Hehe, I’m funny.
It wasn’t the most flashy win at all but it was solid, had only a few errors, and really lacked hardly any big plays. Liberty wasn’t that bad of a team, they were fairly solid and I think would/could beat the lower 1/3 of the Big Sky pretty regularly. They were over-matched in the trenches for sure and their offense looked kind of short/small for the most part.
A few points:
– Great to see Pete get into the endzone, he was running out of gas and it looked like the punter was going to pull him down but Peter shook him off, made another guy miss and got into the endzone. The radio replay was funny, Mick thought he was tackled.
– Pretty solid game for Dan Moore, two 1-handed catches. I held my breath when he was horse-collar tackled as both his legs were pinned under his body.
– Props to the kick/punt coverage team they kept a 1st team all-American under wraps. He had just 1 decent return but that was negated by a holding call.
– Glad to see Tripp must’ve just cramped up and McKinney just took a hard shot.
– Secondary was beat a little too much for my liking, the middle of the field was pretty open, some crossing/pick routes were wide open, Harris looked out of position on that deep TD but I didn’t see the catch – was it a good one?
– The bigger issue than just getting beat a little too much was watching all 4 of our safeties tackle, diving head down, trying to practically slap their backs or the back of their heads onto the ball carrier’s body. We just don’t have that 1 safety that will come up and drill a ball-carrier, McCord was that guy last year, Wilson before him, Anderson before that.
– The offense, IMO, took a step back today. I’m hoping it was just an App St hangover because against in-conference defenses this Griz team we saw on the field would only put up 14-20 points total. The quick screen game wasn’t really there (Liberty ran it better) and McKinney was off-target going downfield. Trent has to start hitting open WRs better, he had a few wide open (big one I’m thinking of was Ellis Henderson crossing the field in the EZ). Bummer to see our offense take a step back. Trent was efficient (high completion %) and had no turnovers, that’s good. But I’d rather take 300 passing yards and a pick or two than 95 passing yards. We need to have defenses respect the passing game.
– Pretty vanilla on offense, presumably not wanting to show much for NAU next week?
– Defense was pretty good over the course of the game I think, while I bet Liberty might’ve out-gained the Griz our D-line shut down their depleted OL and while the secondary gave up some plays today was the least amount of “big” pass plays our secondary has given up in this early season.
– Linebackers were on fire today, Tripp had a few other near picks just miss his out-stretched hands. JP had the fumble recovery, Coyle was a beast in the middle. Is it me or is Brock getting more and more plays at 1st string mike-backer?
– Props to Zach Wagenmann on player of the game. He’s shown some good skill in practices but the complaint from others to me was the he needs to keep showing it in-game. Today he showed it, but he needs to keep this going.
– Nice long kicks by Lider, gives me hope for our long-range fieldgoal game. All-in-all it was a great showing for special teams, giving up no big plays, a few nice long punts, and going 2-2 on fieldgoals.
– First time in a long time I’ve noticed a coaching break-down where the QB on field has no play call and has to call a timeout himself after hopping around trying to get the coaches attention for a call.
– Defense was active today, tons of reps for 2s. By the 2nd we saw the full 2nd string DL take a half series, Rominger come in for Hermey, and Goodwin and Dennard out there. I like all of the in-game experience these guys are getting, it’s going to go a long ways. Lots of 3-4 out there led to protection breakdowns on the Liberty O-L.
– On thing though, a team with a better catching running back would’ve gashed our D on those screens they had. Our D got lucky selling out the blitz just to see a wide-open RB drop pass after pass.
– The crowd wasn’t even that active and Liberty had all sorts of communication issues in the 1st half. We’ll all need to be a lot more rowdy in the stands next week, NAU will come prepared.
Like I said it was a solid win but a rather unimpressive one. Of course I’ll take any win and I think this was a much more complete victory than our USD win. The Griz need to get ready and come out with more fire on offense for NAU.
2-1 in non-conf games, I liked our non-conference schedule this year it gave our guys some good tests in unique ways. Now it’s time to start our defense of the Big Sky Championship.