QB - TTU’s offense centers around the QB. If he’s not playing, the team isn’t playing. Tonight, I think we saw what we might get this season: a raw qb who is going to throw a long ways but may make some mistakes. He had a So he had 400+ yards passing, the most for a 1st time starter, but he also threw 3 ints to a D-1AA team. Speaking of, I really must give props to North Dakota, they hung tough with TTU, made for a lot of unhappy Tech fans expecting a blowout. I’m going to give Potts a C. His mistakes helped make this a closer game than it should have been, but it wasn’t all on him.
RB - You know, to be honest, we didn’t see much of the running backs. Baron Batch had 9 carries for 30 yards. Nearly half his total came on one 13 yard carry. Jeffers got two carries and broke a nice one late while Stephens got a carry for nothing, and McCorkle and Crawford didn’t touch the ball. Jeffers did show a bit of all that they were talking about in the passing game, being 1 ankle tackle away from a TD twice and a block or two away a couple more times. For me, the running backs get an incomplete because of the lack of meaningful touches. I put their lack of production mostly on:
OL - I don’t know if I was more disappointed in a unit on this team outside of the OL. They gave up only one sack but allowed a fair bit of pressure and got absolutely NO push for the running backs. That goalline series that took 4 tries was the peak of this ineffectiveness. I felt our best run blockers were returning this year, but it didn’t seem that way. The backs continually needed to make a man miss behind the line of scrimmage to get any yards, there’s something going wrong with the lines. I give the OL a D on the night.
Read the rest after the break.
WR - Here’s what I saw with the WR’s: Torres is the real thing, Britton dropped a few of the routine passes but caught some pretty tough ones and apparently had the block of the night, Leong is a player, and Detron is ridiculous. Zouzalik and Douglas seemed to be a little lost under the bright lights. I expect them to play better next week. James is a threat in the redzone, but I’m still a little disappointed with the production of our slot receivers outside of Detron. Franks is the only other receiver that I didn’t mention and I’m not really sure what to think about him: I can only remember his name mentioned once, when he almost pulled down a crazy TD pass, but he did catch 2 other passes. It’s hard to give this unit a grade but I’m going to have to go with a C+. They were productive, but had too many drops to get into the B range
Overall - The offense had troubles. A lot of penalties (as is usual for a 1st game), ints, my least favorite playcall (a fade route on 4th down). I grade the entire unit as a B-. Why a B-? The mistakes of the unit could be placed on individual players. Without those mistakes, the team looks much different.
DL - Undoubtedly our best unit of the night, they managed to pressure the QB often and didn’t give up many big runs. UND only averaged 2.5 yards a carry and I’m happy with that. A
LB - All night, these guys were at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield. Great night of run support. My only knock on them is that the only real way we were being hurt was in the short passing game. B+
DB - Again, my knock against the entire defense was the short passing game. I don’t think that North Dakota tried to go downfield so our safeties over the top were fairly untested. I’m tempted to give this unit an incomplete on the night, and so I will. If I had to chose, I’d say an A for effort B for execution. You can’t argue with 4.8 yards/attempt, 6.7 yards/reception, and, if I heard right, minimal yards after catch.
Overall - Tonight, the overall defensive performance is a C+. Why is my overall performance so much lower than any of the unit rankings? Our team had 11 total penalties, and the defense had their fair share a lot at very inopportune times.
I’ll just write a paragraph about this. Tonight’s highs for special teams: 28 yard return average, 12.5 punt return average, 6/6 in kicks and Carona does well as a left-footed punter. The low: giving up that fake field goal had Raider Nation in melt-down mode. B+ and knocked down only because of the fake.
So, in closing, no, this isn’t the end of the world, and I don’t want to hear that it is Mr. Tech92. Taylor is going to be ok, and if he isn’t, I’ll just have to be wrong. Again, growing pains that we’re going to have to go through. I believe this team will take this game as a learning experience and come back out next weekend much sharper against Rice. We’ll see. (PS Keep in mind, these ratings are from my listening to it on the radio, so there you have it).