Here is a nice summary of the game sent via email from a friend. The thoughts fit in with my views very nicely:
It really hurts for a Major lover like me to say this, but Pat White is the best player ever to wear the Blue and Gold that I have seen. That is 1985 to date.
- I initially thought the OL looked shaky, but I think they were pretty solid all in all. Hayes struggled at RG, but once Rodemoyer replaced him the line played pretty well for game 1.
- Looks to me like we still need an outside threat at WR. Lyons or Arnett maybe. That said, Tito G. had a heck of a game blocking downfield for big running plays. Jollah looked pretty good as well.
- Slaton is Slaton. My take on Devine and Sanders. They are very good and it is great to have them as backups, but I so far have not seen a Slaton type guy in either of them. Not saying they will not be great in the future, but I Slaton is on another level IMO.
Summary of Offense - If we stay healthy and find that one WR to step up and make some plays, we can score 35 plus on anybody and that includes USC. We stopped ourselves 3-4 times Saturday or we could have easily hung 75 on them. I think I saw that it was the second highest total since Rod got here with the drubbing of Rutgers a few years ago being the highest.
- I thought we got pretty good pressure on the QB most of the time. Dykes, Dingle, and Berry looked solid. Slavonic, Ingram, and Merrow looked pretty good as well.
- I have never been a big Magro fan, but I am changing. Yes he is a step slow at times, but the kid is big, strong, and makes plays.
- Holmes looks like he does not yet have the strength to play LB IMO. Ivy looked slow. Not the same player as before the injury. Williams looked pretty good, but I think he is a step slow as well. That means all 3 starters are slow and that is not a good situation. WE REALLY NEED THOMAS BACK ASAP. Did not really see enough of Lazear to know what we have there. I thought Cooper and Leonard played ok.
- Secondary was not quite as bad as I first thought. The CB's played OK. Lewis was not bad. Rivers and Williams were not all that impressive. Still not playing tight enough. A guy like Brohm will have a field day. If Lankster is really the best one as we have heard, we need him back ASAP as well. Wicks played OK. I only noticed Malik a couple of times. The new guy Mundy did not really impress me that much, but it was his first game in our system so probably still to early to judge him. He looked slow to me. Sidney Glover looks like he is going to be a player.
- Maybe it is the play calling, technique or whatever, but the more I watch this secondary the more it seems to me that they just cover areas of the field and not even opposition that comes in their area. From my basic knowledge of a zone D, you are supposed to cover any guy coming in your area and not wait until the ball is in the air to make your move towards said player. We are just 2 steps behind in many cases. I maintain it is the coaching and the play calling. Rod needs to break out the second half of that Pitt tape show it to Casteel and tell him that is how you play defense. I am not condemning the 3-3-5 either. IMO it is really just a modified 3-4 anyway. How you line up does not make much difference in my mind. We have rarely in the past been able to recruit stud DL anyway so a 3 man line makes sense to me. It is this sit back and react crap that drives my crazy. A good defense dictates to the offense. I have rarely seen that out of a Casteel defense. That was the coach we needed to replace. You start playing aggressive in your face D and the recruits will come regardless of alignment in my opinion.
Summary on D - Not bad but still saw a lot of similarity to last years version. Maybe a little more pocket pressure. Our coverage skills still seem to be a problem. I will say I did not see as many people running totally free in the secondary as they were last year.
All in all, it was a pretty good start against a pretty good team. 2 decent players added to the D would be a huge improvement.