Tuesday, October 14, 2008

OBSERVATIONS: Tennessee Game

1. Defense! We took away their short passing game and absolutely stuffed the run. Funny how well that works. Everyone played well, but it all started with outstanding effort from the front four and outstanding linebacker play despite the absence of Dannel Ellerbe. I was excited to see our cornerbacks walk right up to the line of scrimmage. So they hit one long one. I will take that trade every time. Our pass rush was also much improved. We will need to do the same thing to Vandy and LSU. The defensive gameplan need not change for these next two games. As for the Florida game, we need to sneak Marcus Howard into a uniform.

2. Stafford, Moreno, Massaquoi = tough as nails! All three of these guys took some brutal shots and kept bringing it. MoMass came back in the same series in which he was knocked silly and caught the crucial touchdown to end the first half. Moreno had to fight for almost every one of his 100 yards against a physical defense that is as good as any that we have left on the schedule. Stafford showed again that he has nerves of steel in the pocket while waiting for the route to open. He got hammered several times while zinging a bullet into a tiny window. He had to be hurting on Sunday! Without Stafford's arm, that game would have been a toss up.

3. Red Zone play calling? We need to throw out the fade route. We can't run it and we don't need to. With Stafford's arm, we need to let him throw balls with zip that have less chance of being intercepted. Also, we don't need to get too fancy in the red zone. We need to keep it simple and let our playmakers make plays.

4. Blair Walsh. Kickoffs were much improved - finally. Watching him kick field goals is more fun when we are 40 or more yards out. But, if we have to kick the short ones, at least he is making them! If he can kick in Baton Rouge, he may have to win the game for us.

5. The Fans. Another fine performance.

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