This might be delayed a bit but here goes. As I stated in a comment on another thread I’m still not sure what to think about the talent and depth (and coaching) on this 2022 squad.
I like the 3-1 record and what RB Israel (Izzy) Abanikanda has been able to do running the football. You just cannot argue against a 5.8 yards per carry average on the season. Is that the OL playing better? I think that is part of it. The quality of competition might have a bit to do with it also. But the bottom line is that he’s a solid and productive performer who will contribute a lot to our chances of winning games.
As to the game many POVers are saying the same thing – that we beat the Rams with our second and third string kids in the second have of play. Did we? I keep looking back at that play that ended at 4:22 in the late 3rd quarter when we got stuffed at the RI four yard line to turn the ball over on downs. We had Slovis and other first string guys with some second stringers also – Daniel Carter, the Pitt FB who carried on that last play, is a first starting FB…
Look, we out played them as it should be and won the game as it should be. We looked better against the RI Rams than we have against our other ’22 opponents. But what we’ll see in ACC play are not teams that have to leave their first string guys in for the whole game, no matter how beat up and tired they may be.
We’ll see talented two-deeps who can substitute and still compete. Pitt also has a talented two-deep and we’ll compete in every game, I’m sure of that. My worry is that the talent we have seem so far might not get us through the ACC schedule as we won game after game last season (almost).
I like QB Kedon Slovis, but I don’t think he’s the type of QB who is going to take over an offense and bend defenses to his will as we saw in Pickett. I know – who is right? But I just do not like an offense where we have to rely on a run game that is as basic as Cignetti wants it to be.
Which raises the question of if by chance we can’t sustain a run game to get what we need to win can we turn to the passing game to make up for that? Not if he keeps throwing only two TDs in what? – 10 quarters of play? We can say it isn’t needed if we are scoring on the ground. Let’s hope that is the case.
We beat RI and got our third win and a single loss. 3-1 going into the meat of the season aint bad and gives us a pretty firm footing going forward. The questions i raise above will be answered as games are played and things unfold. I’m hoping the answer to those question will fall on the positive side of the equation.
Here are the team’s national rankings as of the close of the four ‘opening’ games. Decent ranks but I can’t help but think that after playing WMU and RI we’d be better than 97th in Red Zone offense. However, what is worse is our Red Zone defense coming in at 113th. These are critical areas of play and where the OL really has to assert dominance and get the RBs space through the line. We are not doing that in the Red Zone and our 44% conversion rate on 3rd downs shows that as a problem also.
Our defense has done well also – not perfect but it might be the key aspect of our rest of season. Don’t like giving up 223 passing yards per game but I think we’ll win close games on big defense sacking the opponent QBs and pulling down more INTs.
Here is a link to all the NCAA FBS rankings that has much more statistical info.