I want to jump for joy after we destroyed the Runnin' Rebels on Saturday. We put our foot on the gas and did not let up until the final musket sounded. Having said that, one great performance against an inferior opponent does not call for much excitement. A tempered enthusiasm for things to come is much more appropriate. Correct?
You know what, screw it, I'm pumped and ready to see what this team can do in the Big East! Sure, the conference is the weakest it has been since the split, but our performance Saturday makes me think we can run through it even easier than first expected.
With our nemesis USF coming to town Thursday night, my theory will be quickly put to the test. But before we get to that game, let's review Saturday's performance...
Offense: A ... From start to finish, our guys executed the game plan perfectly. Geno Smith looked poised in the pocket and delivered some perfect passes. Noel Devine created his own space, hit the holes perfectly and came out of the game healthy. While one game does not create an identity on offense. The pass first balanced attack we saw against UNLV is an identity I could grow to love.
O-Line: B ... This much maligned unit blocked pretty damn well all game. Geno had time to throw on most occasions and our backs had room to run. The only thing that lowered the unit's score were the false starts. Dave Johnson does not deserve to be our O-line coach right now, but more performances of this caliber could save his job.
Brad Starks: A ... Whether he was injured or in Stew's doghouse, he had been MIA this season. However, he broke out in a big way Saturday afternoon. He became the deep threat we have been missing. While the talent UNLV's corners is below that of most in the Big East, Starks fought for the ball in the air and ran great routes to get open. We need a deep threat to give Noel room to run and hopefully Starks can finally be that option.
Defense: A ... Jeff Casteel's unit is exceeding expectations. They are ranked 7th in yards allowed, 7th in scoring defense and 9th in rushing defense. These guys get pressure on the QB and lay the lumber in the secondary. The only thing that worries me is our coverage of running backs and tight ends.
Special Teams: A ... Greg Pugnetti absolutely kills the ball. The height he gets on his kicks makes it almost impossible to return. We need these guys to perform the remainder of the season if we are going to win the Big East.
Coaching: A ... We threw the ball deep and pushed the action all day. Not much you can complain about after that performance, but I will find a few things come Wednesday.