Some Thoughts after rewatching the App State Game

Discussion in 'BWI / McAndrew Board' started by TheWhiteOut26, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. TheWhiteOut26

    TheWhiteOut26 New Member
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    Hello all. Long time lurker, first time poster (be kind). I went back to rewatch the game during the long weekend and thought I’d offer up some of my own observations on the game, focusing on the position groups and some key places during the game. These are just my thoughts and opinions, as I am not a professional coach, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
    Here we go...

    Offense
    1. Coaching - Watching the game live I was concerned about our playcalling and game plan, but a rewatch of the game calmed me down some. While it wasn't perfect, I feel Rahne called a good, if not solid, game. I would have liked to see more downfield passing routes, as App State's safeties played within 10 yards of the LOS on many plays. While we did throw some go routes to Johnson that we couldn't connect on (more on that later), I hope that we see more creativity in getting our receivers downfield. Also, I feel like James Franklin had his best game from a game management standpoint. He utilized his timeouts at the most crucial times and seemed much more engaged with everybody on the field and sidelines that I have noticed in the past.

    2. QB - man are we lucky to have Trace. Not his best game as he slightly overthrew a few deep balls but was money when it counted. Not sure if it is new, but I didn't notice it as much last year, but on both of Trace's TD runs, he was moving downhill on what look like RPOs. That downhill momentum gave the defense even less time to react.
    What a play on the game tying TD in regulation. Looks like we had an RPO called (WRs on top of screen went out to block), and with an untouched blitzing player coming right at his face, McSorley had about 0.01 second to recognize the defense and hit Hamler with a pinpoint throw for the TD off his back foot. Amazing.

    3. RBs - Did anyone else love Sanders leaping a defender on his first carry as a starter? It was almost like he said, I know you guys will miss Saquon, but I got this. Was a little worried about the drop off coming into the season but came away very impressed with Sanders toughness and ability to break tackles.
    Allen did some good things, and I think he deserves playing time. A tough north/south runner. While I expect Sanders and Slade to be 1-2 as the season goes on, I'd be comfortable with Allen getting in on the action to spell those guys.
    Slade was very impressive. Hits the hole quick. Will be a valuable asset (*note: Slade's TD run is a great example of the craziness of the in-game thread. During Slade's drive I remember seeing a comment along the lines of "why do we keep running Slade up the middle, get him in space." Next play: TD right up the middle.)

    4. WRs - I am a little worried about Juwan Johnson's drops. Not so much the short passes, as he has proven he can catch the 7-10 yard out routes, but he has showing nothing in the way that he can be a deep threat (in the mold of Godwin, A-Rob, even to help replace Gesicki). During his time at Penn State, I'm not sure he has ever gone up for a deep ball and brought it in. The physical tools are there, but if we don't have a big guy that can go up and get it in traffic that's going to really limit our offense.
    Hamler is special. Looks like he is playing at a different speed that the rest of our WRs. He may end up being our deep threat by the end of the season.
    Thompkins had a rough day blocking, although I expect that to get better with more live game action. Polk played well with his time at the position. Great grab on 4th down in 4Q.
    Overall, I hope we find more ways to get the ball in Hamler's hands, I think he's a game breaker in a way that Johnson just hasn't shown he can be.

    5. TEs - I didn't focus too much on this group. I don't see anyone on the roster that will be a consistent receiving threat this year. Hope I'm wrong. Blocking looked good from the group.

    6. O-Line - It is hard to assess the o-line without the All-22 tape and seeing each responsibility, but a few things stood out. We struggling identifying and picking up blitzing players - there were too many free rushers in McSorley's face. We should be able to correct that this week.
    As others have stated, the lack of negative rushing plays was refreshing to see.
    Will Fries played a great game and I expect him to be the full-time starter moving forward. The main reason is his run blocking. We pull our RT a lot on the running game and in the 1st half it was painfully obvious that Wright isnt quick enough to get around and make a block. On both Slade's TD run and one of Trace's TD runs, the ability of Fries to pull and seal the LB made the difference of a 5 yard run and a long TD.

    7. DL - again, hard to assess without the endzone view (hard to tell gap responsibilities) but as many have stated, it was pretty underwhelming play. Miller played solid but was unable to make a difference in pass rush. YGM looks like an NFL DE and played solid, but again wasn't a difference maker in the pass rush.
    DTs played pretty poorly, no push, couldn't get off blocks. Even more concerned now than heading into the season.

    8. LBs - a lot of you aren't going to like this, but after rewatching the game, Jan Johnson was probably our best linebacker in that game. He was the only LB that consistently made tackles at the LOS. And while everyone says most of his tackles came 10 yards down the field, a lot of those were from Brown or Farmer not reading their keys or keeping contain, leaving Jan there to clean up. Despite not having the star recruiting ratings, he played a solid game and I hope he continues to get better. (Note* from my count Jan Johnson had 5 tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, which is more tackles than either Brown or Farmer had all game).
    I'm not sure if Brooks is quite ready to play at MLB. He looked lost while he was in the game and got pushed around. I expect we see more Johnson and less Brooks moving forward.
    The real concern in our LB unit is Farmer and Brown made very few plays. I want Koa to succeed but he just disappears in games. Brown seems more aggressive but on tape looks like he peers into the backfield too often instead of reading his keys. We need a lot better at these positions.
    Parsons looked great in his 2Q action, flying to the ball. in the 4Q not so much, as he was slow to get into his drops or to fight off blockers. The raw materials are there, and we will need them sooner than later.
    Jarvis Miller also impressed big time in his limited reps. Contained the edge which may be big vs. Pitt in a way that Brown hasn't shown he can do. Hope Miller plays more.
    I'm going to take a stab based on 1 game, but I wouldn't be surprised if our starting LBs are Parsons, Johnson, and Miller by the time Ohio State comes to town.

    9. CBs- TCF looked like our best DB on the field, the only one to consistently have tight coverage. Excited to see him on the field more and more this season.
    Reid was rusty but I'm not worried, he didn't play as bad as you might remember. For the most part App State stayed away from him during the game. He did get burnt once for a TD which stands out very poorly, but you have to give credit to App State for play design as Reid's WR came out like he was going to block for a swing pass, which froze Reid just enough for the WR to run by him for the TD. Reid will be okay.
    Amani on the other hand had a rough game. I'm not sure if he was being targeted intentionally, but he got a lot of action and missed some tackles, gave up some yards in the pass game. The INT was obviously huge and a special play, but I really hope we see some consistency here.

    10. Safeties - Nick Scott played a good game and was the only DB that showed he could make a tackle and hit someone. Pass coverage was solid as well. We'll miss Marcus Allen, but Scott showed he can play.
    Taylor played an up and down game, hopefully he improves with more playing time as it doesn't look like Wade is a starter yet.

    Other random thoughts
    - Focusing on the 4Q, App State played (nearly) 15 perfect minutes of football. Everything went right for them. Their backup QB comes in on 4th and 3 and drops a perfect pass for 1st and goal. I would guess that the double DB blitz that resulted in a TD was a blown coverage, but if it wasn't, App State had the perfect play call on. The onside kick was inexcusable on our end to not be ready for, but give their Kicker credit, perfectly executed. Even their freshman punter got in on the action, pinning us on our own 4 with 4 minutes to go.
    - After the rewatch, we definitely weren't letting App State score at TD as we had some clock and TOs to work with, but we are probably lucky that it worked out how it did.
    - That said, are we also lucky that Hamler didn't take that final kick off to the house? The way our defense played, probably so.
    - We got the win, and a lot of players on film to really work on their game.
    - Like many have noticed, the substitutions were plentiful, bordering on cockiness by our coaching staff to run out so many freshman with the game so tight. I think this happened because, as Franklin has stated, there are numerous positions that nobody has separated themselves to earn more playing time. Having so many guys in during high pressure situations should give the coaches a better idea of who is earning playing time.
    - We got the W. On to Pitt
     
  2. PSU87

    PSU87 Well-Known Member
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    Excellent write up. Welcome to the board.
     
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  3. brupsu

    brupsu Well-Known Member
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    Agree with you.Think we get a lot better this week.
     
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  4. LundyPSU

    LundyPSU Well-Known Member
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    Not sure Juwan has the speed to be the downfield threat. Have to remember that Hamilton and Gesicki were the go to guys for Trace. He will be still adjusting to a new group and building the trust with his receivers.

    D worries me. Yes, one game and hope it improves. But don't see top pass rushers that can beat the tackles on the edge rush. DT is weaker this year, but Givens should help. LB is left to clean up and they are not strong, as is. Agree about Jarvis. Farmer just looks slow.
     
  5. BrucePa

    BrucePa Well-Known Member
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    Yes, App State played a flawless 4th quarter. It seems that a lot of teams play flawless 4th quarters against Penn State. At least 4 in a year and a half, with Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl two years ago, then Ohio State and Michigan State last year, and App State (so far) this year. That's just too many to say it's not a pattern.

    In each of those 4 games, Penn State had a lead, and then they were completely run over in the 4th quarter. On defense, they had absolutely no push or pressure on the QB, who in turn looked like a Heisman winner and shredded the Penn State defense. And on offense, Penn State was mostly a 3-and-out paper lion.

    Those 4th quarter performances are on the coaching staff. If it happens 4 times in your last 15 games, your problems are with preparation.
     
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  6. ericstratton-rushchairman

    ericstratton-rushchairman Well-Known Member
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  7. sss

    sss Well-Known Member
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    Excellent summary. Almost agree with all points, having been at the game and then rewatching.

    OL, Menet and McGovern had a tough game. I expect McGovern will be better as he has played better at OG his FR year. The interior of the line needs to improve, as I thought the rest played pretty well. Not as sure on Parsons as others. They seemed to target his side when he was in. On the other hand, was disappointed in the play of Brown and Farmer, so tough to say where the staff goes from here. Was dissapointed in the young DL. Seemed to be pushed aroud a lot, opening up huge holes, making the LBs life tough. YGM had some nice bull rushes, as did 54. The rest, not so much. Agree that TCF needs to see the field more. He is excellent in coverage. The substitution on D in the first half was crazy. Every series had 4 or 5 differet guys out there from the previous series. And the App State coaching staff did a good job attacking those new guys.
     
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  8. PSUcup1

    PSUcup1 Well-Known Member
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    On a positive note about 4th quarters, in all of the previous games you mentioned we did not score a point in those 4th quarters.

    Against App st we did (and yes I fully recognize the other games were against much better competition), so that’s something to build on
     
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  9. JWB389

    JWB389 Well-Known Member
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    Don't forget lowly Nebraska last year, although that may have had something to do with mass substitutions. Don't recall who was on the field for that mess.
     
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  10. SR108

    SR108 Well-Known Member
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    None of your Business!!
    Agree regarding Johnson, not sure why people were down on him. I watched the game twice, and agree with your assessment.

    The D tackles were plain bad. Poor gap control, trouble shedding blocks. The younger guys were too high with their eyes in the backfield instead of reading hats. One particular younger DT was noticeably slow off the ball as well.
     
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  11. Sviatoslav

    Sviatoslav Well-Known Member
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    That reminds me of something mentioned during the broadcast. Coming out of halftime it was reported Coach Satterfield said they need to withstand the Penn State explosion in the third quarter then they will own the fourth. Everyone says they need to own the fourth quarter, it didn't occur to me that this might be a pattern other coaches are seeing.
     
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  12. TheWhiteOut26

    TheWhiteOut26 New Member
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    I agree about the pass rushers. Was definitely hoping to see more. I give credit to App State for getting off a lot of quick passes. The downside is our DEs weren't beating their tackles anyway to even sniff a sack (for the most part).
     
  13. TheWhiteOut26

    TheWhiteOut26 New Member
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    They sure did. Impressive coaching job on their end.
     
  14. LundyPSU

    LundyPSU Well-Known Member
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    I will also say they need to stop that safety blitz. How many times in the game? Probably less than it felt like. But so slow to get the QB (or the OL as it turned out).
     
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  15. grinagrin

    grinagrin Well-Known Member
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    Great point about Juwan Johnson never having gone up and getting a 50/50 ball yet...also totally agree that Jan Johnson played a good game, unlike a lot of the idiots on here that are looking to bash the walk on and don’t know anything.
     
  16. BBrown

    BBrown Well-Known Member
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    I can't figure out why Jarvis Miller didn't get more time. He did better than anyone out there in his short stint not named Parsons.
    I've got no problem at all with Johnson. He had a good game considering the DT's weren't giving him much help. That will get even better this week if Givens is really back.
    Brown and Koa. Yikes.
     
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  17. BBrown

    BBrown Well-Known Member
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    Wow. Did not hear that. Very interesting.
     
  18. 83wuzme

    83wuzme Well-Known Member
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    Great summary.
    Agree about LB’s. People around here were questioning Johnson but Brown, and at times Farmer, were the bigger concerns. Farmer definitely made gains last season, but he was average at best on Saturday. Brown was a guy a lot of people expected to take a big step last year but it didn’t happen. On certain plays, it looked like he didn’t take care of his assignments.
     
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  19. 84Lion

    84Lion Well-Known Member
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    Very nice writeup. I watched the game this weekend and had a lot of the same thoughts. The team is stacked at RB, the combo of Sanders, Slade, and Allen will be fun to watch...if the O line can give them some good blocking. I think many people think App State is some kind of pushover, but they are not. Obviously well-coached and at a respectable talent level. Personally, I would rather see PSU tested like that rather than have a cakewalk. I also agree with the idea of rotating players in. The more game experience to more players the better.
     
  20. tboyer

    tboyer Well-Known Member
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    Another explanation is simply that they're short athletic ability and depth at D-tackle. Which has been known for years. It's the last position where Franklin has not been able to recruit at the level of a top 10 program (though the 2018 class helps). It's a very hard position to recruit for; there are very few great D-tackles out there (players like Mustipher) and everybody wants them.

    In three years we've gone from Austin Johnson and Zettel, who were NFL players, to Cothran and Cothren, who on a good day were excellent B10 tackles, to Windsor and Givens, who to put it bluntly, haven't yet demonstrated that they're starting tackles in the B10.

    Teams like Ohio State (and PSU while LJ SR was here) get consistent pressure up the middle from D-tackle, and they go three deep.

    Second tier teams, you can run on them and pass on them by splitting the tackles as App State was doing a lot Saturday. Great linebacking can cover for that somewhat but right now PSU doesn't have great linebackers, PSU has inexperienced linebackers.
     
  21. GregInPitt

    GregInPitt Well-Known Member
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    Nice job with the game review. My comments after also watching the game again:

    2. QB - Yep, most of Trace's short throws were catchable. JJ made some catches but missed too many to lead our WR corps, which is what we all (and CJF) expect. JJ is a hard worker and I look for a better game from him this week. Trace will get more synched up on the deep balls as he continues to get comfortable with his new WR's.

    3. RBs - I watched Sanders some in H.S., so I thought some were selling him short. I believe he had 19 carries, but what, 4 in OT? He should be getting 20 - 22 carries per game in regulation. Slade is a talent, like Blair Thomas getting carries and doing some special teams work when DJ Dozier was the featured back. Allen can play, but we need to play our best players and he is the 3rd talent at RB. I'm also looking forward to seeing Journey Brown get a few carries, hopefully against Kent State.

    4. WRs - JJ and Hamler are go to players. If JJ wants to make big $ playing on Sundays he sure needs to catch the deep balls. But I look for Shorter, when he gets on the field, to be a consistent deep ball play maker. I was expecting more from Thompkins, but it's just one game. I'm also looking forward to Hippenhammer and Sullivan-Brown getting into the fray

    6. O-Line - Yep, I hope CJF can make the call and go to Fries full time. Maybe he could move Wright to Guard, where he played in the past, and where quickness and foot speed are not quite as critical.

    7. DL - This was the biggest disappointment to me. The young DT's will get better, Givens will make the DT position better, and it is possible that Mustopher will get more snaps each game as the season goes on (if he is as talented and ready as reported). But I thought the DE's would perform better. I just saw too many pass rush attempts where the DE tried to run around a small and likely quicker than typical B10 OT and had to run so wide and up the field that he took himself our of any chance of being in the play. If the App St. OT's were smaller and quicker than the typical P5 team OT's our DE's should have had the strength to push them back and collapse the pocket. Hope the coaches work on that.

    8. LBs - The biggest question to me is if Farmer, and to a lesser extend Brown, continue their poor play, will CJF replace these upper classmen in the starting lineup with freshmen? Joe had a habit of sticking with Senior too long at times, but CJF will hopefully be more adapt to play the players that will win games. We will see. I am also surprised that Miller did not get more PT.

    9. CBs- It's great to see how well TCF is playing, and I expect Reid to work back into form. Along with Amani, there are 3 expienced CB's. But one of the biggest positives from the game to me was the play of Donovan Johnson, who looks quick and strong. He sure looks bigger than his listed 182 to me.

    10. Safeties - Yep, Scott is a nice player whose run support will help this D against the big running teams in the B10. Taylor looked out of position on many plays and missed some tackles. He'll get better, but I'd like to see Monroe get a chance as well. Sure hope Wade can get better in his angles to the ball, as he looked pretty bad on Saturday.
     
    21 GregInPitt, Sep 4, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  22. MacNit07

    MacNit07 Well-Known Member
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    Excellent post overall. But I do get a chuckle about how frequently people point out the shortcomings of Paterno’s coaching. I guess the man was simply a middling amateur with 409 wins and the best bowl record in College Football history!
     
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  23. PSUArnie

    PSUArnie Well-Known Member
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    That’s some solid stuff. Look forward to your recap every week. Wink wink nod nod.
     
  24. PearlSUJam

    PearlSUJam Well-Known Member
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  25. TangSoo

    TangSoo Well-Known Member
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    Nice writeup. Glad to see you inject some sanity on Jan Johnson's effort which was solid and the least of our problems on Saturday.
     
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  26. Langmuir

    Langmuir Well-Known Member
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    As has been expressed above, I also want to see Sanders in the game more often. It is good to have some of the other backs get more carries but I think Sanders can be "the guy" if given the opportunity.
     
  27. SR108

    SR108 Well-Known Member
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    The key to getting a real good pass rush is stoping the run and putting teams in third and long. Something we were unable to do Saturday in the fourth quarter.
     
  28. MJG-90

    MJG-90 Well-Known Member
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    I think we were all frustrated that Joe would keep throwing Matt Senneca out there when Zac Mills clearly gave us the better chance to win football games.

    I just looked over all of Miles' carries because Pickel made some comment about needing to go north and south to avoid 5-6 yard losses. I didn't remember any big losses, so I went to the play by play in the boxscore.

    Miles had two carries for loss -- on consecutive carries in the 3rd quarter (two pass plays were between the carries) he lost 1 and then 3 yards. No huge losses like the last few years. His carries / yards by quarter -- 4/25, 3/18, 2/-4, 6/27, 4/25 -- 19/91.

    Going into OT he had 15 carries for 66 yards. I like that CJF plays more guys to keep people fresh. And maybe the game plan was to keep Miles fresh assuming he'd be the workhorse running out the clock in the 4th. And that just didn't materialize. But I'd rather see him get more than 4, 3 and 2 carries per quarter.
     
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  29. Sviatoslav

    Sviatoslav Well-Known Member
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    Awesome from that perspective. Damn.
     
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  30. KnightWhoSaysNit

    KnightWhoSaysNit Well-Known Member
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    Defensive line aside, I'm most concerned about the right side of our offensive line. Conner showed that he can be beat with quickness and Fries looked to wear down after not playing a full game. I'll include our center in that concern when we start seeing B1G defensive tackles.

    As for big 4th quarters by our opponents, maybe Franklin should consider taking the ball in the second half instead of the first. I like having the wind during the 4th. Don't like going out on offense to start the game. If that series stalls quickly then you often feel behind the 8-ball. The defense must defend a short field against the wind in their first series and must go out early to start the 3rd quarter.
     
  31. Marylovesthelions

    Marylovesthelions Well-Known Member
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