Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Week 5 - Part One
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Week 5 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Last week: Beat Ole Miss 33-14
Notes: Not only is the Tide rocking and rolling now, but the great young talent is being stockpiled. Amari Cooper looked like the next great Bama receiver catching eight passes for 84 yards and two scores highlighted by a leaping, acrobatic scoring grab. … While this was a blowout, it could’ve been far worse. The offense couldn’t close on enough decent drives settling for four Jeremy Shelley field goals. … Dee Millinier had a terrific game making 3.5 tackles with a pick, a half a sack and four broken up passes. … With two weeks off to prepare for road games against Missouri and Tennessee, the one thing that needs working on might be – and this is really nitpicking – a little more consistency out of the running game. It was fine against the Rebels, but not great with just 125 yards and 3.7 yards per carry.
Last week: Beat Washington State 51-26
Notes: Oregon tends to start late. No announcing team ever seems to get this, playing up on the idea that an upset might be brewing, but under Chip Kelly it often takes a half to get everything rolling. Few coaching staffs make better adjustments coming out of the locker room. … The passing game couldn’t get the wide receivers on the move. Marcus Mariota was fine, but he only finished with 169 passing yards with Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas accounting for 65 of them. … It’s not like Washington State runs the ball on a regular basis, but the Oregon defensive line was terrific. Sacks helped the total in a big way, but in all the Cougars finished with -8 rushing yards. … The line will have to be even more physical next week against a Washington team coming off a physical pounding of Stanford.
Last week: Beat Towson 38-22
Notes: Is it time to start panicking with a date coming up against a Florida team with two weeks off to prepare? After a lousy performance against Auburn, the Tigers needed to come out tuned up and ready to show off that everything is rocking and rolling like it was a few week ago in the domination of Washington. Instead, the O line had another rocky game, and the loss of fullback J.C. Copeland to an injury didn’t help. … Zach Mettenberger is holding on to the ball a bit, but he’s also getting kissed. The line simply isn’t giving him enough time and teams are teeing off into the backfield. … This looked and played like a team thinking ahead to a really, really big game. There were ten penalties, missed tackles, five fumbles – losing three – and too many missed plays. It was a sloppy effort.
Florida State (5-0)
Last week: Beat South Florida 30-17
Notes: Don’t be fooled in any way by the relatively close score; the defense was fantastic. The Bulls were helped by a blocked punt leading the way to a short touchdown run, and Christian Jones helped create a little bit of breathing room with a fumble recovery for a score. … USF neutralized Bjoern Werner and the pass rush. The Noles came into the game ranked first in the ACC and 15th in the nation in sacks, but they only came up with two with Cornellius Carradine accounting for 1.5 of them along with the big forced fumble and a team-leading nine tackles. … On a day full of huge quarterbacking performances, E.J. Manuel’s won’t stand out, but his 19-of-26, 242-yard, one score day with no picks was effective.
Last week: Beat Tennessee 51-44
Notes: This was supposed to be when everything came together for the defense, but that obviously didn’t happen. There were too many missed tackles, horrendous angles on big plays, and too many problems with a high-octane Tennessee attack that found a nice balance. However, Sanders Commings came up with five tackles and two picks and Alec Ogletree made 14 tackles with three broken up passes. … The offensive line that’s supposed to be such an issue was fantastic allowing just one sack and paving the way for 130 yards and three scores from Todd Gurley and 164 yards and two scores on just ten carries from Keith Marshall. … Aaron Murray continues to show why he’s the best quarterback in the SEC. There was a pick that wasn’t all his fault, but he also completed 19-of-25 passes for 278 yards and two scores. … Against South Carolina he’s going to be under far more pressure, but he should have some success against a struggling secondary.
South Carolina (5-0)
Last week: Beat Kentucky 38-17
Notes: It took a half to get the production ramped up, but once the offensive line took over, and once Marcus Lattimore got into a lather, the Gamecocks took control holding on to the ball for close to 18 minutes in the second half. … Lattimore was a workhorse when he needed to be rushing for 120 yards and two scores on 23 carries. … Connor Shaw continued to be red hot completing 15-of-18 passes for 148 yards and two scores while finishing second on the team with 76 rushing yards. … The key to the turnaround was seven sacks with pressure coming from all sides. Seven different players got in on sacks. … The team played like it was looking ahead to Georgia. To beat the Dawgs, Lattimore has to control the clock and Shaw has to hit his third down throws. The offense doesn’t need to come up with a slew of big plays, but it has to be efficient for two halves. It wasn’t against Kentucky.
Kansas State (4-0)
Last week: Didn’t Play This Week
Notes: This is the fun time for the Wildcats. While the rest of the Big 12 was bombing away in wild conference battles, Kansas State got to rest up and prepare for the two apparent lightweights on the slate, Kansas and Iowa State. However, with the way West Virginia is rolling, the showdown should come in three weeks. … KSU’s offensive line has been among the most effective in the Big 12. Considering how much Collin Klein runs, it’s a statistical miracle that he has been sacked just twice in four games. … The win over Miami is looking far better. The Hurricanes have been explosive over the last two weeks in wild wins over Georgia Tech and NC State, but Kansas State came up with a 51-13 stomping three weeks ago.
Last week: Lost to Washington 17-13
Notes: This was a horrible performance that was the exact opposite of the effort to beat USC. The Cardinal missed on too many pass plays, missed on way too many tackles and committed bad penalties and the worst times. … The Cardinal team that blasted away on the Trojans gained just three first downs on the ground against a mediocre Washington defense. The offensive line couldn’t generate enough of a push with Stepfan Taylor being held to 80 yards on 21 carries. … Josh Nunes hasn’t had a great start, but that seems to be a surprise to many. He’s not Andrew Luck – no one is – but he needs to be better than 18-of-37 for 170 yards and one pick. … With Arizona and Notre Dame up next, the offensive line has to be stronger and more consistent, while the defensive front has to continue to get into the backfield. For all the problems the team had, the D did a great job of popping UW QB Keith Price on a regular basis.
West Virginia (4-0)
Last week: Beat Baylor 70-63
Notes: For all the gushing and praise being heaped on Geno Smith – and obviously he had a brilliant game completing 45-of-51 passes for 656 yards and eight touchdowns – he was under little to no pressure and he was throwing darts against the worst pass defense of any BCS conference team. The Bears came into the game ranked 113th in the nation against the pass allowing 315 yards per game. … If you put 70 points on the board, you’re supposed to win easily. Instead, the defense was as bad as Smith and the offense were good. Nothing worked; BU’s Nick Florence threw for 581 yards and five touchdowns. … This was fun and interesting, but let’s see the Mountaineers and Smith roll on the road against Texas. Come away from Austin with a win, no matter how it happens, and then it will be time to get truly fired up.
Notre Dame (4-0)
Last week: Didn’t Play This Week
Notes: The Irish got a week off after another dominant defensive performance in the win over Michigan, but all the talk seems to revolve around the offense and the quarterback situation. Everett Golson continues to be terrific in practices, but Tommy Rees is shown enough maturity to get even more of a look during games. Brian Kelly might not be only counting on Rees in late two-minute drills. … Few offenses are hotter right now than Miami’s, and if Geno Smith hadn’t put up such huge numbers against Baylor, Stephen Morris would be getting all the attention this weekend after setting an ACC single-game record for passing yards. The game against the Canes in Chicago will be the first time this year the Irish secondary will be tested. … The running game has to be more consistent and effective. That starts with an offensive line that has been decent so far, but not good enough to honestly start believing this team can run the table. However, there isn’t a game left on the slate the Irish can’t win.
Last week: Didn’t Play This Week
Notes: Are the Gators ready for LSU? The Tigers come into Gainesville this week on a two week lull, struggling against Auburn and looking awful against Towson. The LSU offensive line isn’t playing up to its talent or potential, and while the Gators need to take advantage, they also have to come up with more of a pass rush with just five sacks in four games. … Will LSU take the Florida passing game seriously? It’s been an effective passing attack, but Jeff Driskel has to be able to connect on a few downfield plays to keep LSU from teeing off on Mike Gillislee. Driskel has been good so far, but hardly spectacular. He’ll have to be mistake-free against the Tigers. … Penalties were a problem against Bowling Green in the opener, but the errors have been slowing down. Most importantly for a game against LSU, Florida has to win the turnover battle. So far this year the O has given away one pick and one fumble.
Last week: Beat Oklahoma State 41-36
Notes: Remember, there were times when Texas was at the height of its powers under Mack Brown and still had problems with Oklahoma State with several close wins in the series. Coming out of Stillwater with a win to survive and move on is a big step forward. … David Ash continues to show why things have changed from the last few years. He threw a pick that wasn’t all his fault – his first interception of the season – while completing 30-of-37 passes for 304 yards, three scores, and one game winning drive. … The defense continues to give up too many big plays. That was a problem against Wyoming and Ole Miss, and it was a big struggle early on against the Cowboys. Jackson Jeffcoat did his part with seven tackles, a sack and four tackles for loss, but there wasn’t enough overall pressure on a young OSU quarterback. … Texas gave up a whopping 576 yards of total offense and now West Virginia rolls into town. Expect more of the same.
Last week: Didn’t Play This Week
Notes: The Stanford loss is looking worse and worse after the clunker the Cardinal came up with against Washington. USC needed to spend its off week figuring out how to get more out of an O line that’s getting Matt Barkley beaten up and isn’t opening enough holes for Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal. The offense has the skill players, but they can’t shine unless the line is far stronger. … Up next are trips to Utah and Washington to start a run of three road games in four weeks. The Utes are wounded and sputtering after getting blown out by Arizona State, but they have the defensive front to potentially take advantage of USC’s problems. However, the Utah offensive line has been a complete and utter disaster. This is the game the Trojan defensive front has to establish itself as a positive for the rest of the Pac-12 season.
Ohio State (5-0)
Last week: Beat Michigan State 17-16
Notes: In hindsight it seems so easy – load up to stop the Michigan State running game, make Andrew Maxwell make plays, and hope for the best. Outside of some horrendous tackling on the Keith Mumphery 29-yard score, the Buckeyes did a brilliant job allowing just 34 rushing yards and not giving up one first down on the ground. It still took a dogfight despite the great effort by the D because the offense failed to move when Braxton Miller wasn’t being Braxton Miller. … RB Jordan Hall was knocked out of the game putting even more pressure on Miller, who came through with a 63-yard scoring play to Devin Smith and a better-than-it-looks-on-paper 136 rushing yards despite getting banged up. … Philly Brown didn’t come up with any huge plays, but he was a nice safety valve for Miller making 12 catches for 84 yards. … OSU will have to be prepared to score more next week against Nebraska. Taylor Martinez is playing too well and the Husker offensive line is coming off a brilliant game against Wisconsin.
Week 5 Top Team Notes & Thoughts