Thursday, October 30, 2008

Northwestern's Offense

Well, this post would have been quite a bit more in-depth and interesting a week ago, but C.J. Bacher and Tyrell Sutton are both injured. These injuries obviously benefit the Gophers, but it also creates a no-win situation for Gold Country. If we win this game, it will have a big but, as in, "they won, BUT N'Western didn't have Bacher or Sutton." And if we lose... yeah, I don't have to tell you what that would be like.

So do we break down N'Western's offensive stats that can generally be attributed to Bacher & Sutton? Sure, why not?

Rushing... NW is averaging a bit above 158 ypg on the ground, good for 8th in the Big Ten. Of those 158 ypg, Sutton and Bacher have been responsible for 127.5 ypg. Everybody knows that NW runs a spread offense and running the spread means your QB is going to be doing some running. Omar Conteh is a very good replacement for Sutton, and can probably hold his own.

There is still a chance that Bacher will play, but with a hamstring injury his running ability will be limited. If Bacher doesn't play I would expect Kafka to have to do some running, if for no other reason than inexperience in the offense, but I can't imagine him being very effective.

Throwing... Again, a lot of questions here. If Bacher plays, he'll likely be less mobile than normal, so not much of a threat to run, so how effective can/could he be as a more pocket-oriented passer? Probably pretty decent. Bacher has an excellent understanding of the spread offense, and he knows his team. If he plays, expect NW to throw all day long to move the ball.

If Kafka plays? Yeah, who knows. He's made 3 throws this year, completed 2 and accumulated 10 yards. Outside of that he played in 5 games for NW in 2006 with very limited success.

Can we stop them? The short answer is YES, we can absolutely stop N'Western. The big question is if Bacher will play and how effective he will be. My guess is that Bacher won't play, and if he is borderline, the way the Gophers have been getting to the QB in the last couple of weeks, Fitzgerald would be stupid to risk putting Bacher under center this week.

No matter who takes the snaps, look for NW to try to put the ball down field against a Gopher backfield that has been suseptible to the long ball this season.

Bottom line... The bottom line here is that we should absolutely be able to stop N'Western's offense. Even if Bacher and Sutton were healthy, I would feel good about our chances of being able to disrupt their gameplan.

Our defense should not be the question in this game, and I expect the Gophers to hold the Wildcats to under 20 points.


cappszilla said...

what happened to the big ten picks for this week?

Jeff said...

Josho, Big 10 picks are Fridays. Always Fridays! Unless I'm late with them and then it's Saturday morning. This week we're on time, so they'll be up late tonight. Thanks for caring.

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something?.... First you say that the big ten picks are always Friday and then I see they are posted now. In my world it's still Thursday. HHMMmmmmmmmmm..... Are you confused too Cappszilla?

GO GOPHERS! (rah!)

Jeff said...

You just can't please some people.