By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub
Well, double wow! It’s obvious the Owls have a new confidence which emanates from the Central Florida miraculous comeback, and they refuse to be denied. There was some pinpoint passing from Phillip Walker and two great catches for touchdowns. The two-pronged running attack of Thomas and Armstead, along with outstanding blocking, wore down Cincinnati in the second half and put the game away. Not only do we seem to have more depth than all our opponents except Penn State, which was about even this year and not the reason for the loss, we also seem to be better conditioned. Finding our new kicker “Boomer,” was great scouting. Props to the coaches.
There are, however, a few puzzling strategies that should be discussed. For most of the first quarter, the defense pressured off and on with a five man rush and the Cincinnati quarterback was only modestly successful. In the second quarter, we mostly went with a four man rush, and they scored two touchdowns. In the second half we went back to the pressure and shut them out. Gunner Kiel is not a fast nor mobile quarterback, and no threat to pickup large chunks of yardage on the ground. So why didn’t we blitz most of the time?
I did not enjoy half-time at all. The reason was, when we got the ball back with 1:17 left on the clock in the first half in decent field position and we with all three timeouts (for the first time ever), the coaches chose to be very conservative and basically run the clock out. The game was close then, why would you not throw the ball down-field and try to score? A few weeks ago we went seventy yards in thirty seconds with no time outs. Cincinnati ended up with forty seconds left to do some damage.
Yeah, yeah, I know, we’re winning, and I’m thrilled. But I’m not just picking nits. We have three more games in which we should be favored and we can’t afford any letdowns, either by the players or the coaches. Pedal to the metal, always.
Gossip: Pre-game, I had a chance to speak with Pat Kraft our good guy A.D. He was surprised to hear I’m totally against building a stadium on campus. When he asked why, I told him to look around at the 25,000 or so people parked and tailgating in one spot, and that we can’t duplicate this. I went on to predict we would lose many of the over fifty year-old season ticket holders who won’t drive to campus and have to walk to the stadium from remote parking. I also foretold monster traffic jams at Broad & Vine.
The Other Football Team: After the first three Eagles games I thought Doug Pederson was the second calling. Then, he helped blow the Detroit game by being entirely too conservative in his play calling in the last two possessions, which precipitated the fumble. This week, after he made so many bad and too conservative decisions against Dallas, he refused to shoulder any of the blame. One more time and he will forever be known as Andy Jr. “Time’s yours !”
Tomorrow: Conference Reaction