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Trench Notes...

  • NIU:

    The year didn’t go exactly according to plan and the play calling on both sides of the ball made you scratch your head at times, but you can’t say that Jimbo and Co didn’t have this team ready to play each week, which is also representative of the leadership and character of the players on the team. Hopefully, in a few years, we can point back to this team and say they were the group that pushed us over the hump.

    Offensive Line: I was glad to hear Matt Millen echo some of the same things I’ve said all year. He may not know about drafting a WR in the first round despite three attempts, but he definitely knows about life in the trenches. He pointed out how “athletic” and physical we are up front and even called them “outstanding” at the end of the game, while also pointing out how young they are and how potentially dominant they can be next year. And while NIU wasn’t exactly the Gator DL, they did give Iowa(Big 10 school with an OL tradition) all they could handle early in the year.

    Cam-It was his best game in quite some time. I had him for 6 neutral plays(he either had no one to block or produced a tie with his block) and only two negative plays. The rest were solid blocks. Originally I thought he should have peeled outside on the 3rd down when EJ went down field and got hit as he was throwing(Shaw almost still made the grab) but having watched from a QB’s view point, his DE was far to his left outside at the beginning of the play and he stayed on him as he made the inside move. At that point, it’s too late to go back outside, something he attempted to do in the last few games and resulted in not blocking either defender. And in most pass pro, you are taught to take the interior threat first. On the third down play and goal on our first drive of the second half, I did think he should have fanned out and taken the perimeter blitzer because 32 was filling inside. Other than that, when he wasn’t blanketing the NIU defenders in pass pro, he was opening holes for huge gains on the ground, including a kick out of the DE on both of Lonnie’s TD runs and good blocks on a Freeman 6 yarder with 11 minutes left in the 2ncd and on a double team with Matius on EJ’s TD run, as well as an awesome block 15 yards down the field on Wilder’s 15 yard run with 13 minutes left in the third. He and his teammates, also did a much better job with line stunts in pass pro and he had a viscous interior pass block on a 3rd and 3 in the second quarter that actually wiped up Tre’s man who was beating him to EJ. A new wrinkle that I saw was getting Cam some max protection help either with a TE on one play and a back on another, and 75 attacked the defender almost as if he was run blocking. He lunged too much and lost his grasp of the block, but fortunately help was near. It was a good way to go out for Cam and something to build on. And we better cherish him next year, because it could be his last.

    Matias-I thought it was his best game of the year. He looked awesome at times and really cleaned up the issues against stunts and blitzes. I had him with 3 neutral blocks and three negative plays. He actually whiffed on the 4rth and 1 play on our first drive. The highlights of his night was a good switch with Stork on a stunt on the Oleary fumble, on Freeman’s 6 yard run in the second(11min), on the first play of the second half(Lonnie’s run for 20+ around Watson), on Wilder’s 15 yard romp(13 minutes left in the 3rd) on a 2ncd and 1 with 530 left in the 3rd, a pancake on the personal foul call against Wilder(Momentum changer in the game btw) and on both Lonnie’s TD’s(gave Storks block a shiver on the first one on his way to the second level) and EJ’s TD run. He has come a long way since the first half of last year’s bowl game and should be even better next season.

    Stork-he couldn’t block an infant on roller skates but somehow finished with just two neutral’s and one negative play. His only negative IMO was on the first quarter 4rth and 1 were he whiffed on a gap block, but was saved by Tre pulling around. I gave him a neutral on the poor snap, because it wasn’t perfect, but EJ didn’t catch it as clean as he should have and the play was blocked perfectly. After that, he put on a clinic earning my player of the game, just edging out Tre and Matias. He had a great turn on Lonnie’s first and second TD, on Freemans 6 yarder in the 2ncd, Lonnie’s first carry of the second half, Wilders 15 yarder, the 2ncd and 1 with 530 left in the third and then on EJ’s TD scamper. He was also excellent in pass pro and it was the most complete game he played all year IMO.

    Tre-I spoiled it above, but Tre played very well. He had 6 neutral’s and only 1 negative. The one negative was on a combo block with Watson where they fired out and blew the DT off the ball, but both left for the second level. OL has a rule, make sure level one is secure before leaving to the second and third level and if you aren’t sure, stay on level one. Freeman was tackled for a loss on the play by the DT after he stumbled from the initial blast with 930 left in the second. With 1230 left in the 3rd and first and goal, we ran counter tre (ironically enough) and 54 left the LDE penetrate as he went to the second level. I’m pretty sure it was a zone read play on the LDE, but we also left the RDE unaccounted for and both combined on the tackle for no gain on Wilder. It was a poorly conceived play IMO. Tre did do a great job pulling as noted on the 4rth and 1 where he saved Stork’s bacon with a pancake, on Freeman’s 6 yarder and EJ’s TD. He also had a nice cut off block at the second level on Lonnie’s first TD. The game capped off an excellent sophmore year and I’d be surprised if he didn’t make an All ACC team next year.

    Watson- he was the weak link on Tuesday night, but still played a very good game. His physical skills are awesome( drove a DL back 8 yards on the bad snap play and he engulfs DE’s in pass pro) but he has to clean up some technical stuff. He was slow off the ball on the 4rth and 1, which luckily didn’t cost us, had the mix up with Tre as stated above on the Combo and over stepped his DE with 20 seconds left in the second and allowed his man to make a tackle for loss along with the CB(not my favorite play call). He can play in the NFL right now, but another year learning the game would do him a world of good.

    As Millen also stated in the broadcast, I wish we were a little more physical running the ball at times, particularly on the 3rd and 2 and 3rd and 2.5 on their side of the field(4 down territory so run it twice if need be) but I think Jimbo is so paranoid about balance and having watched the Florida-L’ville game last night, you could see why. And the 3rd down call to Oleary was wide open and EJ missed a few easy throws for first downs more than once. Overall, the OL was excellent all night and we got a glimpse of what could be next year, especially if 71 comes back.


    This wasn’t a game to pile up gaudy numbers, but rather fill gaps, eat blocks and watch a rejuvenated LB core play star for the night.

    Werner- about mid way through the first quarter when NIU kept firing at 95’s knees with either an Hback or a RB, especially after playing GT, I think our LDE decided that if he was going to have to deal with this crap, he might as well make millions doing it. It wasn’t as story book as Lonnie’s or even Vince’s last game, but he played exactly the way he played every week in his career, with great discipline. He had a nice squeeze inside tackle on Lynch with 5 minutes left in the first on 3rd and 4(he even showed some anger getting off the NIU QB), forced a play inside with 545 left in the second for no gain, showed his athleticism and change of direction on a roll out pass pressure, batted a pass when he blitzed out of a 3-4 and made a great read and tackle on a screen play with 645 left in the 3rd. It will be a shame not seeing him next year, but having a top 5 draft pick can’t hurt with recruiting. I would have loved to see more inside moves from him, to then set up the speed rush around the edge(give the OT some doubt ), but in a game against Lynch, the only way he was going to beat us was getting outside the pocket and making plays with his legs. In fact, for most the night, at least half our DL was in a safe rush mode. 95, we salute you.

    Mario-he got off to a slow start, getting put on a sled by a double team(handled the HBack with ease, but got pushed back by the trapping OG) on the first play and then was really slow off the ball on the first pass play, but he was ready to play on the next series. He buried their LT with 530 left in the 1rst on a pass play, did a nice job filling his gap on the aforementioned 3rd and 4 Werner tackle of Lynch, beat a trap with 330 left in the 1rst for a tackle of Lynch, then crushed the LT back into the pocket rerouting the play a minute later for no gain, made a nice play on a screen with 1140 left in the 2ncd, another tackle of Lynch with 545 left in the 2ncd and another tackle on a Jet Sweep, showing his range. He has a lot to work on in the offseason(take off’s, pass rush moves) but he has a lot to work with. I really hope Sunseri stays at DE and we find a LB coach, if in fact Hudson leaves. I thought DJ was a really bright guy and technique is vital in the trenches, but sometimes it’s OK to be a maniac and I think Uncle Sal will bring that.

    Newberry- I had no problem with his offsides penalty. I actually wish Mario had one here and there, it shows you they are trying to jump the snap and IMO nothing is more important than the first few steps. I really couldn’t tell on the personal foul, but if you are going to jump, you better finish the play. I think they light is coming on with this kid and he should be in the thick of things for a starting job next year.

    Tosh-he looked really fast off the edge and had a pressure with 14 minutes left in the 4rth in his few reps. It’s a shame he doesn’t have another year left, because he came a long way and was an outstanding special teams player for 3-4 years. He will be an unsung hero for me when I think of this team in the future.

    Ev- NIU employed a ton of doubles on our 3 tech’s all night and it definitely affecting 93’s stat line. But he fought tooth and nail and was active as a pass rusher, including rushing the throw on the screen play eaten up by 95. Ev finished and excellent career at FSU and should be a nice rotation guy at the next level.

    Amp-it wasn’t going to be a big stat night for Amp either, but I’d like to see a little more motor from 92 at times, especially if he is hoping to make a team next year. He also gets cut to the ground far too often. I think he took a little step back in ’12, but overally had a really solid career here.

    Demonte-like Ev, he was doubled teamed more times than not and driven back off the ball a few, but as he was eating blocks, his LB’s were finding the ball and attacking unscathed. He combined with Mario on a tackle with 545 left in the 2ncd and then kind of walked into a sack when he was in rush safe mode. It wasn’t his shining moment, but he should have a monster ’13.

    Timmy-it doesn’t matter what type of offense the other team is running, if there is a football on the field, he is going to make plays. He showed off his great hands and whupped the Center and combined with Mario with 330 left in the 1rst, had a swim move and a pressure with 2 minutes left in the 1rst, tackled the RB on a fake…then the QB with 11 for no gain with 1130 left in the 2ncd, beat the center again out of the 3-4 and tackled Lynch for no gain with 530 in the 2ncd and then beat a double team and made a tackle with 1445 left in the 4rth. The only thing he did wrong was not keep contain on a stunt with Tosh(Tosh got pressure and forced Lynch outside, had he finished the play, he may have run into a sack). He is the most fun DL to watch play because you know he just loves being out there. If there is a better DT in the nation next year, I’ll be shocked.

    Goldman-he got a few reps and he looked really explosive. He could end up being a bigger version of Demonte, which is scary.

    It’s surprising that our best unit on the team all year didn’t make an impact on the stat sheet, but their presence was felt as they controlled the line of scrimmage all night.

  • Thanks, again, for taking the time to go back over the game and put this together for those of us that wish to read it. You can always be certain that Nashnole does. One question. If the EspecialyStinkyPigkNuckles channels do indeed air our Spring Game, would you be willing to break down the action similar to what you do for games? I'd be interested. Green arrow for the extra effort.

    This post was edited by Nashnole 18 months ago

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  • For correctly spelling "whup," you sir are too educated to be talking sports. Next thing you know, I'll catch you saying "with him and me" instead of "with he and I"--the latter of which is so common that the proper usage always catches me by surprise.


    Also, I love trench notes. Thanks.

    Also, I think you secretly wish Rick Trickett would move on.

    Also, for those of you thinking that googolplex is the real nerd here, you would be correct. Wanna make something of it?

    Thanks Canolee.


    Canolee, thanks for making sure I always have motivation to check the board on Sundays or Mondays...regardless of Saturday's outcome. I've enjoyed these all year...

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  • Thanks Guys!!!

    Nash, I've done the Spring Game the last few years. It hurts my feelings that you didn't read them. moonlol

    Goog, I work with a nerdy artist and of course I'm the dumb jock, but after telling him that I break down the film of the game and talk about position's that nobody cares about, he asked me "who's the nerd"?

    Nut, my pleasure bud. I think I'm learning a little more each year.


    As a side note the biggest thing that stood out to me this game is the fact that the NIU OLine got ZERO push all game...those damn QB delays/sneaks can be killer if you're not ready. Even when we lined up in a 3-4 (Werner looked pretty comfortable standing up, didn't he?) our guys held their ground every time. NIU went to the well often and were consistently stonewalled. I'll take that over a 4 sack performance from a DL any day of the week...

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  • I did read them, just checking to make sure you understand I would like you to continue on!

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  • NUT, good points on both fronts. I don't know what tape NIU watched, but they thought they could run inside. Maybe they hoped they could double our DT's at the point of attack and our LB's would play undisciplined or make poor reads like they have at times this year. The only way they thought they could get the perimeter was with the Jet Sweep.

    And we did see more 3-4. I think it was showcasing Werner to some extent. As were all the passes called for EJ. Both to help improve their stock.

    Uncle Nash, you are a silly human being. It's refreshing. rockon

  • Nash's posts come out of left field. I don't understand the guy.

  • Ahhhhhhhh! FINALLY! Someone gets the point. Perhaps.

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  • In fairness to the Lion Killer, he did get it right on the 3rd attempt

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  • Should have added how well Wilder blocked all night long. He was on his Lonnie Pryor game

  • You have to be either high, drunk, or really old. Most of the times I believe Nash is 2 of the 3 while posting.

    The guy spends most of his life with a blood sugar in the 150's. He's allowed some leeway in my book.

    Keep fighting the good fight uncle Nash. Stay away from those GD twinkies.

  • Just old. Feeling it tonight for some reason. Powers are a bit under a cloud. Chemo I guess. I WILL rally so I wouldn't get too comfortable if I were you, you silly sailors.

    This post was edited by Nashnole 18 months ago

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  • Cancer Schmancer...your powers look just fine from here, my friend.

  • Hope everything works out for you.

    This post was edited by NoleAkiefer 18 months ago

  • Thanks for the kind comments guys. I may not beat this crap. but for the time being I've got it in a choke hold.

    I'll tell you this for free. It's posters like Canolee, and others here who understand this game from the inside out - AND deign to share their perceptions and knowledge with our members, that keep me young at heart and ready to learn stuff even at my time of life.

    That and the Doctor, my Wife, Daughters and Grand daughters gave away all my Single Malt, and regularly hide or eat up all the cake before I can get stuck into it. I hate Doctors and women sometimes. Now they're after me about bloody red beast. "It'll knock years off yer life!". Well, then let's have some pork ribs. After all, they call Porky Pig "The Other White Meat." I've seen them say so on the TV.

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  • I always love & look forward to reading these. Thanks for taking the time to do this after every game. Can't wait for your Spring Game analysis.

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  • Do you really believe this? I think the team was flat/inadequately prepared for a couple of games (ahem, UF) and lay that blame squarely on Jimbo and Co.

  • That was all on EJ, team played hard. But what would a woman know? grumble

  • Excellent Job Canolee!

    Much appreciated!

  • Gotta agree w/ Laura here. That was really the only thing in canolee's entire post that stood out.

  • I disagree witht he both of you. Granted, there were a couple players not putting out but all others gave everything they had, even if their execution wasn't always up to par. Being ready to play means giving effort, not executing at a high level.

  • Great job all season canolee!

    This post was edited by gonoles1 18 months ago

  • I really enjoy reading these Canolee. Thank you so much for taking the time.

    The poster formerly known as 31-7. Understood by few, known by many, loved by all.

  • Aik, 32's blocking was awesome. But I'm watching about 650 plays a game, that's plenty. People have talked about doing other position's, but then realize how much work it is. lol

    Nash, I know about 1% of 1% of the game. Maybe I can get into UF cyclops Football has gotten so complex these days. But thank you for the kind words.

    Bama, thanks bud, I can't wait for the Spring game either. I want to see Casher and how much Newberry and Edwards progress. They should be going against some legit OT's, so it will be a great test. And of course to watch the QB battle unfold.

    Laura, absolutely. I don't think we were ever flat. I think we were out schemed at times and at other times, simply didn't execute easy plays. I'm with Din on the EJ part, not the other thing.