Tuesday, September 15, 2009

College Football: Concerns, Issues After Week 2

Two weeks into the season and we already have back to back weeks were a top 5 team have fallen. I can only imagine what the rest of the season holds. Here's what I learned from week 2.

Florida 56 Troy 6: The Gators' D has given up a total of 9 points in two games, but we have yet to see them go against a quality opponent. Florida's second warm up game gave us nothing new about the Gators. UF will take on Tennessee who is not what I would call "a quality opponent" yet.

Houston 45 Oklahoma State 35: One week after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs, Oklahoma State gets beaten at home by the Houston Cougars. This upset is not all that incredible. Houston likes to throw the ball a lot with quarterback Casey Keenum, the 2008 Conference USA offensive player of the year. I am sure Oklahoma State has a better defense than last year, but at the end of the day this game shows us that their pass defense is still lacking. What happens when Oklahoma State goes up against other Big 12 gunslingers like Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Taylor Potts? The remarkable thing is Oklahoma State went down 24-7 rallied to take the lead 28-24 then again at 35-31.

Michigan 38 Notre Dame 34: This was a game that has been marked for months. The losing team was sure to have a head coach who's job security would be damaged. Coming into this game I did not look at Michigan with the same underdog status as most of the country labeled them as. (Mainly because RichRod's offense came into being against Western Michigan in week 1.) Did I honestly think UM would win? No. Overall, very good game and even though ND lost they still have no reason to think this season is over. In the fourth quarter UM held a 31-20 lead that was quickly turned into a 34-31 ND lead with 5:13 left. NOW HERE IS WHERE THINGS GOT INTERESTING. Michigan can not get the ball moving and punts the ball to Notre Dame. The ball is downed with 3:25 left in the game. On first down ND runs for 13 yards for a first down. Now it's first down and ND runs a another play up the middle and is stopped for one yard. UM then uses it's first time out. There are 2:29 left in the game and it is 2nd and 9. On the next two plays ND throws the ball and both are incomplete. UM gets the ball back on a punt on there 43 yard line with 2:19 left and 2 timeouts. And it is right here where you have to ask Coach Weis what was he thinking. If you are going to make that gamble where you throw it instead of opting to run the ball and burn there timeouts you better execute the play otherwise you are going to get ripped apart. Here's the thing, let's say Weis runs the ball on 2nd and 3rd down and both times UM calls a timeout. Well at least when they would get the ball back Michigan would have no timeouts. Weis gambled and lost and now he must pay.

And by the way I was very impressed with Tate Forcier. In his first start he threw for 240 and ran for 70. 310 total yards in one start? Not bad at all.

USC 18 Ohio State 15:
This was the game of the week. USC was supposed to run over OSU, but for much of the game OSU was in control. Even after Terrelle Pryor's first play interception, OSU was still able to take control of the game. OSU had the largest crowd in The Shoe's history, they neutralized Joe McKnight, they made Matt Barkley look average, and they had a 5 point lead, 15-10, with 7 minutes to go in the fourth. Yet in the end Ohio State lost a heartbreaker. Behind Matt Barkley, USC had a 6:10 minute drive that was oh so similar to Juice Williams of Illinois's 8 minute drive back in 2007. Even though USC broke OSU's back with that 6:10 drive, the Bucks still had a shot with 1:05 left. After a return to the OSU 36 yard line the offense sputtered and OSU fell again. I can only help but think when is Pryor going to have his moment? Sure it was a difficult situation, down by 3 with 1 minute left, but these are things Pryor is supposed to do. He was brought in as the next Vince Young. This was a situation in which he was supposed to excel. A guy like Pryor is supposed to fall in this sort of sentence. "The game was lost and any normal quarterback would of lost, but we had Pryor so we won." Bottom line when is Pryor going to have his moment?

LSU 23 Vanderbilt 9: There's a lot to be said about the LSU game. There's good and bad news. First the bad, or I should say UNSATISFYING news. LSU's offense is not at the place we all thought they would be. Many times on Saturday LSU went three and out. This was frustrating by all means because our playcalling seemed to be so bland. All summer there was talk about how Gary Crowton was going to really pump up the LSU offense. I, as well as all LSU fans, was excited to see The Wizard (Crowton) do his magic, but we have not seen that yet. I understand QB Jordan Jefferson is young, what I do not understand is why we ran the same old running back dive up the middle on three or four consecutive possessions. Each time LSU was getting no yardage whatsoever. What needed to take place for it to be realized that a running back dive on first down was not working? Also, LSU had 5 wide receivers many times, but very rarely threw the ball deep.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are one of the people upset by LSU leading Vandy by the mere score of 16-9 in the fourth quarter. Imagine if one of LSU's three field goals resulted in a touchdown. Instead of 16-9, we are looking at 20-9 and a final score of 27-9. The main thing is the offense is still a work in progress but at the same time if they could just punch it in the endzone a little more than LSU would not be in the situation they were Saturday - up by only 7 in the fourth.

Now for the good news. In week 1 LSU's defense gave up an appalling 471 yards of offense to the Washington Huskies. A lot of skepticism came out as to whether or not new defensive coordinator John Chavis was the man for the job. The performance against UW was nothing to be proud of, but I was convinced Chavis would get it under control. After all he is not a first year coach, he has been doing this for years, and he's been good at it.

That all changed this past Saturday against Vanderbilt. The LSU defense gave up a mere 210 yards. Period. Vandy had one scoring drive that would of ended had LB Kelvin Sheppard not dropped an interception that would of surely been six points. Chad Jones, as well as the rest of the team, was tackling a lot better. Also, the defensive line started to really get into it. How about the play by Drake Nevis and Al Woods? And what about cornerback Patrick Peterson? He literally shuts down his side of the field. I am excited to see this unit continue to grow throughout the season.

As of now LSU can compete with Alabama, Ole Miss, and Georgia mainly because of our defense's play Saturday. Again I might be jumping the gun on that at this moment.

Florida? Lots of improvement needs to be shown on offense if we want the sky to fall October 10th, but never say never.

Things I was WRONG about...

Unless UCLA has one heck of a defense, UT's offense is not that good. I guess in the end it was just the fact they were playing Western Kentucky. In there home stadium the Vols lost 19-15 to a young, inexperienced UCLA team. Vol QB Jonathon Crompton's performance was dreadful to say the least. He was 13 of 26 for 93 yards and 3 interceptions. Touchdowns? Zero. And oh yeah he lost a fumble as well.

Auburn. I was kept thinking dark times where upon the War Eagles. They did a lousy job of hiring a coach and the SEC West was far too loaded for them to make any noise. I know it's only been 2 games, but rest assured a 49-24 over Mississippi State is something to raise your eyebrow on. Look I know it's early on, but I am ust saying do not be surprised if Auburn starts making some noise.

No comments: