We’re one-third of the way through the 2016 football season and the Pack is 3-1. Yes that 1 in the loss column is a problem, but would I have taken 3-1 at this point given the questions the Pack had in the preseason?
State should be 4-0.
The offense has been pretty solid so far, averaging 40 points per contest. The defenses faced haven’t been anything to note, but those are the teams State has played so that is what we have to analyze. Ryan Finley has, at least to me, been a huge and very pleasant surprise. His stats from his time at Boise State gave me little confidence that he would be any good, and all he has done so far is complete 72% of his passes for nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
Finley has benefited from having people to throw the ball to, which is an integral part of any passing attack. As I’m sure everybody remembers, this was a real problem last season, but the Pack’s got some young receivers now that are starting to emerge. Stephen Louis has racked up two 100 yard receiving games in four weeks of football, which is more 100 yard receiving games than every wide receiver on last year’s team had combined . . . two more . . . yeah.
Louis is becoming a legitimate downfield threat and the most exciting part about him is that he’s only a redshirt sophomore. He’s already got three catches of 40 or more yards this season, including an 80 yard touchdown. It’s still kind of early in Louis’ playing career, but I’m buying stock.
While I’m at it, I’ll probably buy some in Kelvin Harmon as well. Harmon’s been at State for four games and has already been a difference maker. His touchdown catch to put the Wake game on ice was a very nice play by the young receiver. That’s the biggest thing I see with the talent of these young wideouts. They’re not just guys who catch passes when they’re open, they can actually make plays.
The secondary is still troubling. Josh Jones had a very good game against Wake, but as a whole the unit still seems to be a problem area. Poor coverage was masked at times against Wake because the Deacs are honestly pretty bad at throwing the ball and catching it, but receivers were still getting open. There was one particular play where a cornerback was beaten immediately off the line of scrimmage on a simple go route. The pass was way behind the receiver and ended up incomplete, but almost every quarterback State faces from here on out isn’t going to miss that throw. State struggles a lot defending the pass and I see no reason to believe that will be fixed under the current coaching staff, given the fact that secondary is a pretty veteran group.
I think that State should use Thad Moss more in the passing game, and as an unpaid occasional blogger, I am obviously smarter than the coaching staff.
State is going lose a game at some point because of a freaking sideline penalty. It’s going to happen.
Kyle Bambard is three for three on the year kicking field goals. Give him the Groza award. Extra points are not important. Seriously, that 48 yarder was a nice kick. There is reason for cautious optimism.
Targeting penalties remain one of the great mysteries of earth.