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Sunday, August 31, 2008

WMU Post Game Impressions

I had a nice time at the Houstonian for Huskers event. It was great to be around so much red, as we took over the whole bar by the end of the night. It was clear that most fans had no idea what to expect and that influenced the pre-game attitude, but everyone was all-smiles during the first half.

Anyway, here are my initial thoughts on the game.

· Cody Glenn is not only our best linebacker, he’s also the leader of the defense. These are both interesting surprises. I was impressed with his play. He was clearly lost at times, but he’s always around the ball.

· I loved our offensive efficiency early in the game. Ganz was in complete control and the playcalling flowed and made sense in a way that I haven’t seen in some time.

· I was extremely disappointed with the offensive line in terms of their run-blocking. The improvement I expected, just wasn’t there. WMU was stacking 8-9 guys in the box, but the blocking wasn’t even there at the point of attack. This needs to be fixed or we’ll be back to averaging less than 3 ypc. against talented teams.

· At the same, the O-line gave Ganz plenty of time to throw. With his ability to move the pocket he bought more time, and the receivers got open late. This adds a nice dimension to the offense.

· I’m still upset with our safety play. Asante is just not good in coverage and I don’t expect that to change. I’d like to see Culbert get a chance. O’Hanlon looked serviceable at times at FS. He got caught a little shallow a few times. Amukamara bailed him out with a great play once, but I expect teams to burn us deep often unless this is fixed.

· The linebackers really struggled with shallow crossing routes. Receivers were running wide open across the middle of the field all game long. When Hiller got time to throw he took advantage of this.

· I liked our special teams. We shanked an early punt, but everything else looked good. Niles Paul will flip the field in our favor a few times this year. Alex Henery is a damn fine kicker. He’ll get a chance to win us a game or two late and I feel confident in his abilities.

· The defensive line played inconsistently, but I like how they are being taught to play. Lots of using their hands to get off blocks and get up field. A refreshing change in scheme in technique.

· Zach Potter was our best defensive lineman a year ago, but he didn’t show me much last night. We need him to get some pressure on QBs.

· Ganz really struggled in the short passing game. He’s firing the ball in there and lacks the deft touch he shows in the rest of his throws. He also had way too many passes batted down.

· What happened to the screen passes? WMU must have practiced heavily against this, as there was someone on the back each time we tried. That was our bread and butter a year ago.

· WE HAVE TIGHT ENDS!! Watson’s playcalling is going to get them involved and we’ll finally see how that opens things up elsewhere.

· The wide receivers are blocking. This is a welcome change. Niles Paul looked especially talented at this.

· Eric Hagg is a nice player. He played well in coverage and also did a nice job in run support.

· We lost focus in the 2nd half and once again missed the chance to bury a team. This is an attitude issue that needs to be addressed.

· At one point we were blitzing or stunting on every single play. That has to be fun for the defensive players. We went a little more vanilla in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but our defense is certainly fun to watch again.

· I heart James Dobson. The best hire Bo made by far. Our team looks lean and mean once again. It is also clear that he focused on flexibility and joint mobility. As a result we are explosive and agile. Go back and watch Nate Swift keep his balance on that touchdown. Putting a hand on the turf as you cradle the ball and keep moving forward is not easy to say the least.

· Overall, I felt good watching the first half of the game. We have a chance to surprise some people if play like that offensively. Defensively, the passion is back. Guys are able to use their athleticism and make plays. We are going to force some turnovers when you combine our blitzing and pass rush with defensive backs facing the QB and watching his eyes. I’d feel better if we had a Josh Bullocks roaming the secondary and we need the LBs to continue to improve. We also need to continue to instill a killer instinct. It is intimidating to force your will on a team for four quarters. We’re just not there yet…