Thanks to those of you who directed me to the game replay at ESPN3.com. Had time this morning to rewatch the first quarter closely. Here are a few notes from what I saw:
- It's hard to tell whether Tucker can't kick it into the end zone, or if we like the height he gets on the ball enough that we wanted to have him kick it high and to the five. Against more dangerous returners, if we're capable of kicking it into the end zone, we should. Kenny Vaccaro is a madman on coverage.
- Nice little bit of coachery by David Bailiff to open with a QB with running capabilities. Our guys hadn't been prepped for it, and it showed from the get-go.
- Chykie Brown had the worst first quarter a DB can have, overpursuing on the backside on the reverse, making a mental error looking back for the ball on a 31-yard completion, and drawing a penalty in the end zone.
- Alex Okafor wasn't able to penetrate the line, but he made a really heady play on Rice's first attempted screen, sniffing it out and forcing McGuffie to reverse course, where he was swallowed by Randall for a huge loss.
- Teams that find themselves in 3rd and Must Pass situations are done for. Absolutely done for. We brought Robinson on a quick delay blitz, with Jeffcoat streaking in from the edge from an upright position, and engulfed the quarterback before his receivers had time to do anything at all.
- Tyrell Higgins is merely adequate, and I suspect we'll see Muschamp begin to work Howell, Dorsey, and Bible into the mix more and more, health and body shape allowing. Pray, pray for the health of...
- Kheeston Randall, who dominated the Owls on virtually every snap. He's exceptional, and we're going to be nasty so long as he stays healthy.
- If teams are going to kick away from Goodwin and Monroe, we might want to reshuffle our personnel in front of them, no?
- Cody Johnson was tentative finding the hole in two instances, and flat out missed the running lanes in several others. When he gets going downhill and hits the right running lane, he's a load, but he was mostly unimpressive in the first quarter, and that's when he gained the bulk of his yards.
- Looked to me like Gilbert was aiming the ball a bit, which fits with my observation that he seemed tight and looking to avoid mistakes. There's a difference between trying to make plays and trying not to make mistakes.
- That said, he showed a lot to like, even in playing the manager role. He's a really good athlete, has outstanding pocket presence (McCoy's happy feet in the pocket were maddening at times), and delivers a really nice ball on the run. Those of you wondering about his arm strength are just wrong. Once he quits tracking his receivers and starts looking to make plays in the offense, he'll relax and start opening things up.
- Mason Walters was impressive -- strong, athletic, and aggressive. Loved what he showed with his ability to pull. He's a great athlete, and we need him to stay healthy.
Kyle Hix looks more comfortable in our new approach than he ever did running the McCoy spread. Ditto Michael Huey, who played well.
- On the goal line stand, the blame is split evenly among Cody Johnson and the coaches. On first down Cody ran straight into a pile when there were running lanes he didn't see. On second down we appeared to have the wrong blocking call on, as Walters wound up having to try and execute a reach block he had no prayer of making (his man made the tackle). Third down was another missed running lane by Johnson. Fourth down was a pitifully dumb play call, pitching the ball to Johnson, with Jared Norton making a hilarious plunge into the back of one of our own men, running right by the guy he should have blocked.