Thursday, October 06, 2005

Quick Game Preview

Ok, here are some quick hits based on my feeling about NCST:

1. The defensive line is at the top of the ACC. Manny Lawson and Mario Williams are two of the best bookends in the conference. However, it's important to note that one of the reasons that UNC was so successful against the Pack was running to the left. The Heels basically decided that Mario Williams was the real deal at 6'7", 285lb and that he could rush the pass and stuff the run. So they went right after Manny Lawson and it worked. All their big runs were to the left. Yes, Lawson rushed the passer VERY well, but against the run, he was owned by UNC.

2. While the Pack's D-Line is great, it goes downhill from there. The LB core has two good guys, but nobody of significance past that. One of their LB's, Stephen Tulloch, is 6th in the nation in tackles.............The DB's are fairly weak, with only one guy who is really a standout. However, they have been successfull keeping away from big passing games. What does it all mean? If our O-Line can protect Reggie Ball and open up some running lanes, it could be a fun night. I think you can do the math if we don't.

3. Offensively, Jay Davis is a solid QB, but not great. He's not fast, not a huge running threat and he doesn't have overwhelming vision. He has lived off a high number of short passes. So our underneath coverage needs to be solid - AND THE TACKLING AS WELL!!!!! He is hitting 63% of his passes, and is 3rd in the league in passing efficiency, and leads the ACC in passing yardage per game, so he can move the chains. By the way, guess who's last in passing efficiency in the ACC? Yes, Reggie Ball.

4. Tailback Tony Douglas is very good, and we need to stuff the run. Nuff said.

5. NCST is averaging about 34 yards per kick return. Darrell Blackman is a real threat and leads the ACC in kick-off returns. Please, Jacket coverage - be there.

6. Discipline. This is where NCST tends to fall down. They have talent, but they make too many mistakes at the wrong time. They lose their cool. Watch out for that. The Pack is the most penalized team in the ACC so far.

7. NCST is last in the ACC in 3rd down conversions. That is where our defense has to step up. NCST is last in 1st downs made, but gives up the fewest 1st downs on defense. And NCST leads the ACC in opponents 3rd down conversion at 22%

8. NCST is very good in the redzone, converting 93% of their chances into points.

9. Forget our winning record against the Pack. It doesn't matter. This is a different team with different players. Yes, we've won the last 4, but each has been decided by less than 10 points.