Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wednesday roundtable: hitting the road

A programming note, since I've had a question or two: due to me not having enough time, and not wanting to cause any problems at work, I asked out of the bloggers' roundtable at al.com. My apologies to the handful of folks who might have read it once or twice.
In any case, kleph from RBR has once again asked us to step up for this week's Crimson & White Roundtable. I'm sure he'll have it rounded up for us later in the week.

1. What is the most important thing we learned in the wake of the Penn State game?
Offensively, I think we learned that our offense is multi-faceted (is that a word?). Much like Rocky in the second Apollo fight, we spent a few rounds fighting right-handed, then switched back to southpaw and delivered a sweeping knockout blow (with the added bonus that we didn't take 15 rounds to do it). It's worth noting that we didn't go to the spread passing game because Penn State was stacking the line or anything — as I noted Monday, the Lions curiously didn't stack the line most of the game. Instead, it just seemed like Jim McElwain and Greg McElroy got bored and decided to chuck it around a few plays. This, to me, is McElwain's (and really most every offensive coordinator's) biggest weakness as a play-caller: he sometimes feels the need to put the ball in the air, presumably to prove his own genius, when running the ball was working just fine. But it worked Saturday, so what's to quibble?

2. What is the biggest area of concern given the upcoming contest with Duke?
For a moment, read the stats from Duke's track meet loss to Wake Forest. Go ahead: I'll wait.
OK, so it's worth noting they were playing Wake Forest (with apologies to Dr. Randy Harrison), and not the caliber of competition they'll see this Saturday. Nevertheless, given our problems pressuring the passer and covering receivers ... yeah, I'm a bit concerned.
(Which, of course, leads into question #3).

3. How much will the return of Marcel Dareus and (possibly) Mark Ingram affect the team's strategy?
Having Dareus on the field means we should (should) be able to pressure the quarterback better without the use of as many exotic blitzing. Observe.

As for Ingram, I'm not in favor of rushing him out there if he's anything less than 100 percent. But it is worth noting that Richardson was in the game on roughly 90 percent of the offensive snaps last Saturday; I don't think the coaches really trust Eddie Lacey too much at this point (they'd probably prefer he play more of the Upchurch role as the season wears on).

4. What part of the gameday experience are you most looking forward to on Saturday?
I'm not entirely certain — and I'd have to check the history of Duke's football program to know for sure — but ... well, is this the biggest football game on Duke's campus since they hosted the Rose Bowl in 1941? It's possible, right? And that's always fun.
Also, last year my friend Peter and I drove to Lexington for the 'Bama-Kentucky game and had multiple people say, "You drove how far?! For a FOOTBALL game?!" That was fun, too.
(Note: I was going to make a "Biscuitville" joke here, but I just don't have the courage.)

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Hey that's Stacy Grubbs in that pic.
Soooo STACY GRUBBS!!!!!!!!!