Saturday, September 02, 2006

Game #1 - Jackets Valiant Effort falls short

Wow - if I didn't know better, this game looked an awful lot like some of our games last year. Offense clicking early, defense stiflying, score some points, hold the opposition, but then start to bend and finally break in the 2nd half. The Jackets fight a tough battle but lose to "mighty" Notre Dame 14-10.

My take is this - the Jackets didn't "lose" the game - they just didn't "win" it. Patrick Nix talked a lot about not worry about stats, and just doing what it takes to win. We just didn't get that done tonight. However, I have to give the team a ton of credit. They played tough. They played hard. Jon Tenuta did what it took to keep us in the game. But at the end of the day, it was another game with an offense that scored very few points. Ten just ain't going to win many.

Here are some thoughts:

Interesting - we only had the ball 4 times on offense in the entire second half. Four times. In fact, here's our drive log for the game:

1st Quarter (Plays - Yards - Result)

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

So you have very few cracks at the ball, particularly in the 2nd half, and we could only muster 64 yards total and 0 points.

Worse, look at time-of-possesion:

Possession Time............... 35:25 24:35
1st Quarter................. 8:02 6:58
2nd Quarter................. 8:48 6:12
3rd Quarter................. 8:25 6:35
4th Quarter................. 10:10 4:50

Sharp early. Exciting to watch. The O-Line was controlling things. Tashard Choice looked sharp. Reggie looked good. But as the game went on, the O-Line seemed to get tired. Choice was an absolute non-factor in the 2nd half, and the running game was practically non-existant.

Calvin Johnson has a monster 1st half, almost reaching the 100 yard mark, but then Weis decided to double cover him EVERY single play except on blitzes. CJ was a non-factor in the 2nd half. Ok, basically the offense was a non-factor in the 2nd half.

So how about Patrick Nix's first experience calling plays? Not great, only 10 points and being shutdown in the 2nd half ain't gonna get it. The offense looked a lot like last season. I thought he got off to a great start, but then he took the foot off the accelerator. Down at the goal-line instead of taking another fade shot to CJ, he goes run to the middle of the field, setting up the FG. We never got our aggressiveness back after that.

Bend but don't break. That's the motto. Well, if you hold the offense everyone has deemed #1 in the nation to only 14 points, then I have to say that you've done your job. There were a few key plays given up, but overall, it was the defense that kept us in the game and gave us a shot to win.

I have to give some decent credit to the secondary. They played above expectations for sure. Nice job there.

Shaky. Kick-off coverage terrible. So much for all that off-season work. Travis Bell was perfect on the night and Durant did a pretty decent job punting the ball. But boys, back to the chalk-board on the kick-off coverage.

No turnovers........ by either team. That's a big positive for sure................. Philip Wheeler was a monster. Is it just me, or was he everywhere. He led the Jackets with 13 tackles, including 2 for a loss. The trenches - our O and D-Lines looked good and that bodes well for the season. We all know how games are won and lost in the trenches. However, it appeared that both lines got tired late in the game. Pressure on Quinn was minimal and pressure on Ball increased.

Here are the game stats.

I'm tired and headed to bed, but overall it was electric atmosphere, a very competitive game and well worth playing, even with the loss. This is the type of game that will benefit our program. I am sure the recruits who attended had a great time and saw Tech at its best. As far as the ACC goes, this game doesn't count for a thing. The talent is there. We still need to find more offensive consistency and continue to hammer special teams, but the defense looks again to be strong enough to keep us in every game.

Night all and GO JACKETS!!!!!