Our offense still is not very good. Let’s not get anything confused, here. There has been improvement. The QB play has been markedly better, statistically speaking. The run game is still the yard-winner, but isn’t explosive enough to win games alone. That is to say, we can’t hand it off three straight times and expect great things.
Jeffery Wilson is clearly our best offensive player right now. He’s getting about 6.4 yards per carry and had 8.1 against Marshall, who is fairly stout against the run. As the game notes tell you, his 6.4 is the most since Lance Dunbar’s 6.9. That makes sense considering he has 4 of the top 11 longest rushes on the team.
Like Lance, he is not getting the ball enough. The last two games have seen UNT put up greater than 200 yards rushing, and they came on the backs of Smith and Wilson, but in both they were playing catch up and a good number of yards came late. Still, this team can run the ball if Canales will let it. I complained about the iffy playcalling against Marshall that killed drives or failed to adapt to Marshall’s defense, already so I’ll point out some good things in a second. Right now, Wilson is only getting aroudn 15 carries a game and that shoudl be at least 20. At least.
Wilson and every runner we have has been able to get yards from a variety of formations and runs. We have gotten yards on inside and outside zones, sweeps, counters and power. It’s been really nice to see. We’ve long known that this roster is chock full of quality backs. Really the only complaint is that Senior Antoinne Jimmerson and Sophomore Wily Ivery have been relatively prone to fumble. Wilson hasn’t.
Here’s Wilson in the first half on a counter trey. Note that speed.
Here he is again on another in the second half. The linebacker nearly blew it up but Wilson made up for timing mishap with the explosive speed he has.
Here is another sweep — Buck Sweep, it looks like, with some different action for the backside tackle. It may just be a sweep.
You can go back to the Southern Miss and WKU games and see similar postive runs on these. Willy Ivery’s longest runs have come on some of the above action. I want to say that the Counter Trey runs were new for Marshall, but I can’t be sure.
Against Southern Miss Canales called an inside zone but that may have been because of how USM aligns against that really wide 2×2 set. USM’s David Duggan runs a version of 4-2-5, which is similar to what we’ll see against UTSA. Marshall runs a base 4-3 Under so this maybe why we saw so much Counter. In any case, we saw the similar Buck Sweep a few times against the Golden Eagles and I expect to see more of that against UTSA on Saturday.
Remember that swing / flare pass to the flat? It had to be something the staff saw on film on the way Marshall reacts to motion out of the backfield. No linebacker moved with the tailback and he had 20 yards until the safety. Easy yards. There was a similar situation later that only got about 7 yards but added a facemark penalty to the total.
This is stuff I don’t really like — I’d rather QBs rushed outside where they can go out of bounds. With Wilson threatening the edge so often, a QB dive into the line does the job of keeping the defense off balance.
I didn’t see much counter against USM’s 4-2-5, but that might the sourcing I had. That doesn’t mean we won’t pull lineman against UTSA’s 4-2-5. Also, we might see more inside zone even from the doubles formation that we ran the Counter stuff from above.
This final one is to illustrate the point I made on the podcast about how anyone on the roster can run this thing. Willy Ivery was just as explosive here 1 as Wilson was above.
- Against backups. Sure. I’ll give you that. ↩
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