Well, it was certainly better all around. Which made watching the tape infinitely more enjoyable than the past couple of weeks. There's certainly room for improvement, particularly offensively, but it would be hard not to see the improvement we made this week over the last two. Random thoughts & observations....
- A-back Orwin Smith is questionable with an ankle sprain for next week's MTSU contest as is guard Will Jackson.
- Marcus Wright was not in uniform with what Tech is calling a "non-football injury". Haven't heard any deails.
- The interior of the line, Uzzi, Bedford & Finch, played VERY well on Saturday. Uzzi had the best game of any Tech lineman this season with 16 knock-downs. CPJ did his best to downplay the effect of Finch on Saturday in his Sunday teleconference but I think he's just trying to keep the redshirt freshman's head from getting inflated. Finch had a great game and his ability to move players at the point of impact & get to the second level was a big difference maker against UVA. I'd be VERY surprised to see him out of the starting lineup again this year.
- Nice to see Stephen Hill snag a couple balls early; certainly should help his confidence going forward.
- We were able to pound the ball even when UVA went to a 4-4 stack, a credit to the physical play of the offensive line & the hard running of the backs. The relentless pounding & physical play from the entire offense, from WR's to linemen, clearly had UVA worn out midway through the 3rd quarter. It was great to see Luke Cox pounding away when Allen took a breather.
- Anthony Allen was a physical beast on Saturday, bowling over defenders & gaining tons of yards after contact. By far his best game of the season and the most productive for any back in the ACC so far this year.
- We really caught them on the midline several times leading to nice gains including the longest run of Nesbitt's career, a 67 yard jaunt.
- against better teams, putting the ball on the turf four times will prove disastrous.
- WWNT? What Was Nesbitt Thinking? Let's leave the jump passes for the boys in Gainesville......
- Still too many mental errors with 28 on the offensive side of the ball. We gained 302 yards in the first half & should have been up HUGE at halftime. Instead, turnovers & poor execution left us with only 13 points at the half. With tougher teams ahead, we need to clean this up.
- Both Frank & I really didn't like CPJ's call to go for it on 4th & 1 on the UVA 13 yard line with 5:44 left in the game up 27-14. We realize that he's hyper-aggressive, but it's a bad call there. Take the chip shot field goal (from your this-season-automatic kicker) and make it a two TD & two 2-point conversion game. That's 4 big plays the UVA offense has to make in a little over five minutes against a Tech defense that was playing very well on the afternoon. While everything worked out in our favor, I think kicking the field goal is the right call there.
- 14 points & 290 yards of offense heading into the "Jon Kitna Hour"* is a great improvement for the defense.
- I said in my preview I thought we needed to be more aggressive & take some chances if we wanted to keep the Cavalier offense out of rhythm & it seems Al Groh agreed as we blitzed on 25 of 54 UVA offensive plays, or almost 47% of the time. And by blitz I mean bringing at least five players, not simply 3 plus a LB. The aggressiveness, particularly with run blitzes, really paid off.
- We tackled better but there's plenty of room for improvement.
- Our play recognition was greatly improved. We diagnosed plays much faster on Saturday, especially the LB's, which led to us making more plays.
- Mario Butler continues his very solid play this year. He's always been under-rated & seems to finally be getting noticed this season. It was a great play to strip the ball from UVA's Dontrelle Inman. Julian Burnett also played well at LB.
- What's the only thing a prevent defense prevents? Say it all together now......WINNING. If I never see another it will be too soon.
- Still too many missed assignments with 23 blown. We are still learning.
- Tackling again spotty.
A couple other thoughts:
- what's up with all the helmets flying off in college football this season? Someone needs to get this corrected before a serious injury occurs.
- This may be controversial & I certainly didn't think it to be the case heading into the season but we miss Jonathan Dwyer. Allen played a fantastic ballgame on Saturday but we miss the Diesel's break-away speed. I counted three runs against UVA on which Allen was caught from behind; something that never would have happened with Dwyer. I'm not slamming Allen, particularly after his finest game Saturday, just pointing out the fact we miss Dwyer.
- NO MISTAKES ON SPECIAL TEAMS!!!!!!
A nice conference win moves us to 4-2 and in control of our own destiny, which is all you can ask for. On to MTSU......
* The Jon Kitna Power Hour: the time in a game when a team is so far behind that the other team moves to a prevent defense allowing the opposing QB the opportunity to rack up meaningless statistics. While with the Detroit Lions, Jon Kitna perfected this art, destroying many an opposing fantasy football team with huge performances in garbage time....