Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pitt-Louisville Thoughts

Well we are going to a bowl feels very good to finally write that phrase. Going into the season I saw no way that we would have less than 8 wins. Currently we sit on 7 with 3 games left on the schedule and a BCS bid is solidly in reach. Yesterday, it all came together and we finally got a dominant home performance(with the exception of the insanely boring 3rd quarter). Louisville had been another team we have found ways to lose to under Wanny but this time everything went according to plan. Plus, as an added bonus we got to watch some rivals lose heart breakers.

On the offensive side of the ball we did what we needed to, namely putting up points when the opportunity was there. Louisville based their entire defensive gameplan on stopping Shady and it worked for them. The obvious limitations of our offense become apparent when Shady can't get it going on the ground but Stull continues not to turn the ball over. He isn't going to make every pass and truthfully he is going to miss an open receiver or two but he keeps the game under control. Jonathan Baldwin is continuing to show how great he is going to be. I think every Big East team should be thankful that we can't throw the ball down the field with any consistency and that our offensive coordinator runs an antiquated offense, under a different system Baldwin could be the best player in the country. One of the problems I could see rearing its head over the next 3 games is the poor play of Dom Williams at guard, he was consistently missing his blocks and getting moved off the ball. I think we need to try to get Shady outside of the tackles because the interior of the line is currently a problem. 

Defensively I feel like there are two different teams playing at the same time. The front seven continues to improve and is really finding a groove in the pass rush. Since we don't blitz the more pressure we can get from the defensive line the better we will play. Sheard is going to be an All Big East player by the time he is a senior and Romeus has finally found a balance between his pass rush and his run responsibilities. Scott McKillop has continued to make his case for the Butkus Award and for my money he is best linebacker in the nation. Greg Williams seems to be playing much looser and is getting used to his role in the defense. Our secondary on the other hand is a real weakness. In pass coverage there is consistent blown coverages and miscommunication between the safeties and corners. I think every player in the secondary this season has been a disappointment. Overall the defense is much improved and hopefully in the last three games we can see an improvement in the secondary.

So the story of the season will be written in the next 3 games. 7 wins and a winning season is something we haven't had in a while but a much bigger prize is within reach. We can win out and I think we will be favorites in every game but I've learned this season not to take anything for granted. Enjoy the big win because at Cincinnati we will find out where this roller coaster is going.


johnny said...

What's the story with Lumpy? Is his knee not totally healed yet or do they not feel comfortable going with a redshirt Freshman this late in the year? I am not suggesting that graduating from Air Force Prep Academy probably doesn't give you as good a pedigree as the high school All-American, but is there more to this story that I am missing?

Dan said...

One is a 5th year senior one is a redshirt freshman. That is all you need to know.

Also, Jacobsen played rg. Lucas Nix actually practiced at LG, so if we are screaming for a change, it should be to Nix.

rkohberger said...

That 3rd quarter was "insanely boring" because we held the ball for two series that ate up 10:41 of the clock, scored 10 points and extended our lead - which is exactly what we wanted to accomplish coming out of the halftime.

Good teams impose their will on their opponents when they dictate the pace of the game, and that's what PITT did on Saturday.

rkohberger said...

Johnny - not sure what there is to complain about with Dom Williams playing instead of Jacobson - Williams has filled in well over the last two games.

Our OL played as well as possible Saturday, McCoy wasn't going to get yards up the middle with Louisville putting 8 or 9 men in the box as they did no matter what. Jacobson wouldn't have made a bit of difference there no matter how well he played.

However, look at how well Williams did in pass protection - Stull had good time to throw and didn't get sacked once.

I'm sure William's being a senior has something to do with it - but if Jacobson was that much better in all aspects of playing the position he'd have played, but apparently that's not the case as yet.