Posted by: petemangurian | April 24, 2012

The “Spring Game” offense

Coaches have an old saying, “it’s never as good as you think and never as bad as you think”, after watching the film several times, I would agree. The one thing to keep in mind as you read my comments are, as a head coach it’s never great, when one side does well it means the other side did something poorly. The last point that needs to be made is that our goals as a staff, may not be what yours are as a fan. There are seemingly successful plays that are a series of bad technique and execution. This game has so many moving parts that once in a while, ” a blind squirrel does find an acorn”, as fans we cheer, as coaches we realize it’s not good enough for sustained success.

OFFENSE
I will begin with what we must have for us to be the best we can be, effective QB play. I would say overall we were inconsistent. I used to tell Michael Vick, “just make the plays that were there to be made, the great ones will happen.” Friday we did not always make the plays that were there to be made, two wide open receivers for touchdowns, wide open backs in the flat, too much scrambling with our eyes NOT down the field. The ball must be thrown on anticipation, we can’t wait until a receiver is open to let the ball go.We had some passes completed to backs who ran the wrong route. Fridays scrimmage was all about situations and clock management, we will learn, we don’t have forever. On a positive note, I think the 2 minute drill before the half was well run. We made some good decisions, elementary but good. We expect a lot, our standards are high.

I have been disappointed with our line play throughout he spring. That being said, I thought we played better Friday. The 2 minute drill at the end of the game was dismal. There were 2 false starts, both backed up, although the penalty is minimal, it shows a lack of concentration, lack of awareness of the moment and mental toughness. We can not and will not play that kind of football, it will destroy us. During the 4 minute and backed up periods we did execute our running game and were effective overall. Our pass protection was good more often than not, I thought we worked together well and used our help (our backs helped when they were supposed to.) I thought our center play was better, Ryan Thomas has improved, this is a pivotal position for us. I have an affection for these guys, but I expect more and am probably harder on them than anyone else. Our incoming freshmen will create competition at this position, that is exactly what we need.

When you evaluate running backs, ball security is at the top of he list, the ball was on the ground way to much ( once is to much). The situations we worked on were not conducive to big runs, it was more about tough,hard running and good decisions. Our vision is not good enough, it’s hard to tell sometimes if it’s “can’t” or “won’t”, but either way it needs to improve. We are not confident enough to be aware of the situation and still let our instincts play a role in our decisions. Our fullback played a huge role in our run game the other night, we have work to do, but I trust him to do his job. Protection was effective most of the night. Our decisions on routes out of he backfield were OK, but our awareness was poor at times. I thought Marcorus Garrett showed up, will he do it every week?

I am most concerned about the tight end position. At the moment we just don’t have enough of them on campus. Hamilton, Demuth and McKown all must improve over the summer, both as blockers and receivers. We had a false start and a drop on a contested ball, that’s not good enough.

The wide receiver position will be the most effected by this incoming class. We did not win the battle for contested balls the other night. To be fair, the throws were not always where they we’re supposed to be, but we have to catch the ball. We have improved at his position over he spring, we are better. There is a physical and a creative side to this position. This is not the NFL, you can get hit past 5 yards. We need to be more physical in our route running, more aggressive for the ball, and more courageous over the middle. Our blocking was better (when the QB moved us to get in position), speed and physicality are on the way, let’s see what competition will do.

Wednesday, I will address the defenses performance, and on Thursday, the special teams.

We are on schedule, do I wish we were further along? Absolutely. As coaches we have a good idea who has bought it in, we will work with those guys, everyone will earn their reps in training camp. There will be no free passes, you will get what you work for. None of us should be comfortable, there is a lot more road to travel. Friday night was just another marker on the road to the 2012 season.

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