A continuing trend I heard when chatting with people after the game, it was a good win but this team needs to keep getting better. Props to USD for fighting hard and I think that team could surprise a few people this year, their LB #11 is a physical guy but faded late. Their OL protects the edge better than I thought they would too, for being a young team they stayed pretty focused through the game. They just couldn’t keep up and with the hurry-up and physical nature of the Griz O-line the ‘Yotes were ground to a pulp.

Lets start with the good stuff:

– Trent McKinney CAN run this offense pretty well as he showed, his reads were pretty good and his medium/short throws were mostly accurate. I don’t know his line yet but I’d heard he had a pretty high completion % overall and about 220 passing and 60 rushing. I think he distributed the ball well in passing, he had a few deep over-throws and both of the 2-pt conversions he missed those throws. Trent after the game looked ok, that scared me when he went out.

– Good combo attack from Moore and Nguyen on the ground today. Both ran very hard and with good purpose. I noticed that Canada must’ve sat the first half? He came in and did well too – what I noticed was that Jordan ran over a few of the USD ‘backers. After the game Dan and Peter were all smiles. That combo attack and what will presumably add in Canada as well from here on out is very effective.

– Almost cracked 100 plays on offense, this offense runs even faster than last years did. I looked away and missed plays at first.

– Notice the amount of rotation on offense? I’m anxiously awaiting the stats to hit as I’m wondering how many WRs caught passes. Of course the highlight pass catch/TD play was Cam Warren’s but not so much on his catch but on his fake move… that was stunning, I’d never seen him do that in practice before.

– This game was won in the trenches. The Griz O-line dominated the USD D-line. I noticed that Schmaing played a lot, Kalekini played too, and the Hines brothers rotated in. All the while the O-line hardly missed a beat. I really liked to see that they’re getting a ton of reps. That will help build experience and keep this group fresh as the season goes on. DOLA was on display this afternoon.

– On the other side of the ball it was a really good afternoon for the most part for Harris/Bienemann/Takai. Tonga had the early sack and a later fumble recovery that helped seal the deal. Bienemann and Harris shared some TFLs. Of course Tyrone Holmes had a nice pressure/hit on 3rd and long as well.

– Of the linebackers all had impressive plays, Tripp chasing down the QB, Coyle making some nice open field tackles, but I’ve got to say that the pre-game article on JP rang true with Coach Ty Gregorak saying he is the complete package. The pick was great (Joe Glenn was furious wanted P.I.) JP played real smart out there too, he did not lose containment on option plays and was rarely fooled.

– I really enjoyed the playcalling on offense overall, it was a good mix. I think Rosey with his adaptation of what Smith/Pflu put in place could turn this offense into a real machine.

– Nice huge punt by Shaw early, his punts have a great tendency to die when hitting the ground which makes for great coffin-corner kicks.

OK now lets move on to the areas of needed improvement:

– Peter Nguyen is a good punt returner but there’s some mental aspect in fielding those punts that has issues spring up. He muffed a punt and a kickoff. Against a more talented team that fumbled punt could’ve been the difference between a win and a loss.

– Looked like a few communication errors and confusion from the staff. The burned time out before the fake fieldgoal was one. Taking a holding call on the USD first TD drive which would’ve had a 4th and 4 but rather set up a 3rd and 14 which was picked up and eventually lead to a TD. Also while it’s nit-picky they should’ve kicked the PAT when we scored the TD that gave us the lead. Also why are you having McKinney run zone-read when the game is a done deal, he took a real shot there late that was (IMO) unnecessary.

– Mitch Saylor you GOTTA catch that ball.

– McKinney’s longer passing was as I’ve seen before, a little too-deep. More athletic/talented teams (cough cough App St cough cough) will protect and get after those edge passes better and will probably not give as much up the middle in the run game. Teams will keep creeping up if our long game isn’t there.

– A blocked PAT is never anything you want to see, gotta keep that protection solid.

– Who got beat on the 80 yarder? I was still out packing up my tailgate party.

– That was P.I. on the fake fieldgoal… wow – real obvious come on get that call.

– Now you guys know what I’ve seen from Brzczeck in 11on11 drills. Still learning that playbook, needs to trust his knowledge of the system and the guys better. His series looked pretty bad.

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Overall it was a solid win and we’re off and running on the right foot. This team will need to clean up these errors if they want to win at App St – however I like the way the guys played today. It’s always a good thing to see the samurai swords come out on the final knee and seal the deal.

Go GRIZ!

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