Check The Tape – SDSU September 14, 2011
When I’m watching a recording on the DVR, the little 6-second rewind button is my friend. If I’m completely honest, I like to rewind a play 5-6-7 times to pretend like my tape review is vital to the success of the team. I’m this close to telling my wife “let the defensive tackles know I need to see them before practice”. In fact – I should. Her eye-roll would be priceless.
Anyway, I’ve watched the demolition of South Dakota State a few times, and here’s my thoughts.
YEAH – TOUCHDOWN BABY(oops)
My favorite moment of the season so far. Trulon Henry beginning to celebrate his pick-6 by pointing at the student section on his way to the endzone, and then immediately realizing this point might break the new taunting-on-your-way-to-the-endzone rule and retracting his arm to hide it against his body. He even spun around real quick in the endzone to see if any officials threw any flags.
This was actually very encouraging to me. It means the coaches have gone through certain on-the-field discipline items with the players. That can be very helpful, especially when we’re about to face what has to be one of the most undisciplined teams in any BCS conference (I saw several tweets last Friday challenging anyone to find a coach whose teams commit more penalties than Dennis Erickson’s teams).
I don’t think a point to the stands is a taunt, so Trulon was safe, but I still loved his reaction. If you could see past his facemask, I’d be willing to bet that when he spun around to look for the officials, he was doing the “close both eyes and slowly open just the right eye” thing.
Sit Down For Special Teams!
Their kick returners were better. Their punter was substantially better. Their coverage teams appeared better. Their gunners on the punt team were better.
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
Seriously – I need an answer to that question. How is it possible that a tiny team from a tiny school in a tiny conference with tiny players (who were completely outplayed in every other facet of the game) CAN BE BETTER THAN US ON SPECIAL TEAMS? If I were to take the tape of this game, cut out all of the offense and defense, and only show the plays from the kicking game, I swear you would think that South Dakota State was the team that won by 53. They returned a kickoff to the 50, their punter averaged 16 more yards per kick, and they held us to 15 yards per kickoff return.
I just don’t understand. We’re physically better at every single position on the field, and yet we’re outplayed on special teams by a bunch of tiny little dudes from South Dakota.
Speaking Of Tiny Little Dudes…
I heart Skyler Luxa (#37 on SDSU). And by “heart” I mean “got a nice little chuckle out of”. 5 minutes left in the third quarter, with his team trailing 49-3, he makes a tackle on Ryan Lankford on a punt return and does the little “extend arms straight down with clenched fists, arch back, look up towards the sky and howl like a coyote” thing.
It would have been annoying if it wasn’t so darn cute. I generally get annoyed at individual dancing after tackles. Especially when it’s Donsay Hardeman dancing over a guy he just tackled 29 yards down the field. But this little dude was so fired up – over a tackle in a game where his team was trailing by 46 after 40 minutes of football – that I was OK with him having his little moment. I just hope Skyler’s dad took everyone out for ice cream after the game.
Triple Threat Position
I’m starting to love love LOVE the little triple option set with Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson. Paul Petrino talks about having certain go-to formations with specific guys where he’ll call that play because he know those specific players will execute it well. And I really like all of the options that the defense has to defend.
Will it be Scheelhaase on the option with the possible pitch to Ferguson? A straight dive play to Young? Fake the option left and roll right for a pass to the dragging tight end? Play action fake to Young while Scheelhaase looks for Ferguson on the wheel route?
I love every option out of that set. Something else I love: Those three players perfecting those plays over the next 3 years.
Play of the game on defense? Trulon Henry. And I’m not talking about the pick-6.
Just before halftime, SDSU gets the ball in the south end. They try a little wide receiver screen on third down (well, I guess it wasn’t a wide receiver screen per se – more like trips-right with the two outside guys blocking for the guy sitting down 3 yards off the line of scrimmage. Wait – that pretty much is a wide receiver screen.)
ANYWAY, Trulon read it beautifully, and was in full pursuit of the pass-catcher before the ball got to him. A half-second after it arrived, BOOM, he done blowed the dude up. (You might remember this play because Tavon Wilson scooped up the ball and started back the other way, just in case it was a fumble). It wasn’t a fumble, but it was a fantastic play. And it was the second week in a row where the defense made a play where it was obvious that we read exactly what they were going to do and blew it up before they could do anything with it.