Like most of you, I was in disarray with the eye test from Saturday's game. I angrily tweeted afterwards that we were not near the level we needed to be, and that the defensive coaching staff needed to wake up. I would like to retract the majority of that. As expected, I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged after watching the film. Below are a few quick notes.
* Well, it's the third year with a third different defensive base set. I'm not a fan of M. Edwards standing up on the end. The Hybrid 4-2 will take a while to get used to, and it's frustrating to watch. I also didn't understand the repeated blitz calls to P.J. Williams. Was that because Darby is the better corner, or because P.J. is better through the gaps? He would be the last guy I would send from the corner. He has no acceleration and it was obvious his hammy issue was bothering him.
* It was obvious that Karlos had a lot going on and I think that took a toll on him during the game. He wasn't himself. The line didn't do him any favors either, specifically the left side with CAM and Jose getting blown up multiple times.
Handling the Speed
*I was dead wrong about Tyrek Hill. He absolutely torched the Noles. His combo of speed and power was deadly. The Noles did not seem prepared for him as he did everything from getting to the corners, power running, and special teams success.
* Still awful, with no improvement. This is very surprising from a coach with an insane attention to detail.
Summary: I can say with confidence that the fact that our two best linemen, along with Karlos struggling, does not bother me yet. We've seen these guys play and we know exactly what they can do. I can chalk this up to a bad game and don't expect them to struggle like this in the future. Fortunately, we also don't play Tyrek Hill every week. He singlehandedly kept OSU in the game. It easily could have been a 3 score game without his efforts. Finally, like last year, I do believe the D will continue to evolve and adjust. I have a great deal of confidence going forward in them as well.
*Rashad and Co. Est. 2014
Ok, so it's not a competitor to Abercrombie, but wow, this guy continues to amaze me. The more he starts getting double covered, the more it will open up big players for the others. I thought Kermit and Green also played well. You could tell at times that these two were both first time starters, but all in all it was a job well done. Lastly, it was Travis Rudolph who saw action as the 4th WR along with Scooter Haggins with the starters during spread formation.
I'm not sure if it could have been a more dominant first quarter. The first half of the second quarter also followed suit. The game ended up being close, but if you go back and watch it was an absolute beat down to start the game off. As momentum switched, it was really important that the Noles were able to get off to a quick start.
Ronald Darby continues to grade high. Other than a couple balls, he was solid. With him becoming a lock down corner this really gives more flexibility to the defensive play calling.
Summary: Plenty of good to take away from this game. I'm looking forward to preparing for the Clemson game along with seeing who continues to step in against the Citadel this week.
***Pics provided by Melina Vastola