Week 1 Sightlines: a Retrospective


Casting a critical eye towards our past contributions to the sports blogosphere is an activity that few, if any, of us participants in this extended community ever engage in.  And, why should we?  Most of our contributions were brilliant at the time that we made them, so why revisit perfection?  Thus, it makes the exercise I'm about to engage in fruitless.  No matter, it is the story arc of my life.

Last week I posted on things that I'd be watching for in Pac 12 over the weekend.  I was able to watch or track about half the games.  After the jump, I'll let you know how the sightlines I was focused on played out.

ASU 48 UC Davis 14:  I got to this one a little after the fact.  Thus, no sightline.  Can't help but to mention how impressed I was with the overall speed of their D, even if I was less impressed with Osweiler's balls (literally and figuratively).

Cal 36 Fresno State 21

I'm watching QB Zach Maynard

If Zach were white and right-handed, we would swear that we were watching a young Jake Locker.  Zach got off to a rough start and was wildly inaccurate at times, but he made big plays at opportune times with his arm and with his legs.  He worked his two stars - Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones - to the tune of 100 yards for each of them.  It wasn't a perfect debut, but he looked like a playmaker that can do some damage.

Arizona 41 Northern Arizona 10

it has to be Arizona offensive line

In hindsight, I can't believe I wrote that.  Who gives a flying-eff about what the UA o-line does against some club team from Flagstaff?  I should have been watching for the new cheer talent in Tuscon.  Am I an idiot?  Don't answer that BMoney.

Hawaii 34 Colorado 17

I'm going to be focused not on Colorado, but on what Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz may have added to his arsenal over the offseason

Moniz did add something to his arsenal - wheels.  Despite the fact that he ran for 102 yards during all of 2010, Moniz ran for 121 yards and three TDs (although almost all of that was in the first half) in just one game vs a Pac 12 opponent.  This kid is a beast and he has given UW coaches something more to game plan for this week.  AND, he's got awesome hair.

WSU 64 Idaho State 21

My sightline for WSU will focus on what kind of offense they plan to run.

"So, Coach Wulff, what offense do you plan to run on Sat?"

"Yes"

That was about it.  Despite losing Jeff Tuel to a broken clavicle, WSU went off against the lowly Bengals.  They racked up nearly 600 yards in total offense and it was almost exactly split between ground and air.  They were in the no huddle scheme most of the night and they played, from what I can gather, a lot of sets with a TE on the field.  The headwinds will stiffen a little with UNLV next week and SDSU after that, but they can beat those teams with performances like Saturday.

USC 19 Minnesota 17

I'm especially interested in seeing how the Barkley to Woods connection has developed in the off-season.

Asked and answered.  Woods broke Johnny Morton's long-standing record of 15 receptions in a game by catching 17 balls for 177 yards.  Most of his production (14 catches) were in the first half.  Minnesota clearly adjusted their D to him in the second half and, not surprisingly, completely shut down the USC offense in doing so. 

Dear Nick,

that is called a half time adjustment. 

Sincerely,

Jerry Kill

Houston 38 UCLA 34

I'll be focusing on their front seven, in particular.

I did as I promised, and I almost puked Sierra Nevada as a result.  The Bruins had more offense that I predicted, but they might as well have thrown out the Dawgpound All-stars to play D.  I'm pretty sure a front seven of Carne Guisada, Rollo, BigDave, Snostrebla, Willie Mays Hayes, Hawnk and JoeinFW would have put up more of a fight.  Keenum passed for 300 yards and, honestly, I can't remember him getting sacked at all.  I think UCLA will be better, but this was an ugly start.

Utah 27 Montana State 10:  Utah was the other Thur game I missed a sightline for.  I must say, after Saturday, I'm guessing the fanbase is feeling a lot better about their team in the South.

Sacramento State 29 Oregon State 28

....

Some of you may have noticed that I neglected to note a sightline for Oregon State.  You might guess that this was an administrative oversight.  That's only what I want you to believe.  If I had given away my premonition of the outcome of this game, you guys would have come to recognize my innate supernatural abilities and, frankly, you'd never leave me the eff alone.

Stanford 57 San Jose State 3

I'll be watching the sidelines and looking at how the staff interacts with the players.  Will the intensity be there despite the inferior opponent?

I didn't get to see this game, but the outcome was clearly pretty workman like.  A bunch of sacks and three forced furmbles led to the Spartans' demise.  Stanford actually started out pretty slow in this one before unleashing the pain.  There were some red flags that KirkD would never forgive me for if I failed to point out.  The points scored look gaudy, but Stanford only had 330 yards of total offense and were a pedestrian 5-13 on third down conversions.  Luck only averaged 6 yards a completion and the yards per rush were just 3.5 yards.  Of course they kept most of the playbook out of the gameplan, but this was still San Jose St.  I would have expected better execution of the offense.

LSU 40 Oregon 27

I think that Chip Kelly has trouble winning games where his opponents have interior size advantages

This game was pretty interesting.  The score looks bad, but the reality was that this was pretty evenly played but for a 1.5 quarter period of time starting in the second quarter and extending through the entire third period.  DeAnthony Thomas's back-to-back fumbles turned into 14 points and that was the ball game.  But there was more to watch. LSU did break down that Oreegon O-Line all night.  They forced DT to read "hand-off" and they forced LMJ to read "middle gap" on a lot of the option plays.  That forced the runner into the strength of the LSU defense all night.  That, in turn, made Oregon into a passing team and exposed how green that receiving corps for the Ducks really is (pun intended).  This is the exact gameplan that Auburn used and is clearly the best strategy to run against Oregon, even if you don't have the athletes of the SEC on your line.

EWU 27 UW 30

I choose to focus on the TE play.

Not much to say here.  The TEs were a non-factor catching three balls between Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Michael Hartvigson.  I don't recall either having much of an imapact as a blocker in the run game.  This is one area where you could truly argue that youth was a factor and I'm hoping to see more vs Hawaii.

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