good. Big John Williams had a pretty good game in the middle. Something I found interesting – one a few plays, the left side of the DLine had Lewandowski at tackle and Keba Agostinho at end. Seems like the coaches are trying to get creative with ways to rush the passer. Lewandowski is wirey and athletic. He seems like a good guy to play DT on passing downs, his quickness helps him get into the backfield, especially if he has that extra second that a third and long would provide. Toben looked pretty deadly at end, I think he will have a good year. At least 18 sacks would be my prediction, though I’m hoping for more in the 22-25 range.
Young Blood – Some of the younger wideouts struggled with drops. Turzilli dropped a few catchable balls, Maura struggled to get open, although he has the speed. Some improved route running will do wonders for him. Jimmay Mundine had some happy hands as well, but man that guy is a freak. He is raw now, but he looks like a potential mismatch nightmare. He lined up outside on a few plays as well. Excited to see how he develops.
Kale Pick – He looks good at WR. I was skeptical, but now I’m a believer. He is fast, has good hands, and ran solid routes. I already addressed what he could provide in terms of trick plays, but he looks like a good WR, period. He also did a good job of blocking downfield. Glad to see he has taken well to his new position, and I’m excited to see how he contributes this year.
Christian Matthews – He appears to be the offenses downfield threat. His touchdown was the result of a terrible play by the defensive backs, but it is important for us to have a vertical threat. Matthews has speed and looks comfortable going deep.
QB Sacks – I get we have to protect the QB, but come on man. Call it a sack if they get wrapped up or if the defender is in position. Too many times a guy got touched by an outstretched hand and the play was blown dead. Got frustrating.
Bottom line – offense
Passing game needs a lot of work. We have a lot of different options at WR, but we need consistency. I’m not sure who should start at QB. Webb can make some plays with his feet, but I trust Mecham more. Webb’s interception was just awful, and Mecham seems to be more natural as a passer. At this point, I almost want Mecham back there because he is the safer pick.
Running game looks good, and should be even better this year. But until we develop a consistent passing game, our offense isn’t going to be very prolific. And that starts with the QB.
Bottom line – defense
Defensive line looks better, but still has a way to go. Pass rush should be better with Toben at end, but I’m not sure if the run stopping will be much better. Our linebackers were in good position, especially Tharp. More speed at that position will be helpful. In the secondary… sigh… well hopefully our corners get it together.
Doherty looked ok, although his last miss was terrible. Wait and see, I guess...