We apologize for the tardiness of our game recap this week but things were interrupted by lightning in our area (that sounds so dirty) & a really awesome charity event to benefit folks effected by the recent flooding here in the ATL. Flooding was clearly the theme of the evening as we flooded ourselves with copious amounts of "brown" (bourbon for you neophytes); so much so that it has taken two entire days to recover. But recover we have & our bandwidth is now capable of handling a few observations on Saturday's clash. The following observations are in random order. If you don't like it, too damn bad:
- We never punted. Really. Chandler Anderson got to travel all the way to Tallahassee & simply stand on the sideline & ogle hot chicks. Solid work if you can get it.
- Our offensive line had their best game of the year, no question about it. We said in last week's breakdown (see last Thursday post) that we could move F$U off the ball we & did just that. We also predicted that because of our size advantage we'd use the midline option a lot with great success. Nesbitt's line says it all: 27 rushes for 140 yards, the majority coming on the midline. Every time we needed 4 yards or less, including our 2 attempts on 4th down, we ran a midline option.
- Our perimeter blocking was spectacular. All our A-backs & wide receivers constantly occupied 'Nole players which led to huge chunks of yardage. This is what gives this offense big plays.
- Great to see the Diesel rip off that 69 yard TD romp. Every defense has keyed on him this year & it must get frustrating. Dwyer takes a ton of punishment & it's great to see him get his reward.
You can only contain him for so long...
- Coach Johnson demonstrated his strategic mastery of his offense, once again befuddling our opposition. Saturday's "CPJ Jedi Mind Trick" involved us lining up in a trips formation to the wide side of the field for almost the entire game. So we had Stephen Hill or Tyler Melton split to the wide side with an A-back in the slot & the other A-back in his normal position, offset behind the tackle on the wide side. This leaves Dwyer behind Nesbitt & BayBay split out on the boundary side. As the play began, the A-back in the slot would motion across the formation & behind Dwyer, much like any normal Triple-Option play. But Johnson's new wrinkle served several purposes by 1) confusing a defense that was already unfamiliar with the offense & slow to adjust, & 2) unbalancing the defensive formation & allowing us better match-ups. I'll explain using Anthony Allen's 60 yard gallop on our second TD drive as an example. The play is a simple Triple Option. But our offensive alignment has truly set us up for success. As we have "trips" to the wide side, the defense has shifted that way, moving the free safety into the slot to cover the A-back & the strong safety into a more "centerfield" role as there is more area to cover on the "wide" side. Nesbitt takes the snap & begins the mesh with Dwyer while the A-back in the slot, Anthony Allen, motions behind Dwyer as in a normal Triple. As almost every team has, the defensive tackle & end crash down to stop Dwyer on the dive. This leaves Nesbitt alone with the play-side linebacker, who in this case is barreling straight for him. Josh wisely chooses to pitch here. This is where our formation really begins to effect the play. The free safety has followed Allen's motion across the formation but now has to fight through traffic to get a good angle on his man. But we have that covered by our playside tackle. The tackle' s responsibility is this free safety. Because he doesn't have to block the defensive end (Nesbitt's read key) he simply heads downfield & steps into the free safety, effectively sealing him off. BayBay is matched up on F$U's cornerback, Patrick Robinson, & while Robinson is a fine cover corner, he is no match for the 6'3", 230 pound Thomas who blocks him about 5 yards into the 'Nole sideline. The strong safety, the only player left unaccounted for, has stepped up thinking it's a dive to Dwyer & now has no angle on Allen as he streaks down the sideline. What you have here is a perfectly designed & executed play. Allen streaks to the 1 where he is knocked out-of-bounds & one play later Nesbitt punches it in for our second TD of the night. What's amazing is that we used simple variations on this play all night long & F$U never adjusted...