Editor's note: Last year I sort of shoehorned Alan Weymouth's useful analytical posts into my game previews; this year I've been encouraging him to make them into diary posts. He hasn't gotten around to it, but I think they're good pieces of analysis so I'm posting it here. This one is from the Miami game, so it's old, but better old than moldering in my inbox.
I've watched the Miami game several times from the offensive POV. I thought the OLine made huge strides, though it still has a ways to go. Molk and McAvoy both did a much better job this week..Molk especially. I saw fewer instances where Molk turned his shoulders to the LOS rather than keeping them square. He got into his man much better and was better able to wall off and hold his ground. That little dude is pretty quick, and if he can play with the proper technique, can make M a good center. McAvoy let one blitzer inside of him, but on the whole had a much better day.
The loss of Ortmann has me a little concerned. Nowicki is slower and does not "stick" to his guy like he should. He just doesn't have the agility IMHO to play against some of the better DEs. According to RR, Dorrestein will move over, and Omameh will also get a look. I'm not real worried about the OLs against NDs defense as I'm not sure it's a whole lot better than Miami's at this point.
I thought the blocking of our SEs and TEs was really up and down this week. At times, they were good..at other times horrid. Having Butler against 190 lb DBs should be a huge mismatch, but it doesn't always come off that way. Getting good blocking from those guys can often mean the difference in this offense. Case in point, Butler and Odoms missing on a Miami DB when Threet ran option left. Threet was fine, and made the right read, but Odoms didn't block the DB from the inside, and Butler whiffed from the outside leaving the DB to come up in force and make the tackle..to me, Butler often looks lost when asked to block in space....or any other place for that matter.
I'm pulling my hair out over Threet, so I know RR must be too. The guy is making the right reads..even in the running game with the zone stuff, but his inability to hit open receivers is maddening. It's been said that he has mechanical flaws that lead to this, and I think Andre Ware touched on it during the game Saturday..siting Threets "all arm" throwing motion..which leads to an improper release point for the ball and the "sailing" of the pass. If Threet doesn't throw off his front(left) foot as he should, the tip of the ball is up, and therefore tends to sail.
The QB play will decide who wins the ND game. If Threet or Sheridan can just get it going a little (I'm thinking Threet starts) with the passing game, we can move the ball enough to score. I watched some of the ND game, and thought that Jimmah looked a good bit better than last year. He made some nice throws. Our defense can keep us in this one, but SheriThreet has to be able to:
1. Eleminate turnovers.
2. Lead us to at least 17 points..I.E 3 good solid drives. Maybe pick up a cheap TD off a turnover.
3. Execute the short passing game...ND is vulnerable here.
It's the third point that might lead me to think Sheridan might get the nod this week. He's looked better in this phase than Threet.
Will not be at all surprised to see Brown or Minor at QB a good bit this week. IMHO, it gets alot of your best offensive talent on the field and could really give ND fits. I'm not entirely sure its coincidence they are both getting healthy just in time for ND.