I am very much on the optimistic side of the fanbase. Even though I readily admit Saturday was a disaster, I think how bad the defense played tainted how everyone thinks about the offense. The talent that showed was exceptional, and the only problems I saw were just the normal Week One execution problems. Iron them out over the bye week, and I do not anticipate the same level of play. But, the future is uncertain while the past is decided. So how did the offense grade out after the first game of the pandemic season?
Offensive Line: B
An offensive line has a lot of subtle tells for success. A few easy ones are as follows. Did the ground game average over 4 yards a carry? How many sacks did they give up? And how many pressures/hurries allowed?
The ground game broke 4 yards, and there were only 2 hurries and no sacks. So why not a higher grade? FALSE STARTS. Yes, on a few situations the o-line failed to get push but what I cannot stand is false starts. Those are unacceptable, even one is shameful. Those penalties dinged what was otherwise a pretty solid night from the hogs.
Running Backs: A-
All three backs last night were great. Brooks and Thompson took the majority of the reps through three quarters. Both were great, and Thompson is proving he can be the workhorse this offense needs to move the chains and punish defenders. Boyd, a true freshmen, looked like a clone of Thompson, providing a fresh set of leagues for a bruising running style.
The lightening to this thunder was Townsend, who showed some speed and elusiveness the other two backs lacked. I am really excited to see him more, he can break a game open at any time. Only downside to this game for the backs was short yardage was a grind in some big moments.
Bowman spread the wealth last night, with Vasher and Carter ending with the most yards. I want to highlight the performance of Carter. In a moment where the game really did hang in the balance he big boyed his way into leading Tech into the endzone. Polk and Ezukanma were both dependable outlets as well, a great sign.
This corp is deep and incredibly talented. They even blocked pretty well. The only thing that hurt last night was drops. That is likely due to the weird offseason, so expect that problem to improve drastically by Texas time.
Bowman threw for the first time against a live opponent in a year. He was understandably rusty. His timing was off, and he missed his deep shots. However, he made difficult throws with poise and made the easy throws look easy. He also was gutsy, running for first downs when everything broke down despite his injury history.
Bowman’s pick was a lack of reps pick, and while he was not lights out this was a performance to grow from. I was pleased with how he looked calm in the pocket and in command he was of the offense. With more reps, and a larger playbook, Bowman is going to have a special year. Let us pray for his health, not just for our season but for his poor mother.
Yost called a good game, haters aside. He let Bowman take shots and he played good situational football. The screens he deployed were because HBU was giving that up, not just for the sake of running them. His only faults were calling a QB sneak to get that yard, and that hurry up and run a dive for no yards he called over and over. He also got obsessed with running into a loaded box, but that was likely due to the limited play sheet as much as anything else.
Obviously with this offseason and this being Week One the playbook was limited, but overall Yost called a better game than the players executed. With the tape and practice between now and Texas, the offense will find its groove sooner rather than later.