Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Beatiful Ugly Win

As far as wins go, that was a truly ugly win, and yet beautiful at the same time.  The team showed a lot of resiliency, and never looked like they doubted the victory.  And we even managed to run the clock out at the end of a game!  I haven't gone back and watched the replay yet, but here's a list of some of my thoughts:

- The New Mexico State game couldn't have come at a better time.  We don't know yet how bad the injuries are to Crowell and Samuel IV, but we may be pretty thin at the TB position this week.

- As bad as Richard Samuel is at breaking tackles when players hit him from the side, he is brutal if the defender tries to hit him straight on.  His stats from the game (17 rushes for 58 yards, 1 TD) don't pop out at you, but they don't speak to how impressive a few of those runs in the red zone were.

- Murray played pretty much how he has all year.  Not bad, and had some really nice throws, but again missed on some potentially huge plays.  I thought there were a couple of times he could have been just a bit more patient in the pocket, but there were also some times he was forced to throw earlier than he wanted to.......but he never lost his composure in this game.  And while the WR's have to get a ton of credit for the 4th down touchdowns, you gotta give Murray credit for putting ball where his guy had a chance to make the play in a critical situation.

- Really sad to hear about Dallas Lee.  Obviously I hate it for him personally, but it's a big blow to the team as well.  That essentially leaves us with true freshmen as our only depth on OL.  And it's not like those freshmen have been getting reps throughout the year.

- The difference in the defense after halftime was huge.  Sure, some of it was due to coaching adjustments, but getting Williams back at Safety so Commings could go back to the corner was critical.  I mentioned it during the game blog, Commings is my favorite DB of ours, but he is much better at corner than safety.  His ability to defend against the run on the corner is something we miss when he is not there.  Getting everybody back in their places seemed to give the guys a lift, and they played some lights-out defense in the second half.

- Special teams - I don't even know what to say.  Was Warren Belin just THAT good of a kickoff coverage coach?  We were so good in that area last year, but had been so bad the few years before that and have been so bad this year.  I have no idea what the answer is.  You are only allowed 8 assistant coaches, so if we hire a full time special teams coach, that means one of our current position coaches has to be fired.  Which one do you get rid of, and how do you cover the position they were previously responsible for?  You would be covering all the positions with 7 coaches instead of 8 at that point, which could potentially lead to breakdowns in other areas.  I know there are some schools out there that have a dedicated special teams coach.....I would be curious to see a breakdown of how their special teams units stack up agains the schools that do not employ an exclusive special teams coach.

- Welcome back, Mr. Ogletree!  Alec didn't play a perfect game by any means (it looked to me like he was one of the guys out of position a couple of times on kickoff coverage, and he got burned on that 4th & 19 TD, though Rambo didn't help either), but you can see why the coaching staff is expecting such big things from him.  For a guy who missed half the year, he looked good, and that fumble he created when he tossed Rainey around like a rag doll was a HUGE turning point for us.  Without that play, we probably go into halftime down 14 points instead of only 7.  I don't think it can be overstated how pivotal that was for the team's psyche.  And for once in Jacksonville, the ball actually bounced to one of our guys, instead of bouncing right back to a Gator player.

- Jarvis Jones ---- Freddy Krueger wants to dress up as you for Halloween.  You are one bad dude!

Florida helped us a lot with all their penalties, and the fact that Brantley was pretty much limited to only plays out of the shotgun.  But it was still up to our guys to seize the opportunity.  They had to overcome a number of mistakes in the first half, but they refused to tighten up and let Florida get in their heads again.  Is this the beginning of a turning of the tide in Jacksonville?  I don't know, Florida is always going to recruit well and they're going to be really good again in the relatively near future.  But I'm just enjoying the present, and the present is good.

What else jumped out at you from the game, both good and bad?  I hope to watch the replay soon and post another recap Tuesday or Wednesday.


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