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Young Elephant
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Football Observations

By Steven Taylor @ 3:59 pm

Things I think to this point about the young football season (college and pro):

  • Gibbs can still coach.
  • Washington got the better end of the Portis-Bailey trade. I was most impressed by his footwork in the TB@WASH game.
  • Early assessment: but after watching the first half of the ATL@SF game, I declare both teams sloppy and unimpressive (I have to watch this game when they could be airing the Dallas game? I smell the grounds for a lawsuit).
  • Troy actually got 6 votes in the ESPN poll-and deservedly so. Still, I remain shocked and pleased that they are 2-0. This team could be far better than I ever thought they could be. They should beat NMSU next week, but face a test against South Carolina after that.
  • Speaking of USC (the east coast version): they were impressive hanging tough with GA yesterday.
  • How did a Marshall squad that lost to Troy at home last week hang tough with The Ohio State University until the final seconds?
  • I am glad that Arkansas isn’t on Texas’ schedule for the foreseeable future.
  • The Horns miss WR Roy Williams. I was not all that pleased with the WRs last night.
  • Cleveland beat Baltimore? And badly? What happened to the idea that the Ravens were supposed to be odds-on Super Bowl favs?
  • Both new “Leon” commercials are amusing.
  • It only took one “Game Break” to remind me how obnoxious TO is.

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  1. Best sign was in Cleveland. It said something like:

    “# 37 is past primetime!”

    And he was. No tackles and no interceptions. Of course, he could never tackle, but I digress…

    Comment by Mark — Sunday, September 12, 2004 @ 5:55 pm

  2. Mr. Taylor:

    * I imagine that the bulk of Troy’s votes came from Marshall’s Coach Bob Pruett. Pruett warned the Marshall faithful, and anyone that would listen, that Troy was bringing one of the best, if not the best, defenses we (Herd fans) had seen at “The Joan". By beating Marshall at “The Joan", and by beating a ranked Missouri team at home, Troy, imo, is deserving of a Top 25 ranking. 6 votes seems too low. Such is the plight of the “non-BCS” schools. Earned respect does not always translate into Top 25 votes.

    The experience of Troy’s D-line and the inexperience in Marshall’s O-line was a recipe for exploitation. And Blakeney is a very underrated coach - although Marshall gave him just consideration when he applied for the MU job in 1990.

    While Herd fans (including myself, albeit more briefly than most) were looking to string up Pruett and Mark McHale (O-Coord. and O-Line coach) for not having the O-line “ready", in retrospect, Troy installed a better scheme on the line than Marshall was prepared to battle, and as such, Troy controlled a Marshall offense that should be explosive by the end of Sept.

    However, Troy must bring Leak (qb) along quickly. Leak is athletic, and if Blakeney and the O-Coord. can put Leak in a position to be a more accurate passer, Troy will become a very dangerous team for everyone it plays. USC had better be prepared.

    * Marshall v. Ohio State - despite what folks may find on various Herd message boards, the coaching staff at Marshall is a very smart bunch. Sure, they individually and/or collectively make mistakes every game, but by in large, the coaches make good decisions. And, the coaches are especially adept at adjustments (whether the execution by the players successfully translates those adjustments are another story - see last week against Troy).

    Marshall approached Ohio St. with a different mindset - control the defensive front 7 of the Buckeyes with quick pass plays. IMO, that loosened the defense up and allowed Marshall to start running the ball well, including that impressive 3rd quarter drive in which Marshall went about 80 yards over 9:19 (although no points resulted).

    Also, after several years of futility (perhaps due to the 4-4 defensive scheme Marshall switched to in 2000), this year’s defense has experience (9 seniors) and has went back to a more basic 4-3 defense that allows Marshall’s three talented linebackers to storm from sideline to sideline and better stop the run. Surprisingly, a perceived strength of the defense coming into the season was the db’s - they gave up three or four big pass plays early, and then made a few plays later (including the interceptions).

    I’m disappointed that Marshall lost, but the jump that the O-line made from week 1 to week 2 was extraordinary. If Marshall stays healthy and focused, there is no reason why the Herd will not be paying Mobile, Alabama a visit in Dec. at the GMAC Bowl.

    Good luck to Troy.

    Go Herd!! Beat the ‘Dawgs between dem hedges!!

    Comment by Olen — Sunday, September 12, 2004 @ 6:13 pm

  3. What? No comment on how well Alabama did?

    Comment by Clint — Monday, September 13, 2004 @ 12:02 pm

  4. By the Way, would you have really liked to have watched the Cowboy game? The only thing good that came from that was Daunte Culpepper is my fantasy QB. He scored alot of points!

    Comment by Clint — Monday, September 13, 2004 @ 12:05 pm

  5. As a diehard, I’d've watched the whole thing.

    And the Tide beat Ole Miss-so what? ;)

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Monday, September 13, 2004 @ 12:14 pm

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