Sunday, September 9, 2007

Virginia Tech: The Historic Beat Down

Wow. That was utter domination. Where last week our offense looked very pedestrian in simply taking the easy scores the defense gave us, this time both sides of the ball looked dominant and capable of winning a game for us if the other side of the ball has an off day. Every one of our offensive and defensive units looked better than their Virginia Tech counterparts. Our QBs looked better than their QBs. Our offensive line looked better than their offensive line. Our linebackers looked better than their linebackers, which is the biggest surprise because VT's linebackers are supposed to be the strength of the team and maybe the best in the country.

Early in the game, Jacob Hester showed me why he is the starter. He wasn't just a pretty good, reliable, heady runner (all the white-guy cliches). He was a dynamic runner who got big gains when they were available, and made the most out of runs that didn't have big-play potential. He finished with a 6.8 yard average and a touchdown on 12 runs.

But then Keiland Williams came in and took some of those "runs that didn't have big-play potential" and made them into big plays, making two dazzling runs into the end zone. When I said earlier this week that we don't have a playmaking running back, Keiland Williams had not made runs like that. I think we have one now. He had 126 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 7 carries.

I also complained about a lack of offensive playmakers other than Early Doucet. Brandon Lafell served notice last night that he will be a force in the passing game. Where last week our QBs completed very few passes to receivers other than Doucet, this week Doucet wasn't even our leading receiver. Lafell had one more catch than Doucet and 50 more yards receiving.

If I had to make a complaint, the return game sure didn't look very good. The kickoff returns didn't look impressive at all, and Doucet didn't make a single punt return, fair catching every punt that came his way. I know Early is sure-handed and there are advantages to having that kind of guy back there, but he's also arguably the most important offensive player on the team, and we want to protect him from injury. If he's not going to try to get us some field position, we should probably get someone else back there.

For the second straight week, Ryan Perrilloux looked very good when he got in the game. He was 5 for 5 throwing the ball for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. We're running a package for him that is similar to the one Florida ran for Tim Tebow last year. Right now, Perrilloux is not nearly as effective of a runner as Tebow was last year, but he's sure throwing the ball very well.

Congratulations to newcomer Demetrius Byrd, who made his first receptions of his LSU career, catching 2 passes late for 22 yards. Congratulations also to true freshman Terrance Toliver, who caught his first touchdown pass of the season, and who looks like he's going to be a great one.

Kudos to Carnell Stewart, who had a very tough week at right tackle last week and took a lot of abuse in the media and on the message boards. He played very well, by which I mean he mostly kept his name from being mentioned. When I watch a replay, I'll keep an eye on him specifically. But regardless of what a close viewing shows, he clearly took great strides from week 1 to week 2.

The last thing that bears mentioning today is the observation that we have not committed a turnover yet this season. No fumbles. No interceptions. We'll win a lot of games if we never turn it over.

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