Monday, September 19, 2016

The Mizzou recap is pass heavy and undefeated

Just getting around to having the time to put these thoughts together. I think Kirby put it best in the post game press conference, we’re so close to being 0-3 really, but those guys are playing really hard and instead we’re undefeated. Unreal.

  • Eason is growing up before our eyes. I know we came into that game hoping to be able to run more effectively. The game dictated that we go pass heavy, and 10 really stepped up. Couple bad balls and the one interception, but it’s obvious he’s something special.
  • I mean we knew he was going to be special, but it’s different now. The comparison to Matt Stafford is no longer relevant because Eason has so much more composure than Staff did at this point.
  • The bottom line is that Eason is working through his progressions which is why he’s starting. He’s reading things well and making plays with not just his arm but his head.
  • I think the touchdown pass to Payne exemplifies this. Payne was open and it seemed an eternity passed before Eason finally decided not to throw to the receiver trailing in the back of the end zone. I was sure he'd waited too long, but he zipped that ball in there and Payne ran a great route to meet that throw.
  • Just shows he has a different set of skills and his college football mind is developing up to his arm's talent level.
  • Yes, he still has a long way to go, but you have to be encouraged with our quarterback’s growth, especially after that game winning 4th down throw.

  • Kirby alluded to the only concern we can have about 16 at this point, and that is that there’s no way his body can handle carrying that much of the load the entire season.
  • We’ll get to the offensive line in a minute, but Chaney has to find a way to get some yards using his stable of running backs and tight ends as well as guys like Godwin.
  • 16 is dynamic and a game changer. We knew that before the season. But it’s more than a little uneasy seeing how much we have to rely on him.
  • Still, McKenzie deserves all the accolades he should receive this week. The touchdown run is one only a few guys in college football can make. His first touchdown catch would have just been a long reception for many receivers, but he found a way to make it into a touchdown.
  • And the game winner, whoa Nelly. Perfectly placed ball, but 16 went up and got it. Showed a lot of tenacity and grit.

  • Defense struggled but made a ton of plays when we needed them to. Not sure what Drew Lock was thinking on Mauger’s  interception in the endzone, but that was a game saving pick.
  • And Mauger is clearly the type of player Smart wants. He’s a senior that hasn’t played much but continues to practice hard and makes the most of his time on the field.
  • Coach Tucker is going to have to find a pass rush this week if our secondary is to have a chance to keep up with Ole Miss.
  • After getting picked on repeatedly Briscoe improved in pass coverage in the second half, but some of that may be attributed to Missouri leaning more towards running the ball once they had the lead. Huepel has to be kicking himself for the shift in his philosophy after halftime.
  • I was hoping we’d be more physical than we were, especially considering our lack of pass rush. The next couple games are critical for this defense. As a fan you want both the front seven and the d-backs to dictate the play, but we need at least one facet to step up.

Special teams
  • I’m glad we didn’t have to line up for another field goal, but if we had it would’ve been interesting to see if the coaches actually would’ve stuck with Ham or given Rodrigo a shot.
  • I would expect more emphasis on this phase of the game this week in practice. You can’t give up return yardage and leave points on the field like we have and expect to beat Ole Miss on the road and Tennessee the following week.
  • And there’s moments to build on for sure. For instance, Tyrique McGhee had a great tackle in kick coverage. Just seems to me we have some guys sticking to their lane and others not as conscious about it or trying too hard to make a play.

Offensive line
  • I was legitimately optimistic after beating UNC. I saw real promise in the run blocking and thought we’d have some time to develop better pass protection.
  • Nicholls showed our offensive front could be outworked. That was an eye opener.
  • Then Saturday night we saw a great defensive front just dismantle them play after play. Charles Harris never stops. He might end up being All-SEC for sure and might be the best pass rusher we see, even better than Tennessee’s Barnett and Auburn’s Lawson.
  • But we have to run the football more effectively. Just as McKenzie can’t carry us at receiver all season and survive, Eason can’t throw it 55 times a game. We just can’t rely on that week in and week out.
  • The coaches know that. Chaney is in Athens because Kirby respected him as a play caller and developer of quarterbacks. If the line can’t run block we have to do two things: find guys who can and develop plays that get Chubb to the second level.

But in all honesty, what do I know? Seriously. I looked closely at our schedule in August and scoffed at Missouri being able to beat us. I truly believed we would go in there and run them out of the state.

So I don’t know squat, except that I have a bruise on my arm from pinching myself Sunday morning.

I know I love teams that fight hard. This team does. They believe in each other from start to finish. And that’s the biggest reason why we’re heading to Oxford undefeated.

Go Dawgs!