Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jekyll or Hyde: The Wake Forest Preview

Which Jacket team shows up this week is perhaps the Saturday's biggest mystery.....

Tech goes on the road & under the lights this weekend as we travel to Winston-Salem to take on a Wake Forest squad that it many ways mirrors the Jackets: youthful, struggling with key injuries, & looking to establish themselves on both sides of the ball. Both teams are coming off bad losses, Tech's a 45-28 home defeat at the hands of NC State while Wake looks to recover from a 31-0 loss to Florida State on the road. And both teams certainly need a win on Saturday, Tech to keep any fleeting ACC title hopes alive, Wake simply to right the ship after two very tough road losses. A victory for either team will be a significant step in the right direction for two teams struggling to find their identity in 2010. Let's look at Wake first:

Ted Stachitas possesses Ginger powers.......which makes us here at The Barrel nervous.....

Wake Offense:
It seems almost surreal that Riley Skinner won't be under center for the Demon Deacons on Saturday night. After a great career at Wake the four-year starting QB has moved on and left a sizable void in the Wake offense. So far this season Wake has struggled with injuries at QB & this week is no exception as nominal starter freshman Tanner Price is out with a concussion & his replacement, Ted Stachitas, is questionable with a rib injury suffered against FSU. Stachitas, a good runner & marginal passer (we're certainly familiar with that....) looks to be able to play & I expect to see him on Saturday. If he can't go, Skylar Jones will likely start for the Deacs.
Whomever plays QB for Wake on Saturday expect to see a more "traditional" Jim Grobe offense as Wake has returned to the spread option look they ran before the Skinner era. Look for multiple formations & plenty of mis-direction on Saturday, very similar to what we do albeit it out of a different base formation. Wake's base set is a "21" (two backs/ one tight end) but they vary their personnel regularly in an attempt to keep the defense off balance. So far this year the Deacons have run much more than they have passed & used a primarily zone read scheme in running the ball. Tech was exploited by NC State using zone blocking last week & I expect Wake will try and do much the same (although the Wake offensive line isn't nearly the caliber of the Wolfpack's). We'll see lots of stretch plays including fly & orbit series designed to spread the defense wide & allow the Deacon wide receivers to get the hand off with some momentum. Wake really hasn't thrown the ball with any effectiveness so far this year but with our struggles in route recognition I expect we'll see lots of short stuff to the backs & WR's. Look for the Deacs to use lots of play action to entice our LB's forward, leaving large holes behind our defensive line for short dump passes.

Wake Defense
Wake sits 113 out of 120 FBS teams in scoring defense & while they've played some potent offenses (Stanford, FSU) they have struggled for most of the year. The Deacons base package is a 4-3 Over (great, great stuff by Shakin the Southland behind that link) but I expect to see a significant amount of 5-2 Monster from them on Saturday. So far this year the biggest weakness for Wake has been their defensive line which is very small (they average about 250 per man) and hasn't generated any pass rush or shown the ability to consistently stop the run. DE Kyle Wilber leads the nation in tackles-for-loss and has done most of his damage using his speed to chase plays down from the backside. While a fine player, particularly against the pass, he could be a liability for Wake on Saturday at 235 pounds - look for us to run right at him. The Deacons have a solid if not spectacular group of LB's led by redshirt sophomore Joey Ehrmann. Hunter Haynes patrols the middle while 6'0", 260 pound Matt Woodlief plays the weakside. Woodlief will have to be on his game Saturday as I expect CPJ to attack him in space both running the ball & in coverage. In the secondary, safety Cyhl Quarles is a solid player who excels in run support; expect to see him around the line-of-scrimmage frequently.

After missing almost all of last week with a leg injury Sean Bedford should be in the lineup for Tech this week

Tech Offense
The Jackets got some great news today as both starting center Sean Bedford & backup Jay Finch look to be ready to go for Saturday after missing significant time against NC State with injuries. Their return to the offense will be a big boost for Tech. One area of that certainly needs improvement for Tech is the play of our offensive tackles. In our offense, the tackles must get to the second level consistently if we are to be successful. Watch for this early as an indicator of our success.
Our offensive performance against NC State was perhaps more disappointing than that of the defense as many Tech fans, myself included, expected our offense to take another step forward this year. In reality, we've played well offensively at times but haven't truly clicked on all cylinders yet this season. There are two things that kill us offensively, turnovers & negative plays & we have to avoid both this week. Against Wake's average defense, we should be able to score plenty. The Deacons are very light up the middle & I expect CPJ to try & exploit this with plenty of dives, more midline than we've seen all year, & even some Qb & B-back draws. Wake is well coached & has seen plenty of option football so they will likely know their assignments; Saturday will be about imposing our will physically on the offensive side of the ball. One thing we'll most certainly see is an increased roll for true freshman A-back BJ Bostic; he may be our most explosive player & I expect he''ll see plenty of touches in an attempt to get him in space where he's lethal.

Tech Defense
Well, at least we're not facing Russell Wilson......Two factors will define Tech's defense on Saturday: mental focus & play recognition. We didn't fair well in either of those areas against NC State but it's a new week & frankly an easier offense to defend than the one we faced last week. Wake has shown almost no ability to throw the football this year so why not load the line & dare them to pass on Saturday? Until they prove they can beat us through the air, there's little reason not to load the line & take away the run. Wake will try & spread us out & zone block so it will be important we do a better job winning one-on-one match-ups and shedding blocks on Saturday. Improved tackling will obviously help the effort. I don't expect we'll miss as many assignments as last week & it will be important to see how we rebound mentally & how much progress we've made this week.

Special Teams
What's perhaps the biggest common denominator in both our losses this year? Poor special teams play. We simply aren't good enough this year to be able to overcome special teams breakdowns so we'll need to be solid if we want to win Saturday. Wake is pretty average on special teams & we did flash some ability on kick off returns last week so there may be an opportunity for big play in the return game.

Keys for Wake:

1) Win the One-on-One Battles: whether it's blocking or shedding blocks, Wake needs to win the individual battles if they want to have success, particularly on offense.

2) Control the Clock: Wake's best defense may be a good offense. Play keep away from our offense by "dinking & dunking" down the field on sustained drives. A "reverse death march" if you will.

3) Stop the Dive: Wake's defense is small & vulnerable up the gut. They will need to play defense from the inside out.

4) Big Plays: Wake hasn't broken off many this year; they will need at least one if they hope to win.

Keys for Tech:

1) Punch Them in the Mouth: we should be able to impose our will physically on a smaller Wake squad. We need to win the physical battles on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

2) Play Smart, Play Focused: it's no secret mental errors doomed us last week. We need to clean it up mentally & play focused on Saturday.

3) Avoid Negative Plays: 2nd & 12 isn't our strong suit. 3rd & 2 is right where we want to be. Even if the gains are minimal we have to avoid negative plays.

4) Special Teams: we can't afford mistakes. We don't have to be great but we can't be below average, we're simply not good enough to dig ourselves out of those kinds of situations.

5) Make Wake One Dimensional: force them to beat us through the air. Load the line & bring pressure both against the run & the pass. Play them the same way teams want to play us.....

How it Plays Out
It will be very interesting to see how Tech comes out. We'll know a lot about this game in the first five minutes: if we come out with high energy & focus, we should win & score plenty. If we come out flat or make an early mistake & go into a shell, we'll almost certainly lose. Wake will try & exploit our linebackers both running & passing through short passes & mis-direction. They will move the ball but settle for field goals instead of touchdowns, which in the end is why Tech wins. Offensively we'll score plenty & clean up many of the errors from last week. I expect a much better effort for the Jackets than what they showed last week: we may not be a great team this year but we're better than how we played last week. A small measure of redemption this week.

Final Score:
Tech 31 Wake 20

Blog Poll Week 5: The Eyes of Texas are a Cryin'......

After four weeks things are beginning to shake themselves out. Frank & I were pretty together on our votes this week with only a couple differences which we'll touch on later. The rundown:

1) Alabama: solid work in Fayetteville, now on to the Gators.
2) Ohio State: if Tressel wears a sweatervest on Saturdays does he wear coach's shorts the rest of the week. Seems logical...wait, WTF am I doing thinking about Jim Tressel's shorts?
3) Nebraska: Frank likes Boise a bit more so you can flip-flop the two if you like. Pellini started giving out black shirts after the Washington game which means big trouble for opposing offenses (plus, it has to be one of college football's coolest traditions....)
4) Boise State: impressive win & it's smooth sailing until Herbsteit, Corso, & Co. head there in November for Gameday.
5) Oregon: this whole "point-a -minute" thing is ridiculous.......and they are doing their best to get there....
6) Oklahoma: the see-saw continues. They certainly have the athletes, but which team shows up on Saturday is a question mark right now.
7) TCU: didn't look great against SMU but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
8) Stanford: very efficient performance. They are solid but not deep, which eventually may be a problem. Jim Harbaugh will be VERY well paid next year, albeit it at Stanford or elsewhere.
9) Florida: Hello, Mr. Burton, that's a hell of a way to announce your presence.
10) Auburn: a major point of contention between Frank & me. I had them at #6, Frank had them at #13. We were going to duel at dawn but diplomacy prevailed.
11) LSU: how long can this last? Jordan Jefferson benched & Gary Crowton still calling plays? The clock is ticking....
12) Arizona: a squeaker after a big game. Not all that surprising.
13) Utah: steady as she goes....
14) Miami: we miss Jacory's tweets....
15) Wisconsin: our other big disagreement. Frank had them #22, Hash #12.
16) NC State: we're probably ranking them too high but the pain still lingers.....
17) USC: better get to work defensively with Stanford & Oregon on the horizon.
18) South Carolina: great time to make a point, Spurrier.
19) Arkansas: played well against Bama
20) Oklahoma State: I'm a man.....
21) Iowa: back on track
22) FSU: defense looks to be improving
23) Nevada: El Pistole es muy bueno.....
24) Michigan: Robinson's knee a concern this week?
25) Texas: see El Pistole above.....

Out: West Virginia & Oregon State. Please don't burn our couch......

Monday, September 27, 2010

NC State Postmortem......

There's no easy place to start & plenty of questions that need to be answered after Saturday's 45-28 loss to the Wolfpack. We failed miserably in all three phases of the game against State, fumbling four times (losing two), allowing 527 yards of total offense, and having a punt blocked for a TD. It wasn't pretty and there's very little to take away that's positive. I'm still watching the tape & analyzing but I thought I'd post some brief thoughts on what I saw on Saturday:

We had chances and when we needed our most dependable, signature unit to step up & grab an early lead we simply didn't execute. Yes, we were down to our third string center with Sean Bedford (leg contusion) and Jay Finch (hamstring) out. But there were plays to be made & we simply didn't make them.
  • As Joshua Nesbitt goes so goes our offense and on Saturday, #9 had a poor game. Yes, he's our leader & yes, he plays with as much heart as any player I've seen on the Flats. But that doesn't make him immune from a poor game & he did not play well on Saturday, missing multiple reads allowing for too many negative plays. I don't know whether Nesbitt doesn't have confidence in those around him or is simply pressing & trying to do too much, but Joshua has to trust those around him & pitch the ball instead of taking multiple losses behind the line.
  • There are two things our offense can't abide: turnovers & negative plays. We had plenty of both on Saturday. 2nd & 12 isn't where we want to find ourselves & that was the case all too frequently against NC State.
  • Our offensive line has to be more physical. We're getting little push & can't seem to get to the second level. I thought this would be a real strength for us this year but we just haven't put it all together yet.
  • We haven't hit a single "long" pass where the ball is in the air more than 30 yards all season: 1) we miss BayBay, & 2) stop throwing what essentially are Hail Mary's! I know CPJ says he wants big chunks of real estate when we throw but something is better than nothing! Throw short for a change. Wheel routes to Allen have been effective, as has that little flair route to Orwin out of the backfield. Smoke screens are a great way to get five or six yards & set up a longer hitch & go route. We're beating our head against a wall right now trying to execute something we're not good at. One of CPJ's greatest strengths, his tenacity & stubbornness, is in this case a great weakness.
  • It would be wise to get #4, BJ Bostic the ball as frequently as possible. He looks to be a difference maker with his speed & elusiveness.
Groh said after the game that of 81 defensive snaps he thought we had three significant plays: the two Jefferson sacks (one of which resulted in a turnover) and the Tarrant interception. Can't disagree. CPJ followed up in last night's teleconference by saying we missed 43 defensive assignments by his count. That's how you give up 527 yards (with 9 plays of 20+ yards). We knew there were going to be growing pains but damn, that hurt. I will say this, while the new defense takes time to learn I truly believe our defensive issues are not scheme related but talent based; it's "Jimmies & Joes, not X's & O's" and we desperately need more talent on defense.
  • Our defensive line isn't getting it done. NC State didn't unveil some crazy new offensive scheme on Saturday. They ran the ball consistently using a simple zone blocking scheme which accentuates one vs. one match-ups. Needless to say, we lost those match-ups. If you want to defeat a zone read running team, you have to shed blocks & make tackles, two things that have been a challenge for us this year. Against the pass, we generate ZERO pressure on the QB with a standard four man rush. Unless we bring additional players (leaving us vulnerable on the back end if we don't get to the QB) we simply can't pressure the QB.
  • Our LB's are square pegs fitting into round holes. Right now we have 4-3 players running a 3-4 & the transition has been brutal. There's really not a whole lot we can do but take our lumps right now & hope we improve as the year progresses. We must get better in pass coverage and recognizing routes out of the backfield.
  • I thought we could have changed it up in the secondary a bit on Saturday. Our constant use of Cover 2 became very predictable & NC State OC Dana Bible exploited that, sending a TE down the seam & a receiver down the sideline & forcing the safety to choose which player to cover and leaving one open. Why not play man (Cover Zero), take our chances, & try & bring some real pressure on Wilson? Just a thought.
Not-so-Special Teams:
Okay, I think I'm actually going to call into the CPJ show this week about OUR FUCKING IDIOTIC PUNT FORMATION WHICH IS THE STUPIDEST THING EVER! This spread "three bears" personal protector shit has to go. The ostensible point in spreading your punt team out is that they will be better in coverage because they are already basically in their lanes & can simply evade their man & get downfield. The drawback? Your blockers are spread out & easier to beat which can leave multiple guys crashing into to your three man "wall" like on Saturday. It's too easy to have punts blocked using this formation.

Saturday wasn't pleasant for any Tech fan. It's a clear sign that we have much to work on. But all isn't lost. Do we need to re-calibrate our expectations for this year? Probably as it looks like we're a pretty average team. But there's still time so don't write the whole season off yet. That being said, we HAVE to get better......

Saturday, September 25, 2010

NC State Snapshot.....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fourteen Thousand Words of Gibberish - Week 4 Picks -

Last Week = 8-7
Year = 20-24

Don't like a picture, send us a better one at Don't like a pick, let us know in the comments section. Chances are we agree.

NC State +8.5 at Georgia Tech - I'm not saying NC State will win, but Tech doesn't have the D to be favored by this much.

Virginia Poly -3.5 at Boston College - I'm just under rating BC like everyone else in the world.

Florida International +10.5 at Maryland - Panthers played Texas Agriculture and Mining close, and Maryland should never be favored by this much. Plus, excuse to use picture of Isiah Thomas.

Kansas State -10.5 vs. Central Florida - why not.

Alabama -6.5 at Arkansas - Sell Arkansas stock know, they will never be higher

Stanford -3.5 at Notre Dame - Am I missing something. Stanford is killing people. Notre Dame is 1-2.

Idaho -7.5 at Colorado State - Colorado State was destroyed by Colorado, thus Colorado State is very, very bad.

Nevada - 2.5 at Brigham Young - BYU hasn't covered in two weeks. No reason to think they can do it this week against el pistole.

Georgia +1.5 at Mississippi State - Just think the the general betting public is down on Georgia and Mississippi State has no offense. (I hate this pick)

Fresno State -1.5 at Mississippi-Loose to Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt, then be favored against a Fresno State team that beat Utah and Cincinnati, what?

South Carolina -2.5 at Auburn - Betting last week against Clemson took too much out of TigerEagles.
Oregon State -16.5 at Boise State - Love Boise, but Oregon State deserves more respect than that. They played TCU tough

LSU -6.5 vs. West Virginia - Surprisingly, there are lots of houses in Louisiana painted Purple and Yellow. LSU just keeps winning ugly, and I suspect they are actually improving.

Arizon -6.5 vs. California - Actually, that number is too big, but I've already uploaded the picture.

Thursday Night Lights (Notes)

This Game inspired the "Young Einstein Postulate". The Young Einstein Postulate explains why every ACC out-of-conference game is framed as a referendum on the ACC and yet the same does not apply to the Big East. "Young Einstein" sucks. Its terrible. It makes "Crocodile Dundee" look like "Schindler's List" Yet Yahoo Serious wrote, directed, and starred in the movie, and he did it all while raising the money piece meal himself. That's incredibly impressive. Not when compared to a real director, but it is when compared to 99% of the people in the world. If we made a movie it would be a pile of unfocused, over exposed, not-plot-having gibberish. It would be unrecognizable as film. Yahoo Serioius, to his credit, made a film that was just good enough to be recognized as crap.

The "Young Einstein Postulate" states that a bare minimum level of competency has to be achieved before something is recognizable as terrible. Any level of competency below that minimum is simply white noise. The ACC has reached the minimum, the Big East has not.

Below are my actual notes from last nights game.

Miami rips off first drive. I wonder if that will be the highlight of the game.(Yep it was).

Travis Benjamin plays football like Forest Gump This is not a statement about Benjamin’s intelligence. His play simply reminds me of the football scenes in "Forest Gump"

Uncle Milty = Pulling out just enough to win. This does not apply tonight.

Don’t blitz Jacory Harris; he will eventually just give you the ball

Wannstedt is Pitt's special teams coach
In pregame meeting he says team will punt ball out of bounds.
First two punts go directly to Travis Benjamin
Second return looks like Forest Gump.
Pitt Saved by Miami(ism)

Miami OC Mark Whipple needs to run ball more, make Harris’ decision easier. Miami play actions anyway. Ultimate pass to set up the run offense.

Wannstedt attempts 52-yard field goal with kicker whose all time long is 45 yards. Who’s his special team coach ?

Reese Davis after missed Pitt field goal late in first half “Pittsburgh’s best drive of the night ....ends…with…….nothing"

Dave Wannstedt's half-time interview sounds like a man explaining lipstick on his lapel to his wife

Per Yahoo, NBA has achieved stated goal. All thirty teams will have new jerseys

No one is scared of Pitt QB Tino Sunseri.
Quick Sketch – "Tino Sunseri at Thanksgiving dinner"
Mrs. Sunseri: Tino, would you please pass the mash potatoes?
Tino stares at Mom.
Tino stares at Mom more.
Tino stares at Mom some more.
Tino picks up mashed potatoes, runs into living room and slides.
Mr. Sunseri's plate is empty

Miami D-Line WAYYYYYYYYY better than Pitt O-Line. Down Grade Utah.

Great moment, Craig James decries young people today and off field issues without a hint of irony or self-awareness <--- not necessarily referring to his son. Definitely referring to SMU.

After personal foul Wannstedt yells at player who continually tries to walk past him to get some Gatorade

Dislocated Knee Cap – I’d wish death of the first-born son on an enemy before I wished that on him. It looks painful

“All the Way Turnt Up” has gone jock jams viral. That song sucks.

Pitt RB Ray Graham looks more effective than Deion Lewis, Heisman Trophy Candidate

I think Craig James thought the third quarter was the fourth quarter for about three minutes.

Wannstedt settles for a very NFL field goal early in the fourth.

Dear Pitt DB,
It’s a 12-yard out.
Everyone in America

All investment broker ads are aimed at dicks that think they are too smart to need investment brokers/dicks who talk about the kind of grass on the fairway.

After fumbled punt, Pitt player runs into Wannstedt (being referred to as Wanny for some reason now) trying to get on field. Doesn’t apologize.

10:45 left in fourth = Game over.

Jesse Palmer does research, pays attention, and makes relevant comments.

Multiple times tonight Jesse Palmer says something immediately following a comment from Craig James that can be loosely translated “that’s totally fucking wrong, and has nothing to do with reality”

Jonathan Baldwin lets Miami CB DeMarcus Van Dyke intercept pass. Pitt lets Van Dyke run forty yards before reluctantly pursuing. Van Dyke tackled at Pit 25. Miami celebrates like Georgia after scoring on Florida. Ass Clowns. Go Buckeyes.

Miami players show off for camera on sidelines. Learn the difference between playing well, and simply being the less incompetent team. Sorry, this game is making me angry.

Pitt’s not even trying at this point. Seriously, they’ve given up.

Not impressed with the push Miami’s o-line gets on any short yardage plays tonight.

Linebacker Shaun Spence named player of the game. In fact, entire front seven for Miami looks very strong. No idea how much Pitt has to with that.

Craig James repeats stat he said in first quarter. Is apparently unaware of this fact.

Reese, Jesse and Craig try to sell us on the idea that this was a great defensive performance by Miami, followed by a big Pitt run featuring lackadaisical tackling and topped off by a face mask penalty against Miami putting Pitt inside the Miami ten.

Pitt doesn’t score on final possession. Game over. That was pooh.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NC State Wolfpack Preview.....

Tech welcomes old friend Jon Tenuta back this weekend......

Coming off a big division road win in Chapel Hill last weekend the Jackets look to build momentum heading into the heart of the conference schedule. Buoyed by a 3-0 start, the Wolfpack look to be "on the Kool-Aid" according to CPJ & brimming with confidence heading into Atlanta. After beating a poor Cincinnati team last Thursday night at home, the Pack is looking for a signature conference win to vault them into ACC Championship contention. Tech re-established itself against UNC after a dreadful loss at Kansas and holds a conference best seven game win streak heading into Saturday's tilt. So what to expect on Saturday:

NC State Offense

Wilson loves to get out of the pocket & move around

It all starts with junior QB Russell Wilson for the Pack. The ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008, Wilson has developed into an excellent quarterback who has the ability to beat you with his arm through the air or with his scrambling ability on the ground. Wilson is very mobile and able to gain yards with his legs but he prefers to scramble to buy himself time in order to throw the football. Tech will need to keep Wilson in the pocket if they are to have success on defense Saturday. Another reason Wilson likes to scramble is that he's short (listed at 5'11", probably 5'10" in reality) and getting out of the pocket helps open up throwing lanes. While NOT NEARLY AS GOOD A PLAYER (and frankly no one will ever be as good....), stylistically Wilson reminds me of our own 5'10" quarterbacking machine, Joe Hamilton.

Wilson operates behind one of the ACC's biggest offensive lines as State averages 6'3" & almost 310 pounds per man up front. The Pack offensive line is much better pass blocking than paving the way for the run as they seem strong but lacking mobility. Only senior tackle Jake Vermiglio is an upperclassmen so we'll be seeing this group for a couple of more years. Center Cam Wentz, who hails from Lassiter here in Atlanta, has a bright future at State.

The Pack is solid at the skill positions, led by junior All-ACC tight end & amateur horticulturalist George Bryan. Bryan is a huge target for Wilson at 6'5" & 265 pounds who, while not speedy even by tight end standards, is a tremendously physical player with great hands. A beast to bring down, Bryan runs like a man in a Cheech & Chong movie after a bag of Cheetos.......wait, he IS after a bag of Cheetos. At wide receiver, NC State has two imposing targets in Jarvis Williams (6'4", 220) and Owen Spencer (6'3", 185). Both players are physical & have the ability to stretch a defense vertically. One guy not to sleep on for the Pack is fullback Taylor Gentry. The former walk-on is an impressive lead blocker & a capable receiver out of the backfield, something Tech will have to watch closely all game long as Wilson likes to use Gentry as his safety valve if nothing is available down the field. If State's offense has a question mark it's at tailback, where two redshirt freshmen, Mustafa Greene & Dean Haynes, a converted defensive back, share duties. Greene ran efficiently & caught the ball well against Cincinnati while Haynes has had ball security issues so expect Greene to carry the load on Saturday. It will be imperative for Tech to hold Greene in check.

Offensively, I expect State to pass in order to set up Greene & the running game. Watch for Bryan & even gentry to be offensive focal points. Expect State offensive coordinator Dana Bible to run a lot of "9" (go) routes on the edge to clear out space for Bryan to work the middle underneath. Also watch for Gentry & Greene on hook & wheel routes out of the backfield as they try & get isolated on a linebacker. I also expect more "out & up" & "stop & go" stuff in an attempt to catch our safeties cheating (see last week).

NC State Defense

Nate Irving is back & as bad as ever......

Stop it with all the "Tenuta is god" crap. He's a good coach. A very aggressive defensive mind who lives & dies by the blitz. There's no question his presence has improved the Pack defense this year. But guess what? Tenuta has never faired particularly well against spread option teams because you can't bring tons of pressure with blitzes against spread option teams. His record against Navy while at Notre Dame? 1-1. In 2008, he held the Mids to 21 points on 242 yards of total offense while in 2009, Navy gashed the Tenuta-led Irish for 404 total yards on offense in a 23-21 Mids victory. We can talk Tenuta later; the simple fact is he won't play a snap (or most likely even call the defensive signals) on Saturday.

After watching the Pack's performance on Thursday their defense is good but easily exploitable at the hands of CPJ. State plays a standard 4-3 front with a fair amount of Cover Zero (man) in the secondary. On the defensive line, they have good size on the interior with tackles Sweezy & Mageo & a pair of decent if not spectacular ends in Rieskamp & Akinnlyl. Where the Pack defense really stands out is at linebacker where they have three very talented players led by Nate Irving in the middle. Returning from a near fatal car accident which kept him out almost all of last year, Irving is again playing at a high level as an all-around tackling machine. Flanking Irving are the dependable Terrell Manning & the much improved Audie Cole, who has played very well this year. State's big defensive question mark is in the secondary where they are very young & inexperienced, starting three sophomores & one junior. The State secondary will have to tackle well & be mindful of the deep ball on Saturday if they hope to slow Tech down.

The story last Saturday against UNC for Tech was the ability to execute offensively while adjusting defensively & that will need to continue this week if they hope to beat NC State. As always, if we take care of the ball on offense & cause turnovers on defense it will go a long way toward victory.

Tech Offense

Watch for Embry Peeples down the seam for the deep ball on Saturday....

What was the difference in our offense from Kansas to Chapel Hill? Simple: execution. We just plain got the job done last Saturday. From a vast overall improvement in blocking (everyone from Roddy to Cone to Allen to Uzzi was involved & much better than the week before) to throwing & catching, the Jackets improved in every offensive phase. With no anticipated lineup changes this week, expect the Jackets to lean heavily on last weeks game plan. When you look at State, and this will doubtlessly piss off any State fan who happens to read this, they remind me a lot of last week's opponent, UNC: an average defensive line, very good linebackers, & a young & inexperienced secondary. That's why I think CPJ will attack in much the same way we did last week: pound the edges early & often to soften up the middle, exploit that weakness, & then take a few shots deep. It will again be critical for Tech to block the perimeter, particularly as the Pack secondary is both young & not terribly physical. I expect Archer/Tenuta & Co. to really sell out against the run, leaving deep routes down the seam to the A-backs there for the taking. Also watch for Stephen Hill on the skinny post. State couldn't cover this route against Cincinnati & don't expect they'll be focused on it with our run game coming at them.

Tech Defense

Sure like to have one of these for Russell Wilson on Saturday

There were signs of life last week for the Jacket defense as UNC went punt, fumble, punt, fumble, turnover on downs in their last five possessions. In-game adjustments, particularly in getting some pressure on Carolina QB TJ Yates, were key for Tech & they'll need to continue this week. Tech has been awful against the run dating to last year, allowing the last six teams we've faced an hundred yard rusher. That trend has to stop & Saturday would be a good time. Tech needs to make NC State one-dimensional on offense if they have any hope of slowing down the Pack offense. My thought is we'll use the nickel package as our base defense against the Pack as they are very dangerous throwing the ball. Expect Groh to dial up lots of stunts & blitzes in an attempt to get pressure on Wilson & keep him from escaping outside where he becomes deadly. WE MUST SET THE EDGE & KEEP WILSON IN THE POCKET IF WE WANT TO SUCCEED DEFENSIVELY. If he gets out & starts scrambling around our coverage will break down & we're sure to give up a big play. Knocking Wilson around a little will also be key; we need to get in his head a bit & make him think about the hits that are coming not the receivers down field. It will be key for Tech to contain TE George Bryan on hook & curl routes underneath.

Special Teams
NC State so far has been pretty average. Tech improved greatly last week as Scott Blair kicked well & Sean Poole looked good on his lone punt. Coach Kelly said there will be some changes on return teams in order to get better their but one area that has really stood out do far is kick coverage for the Jackets. A big special teams play certainly wouldn't hurt our cause this weekend.

Three Keys For Tech:
1) The Death March: we're proud of the phrase we coined here & this week it will be a key to victory. tech must control the clock & keep the defense fresh & the Pack offense off the field. On Saturday, the best defense for the Jackets will be a good offense.

2) Set The Edge: Tech must contain Russell Wilson & keep him in the pocket. If he can scamper around the defense will break down & it will be a long afternoon.

3) Make State's Offense One Dimensional: we need to shut down at least one part of their attack. Focus on stopping the run & let Tech;s stronger secondary carry the load defensively.

Three Keys for NC State:
1) Run the football: Tech has given up six straight 100 yard rushers. If the State offense is multi-dimensional they will be difficult to stop.

2) Establish the Tight End: George Bryan is an All-ACC player & Tech's linebackers are vulnerable in coverage. If the Pack can work Bryan on hook, curl, & crossing routes underneath it will take a lot of pressure off Wilson.

3) Tackle on the edge: the Pack will need their young secondary to step up & be physical on the perimeter to force the Jackets back inside toward their strong linebackers. Any breakdowns in tackling on the edge for State will be punished with long gains by the Jackets.

How it Plays Out
Saturday will be a hard fought contest as there's a lot on the line in conference play for both schools. State has been pretty bad in conference play on the road under O'Brien (3-9) and this trip to Atlanta will be no cupcake, despite what the State message boards think. Tech has scored on every opening possession this year & it will continue on Saturday. Expect NC State to try & move the ball with short passes over the middle but Tech will eventually stiffen up defensively. CPJ will try to control the clock with the running game but as time wears on State will commit more & more guys to the line of scrimmage, leaving themselves vulnerable to long passes down the middle. Tech simply wears the Pack down in the end & wins at home.....

Final Score
Tech 38 State 29

In Translation: CPJ

Spencer Hall of EDSBS breaks down what CPJ really said in this week's press conference.

ACC Week 3 in Review - Outline of Confusion and Growing Disappointment

1. NC State 30 Cincinnati 19

a. The Wolfpack is 3-0 for first time since 2000, which is another way of saying they have floundered for a decade after deciding to get into the football business.

b. State quarterback Russell Wilson is bloody useful. He struggled the week before against Central Florida but really looked sharp in the early going against the Bearcats.

c. States rushing attack has also dragged in the early going, but Mustafa Greene ran for 84 yards on 16 carries including a 31 yd touchdown.

d. The Pack led 30-7 in the fourth quarter before slacking off and allowing Cincinnati to score two touchdowns. Cincy failed to convert the two-point attempts. Possible lack of focus NC State?

e. Bearcats don’t appear to be very good.

f. Nice win, but lets not get it bent Wolfpack fans, 3-0 is just 3-0.

2. Florida State 34 – BYU 10

a. Seminoles bounce back after 47-17 loss to Oklahoma

b. FSU struggled a little bit, leading only 13-10 at the half, but a 14-0 3rd quarter put down the Cougars.

c. Quarterback Christian Ponder in particular struggled early before pouring it on in the second half. Ponder has a bruised bicep from the Oklahoma game, but reports say it is healing quickly.

d. Really a dominant performance as FSU held BYU to 191 yards total offense and rolled up 427 yards of its own.

e. So we know FSU is better than BYU and worse than Oklahoma, but we have no idea how good FSU is.

3. Virginia Poly 49 – East Carolina 27

a. The Hokies almost let Boise beat them three times falling behind 10-0 to open the game.

b. After that VPI&SU came alive, trading three touchdowns for two to end the first half down 24-21.

c. While the offense came alive at the end of the second quarter, the defense showed up in the second half. The pirates only scored a field goal, while the Hokie offense scored four touchdowns.

d. The Hokies did most of this without Ryan Williams who injured his hamstring half way through the second quarter. Darren Evans (91 yards 1 TD) and David Wilson (89 yards 2 TD) stepped up.

e. The question is, which team is for real, the Team we saw fight Boise tooth and nail and blow out a solid ECU team in the second half, or the team that struggled for the six quarters in between that.

4. Clemson 24 – Auburn 27

a. These two teams just beat the heck out of each other. Clemson jumped out to an early lead and then tenaciously lost ground to Auburn in the second half. The big difference in the game was probably Kyle Parker's injury. Parker took a helmet to the back early in the third quarter and was visibly pained through out the game, and his accuracy suffered, at one point missing a wide open receiver in the end zone.

b. If the game were a movie you’d be disappointed in the ending only because the rest of it was so good. The game went into over time and was lost by Clemson when a made field goal was disallowed (correctly) when the long snapper was called for an illegal snap and missed the ensuing field goal attempt.

c. That being said Clemson’s other two opponents were worse than scrimmage teams, and the only legitimate team Auburn has played (Mississippi State) has yet to win a meaningful game, so its hard to tell what direction the Tigers are headed.

d. The other question is can both these teams recover from this game or will it wreck them for the rest of the season as several players where carted of the field with what appeared to be serious leg injuries.

5. Duke 13 –Alabama 62

a. "We always approach every game the same way: Just come in, wanting to dominate the opponent, make them never want to play us ever again," Ingram (via ESPN) said. "That's the mindset we want them to have when we leave." Goal Achieved. Ingram himself ran for 131 yards.

b. Duke can’t play defense, but at least they scored a touchdown. It was the first touchdown Alabama allowed all year.

c. Duke was down 45-13 at the end of the first half. The second half was more of a controlled scrimmage than a competitive game as Alabama added another 17 points.

d. How flipping good is the Alabama team? Really good. Good enough to tempt hyperbole, but we’ll resist for another couple of weeks. One thing's for sure, Alabama is so much better than Duke that it’s impossible to estimate how Duke will do against the rest of its schedule based on that game.

6. Maryland 17 – West Virginia 31

a. Paper turtle, thy name is Maryland

b. West Virginia pretty much did what ever they wanted to in the first half jumping out to a 21 point lead at the half. They stretched that lead to 28 early in the third quarter before allowing Maryland to creep within 11. The Mountaineers are yet to put together a full game this year.

c. The only bright spot for the Terrapin’s were 60 and 80 yard touchdown passes to speedy wide receiver Torrey Smith.

d. The Maryland offensive line had a particularly bad day as they allowed eight sacks and paved the way for -20 yards rushing.

7. Wake Forest 24 – Stanford 68

a. Basically Stanford just out paced the Deacons throughout the game. Stanford scored on all eight possessions its starters played.

b. Wakes had scored 107 points in its first two games, and all though they scored 24 in this game, it has to be considered a good effort against a vastly superior team. Remember, Stanford shut-out UCLA the week before.

c. The Deacon’s defense gave up 68 points to the Cardinal after giving up 58 to Duke the week before.

d. Two years ago the ACC sent ten teams to bowl games. That year the ACC sent teams all over the country and they had the ability to compete for the most part. This weekend Duke and Wake Forest needed miracles to win.

8. Boston College – Magnum PI marathon

a. Though undefeated, the Eagles have not exactly soared against the likes of Webber State (winning by 18) and Kent State (winning by 13). We’ll see if BC tightened things up last week as they face Virginia Tech, a team that has dominated them.

9. Miami – Licking Wounds

a. An anonymous Miami fan used the off week to keep it classy and suggest via twitter that the levels of melanin in Jacory Harris' skin are to blame for the U’s loss to THE Ohio State. Surely wide receivers not knowing the play calls mattered more.

10. Virginia – Taking in a Dave Mathews show. Feeling good about that D+. It’s not a grade they like to give out.

a. Virginia follows up its bye week with a second bye week. This time VMI comes to town. The game against the Keydets (sic) represents another opportunity for UVA to install more of Coach Mike London’s offense and defense, and develop depth. Something they’ll need when they enter ACC play.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Request for Bids

This is a totally reasonable thing to do. After all it was just a pile of dusty, nasty old money. It's not like we could have found something useful to do with it. Fortunately, In this economy we were able to find a great contractor who followed the specifications to the letter; primer then finish coat.


Oregon State Beavers

P.S. We dropped out of ECON 1002 right before we got to "diminishing returns".

DIY in Durham.....

It's like they needed a primer for last weekend so their fans would know how to act amongst the Bama faithful......They omitted the part about the outcome.....

BlogPoll Week 4: Mark Dantonio's Grande Huevos....

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Barrel of Rum Ballot - Week 4

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama Crimson Tide --
2 Ohio St. Buckeyes --
3 Nebraska Cornhuskers Arrow_up 2
4 Oklahoma Sooners --
5 Boise St. Broncos Arrow_down -2
6 Oregon Ducks Arrow_up 4
7 TCU Horned Frogs Arrow_down -1
8 Texas Longhorns Arrow_down -1
9 Florida Gators --
10 LSU Tigers Arrow_up 10
11 Stanford Cardinal Arrow_up 5
12 Auburn Tigers --
13 South Carolina Gamecocks --
14 Wisconsin Badgers Arrow_down -3
15 Arizona Wildcats Arrow_up 4
16 USC Trojans --
17 Utah Utes Arrow_down -3
18 Arkansas Razorbacks Arrow_down -1
19 West Virginia Mountaineers Arrow_up 6
20 Oklahoma St. Cowboys --
21 Miami Hurricanes Arrow_down -6
22 Iowa Hawkeyes Arrow_down -14
23 Florida St. Seminoles --
24 Oregon St. Beavers --
25 Michigan Wolverines Arrow_down -7
Dropouts: Clemson Tigers, Penn St. Nittany Lions, Georgia Bulldogs, Boston College Eagles

SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Check out the huevos on Senor Dantonio, who put himself right up there with CPJ in the manly bowling ball department. And survived the heart attack that ensued when that much blood isdiverted. A speedy recovery to Coach Dantonio........

In other news, the Fightin' Pellini's made Jake Locker spontaneously combust while Auburn & Clemson took Tiger-on-Tiger violence to an all new level; holy hell did those boys knock the shit out of each other. As always, a brief rundown:

1) Alabama: The Sabanator goes old school & gets all Hannibal-esque as the Elephants roll through Durham......Nicky likes Joe Pa & Cutcliffe thus held his troops in check. I'm giddy at the thought of the curb-stomping he gives Petrino this week......
2) Ohio State: went all Dusty Rhodes on the Bobcats....
3) Nebraska: three guys rush for over 100 yards & Jake Locker immolates himself......on the road. They are for real....
4) Oklahoma: beat a good Air Force team. Will end up when all's said & done a W against a top 25 team.
5) Boise: play somebody.....
6) Oregon: an offensive juggernaut.
7) TCU: steady as she goes.....
8) Texas: a fine defensive team led by Sam Acho. That said, they are no dimensional on offense; at least pick something to do well offensively....
9) Florida: it's a road win in Knoxvegas which you can't discount.....wait, you can, the Vols suck. A finesse running attack will end up being their demise. And snapping the ball....
10) LSU: racked up 2 good wins which is why they are here. Gary Crowton couldn't score with $500 American in a Russian whorehouse. An offensive disaster, but deserving of this spot this week.
11) Stanford: angry green trees whooped Wake.....
12) Auburn: someone's toting Kyle Parker's spleen around the Plains as a souvenir. I like them more than Frank I think....
13) South Carolina: UGA win loses a bit of luster....
14) Wisconsin: that's why you play to the whistle. Love the effort....
15) Arizona: beat the fightin' Stanzi's & looked pretty good doing it. Lots of speed....
16) Southern Cal: ask Frank....
17) Utah: nice when your back-up QB goes something like 20-23 for 250 & a couple TDs....
18) Arkansas: so they can throw. Their defense is suspect & we'll just have to drop them a bunch next week. Might as well just leave them here....
19) West Virginia: Noel Devine is fun to watch....and they burn furniture....
20) Oklahoma State: because T. Boone Pickens gave us some cash....
21) Miami: penalized for taking away Jacory's tweeting privileges....
22) Iowa: here's an idea - nickel package. And special teams while you're at it......
23) Florida State: rebounded against BYU....
24) Oregon State: we'll know more after this week.....
25) Michigan: the invisible defense experiment barely worked this week.....

Teams falling out: Clemson (nice effort), Penn State (meh...), Georgia (schadenfreude), & Boston College (need to play someone).

Things are beginning to take shape & will clarify even further after this week. After #13 it's all a mess.......What do you think about our Top 25? (that means comment!).