I’m sitting here painfully aware of how little I know about football. I see things like this article detailing just how our defense operates and I realize that there are just so many people who are better served to write this piece but here I am!
This game wasn't very enjoyable to rewatch. And that’s not a bad thing! It just means that this game was very emblematic of who we are and there wasn't a ton to learn from as we move forward. We’re starting to lock in who we are on both sides of the ball, both good and bad, which gives us a predictable baseline from which to operate. So with that in mind here are just a few quick things that jumped out to be on the rewatch.
The offensive line played pretty well this weekend and it seems like this group is really starting to gel. I thought putting the same OL we had against Bama made sense, but regardless we need to find a 5 and stick with it and just let them gel together.
The key thing with this OL: 55 is who he is, and that is a dominant player who can play all 5 spots and will make millions over a 15 year NFL career. Dude is just that good. But him aside, guys, we’ve got a solid foundation for this line moving forward. Bryce Foster and Rueben Fatheree are playing really really good ball right now. Fatheree followed up his great game against Alabama with another solid outing and Bryce showed us why he was a 5 star in this game. This dude is so fluid when he moves. We’ve got two bonafide future stars on this line
It’s odd how our defense matches our offense. We’re great in the middle, great at making passes between the hashes, and great running up the gut. But we struggle offensively on the edges at times (although it’s a little less pronounced this year than it was last).
Similarly, our defense is struggling on the perimeter—which comes mainly if/when our blitzes don't get home. We gave up some yards in the third quarter yesterday and many of them came from quick passes to the edge where our defenders were either out of position or not quick enough to make the tackle. Solid in the middle, rough around the edges.
In the past two games, we’ve been outscored 21-14 in the third quarter and outgained 269-108. I don't know why that’s the case. Maybe it’s a matter of the other team making adjustments and then we adjust to their adjustments after a bit but the third quarter hasn't been our friend lately.
FINISH FINISH FINISH
We won this game by 21 points which is really really good. But we could have put this game away several times, and it is totally reasonable to be slightly disappointed that we didn't win 48-7 given that we left 1 TD on the field with the interception in the endzone and two field goals that we missed. Not to mention a couple of big drops on conversion downs.
It doesn't matter but it does. As we move into this final stretch we cant leave points on the field.
This new wrinkle of him missing the wide-open swing passes is interesting but not altogether out of character. In this effort to think less and just fire away sometimes making the routine throws where you don't have to think at all are challenging. I know we’ll get that cleaned up.
But on the positive side, Calzada is feeling it right now. He’s throwing with a ton of confidence (in part due to better play by the OL). He’s seeing the field better (still locking into WRs but that’s ok), and really trusting his arm to laser throws into tight spaces.
Ainias seems to have turned a big-time corner over the past few weeks and has become the go-to guy for Calzada. This combination showed up in a big way on 3rd and 17 where we got 21 ish yards to convert. Excellent news for the rest of the year.
Again not much new to report about this team. We’re starting to lock on in who we are and what we can do given all the changes we’ve experienced over the past few weeks.
I don't think any of us would have been all that surprised in July if someone told us that we’d be 5-2 going into the South Carolina game. How we got here is a different story, but we’re in a good place right now. Opportunities abound for this team as we move into the final stretch of the year.
BTHO south Carolina.