Sunday, October 11, 2009

News and Notes from Texas Southern

Not much for the Scarlet Knights to gain from Saturday other then getting Savage back on track and getting tuned up for Friday’s match up against Pitt. The defense once again played the starring role (pitching a 42-0 shut out), allowing just 126 yards of offense and specifically minus 25 yards on the ground.

Beyond training camp very little has been said about the emergence of Tim Brown as the “go to” receiver in this group. If you didn’t think he was our guy before, you will now. In a second quarter reception over the middle, deuce put his hands out to snare a Savage pass and was immediately flipped in the air by multiple defenders. He still somehow managed to hold onto the ball as he crashed to the ground. Quietly, Timmy Brown is putting together an all Big East caliber year with 452 yards receiving including two 100 yard games.

Just how much of the underperforming running game can be attributed to uneven performances of Martinek and Brooks or poor line play is still uncertain. What I did notice on Saturday though was an o-line that just didn’t seem to have the forward surge to allows runners a few steps beyond the line of scrimmage before contact. Another point is that rather then holes it seems Martinek, Brooks and Williams have slots or cracks to run through which is much more difficult for straight line runners like Martinek and Brooks.

Tom Savage performed efficiently (14-21, 150 yds., 1TD) and once again did not commit any mistakes (turnovers). They got him throwing both from the pocket and short passes rolling right and he also threatened several times with the long ball once connecting with deuce on a 34 yard TD. I am completely satisfied with this performance, less for Tom’s 28 yard scramble in which he put his head down and barrelled directly into an oncoming linebacker for two additional yards at the end of the run. Tom you throw an absolutely great ball but you need to stop by Fred Hill Sr’s office sometime to get some tips on sliding. Please also stop watching Florida games.

Can we all agree that with Rocket’s performance against the two FCS opponents that he’s played against (31 carried for 221 yds., 1 TD) that he’s earned a call up to BCS play. His cutting, explosive running style is completely different then (and complementary to) Martinek and Brooks. Whereas Schiano likes to allocate blocks of time to these two, I think he can stick Rocket in the middle of a series as a change of pace back who can also break one off any time he touches the ball. He adds a completely different dimension to the running game. Why not make opposing teams prepare for three backs who have all eclipsed 100 yards in games this year?

A few other take aways from Saturday: Has anyone else seen the development of Devin McCourty this year into an outstanding gunner on punt coverage? He’s consistently been the first player downfield either tying up or delivering a punishing open field blow to the opposing return man. Speaking of open field tackling, on Saturday Khaseem Greene made up for some sloppy tacking by the defense on a play coming from across the field and about 10-15 yards behind the Texas Southern runner and just buried him along the sideline during a third quarter run.


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