Saturday, September 13, 2008

No questions answered

After the Gophers beat Northern Illinois is week 1, I started my blog post titled "Underwhelming" this way...

"Well hey, a W is a W, right?"

Probably a good way to follow-up the win over Montana State today as well.

If you were looking for improvement from last week (like everyone was), for some additional questions to get answered about the Gophers (which were many), and for a decisive win against an over-matched opponent (ME!!!)... you're still looking.

To me the difference in this game was simple: FBS vs. FCS. The Gophers have more talent, more size and more speed than Montana State does. And the Gophers should win this game. But they certainly didn't dominate the Bobcats... and I'd have a tough time saying that they even outplayed them for most of the day.

So we know the number that matters, and that's the final score, but let's look at the numbers inside the game that speak to how closely the Bobcats played us in this game.

First Downs:
Gophers: 12
Bobcats: 21

Total Yards
Gophers: 352
Bobcats: 356

Passing Yards
Gophers: 201
Bobcats: 218

Rushing Yards:
Gophers: 151
Bobcats: 138

Time of Possession:
Gophers: 28:59
Bobcats: 31:01

The Gopher offense started out incredibly sluggish today, and wasn't able to muster a first down until there was 1:30 left in the first quarter.

It was good to see Adam Weber protect the ball again today, but I really felt like he took a step back in this game. 15/24 for 201 yards and 1 touchdown. After last week against Bowling Green it really seemed like Weber had found his accuracy, but he was a bit off this week.

The biggest concern for me regarding Weber is that he is still constantly telegraphing his throws. A play that really illustrated this point was about midway through the first quarter. It was 3rd & 7, Weber took the snap from center and completed a 5 yard pass into coverage to Ben Kuznia. The fact that this was thrown to a reciever 2 yards shy of the first down was concerning. But what was actually maddening is the fact that Jack Simmons was WIDE open over the middle... and was about 3 yards past the first down marker. Not only did Weber not throw to Simmons, he never even looked at him.

Folks, Florida Atlantic, a team that beat the Gophers last year, comes to town next week. This will be a tough game. We play at Ohio State in two weeks. I don't have to tell you how tough this game will be. The way the Gophers played today will NOT cut it during the Big10 season. Playing a game like this won't even beat Northwestern and Indiana. Those are Big10 teams with Big10 talent and they know how to take advantage of the kind of game the Gophers played today.

I am VERY happy that the Gophers got the win today, and it's absolutely huge for this young team to be 3-0 right now. But to play a game like this team played today, at home, 3 games into the season against incredibly over-matched talent is not a good sign. We should have shredded this team.

Maybe my expectations are too high... but I hope the team's expectations are higher than what they produced today.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I agree, and the numbers prove your point. With the loss of Bennett, he Gophers needed to play a team of Montana's caliber to get their footing. They're (obviously) a young team and I can only hope that this experience will prepare them for next week.

Go Gophs!