Some leftover thoughts from the weekend....
- Another game, another season-ending injury. Rod Battle tore his ACL and is out for the year. I hate it for him...he's a senior and just never seemed to be healthy the entire time he was here.
As far as the impact on the team goes, we may still be in pretty good shape. Luckily, Justin Houston returns from his two game suspension, looking to build on reportedly dominating performances in spring and fall camp. And Cornelius Washington, the redshirt freshman that I have been predicting big things for since spring camp, got his first extended playing time on Saturday and responded with 1.5 sacks from the D-End position.
All that being said...we are rapidly approaching the point in both the DE and offensive tackle positions where we can not withstand any more major injuries...fingers crossed, everybody!
- OK...I'm seeing several blog posts and hearing a lot of conversation trying to take some of the heat off of the defense after Saturday night's performance. The general opinion of these pieces is that A) the defense was on the field for a ridiculously long time; B) At least Willie brought the heat, which we have been begging for him to do...it's just that Garcia escaped the pressure very well; C) Hey, the scheme worked...we made him make short throws under pressure and took away all big plays; and, D) the red zone defense saved the game.
Well, allow me to retort:
A) It's true that the defense was on the field entirely too long, in large part due to offensive and special teams miscues in the first half...but some of the blame for that goes to the defense itself. The defense didn't force a single 3-and-out all night. Make a play somewhere along the way and maybe you get some more rest.
B) This point is true. This was the most aggressive I've seen us play on defense in quite some time.
C) OK, fine...but when he completely lit us up the entire first half, shouldn't we have adjusted at some point to at least take away the tight end? Obviously, the TE was his security blanket...if you take that away and make him move his eyes somewhere else, maybe he gets a little rattled?
I don't like this argument, anyway...what's the difference between 10 7-yard passes or one 70-yarder, other than that it makes your defense work harder?
D) This point is true, as well...when the field was shortened, our secondary was playing closer to the line of scrimmage, which took away those short passes, and we pretty consistently stopped the run all night.
Bottom line...we let Steven Freaking Garcia throw for 300 yards, and the defense gave up 25 points to a team who only scored one touchdown against NC State (I'm not counting the pick-6, the safety, or the field goal after the Smith fumble)...sorry, that can't be classifed as a good performance, no matter what the extenuating circumstances.
And if we perform the same way against Arkansas, Bobby Petrino will design 75 different pass plays to the tight end over the middle.
- What a great start by the defense, which I was seriously worried about coming into this season. They played like they were PISSED, which is a great sign...the linebackers were playmaking machines, especially Mike Peterson. He made more plays in one game than Keith Brooking has made in the last five seasons, and the hit he made that caused the fumble was BRUTAL. It's at the 1:29 mark of this highlight clip....
- John Abraham. He deserves his own bullet point. This guy is completely unblockable one-on-one, and he absolutely DESTROYED Pro Bowler Jake Long on this play (which I have watched about a dozen times, by the way)..
- Matt Ryan was not sharp, looked a lot like the season opener. Some of those passes he missed will be touchdowns once they get the timing down a little better.
- Tony Gonzalez...believe the hype.
- The Dolphins obviously decided to take Turner away and make Matt Ryan beat them...even on an off day, Ryan managed to do that. This offense is going to be nightmares for opposing defenses.
If only Clemson could have completed the comeback against the gnats Thursday night, it would have been a perfect football weekend. Next chance starts on Thursday night (of course)....at my house, at least for one night, it will be all about THAT U!!!