Sunday, September 6, 2009

So Much To Say, So Little Time

First I want to send my condolences out to the family of fellow Tennessee Alumni Jesse Mahelona. I did not have the opportunity to meet the young man but by all accounts he was a great football player and an even greater person. We mourn your loss.

Now there is something I have to get off my chest. If this hit... unnecessary roughness, then college football players should start playing in halter tops and mini skirts. Not only was it a clean hit, but the kid didn't even stand over the receiver and taunt him, and I KNOW he had to be tempted to after such a picture perfect snot bubble inducing smack down. What has football come to if a defensive player can't actually play defense? Besides that, the call affected the outcome of the game as it put Oklahoma State in position for the score which put the game out of reach.

As much as I love football I just don't know how much more I can watch if they are going to keep pussifying the game.

-I watched so much football yesterday that it wasn't even funny. I tried to overload on it because I had missed college football so much. I just want to throw out a few observations.

The new Kiffin and Kiffin era up in Tennessee is up to a smashing start. The most impressive thing about the team, in my opinion, was the Offensive Line. Especially the right side of line provide holes big enough to drive an old school Hummer through. Starting running back Montario Hardesty is a good big back with a lot of speed but I really think he lacks the shiftiness to fully exploit some of those holes. The freshman Bryce Brown showed a lot of potential but the third and fourth string backs, David Oku and Tauren Poole, showed a little more of the shiftiness that I think is needed to really make teams pay for getting gashed by the Offensive Line. I know Brown will probably continue to get playing time because he is the prize pickup of the freshman class but I wouldn't be surprised to see one of those lower tier guys start taking some reps from Hardesty. The quarterback Crompton looks poised for a big year and he has some weapons at wideout like Marsalis Teague and at TE, a position that traditionally has been under utilized at Tennessee, like Luke Stocker. Lane Kiffin's offense didn't quite look unstoppable yet but it did look pretty damned good.

On defense those guys were coming. Poppa Kiffin showed some 3-4 looks in addition to their base 4-3 that I think will really help when they get to teams like Florida and Georgia. The pass rush was outstanding and the opposign quarterbacks rarely even had the opportunity to get a pass off. The one thing that caused me some concern was that in their base 4-3 defense they have a 6 technique (head up on the TE) to the strong side. It took a long time but later in the game Western Kentucky realized that this created problems for the defense to keep containment. Now thankfully their coaches were a little too dumb to exploit it but from what I saw of Georgia yesterday, they have a really good sweep running game. That needs to be cleaned up and fast.

All in all it was a really good start to the season for the Vols but we have to temper our excitement as it was only Western Kentucky. The UCLA game next week should be a much better litmus test for where we are as a team.

Florida looked great on offense and defense and the only quibble I had was with the passes that were dropped by their wide receivers. I still think that losing Louis Murphy will have an effect on the team going forward but with as many athletes as they have at every position, its hard to say how big of an effect it will be.

USF played a sloppy game against Woolford, at least on defense, which was to be expected with their option offense. But overall I liked how All American DE George Selvie (whom I coached as a true freshman) looked as well as QB Matt Grothe and RB Mo Plancher. They did however suffer a blow as starting Safety Jerrell Young broke his arm during the game.

The Big 10 didn't look so great with Ohio State barely getting passed Navy and Iowa needing two blocked field goals in a row to beat Northern Iowa. The ACC was worse however with Virginia losing to William and Mary and Wake Forest losing to Baylor. Not a stellar day for either conference.

The game of the day, by far, was Alabama going up against Virginia Tech in Atlanta. This was a true defensive struggle and it was physical as all hell. Just the way I like it :)

Bama's defense might be even stronger than last year's and their running game with Mark Ingram and Roy Upchurch was outstanding. Greg McElroy looked good at quarteback as well. I would say that the most outstanding statistic of the night was that Bama held the Hokies' quarterback, Tyrod Taylor to -26 yards rushing on 10 carries.

It was a hard fought game and Virginia Tech gave as good as they got. If there is cause for concern on Alabama's part its giving up the return on special teams for a touchdown.

LSU looked good against Washington but its hard to gauge whether Washington is a much improved team over years past which would mean LSU beat a pretty good team, or if Washington isn't all that good and thus them hanging with LSU most of the game is a cause for concern. I guess we will see how both teams fare in the weeks to come.

Well that's all I have. I am still buzzed off of the high that only a full day of college football can give me. Can't wait to do it all again next week!

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