Monday, September 24, 2007

My completely unqualified opinion thus far.

Yes, we looked pretty good on Saturday. My estimation of WVU has grown from Top 15 after Marshall, Top 10 after Maryland to now fully believing we're a legitimate Top 5 team. I'd give us the following grades (and disagree with this guy):

Run offense: A
It won't be a A+ until the offensive line starts blocking like they mean it. Wide receivers get bonus points for great downfield blocking, particularly Dorrel Jalloh. Noel Devine maybe took a step back this week. It looked like he was trying to stretch everything out in hopes of a big play instead of taking what the defense gave him. It was also the first game where he was tackled solidly. WVU is averaging 7.17 ypc as a team. The only Mountaineer averaging less than 6 ypc is Jock Sanders, but he makes up for it running the screen from the slot (10.7 yards per catch).

Pass offense: C+
Sorry, 20 screen passes does not make for a great passing game. True, these screen passes have stretched the field horizontally, but so has our outside running. For some reason, ECU defended the wr screen by giving 10 yard cushions. I thought that was odd. Throwing to Devine and Slaton and Sanders in the slot is a great way to get them into space and has been effective, but we can do so much more with PW's arm, if only RR would call the plays.

Through 4 games, I can recall only a handfull of downfield passes. (I wish I had the time to make up a passing chart.) And by "downfield" I mean only past the line of scrimmage. I'm not asking for much here. Against Maryland, I can recall 3-4 10+ yard throws: 2 of which resulted in huge plays. Against ECU, again, I can only recall 3-4 10+ yard throws. Tito Gonzales let one bounce off his face, but caught one for a crucial first down while Eddie Davis, who is justifiably inexerienced at wr, misjudged a sure touchdown.

Patrick White has proven the ability to hit receivers at the 20 yard range (see bubble/screen/tunnel/jailbreak screens past 3 weeks). He has also shown great decision making capability (screen covered, run for your life!). I suspect against the USF defense, we will have to stretch the field, not only horizontally, but also vertically. So we will hopefully be revising this grade next week.

Run defense: B+
I don't have much to base this on. Other than we've looked pretty good. The defensive line is thin and has been getting pushed around a little. (They've actually looked better at pass rushing so far this year.) If a defensive lineman gets hurt, then we're... well, for lack of a better word: fucked. The linebackers look freakin' great this year. Morty Ivy has immerged as a leader on this side of the ball.

Pass defense: B-
After looking horrible against WMU and Marshall, the secondary has calmed down and is, perhaps, the surprise on this team. In WMU, the secondary faced a quality quarterback perhaps as good as any other QB we'll face this year outside of Brohm (if Brohm doesn't take his ball and go home before then).

Additionally, the pass rush has been much better this year. Blitzes have been very effective coming off the edge. But, perhaps due to the inherent inadequacies of the 3-3-5, we have little middle pass rush, and if we get too aggressive against the pass, we become susceptible to the run. We shall not yet discuss the 3-3-5 any further.

Special Teams: C+
What the hell are we doing on kickoffs? WVU has mixed it up on kickoffs this year now that everyone is kicking from the 30. Pat McAfee seems perfectly capable of kicking to the end zone, but that might be a tad past the coverage. We've also tried "sky kicks" and the tricky kick out of bounds play. On Saturday, WVU kicked the ball deep 3 times resulting in an averaging starting spot (not counting penalties) around the 26 yard line. After squibs and sky kicks, ECU was starting around the 32 yard line.
Let's not forget how awful the kickoffs looked against Marshall.
We need a punter. McAfee can handle only so much kicking and jumping around and tackling.
Vaughn Rivers has done a good job returning punts this year keeping the speedy freshmen on kickoffs only. But what was the deal with getting 3 penalties - 2 clips and a holding - on one return Saturday?
Anyway, it was a good day Saturday and I liked hearing from our readers at the game. You guys keep us posting. Here's a great opportunity for you guys to get involved. Let me know if I'm a complete moron in the comments.


letsplaytummysticks said...

This has nothing to do with your analysis, but I wanted to let you know that I will always think you are a complete moron.

Johnny said...

Not a complete moron by far! It's taken me a long time to put them in the top 5. That has as much to do with other teams looking awful as our improvement.

The offensive line really needs to gel this week! It took time before the line came together in 2005. So maybe this will be their week.

Funny to say something like that off of a 400 yard rushing day!

Option Spread said...

Yeah, the O-line has been rapidly improving over the course of 4 games. I didn't get to see any tape on the WMU game, but they were getting blown up all game against Marshall, were getting blown up occasionally against Maryland, and only rarely got blown up against ECU. Friday is going to be a real test to see how far this group has come.

Brave Sir Robin said...

I agree with tummysticks. You are a complete moron. Good post.


BSR has spoken.