Saturday, April 05, 2008

Football - Scrimmage #2 Notes

The Saturday scrimmage was..... well...... not good ........ at least for the offense............ and Paul Johnson was..... well..... blunt about it.

"Certainly there's no way you can win a game if you don't take better care of the ball than that," Johnson said. "The defense pulled a couple out, but the majority of them had nothing to do with that. They're just pitching them on the ground or dropping the snap. It's unacceptable."

By the way, there were 8 fumbles on pitches, 2 from center-snaps and 6 more fumbles between handoffs and just getting hit. Yes, it was wet and raining, but give us a break. Oh yeah, there was an INT and a botched FG hold as well. Not a banner day for securing the football. And PJ was not happy that the guys who fumbled the ball stood around and watched other guys pounce on it.

Now, PJ made no excuses and put a lot of blame on himself and the coaching staff.:

"I'm going to guess there must have been 60 missed assignments, 70 missed assignments on offense. Clearly, we don't know what we're doing. That's a poor reflection on us as coaches. We haven't done a very good job coaching them if they don't know what they're doing. I'm embarrassed that they don't know what to do."

Josh Nesbitt didn't play, as he was nursing an injury (he'll be back in practice Monday). Calvin Booker, bless his heart, tried to take the high road in terms of leadership:

"It's almost like it gets contagious. We've got to get mentally tough," Booker said. "It starts with me. The ball is in my hands. I've got to make the right decisions, make the right reads, keep us in good situations. Whatever you write, make sure you put it was on me. All the balls on the ground, everything we did that wasn't executed right, that was my fault."

Now, Calvin, that's as admirable as it gets, but it certainly won't help you get PT in the fall if it keeps up.

Another interesting situation at B-Back. This is the position everyone assumed Jonathan Dwyer was the heir apparent. Weelllllllllllll, not so fast. Dwyer has been pushed mostly to 2nd team, while Lucas Cox has shown the ability to break off some nice runs and did it again today in the scrimmage.

Here's what PJ said about Lucas Cox:

I'm not into the hype. They've got to show me. I've heard all the hype about everybody, but I'm not seeing it. Show me."

If that ain't a shot across the bow to J.Dwyer I don't know what is. JD has been challenged. Will he respond? Actually I find the B-Back situation very interesting. In PJ's offense, the B-back is really all about hitting the hole and getting the 2nd level quickly. It's more about power and running people over than speed. It's less about duck-and-dive and more about straight ahead power. Obviously Dwyer is a load. However, I think Dwyer is really a "tweener" between A-back and B-Back? JD likes to break the ball outside. He likes to make guys miss. He can run between the tackles, but he tends to like to find his hole and make his own decision about when and where. In the triple-option you don't do that. The dive play is very specific and hits a specific hole....... and quickly.

Lucas Cox is more of your traditional fullback. He hits the hole hard and quick. Now to be fair, in the scrimmage Dwyer had 15 carries for 92 yards and Cox had 18 carries for 80 yards, including a 27 yard jaunt for a TD. However, Dwyer did have a fumble, and that's a no-no. Of course if PJ challenges every guy who fumbles, it looks like he'll have to get some more walk-ons.

When the offense struggles you'd like to be able to draw the conclusion that the defense played well. That's really only partially true. First team defense gets a better grade than 1st team offense, and maybe 1st team offense gets a better grade than 1st team defense. The D had some hard hits on guys, ran a couple of fumbles back for TD's, and were consistently getting into the backfield. Should we be more worried about what that means about the O-line? Probably.

So back to the drawing board for the offense. A few things are clear
1. This team has a long way to go........ particularly the offense
2. Josh Nesbitt is looking more and more like what the doctor ordered.
3. I'm feeling a little better about the defense....... a little