Roanoke: Waking up 1-0

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Roanoke: Waking up 1-0

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waking up 1-0
Post by roanoke » Sun Aug 27, 2023 7:00 am

Here come a number of stream of consciousness ramblings:

Last year we beat Hawaii 63-10. This was a bit of a revenge game for them. Also, the score was a bit misleading: close at half, followed by 2 defensive scores and 2 breakdowns where Wright scampered for miles. Like 28-0 free points. Last night was similar without the free 28 points - and it was 35-14 in the fourth…

At 35-14, we really stubbed our toe. Play-calling, defending, everything. We were very lucky to escape - that on-sides kick should have been recovered by them… We badly lost focus up 21. That cannot sit well with CCL.

The running game was hard to fathom. If someone does a breakdown of yards per carry up the middle versus ypc wide - the middle was pathetic. But at crunch time that is all we did.

The same is true for pocket passing versus quick routes - our braintrust wants to pocket pass. Our o-line has to play much better for that to work. But the quick routes worked great - and we went away from it. Part of that was Swann not checking down. But I have to figure he was coached to try to go downfield.

Our o scored at will early. Give Hawaii credit for adjusting - loading the middle and using speed to unnerve our o-line. Several guys on the line had no answer for that - and, honestly, there may be two new starters on that line if things don’t shape up quickly.

We had trouble in the rain on offense last year - it wasn’t easy playing in those conditions. The offense showed some talent. I’m not discouraged there. I just wish we would be content to do what is working: quick routes, misdirection and running wide were working. We ultimately abandoned everything that was working - and hung on for dear life.

Zero turnovers in those conditions was not bad. Of course, Hawaii dropped two potential picks and one of them was a sure pick-six.

Special teams mattered. And our coverage concerned me. But basically 3 of our scores were set up by special teams. McGowan’s beauty, Shephard’s nice return and the shanked punt. I felt sorry for Hayball. He hit 2 punts that should have been downed inside the five. Each were not downed - but maybe the wet conditions contributed to our guys sliding into the end zone?

It is often nice to get a win, but have fodder to chew out the team. Honestly, CCL needs to chew out his staff. Hawaii outschemed us, out-thought us, and out-adjusted us. It is easy to lose focus up 21 - but it’s the last thing a staff can allow.

Swann’s stats were great. His field vision was not. He locked in several times to throw prayers when he had wide open safety valves. This really cost us several times. Again, if his protection were better, maybe he feels more comfortable to take the time to see the field? My main disappointment was the o-line. Our rushing yardage was disappointing too - but that’s o-line related and when backs caught the ball and ran wide, they looked good. Lynch has to do what works - last night he didn’t. But at least he showed he can call quick passes and misdirection - and most of it worked. We just quit doing it. We do have a real stable of dangerous receivers. There is no denying that.

Being 1-0 is good. We beat a decent team. Hawaii’s offense was not an accident. I’m hoping our secondary learns from the experience. I’m also wondering if there will be some job competition there - bottom line, we didn’t look like a bowl team last night. But we have talent. CCL has some work to do - but he has tools. So I would not give up hope based on an unshiny win. The talent level seems up, the defensive schemes seemed questionable. Room for improvement for sure.

I might add, De’Rickey Wright saved this game for us. Two goal line saves and the final INT. Also, Taylor was great - these two held the d together and certainly deserve praise and credit. The real carnage at the end came after Taylor got banged up.