Before the game we were talking about a lack of Marshall’s explosiveness, and then this happened:
Brady's 248 receiving yards is tied for fourth in @HerdFB history and the most ever by a Marshall player on the road.— Chuck McGill (@chuckmcgill) September 10, 2017
Updating a previous note: Tyre Brady has the Carter-Finley Stadium receiving record, home or visitor. Record was held by Torry Holt (217).— Chuck McGill (@chuckmcgill) September 10, 2017
So, that’s not great, Bob. We gave up 248 yards to one guy on 11 receptions, but also outscored the other team by 17. But still, a solid effort with a lot to be satisfied with.
On a side note, the whole Dave Doeren Dunkin Donuts story this week has been endlessly hilarious to me.. wait.. DD, DD.. can’t believe I just picked up on that. Still, no excuse. Anyways…
What went well? What needs to improve before Furman next week?
In the predictions column I said, “38-20. Offense will keep rolling and defense will give up a frustrating number of points.” The game’s flow may not have been what I expected, but looks like this is basically exactly what happened.
So basically, I’m saying that I won the predictions. What's that, I’m supposed to talk about the team? Right… let’s see. Well, let me tell you about my day.
For 3/4 of this game, I had the pleasure of walking a couple toddlers around a mall. As lovely as they are, I might have preferred eating Dunkin Donuts (I could write a book about all the DD vs Krispy Kreme debates I've had in NJ) to that until I saw how the game was going. I was relying on phone updates, panicky texts about the head coach I won’t repeat here, and a melting BTP game thread all with a dying battery.
After getting home, the announcers said, “this is a terrific defense, and he (Brady) just torched them” … but … is it?? They even used the word “vaunted”. From what I see, for the second week, State’s D was doubled up in sacks and tackles for loss, and beaten in total tackles. I am not seeing a ton of action to back up all that chatter, fellas.
Watch ESPN is always a mixed bag for the cord cutters, and this time the announcers’ mics were still on well after the game as they prepped with producers for their ESPN.com summary and said, “The story is Brady, and the second half of NC State”. On that, I somewhat agree. State more or less woke up in the second quarter, not just the second half, held the Herd scoreless minus a 75 yard td pass, and outscored them 34-7. Plus that big play really only happened because of a missed arm tackle (same issue last week) and losing foot race with a NFL receiver.
So my suggestion is to be that team. There were flaws for sure, but still a solid effort. The offense needs to go north, not east and west, make extra points, defense needs to tackle the guys, and don’t give up big plays. This seems basic, but they’re all extremely confident and talented, they just have to put the pieces together for a full game. Stop starting games slowly. You’re going to Tallahassee in two weeks (Irma didn't wash away Doak Campbell Stadium). If you don’t come flying out of the gate you will fall in a hole you can’t get out of.
Also, Clemson sacked Auburn 11 times. 11!! Them boys coming to Raleigh, best ready up.
What went well? About everything after the 5:00 mark in the 2nd quarter. Ryan Finley struggled early on with his accuracy, but he settled in at about that point and had himself one hell of a day. The defense was rock solid after allowing that 75-yard TD.
What needs to improve? I don’t know, maybe start playing when the game starts instead of midway through it...? I’ve left each of the first two games feeling really uneasy about this team, but then feeling better about their performances in hindsight. Still, I’d like to leave a game with an immediate feeling of confidence in the team.
As for specific areas of improvement:
1) Defensive pass coverage. If State can’t stop the pass, it’s going to be a long season. The quick passing game is killing this defense; it negates the pass-rushing abilities of the D-line and exploits the “keep it in front” 12-yard cushion philosophy of the secondary (I mean, regarding that philosophy... could ya not?).
2) Running game. Unfortunately, the combination of Reggie Gallaspy and Nyheim Hines doesn’t seem to be the answer. Neither have shown the vision and decisiveness of Matt Dayes. A good chunk of blame belongs to the O-line, too, for not being able to create holes in the interior of the line. I’d like to see Jaylen Samuels and Dakwa Nichols get some more carries, too. Samuels has all of three carries on the season, which - I don’t need to tell you - isn’t nearly enough. Even though he’s a bit banged up, he still has shown the best vision with the ball in his hands. That’s what this ground game needs right now: a back who can see, read, and anticipate. I’ve always been a fan of Nichols, too. Is he a first team All-ACC caliber back? Probably not. But he’s better than the playing time he gets; and right now, based on the production of the other backs, anyone deserves a shot.
I hated this entire game pretty much start to finish except for the JaySam parts and oh god everything is on fire, it’s just all on fire! (Including Ryan Finley, but in the good kind of on-fire way.) A lot of the other parts of the team are the bad on-fire.
But seriously it was deeply bothersome to watch the defense give up 400+ yards to that offense, but then again, hey maybe Marshall is farther ahead than initially thought and last season was a blip in an otherwise good run of success. Regardless, what we saw in many ways portends very very badly for conference play. Bottom line is I don’t think there is any fix for the secondary regardless of how healthy everybody is, and this depresses me a lot.
I’d also like to be wrong about that. Also I might be overreacting. It’s so difficult not to do that, especially with a sport that only offers you one game’s worth of information per week. There were tons of things to like about the game on the offensive side, like averaging more than seven yards per play and Finley being brilliant and Kelvin Harmon beasting again. The offense has for the most part been good enough to help author the sort of breakthrough season we hoped for, but shoot, where’d the defense get off to?
So what do you think the Wolfpack did well and what needs to improve for Furman and beyond? Is Steven overreacting? Leave your comments below.