The straight scoop
from Colonel Mustard
Sept. 8, 2003
Another great job of adjustments by Pelini. We have difference makers on defense in Williams and in the headphones. We have found a kicker to play right now and quarterback to play in the near future. We must start to execute much better in the red zone. Our offense isn't strong enough to consistently move the ball, so we must take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Neither Southern Miss. nor Penn State looks all that great, so I believe that a 4-0 start is likely.
The defense started pretty shaky and just can't generate any pass rush out of front four. I hope this aspect improves as the season wears on, but I believe it will take improved recruiting to solve the problem. So this year we put Williams in a three-point stance and make it work. Cooley is an impressive player for them and we had a lot of trouble staying with him. But clearly the defense is the strength of our team. Our defense will not be out-coached this year. Maybe out-athleted, but not out-coached. The offense remains a struggle, particularly red-zone execution. We haven't moved the ball consistently against an average and then a bad defense. I am worried that as the season progresses our defense will be left on the field too long. Our I-backs are OK but not game-breakers. The alternating system is working fine. But if we can't become more consistent in the passing game, we will see 9 or 10 in the box. Lord had his standard game, mixing good and bad plays. He twice missed a wide-open Herian. He has cost Herian 2 TDs so far this year.
Joe looked terrific --
poised, smooth, a fine scrambler and an accurate passer. He was given easy throws to make and he hit them. Lord has hit and missed on easy throws for two years. Joe's throws to Ross on the slant and Herian on the fade were impressive. This kid knows what he is doing. I would start Lord this week and at Southern Miss. Bring Joe off the bench and give him a feel for the big game. He could then start Troy State and be ready for the conference season. He was more poised and impressive in his first game than either Taylor or Frazier. His style reminds me of Gill because he is so smooth.
I think this Penn State game sets up much like last year in reverse. We are better than we were supposed to be and they have lost a lot. They have three new linemen and lost some of the 200 Johnsons, especially Larry, who played against us last year. We are home and we played and coached as poor a game as I have ever seen against these guys last year. Our team will be organized and ready to go. I want to win this as much as any we play all year, and we will.
P.S. You also know that Joe is a bright young man because he recognized immediately that Pilkington is always open.
Keep the faith, GBR.