Yes, I realize it’s almost a week after the game actually happened. But better late than never, right? No? well, that’s okay, this post is included with your dues and not behind the paywall.
TheRealEssad: Ready to roll?
PirateWolf: Ready as ever!
TheRealEssad: That’s it, that’s the topic
PirateWolf: Thayer Thomas: 1st Team All-ACC QB
TheRealEssad: Thayer Thomas is second on the team for td passes through 6 games
PirateWolf: Okay, we went two different routes there
TheRealEssad: Haha, I’m fully on board with Thayer getting first team reps
Might as well at this point
Keep the revolving door going
PirateWolf: Until Dave goes full Wildcat with him and the fanbase as a whole loses their
JEOHankins2: The glaring problem...8 attempts for Leary
PirateWolf: The other glaring problem... Hockman and Leary have been sacked 6 times
TheRealEssad: I’m not driving the Leary bandwagon, but 8 attempts is not enough either way to make a determination.
PirateWolf: But, yes. Leary actually needs a chance to prove what he can do
TheRealEssad: And yeah, O-line play has been lacking
But the td passes as a whole is what I wanted to focus on
Regardless of who the qb is, it’s a glaring stat that halfway through the season that’s the stat line for all the qb’s
PirateWolf: Honestly, had you told me before the season that as a team we’d have a 2:1
TD:INT ratio, I would have been pleased
TheRealEssad: That’s a fine ratio to have, but not when the total numbers are so low
PirateWolf: But had you followed that up with “6 TD passes in 6 games, and 2 of those from a WR”, then I’d have been just as concerned as I am now
PirateWolf: Although I do find myself oddly more at ease now than I was after the WVU game in terms of the QB situation. And I really feel like the lack of TD passes is more on the OCs and the lack of quality red zone playcalling
JEOHankins2: Yeah a big part is play-calling in the RZ, we do not take risks with crossing routes etc in the RZ...its fades or runs
TheRealEssad: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking
I remember as much as everyone how much we complained that Drink would be great to get us to the 20 but not punch it in
JEOHankins2: we’ve seen one rollout I can recall in the RZ and that resulted in McKay’s best pass of the year
TheRealEssad: But now maybe it wasn’t Drink?
JEOHankins2: I think its Dave...I think he gets really conservative in the RZ and is so fearful of TOs
PirateWolf: Yeah, I’m wondering if the play call theory in the red zone is really to do with Doeren
TheRealEssad: That is a fear of lack of execution, I think. And it shows lack of trust in your guys to make a play
PirateWolf: Hold on
Before we move forward I have to throw out a related stat to this
So far this year, Appalachian State is 21-of-22 in the Red Zone... with 20 TDs
So, yeah, that leads you to say “Drink wasn’t the problem”
JEOHankins2: When we had the quantum tunneling skills of Jay Sam as others pointed out RZ was easy, because getting him the ball down there meant a TD....Reggie within the 5 could muscle his way through with a strong OL....Dave doesn’t have trust there is anyone like that currently
Yeah that very much confirms this idea that he was leaning on Dave’s tendencies
TheRealEssad: Props to Drink, then
PirateWolf: Yeah, that’s #1 in the country in terms of TDs per red zone opportunity
That makes sense, actually, that he would be aggressive in moving the ball down the field but then wouldn’t do the same when it mattered most
There sure were a lot of negative comments against Drink in many a game thread the last few years
JEOHankins2: So when Dave says we have to get better in the RZ...what he means is he needs a QB or a RB behind an OL that can put up the points without taking risks...THAT makes me wonder if sticking with McKay for 5 games as the starter had a lot to do with the ability to score with his feet down there....giving us another option that is safe
PirateWolf: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head
TheRealEssad: It begs the question then how much of the offensive play calling is being left to the OC’s at all, then. Doeren has his hands in the plays as he should, he’s the coach. But at some point he’s going to have to concede things aren’t working
JEOHankins2: Yeah I am choosing to believe it’s more of a philosophy than a CDD calling plays thing...and to be clear This isn’t a “let’s get McKay back as the starter” but the kid makes good decisions and has a shiftiness about his running (when he runs with confidence)...I’m not opposed to giving him the ball within the 10 on running downs IF Dave isn’t going to get over his fear/trust issues
PirateWolf: I’m okay with that, too, but it also means that you have to let McKay pass it some in those situations, otherwise he’s going to face a stacked box every time he steps on the field
TheRealEssad: And it’s not like we’ve seen a ton of turnovers during DD’s tenure in the red zone to make him skittish
PirateWolf: I do harbor hope that Dave can change his red zone philosophy like he did his *grits_teeth* punting inside the opponent’s 40 philosophy
Things aren’t working
TheRealEssad: Haha, and he also took the opening kick two weeks ago
Rather than deferring
PirateWolf: Dave, you wild man, you!
TheRealEssad: He may just shotgun that beer after all
we beat Chapel Hill...I’d love to see him shotgun that beer at that game
I hope this season proves that to be the case...he definitely has adjusted to some things in his career here...heck he changed his whole defensive scheme in one season...maybe he’ll see the light on O...only problem is he worked with two very independent minded OCs before picking Des and George, I would hope they have a good discourse on these things
TheRealEssad: Yeah, I hope so
PirateWolf: Oh, man. I never even thought about that
Canada: aggressive OC. Drink: aggressive OC
Did Dave have enough and go with conservative OCs?
TheRealEssad: Hired from within so he could have his imprint on the system
JEOHankins2: It’s definitely a question...we know he and Canada had a falling out, he seems
really tight with Eli though...
TheRealEssad: It’s a great point
JEOHankins2: Does App State have an OC we could borrow? Asking for a friend
The play calling in general has been quite vanilla, it should be pointed out
I don’t have the stats, but it sure seems we’re running a LOT on 1st and 2nd downs
PirateWolf: It was most aggressive in the ECU game (an opponent we all know Doeren hates) and the Syracuse game (Thursday night under the lights)
TheRealEssad: Specifically 2nd and long, running plays lead to obvious passing downs on 3rd
Without Finley and co to bail us out
PirateWolf: Well, we know Mike O’Cain was in the building on Thursday night... are we sure he hasn’t actually been our OC all season?
And it’s not like passing the ball should be seen as “aggressive”
Maybe if one of the 4 guys throwing the ball had established themselves to this point to earn the trust
PirateWolf: haha. True
JEOHankins2: I am still stuck on...if Max Fisher scores, and Lesane (?) makes that catch Thursday...have we already changed QBs?
But I bet we have a more even split in snaps
TheRealEssad: Credit to Leary being ready to make the most out of each one of his opportunities
It’s annoying that when he goes out there, at least half his plays are runs. That’s not really going to help the evaluation
PirateWolf: I agree completely
JEOHankins2: Does he play Sat?
TheRealEssad: He has to. Right?
PirateWolf: He needs to get back-to-back series. Give him an opportunity to get out there, then get back to the sideline and let the adrenaline settle... take some time to learn from what he saw... and then get another series immediately to see if he does better, worse, or the same
TheRealEssad: I don’t think DD mentioned anything about Leary playing in the conference. Not that he has to
JEOHankins2: Let me ask y’all...do we need to have a certain score to put him in like up 2
scores, down 2 scores...or just guaranteed series in like quarter 2?
TheRealEssad: Honestly, I want to give him a whole quarter
Just hand him the second quarter
JEOHankins2: No matter the circumstances?
TheRealEssad: He can’t get in the flow of the game in one or two series. We’re too far into the season to be figuring out who the qb is
PirateWolf: I would love to see each QB get 3 consecutive series to start the game, and then either go with the hot hand - or if nobody has separated themselves, continue with alternating every 2-to-3 series
JEOHankins2: I see
PirateWolf: One thing is certainly clear, though: giving him a single series to showcase his skills is absurd
PirateWolf: I’m honestly fine with using the rest of the season to figure out who our QB of the future is... or if we need to be looking to Ty Evans or Finley Part Deux moving forward
I think we can be successful with either Hockman or Leary, but we need in-game tape/performance to evaluate. Make a decision, take the training wheels off, and let’s go
JEOHankins2: Yeah...I agree with that mindset
TheRealEssad: Agree with that
Ready to move on to the real stars of Thursday? Defense
1,235 sacks in the last two games
PirateWolf: Yeah, dude. The defense is real
Is it Hux finally hitting his stride? Is it Gibson’s influence? A combination of both?
TheRealEssad: I am prepared to take back my comments that 3 down line can’t get pressure
PirateWolf: Well, it can’t if the LB group behind them aren’t any good
JEOHankins2: I don’t recall Hux using these many blitzes
TheRealEssad: I think this is one co-coordinator situation that is going as well as possible
I think we’re doing the things Hux has done well, while dialing things up a notch
PirateWolf: Yeah, it is
TheRealEssad: Secondary being ravaged by injuries really sucks, so we’ll just avoid talking about those hail mary’s given up
JEOHankins2: Would love to know what our secondary would look like with healthy corners
TheRealEssad: I mean, would healthy corners turn their heads around?
TheRealEssad: Or is that just how they’re coached at this point?
PirateWolf: Corners are being left out on an island more, so it’s more forgivable now than it was when we were playing more zone coverage in previous years and they wouldn’t turn their heads
JEOHankins2: I really think Ingram is (was :-( ? ) a good cover corner...McCloud also was good too...our problem was we always had just one good corner and the other would be picked on
PirateWolf: But I would like to ask: did nobody else notice on Syracuse’s last two drives how State was doubling the single receiver to the right of the formation while leaving two DBs to cover three WRs on the left side?
And why the hell did Syracuse (thankfully) not take advantage of that?
TheRealEssad: I missed that!
JEOHankins2: Was that receiver Trenton Jackson? ( I think that’s his name)
PirateWolf: Yeah, it was the one who caught the TD, I believe
TheRealEssad: I’m glad they didn’t since it really seemed like the game could’ve flipped near the end
JEOHankins2: Bc I can’t see any logic in that...expect that he was the big play guy...the other solid WR they had had a hissy fit and sat the bench for a lot of time...so maybe they were daring them to throw there...but I don’t understand that
PirateWolf: Yeah, it was obvious the gameplan for Cuse down the stretch was to get it to that one guy, but had they decided to screen pass the Pack to death down the field, that was available on the other side of the field
TheRealEssad: Yeah, any time I saw the screen coming I puckered the cheeks
TheRealEssad: I’m happy that Louis Acceus got some shine
Murch has been doing work all year, but Acceus has has had a good stretch the last few weeks
Defense is now 5th in the country against the run
Going against possibly the best RB in the conference Saturday with a backup QB so you know they’re gonna be running
It’s never good to get your hopes up high, but I feel good about this matchup
PirateWolf: I would be, too, if not for the fact that it’s on the road... and winning on
the road is one thing this team hasn’t done yet
JEOHankins2: I like the depth at LB...and our willingness to swap them out...though I think Hart and Thomas snaps are going down more
That stadium...that atmosphere is the worst to get excited about...what is the weather going to be?
TheRealEssad: I went to a State-BC game at BC many years ago. There was almost nobody there, it was TOB era, with Glennon as QB. State lost a close one, it was a depressing day
I mostly remember just being cold, the bleachers were like high school quality
PirateWolf: Welcome to BC!
JEOHankins2: I’ve been too...part of my odyssey to visit every away ACC stadium...and the fans are cool but...my Lord, I was so less than enthused the entire time
TheRealEssad: The BC fans behind us were basically bored like that dude reading a book at FSU last year
Even though they were winning
JEOHankins2: it was the most “who cares” stadium I’ve been to in the league...no
matter how bad the other teams were
Folks pick on Wake and Duke but I’ve been there with a good number of fans before
TheRealEssad: Oh man, I wish I’d taken a picture of my tv during the Wake game the other night
I feel bad
for them, ranked team, prime time conference game, and the place was a ghost town
PirateWolf: Yeah, I saw that, too
in the 4th quarter, there was nobody there. It was sad
TheRealEssad: So with that point of positivity, any final thoughts?
PirateWolf: No real final thoughts this week. Just hope to get a win at BC, even if
it’s another ugly one
TheRealEssad: I’m fine with a 12-9 win Looking at the schedule, 7 wins is still doable
But definitely need BC
JEOHankins2: Yeah, would like to see us be more innovative in the RZ, like our two QBs to get enough series to really get an eval...and a win...with NO INJURIES
TheRealEssad: NO (more) INJURIES
JEOHankins2:Also, would love the defense to continue to prove what we’ve seen of them wasn’t predicated on two horrible OLs
PirateWolf: A.J. Dillon scares me
JEOHankins2: We definitely dodged a bullet last year...but I recall we did beat him on the road two years ago against another backup QB
TheRealEssad: BC has only given up 3 sacks all year
Tied for 1st in country
JEOHankins2: That why I am curious to see what we can do defensively...Grosel isn’t as mobile as Brown
TheRealEssad: If we limit Dillon, or just contain him with low numbers like we did with Akers, then we force them to throw
Then we take our chances in the secondary and try to get pressure
JEOHankins2: I think we have a shot to do it
Okay guys, that about does it.
Thanks for hanging out as always
PirateWolf: Thanks, y’all!
TheRealEssad: See you next week, same Wolf time, same Wolf channel