Sunday, September 14, 2008

Upon Further Review--- UW v. Fresno State

Yeah, so I woke up at 6 this morning and watched the UW-Fresno game. A close contest, and one that UW deserved to win, especially because of their defensive effort. The reports out of the San Joaquin Valley that Fresno State had the game in hand and blew it are hometown baloney. Given that the WAC refs stole a huge turnover from UW, that Nortman bobbled the ball and had a punt blocked, that Levy drobbled an easy interception that could have gone all the way back, that Evridge was so crampy he was moving around like an octagenarian, and that the Badgers blew it by being unoriginal on the goalline on their first drive, I'd say UW's own troubles were a big reason the game was close. Anyhow, other thoughts---

- I completely agree with U-65's comment that Fresno got duped into a contest of manliness. That was an odd aspect of the game, especially because I kept hearing about all their receiving weapons and how their Qb was so talented he was a solid NFL prospect. If they were that talented, we didn't get much of a chance to see it. One of the broadcasters said that the FSU offensive coordinator was in his first year as a coordinator at FSU and had never called plays before. That may explain it.

- Jason Chapman is back in a big, big way. He looked excellent nearly all game-- strong, quick and heady. Welcome back to the big time, Chappie.

- It was excellent to have Casillas back. He was around the ball far more than his replacement, Blake Sorensen, was in the first two games. And I totally appreciate his touchdown-saving hustle plays, both in this game and throughout his career. But you could tell he wasn't all the way back. On FSU's lone touchdown, Casillas was close to the slot receiver, but was slow reacting to him and whiffed. A fully mobile Casillas makes at least some contact with the WR, and slows him down enough so that other guys can come help. I hope he's even healthier with two weeks off until the next game.

- Garrett Graham remains the effing man. We have the best group of tight ends in the nation.

- The heavily-prolonged review and reversal of the fumble that Carter forced and Levy recovered was utter shenanigans. If they had called it incomplete initially, then maybe, but no way there was enough evidence that the receiver was bobbling the ball to reverse the call on the field. When all of the broadcast guys disagree with the reviewing refs, you know something's amiss. What a crock of rotten baloney.

- Really liked some of the tackles Jay Valai made in the game. The defense seemed to get a ton of tackles for loss. (UWBadgers.com says the D had 9 TFLs.) Valai did have trouble on some plays in space, although those are the hardest tackles to make. And boy, it just doesn't look like Shane Carter will ever be an instinctive tackler, though I admit he made an excellent play to force the reversed fumble. He waits around a little too much, and just doesn't seem to like contact. I hope their partnership works though, and Valai can be the physical guy and Carter can be the ballhawk.

- It was pretty clear early on to me that this was not going to be Zach Brown's game. Nearly all of the rushing yards were coming after contact, and Zach's more of a vision, acceleration guy, not as much of a tackle-breaker. Thus, I was completely confused about using him on the goalline on the first drive. Questionable decision there, and I would have liked to generally seen a bit less of Zach in running situations, and a little more Clay. Zach will have his big games though.

- I think Evridge's hammie must have been cramping up all game. It was quite hot there, and he was simply not moving well. That Qb draw they ran at the goalline would have worked easily if he had been himself. But man, he looked awful on that play. Hell, I could have run that faster. And there were several other rollout type plays wehre he really should have tucked it and ran, and instead threw a bad or incomplete pass. Like the back half of the Shaughnesillas, I hope he heals up in the next two weeks. We really need his mobility.

- The last real play call in the game was brilliant. If you don't recall, UW had the ball at their own one with about two and a half minutes left and with FSU having two timeouts. They ran a sneak with Scherer for about two yards to get some room. Then, in an obvious running situation, they gave the ball to fullback Bill Rentmeester on a quick hit up the middle. This was the first FB carry of the game, and seemed to catch FSU completely by surprise. Rentmeester got hit almost immediately, but kept churning and, with the help of the line, pushed forward 8 yards, landing right on top of the first down line. Game over. A wonderful and hyper-effective play call on that last real down.

- Not that Fresno State fans realized that the signal of a first down after that play meant that the game was over. Their band was still playing fight songs, and their student section was belting out cheers, even while the Badgers were kneeling on the ball. I mean, hello? FSU is definitely not the best state school in California, and that was further proof.

1 comment:

Scott Tappa said...

Fresno never had the game in hand, and in my mind never even had a slight advantage in the game. Sure, they missed field goals, but they were still playing from behind at the time. The win is still satisfying - and that overturned call still stings - six days later.