Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Football Thoughts

Alright, I've got a whole lot of football thoughts, but before I get into that, just one quick basketball comment.  There is no matchup I am more excited about than Bulls vs. Wizards.  John Wall is going to be extremely inconsistent this year, but I don't think there's any way that he puts on a boring game.  Plus, putting him against Derrick Rose who has really taken his game to the next level this year makes it a must-see matchup.  And holy crap, I'm an idiot, since I wrote this entire thing before looking at the schedule.  Turns out, the Bulls play the Wizards tomorrow night, and it's on WGN meaning that just about anybody with cable will be able to watch this game.  So watch this game.

Now onto football, first up, Northwestern notes (these will not be written nearly as well as a NW graduate would write them):

Dan Persa is Northwestern's entire offense.  Persa’s a crafty little dude in the way he can slip out of tackles, but Iowa almost always does a good job of form tackling, so as long as they play smart, this shouldn't be an issue.  Persa also seems to have a lot of confidence in himself, as he is willing to try to fit a ball in a tight space.  This would seem to be bad, because teams have had an easy time fitting the ball in space against Iowa this year since our linebackers have taken a big step back in coverage ability.  But word has it that Tarpinian is 100% this week, and he's going to start in Nielsen's place, so it will be very beneficial to have our best coverage linebacker out there for this game.

The good news is that we don't really have to worry about Northwestern's running backs, because they're terrible.  The bad news is the Hawkeyes have pretty much shut down every team's running backs outside of the Wisconsin game.  Still, I'd like to see a lot of stunts from the defensive line, because I don't think we should be worried about getting burned by their running game.  It's not going to be easy, because Northwestern's pass protection is much better than their run blocking.

On offense, the Hawkeyes should be able to run the ball since Northwestern is weak up front, and as long as they pound the ball between the tackles and don’t try much to the outside, they should be in good shape. NW does a good job of stretching out plays and delaying the upfield cut on outside runs.

Northwestern also has the least exciting defense I have ever seen. No unit is awful, but nothing stands out. They have decent speed among the front seven; that’s it. Their line isn’t that good, their linebackers aren’t that good, and their secondary isn’t that good. They don’t look great against the run; they don’t look great against the pass. They don’t beat themselves, so they really depend on opponent mistakes.  It’s a lot like Iowa in the way that you just need to find holes in their zone to exploit, except Iowa has talent.

Another good thing is that our offensive line should look like All-Americans in pass protection against them.

Finally, Pat Fitzgerald has an American flag on his headset; that’s bullshit.  There's nothing less American than Northwestern.

Now, onto the larger scheme of things as here are the other things I learned from the games I watched last week.

Joining Andrew Luck in the players that Joe has a total mancrush on is Patrick Peterson, cornerback for LSU. He's not quite on the level of love I have for Luck, but he's pretty close.  Here are the things I noticed from his game against Alabama. 
Patrick Peterson is a ridiculous athlete, as he is big, fast, makes quick adjustments, and always does a great job of finding the ball in coverage.
He showed really good tackling ability for a cornerback.  
Deep ball to Maze that was nearly completed (ended up overturned)made Peterson look bad at first. It was a pretty well thrown ball with a good adjustment from Maze. Peterson ran into him, because the receiver adjusted to the inside and Peterson was looking back for the ball.  If the ball had been thrown a little better, it would have been interesting to see if Peterson had the closing ability to break up the pass. 
Peterson did mess up on his coverage against Julio Jones near the end of the game when Jones caught a touchdown on the slant. He let him get inside of him. McElroy threw a good ball, and he wasn’t able to use his quickness to close in time. Too passive when you’re that close to the goal line.  It was a mistake, and Jones really played an excellent game in this one. 
The most impressive thing may have been that Alabama threw to Julio Jones pretty much anytime that he was not covered by Peterson.

I didn't focus on the line play too much, but it is tough not to notice what a presence Drake Nevis is at Defensive Tackle for LSU.   He made Alabama's line look foolish when he immediately busted through the middle and stripped Greg McElroy of the ball.

On offense for Alabama, Mark Ingram didn't have a great game, but there were definitely things that I liked. He has really good acceleration as he gets to his top speed very quickly. He makes some clean cuts to help him avoid defenders, and he always keeps his legs driving which is something I always like to see in a running back.

And since I feel like getting struck down by American Jesus, here is some blasphemy regarding Alabama QB Greg McElroy.
I would rate McElroy slightly higher than Ricky Stanzi now for the NFL Draft.  I liked his pocket awareness more than Stanzi's, who can sometimes freeze up and just get swallowed up by a rush that is closing in.  He also has a stronger arm than the most American QB in the nation. 
McElroy is able to go through reads, but is not super quick about it. It’s not a Locker-like struggle, but you also wouldn’t classify it as smooth.
He's not great at anticipating receivers getting open, can sometimes stare down and just try and wait for a receiver to get separation.  With a good offensive line, he can get away with this, but there just seems to be a half second delay on everything he does. 
Overall, I put these guys pretty close, but the slight edge goes to McElroy as of right now.  I watch Iowa games differently than I watch other teams, because I watch those games as a fan as opposed to an objective observer.  I could definitely flip my feelings on these two by the end of the year, especially if Stanzi gives me a reason to travel to Pasadena.

Finally, in Andrew Luck news.  His deep ball looked much better this week, not perfect, just very good.  Oh, and his shovel passes are even a beautiful thing.  And he threw a pretty solid block on a reverse.  I'm not sure if he'll leave this year, but this guy is definitely the #1 pick in the draft when he comes out.

That's all I got for this week.


P.S.  This is the second most disturbing video I have seen this week. It's sex ed training for the mentally handicapped:

P.P.S. This is the most disturbing video I have seen this week. It's an Olsen Twins video, and the short-haired broad will haunt you in your nightmares:

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