Monday, September 3, 2007

Notes on Week 1

After watching a lot of football on Saturday, here are some notes:
  1. LSU played dominating defense without really giving VT anything to prepare for. We rarely blitzed, and when we did it was usually a simple linebacker blitz. We only brought one corner blitz, and that was way at the end of the game, and Jai Eugene was the blitzer. We stayed in either a 4-3-4 or a 4-2-5 the whole game, with McCray playing like a linebacker, and we played a lot of zone. I'm sure Bo Pelini will be giving VT a lot of different looks, with lots more blitzes and lots more bluff blitzes.
  2. Other top teams had much more smooth and fluid passing games than we did. We seemed to have trouble getting wide receivers the ball in space, where other teams were able to do it with some regularity. Like I said before, I think our five receiver sets with everyone making short to intermediate routes clogged the field pretty good. If we have 5 wide receivers in the pattern, I think at least 2 of them need to running a 20+ yard pattern if for no other reason than to clear the intermediate field of defenders.
  3. Virginia Tech did not look good in their first game. Their defense didn't tackle well. Their offensive line didn't open any holes in the rushing game. The pass protection broke down frequently. If they hadn't gotten that defensive touchdown, this game would have been a fight to the finish.
  4. Using GeauxTuscaloosa's statistical analysis for QBs, the best SEC quarterback of the week was Tim Tebow of Florida. He made 17 pass attempts for an even 300 yards with 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also had 38 yards rushing on 8 attempts with one additional touchdown. Those numbers gave him an eye-popping GTQBPI (GeauxTuscaloosa Quarterback Productivity Index) of 16.72 yards per play. Chris Nickson of Vandy had the second highest at 11.72 yards per play. The worst of the week was obviously Michael Henig, who was actually well into negative numbers. Matt Flynn scored 7.0 yards per play, good for 6th among starting QBs.
  5. Of course, Florida was playing Western Kentucky, and from the little bit of the game I saw, they really opened up the offense. They made a lot of downfield throws. I think I remember even seeing a flee-flicker. Vandy played 1-AA Richmond. I'm sorry, that's "Football Championship Subdivision" team Richmond. The knock on Nickson was that he threw a lot of interceptions last year, and got most of his passing yards by throwing to one receiver: Earl Bennett. Nickson didn't throw any interceptions, but he threw 221 of his 281 passing yards and 3 of his 4 touchdowns to Earl Bennett. I maintain that if any team has the corners to cover Earl Bennett, Nickson will struggle in the passing game.
  6. Speaking of "Football Championship Subdivision", assuming both finish undefeated, who would be more deserving of a BCS bowl berth? App State or Hawaii?
  7. Auburn got a little lucky beating K-State. Their offensive line was horrible, but their defense played pretty well. With K-State down by 3 points late in the game, and with Quentin Groves beating their left tackle play after play, the K-State playcaller steadfastly refused to give the left tackle any help at all. In the decisive play of the game, Groves sprinted right past the left tackle and got a free shot on the QB, forcing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. In a game where K-State had outplayed Auburn most of the night, they ended up losing by 10, thanks in part to some shoddy playcalling by someone who apparently wasn't watching the game.
  8. I didn't watch much of the Bama game, but it looks like they have some speedy and shifty running backs. Considering the competition, John Parker Wilson didn't exactly put up stellar numbers (GTQBPI of 7.38), but Terry Grant routinely was able to get to the corner and turn it upfield for a big gain.
  9. My pet team in the East, South Carolina, didn't exactly light it up against Louisiana-Lafayette. Maybe Blake Mitchell being suspended is what did it. They will need Mitchell, and they will need him to be good, if they're going to compete in the East, because Florida looked awesome and Georgia looked better than expected.
  10. I don't put a lot of stock into the Tennessee loss at Cal. Yeah, Tennessee's defense looked awful trying to stop all those speedy Cal players, but Cal is the 2nd best team in the Pac-10, and they were playing at home. Tennessee is probably at best the 4th best team in the SEC right now, and they may be much lower than that. Erik Ainge, by the way, looked pretty good until Tennessee got behind and they went almost exclusively to the pass. I'd like to say it would have gone better for Tennessee if they'd had Lamarcus Coker, who may be the 3rd best running back in the SEC, but Coker wouldn't have helped their defense any.
Looking forward to next week.

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