So I am going to try a little something new here. Maybe I will keep this up all year, maybe I won’t. Call it content commitment phobia.
This will be broken into two parts: visual observations and statistical observations. Within those two parts, I will include various things that impressed me or didn’t impress me during game one. Simple, I think so. Side note: I will attempt to write the visual observations before the statistical observations and then see what the stats back up. Here we go.
One thing that impressed me: Tra Carson. I respect the subtle brilliance of Ben Malena, I get caught up in the insane athleticism of Brandon Williams, and I genuinely daydream about Trey William’s game breaking speed. But you know who I don’t think about that much (until now)? Tra Carson, the transfer from Oregon. This guy is an absolute beast. He is a massive, angry bulldozer that we haven’t had since Jorvorskie. He plays differently than Jorvorskie though. Tra has a delightful vicious, aggressiveness when gets the ball. Whatever the case, I think Tra is carving out a distinct role on this team, and I love it. An effective monster of a short yardage back could be huge this year.
Another thing that impressed me: Johnny coming in and doing Johnny things. I couldn’t care less about the antics. I wanted to see Johnny run around on the field and make plays. And guess what world? He did. I am nervous at how early the Alabama game is, but hey, it’s early for Alabama too. Whatever on field kinks Johnny has, I hope he is able to work them out during the first half of Sam Houston.
And another thing that impressed me: Ricky Seals-Jones making a game breaking play and Johnny looking Mike Evans’ direction. These two guys are massive play makers and if we utilize them properly, our offense could get to a whole new level. Just like every NFL scout, I love big, studly wide receivers (then again, I love small, shifty ones too… speaking of, is LaQuvionte getting redshirted?).
One thing that didn’t impress me: Matt Joeckel. He came in and did an admirable job filling in while we waited for Johnny. I mean that. But he didn’t impress me. Not one bit. He can’t escape the pocket to save his life, and his passing stats were inflated by the Ricky Seals-Jones touchdown. Why not play Kenny Hill and let him learn under fire. If, God forbid, something happens to Johnny this year, I have very little confidence in Joeckel leading us anywhere good. But Hill? It’s known that he has that “it” factor, why not get him out there and let him begin to discover it on the collegiate level. When Johnny leaves to be a first round pick after this year, there is zero chance Joeckel takes over next year. It’s Kenny Hill or Kyle Allen. Let’s expedite Kenny’s learning curve.
Another thing that didn’t impress me: Our defense. Big surprise, I know. I hope they worked out the kinks, and Deshazor is ready to shake off whatever rust remains in the second half of the Sam Houston game (more on him in a moment), because we will need him. Rice’s running back was a Tra Carson clone of a monster (seriously, how did he end up there), but still, our guys need to man up, beat that man, and tackle. I will reserve more judgment until after Sam Houston.
And another thing that didn’t impress me: The #refshow. Should Johnny know that he has a target on his back? Yes, he should. Does that mean I think he shouldn’t talk trash? Not really. I am about 100% sure there are guys cussing at each other before and after every play. Misconduct penalties are reserved for physical contact and EXCESSIVE celebration or taunting. And even then, I rarely ever get upset with a player for taunting and celebration penalties, especially after touchdowns. For goodness sake, in a big football game your team might only score 3 or 4 touchdowns (if that). They are pretty stinkin’ important, I would hope my team is going nuts over them. Oh and the Deshazor hit. Wow, what an abomination of a call. And they even reviewed it! How did they get it so insanely wrong? AND the Rice player that got hit even tweeted out that he thought it was a fair hit. Now Deshazor has to sit on the sideline for the first half of the Sam Houston game and accumulate more rust. I mean as long as he plays the whole second half he should be fine, but that doesn't excuse the ref's inexcusable call.
Onto the stats...
Statistical observation that impressed me: Tra Carson - 14 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Yea, my visual observation was right. He is a beast.
Another statistical observation that impressed me: Drew Kaser – 3 punts (all landing inside the opponents 20) at an average of 62.7 yards a piece. Holy cow, I am glad I came back to look at the stats so I could give Kaser his due respect. Those punts were incredible. A punter is still just a punter, but wow, we have seen some rough ones. His punts pumped me up (how often do you get to say that).
Statistical observation that didn’t impress me: Every Rice offensive stat, minus the two interceptions. They held the ball for over 38 minutes, they amassed over 500 total yards, they averaged 6.0 yards per carry, and you could honestly keep going. Ok, you are right, I will stop there, let’s hold off judgment.
Statistical observation that didn’t impress me: Taylor Bertolet – 1/1 on field goals and 7/7 on extra points. I may never trust you again Bertolet. If he has a near clean kicking slate come November… I MIGHT reevaluate. Until then, I still don’t like you Bertolet. Bring back Johnny for more extra points. That was a fun gimmick.
*New thing I learned from the stats… LaQuvionte is not being redshirted. He had one kick return for 7 yards. Hooray for small, shifty wide receivers.