Thoughts from game and press conference
Joe had his weekly press conference today, and as usual, nothing too exciting to report. It was reassuring to find out that both Darryl Clark and Derrick Williams are fine, since both seemed to be bothered with minor injuries on Saturday.
Anyone hoping to find out more about the suspensions to Evans and Koroma were disappointed, as Joe offered no further information. Instead, he said he still has to get “things straightened out” and would handle their situation on a “day-to-day” basis. If I had to guess, I would predict that both players will be back by the Illinois game, if not sooner. The loss of Hayes hurts a lot, and these guys are certainly needed back ASAP. What was once the deepest part of the roster seems to be deteriorating each week due to suspensions and injuries. I expect the Illinois game to be an offensive shootout, but Juice Williams will have a much harder time throwing the ball with Mo Evans in his face all night.
Going back to the Oregon State game, a few bright spots that could easily have gotten overlooked:
1. Downfield blocking. Everyone knows the offensive line has been doing a tremendous job. I think this is the best line we’ve had since 94. But the linemen aren’t the only ones plowing the way for Royster and company. In each of the first two games, the wideouts have provided key blocks that have turned ten yard runs into 20+ yard runs. Most notably, Brett Brackett and Derrick Williams have thrown some great blocks. Dan Lawlor has also been a beast as a lead-blocker.
2. Tony Davis. He may be the most under-rated player on the squad. He is a great all-around corner: good in coverage, solid tackler, rarely caught out of place. He doesn’t have the straight-away speed of burners like King and Wallace, but he has more than adequate speed and doesn’t have many flaws in his game. Moving him to safety last season was a failed experiment and it’s good to have him back at his natural position. At the opposite corner spot, I still think we need to get Wallace on the field more and he should be starting over Sargeant.
3. Drew Astorino. There have been a lot of great things said about this kid, and he showed why on Saturday. He played early and often, and appears to be somewhat of a ball-hawk. Should have had an interception, but made a nice play on the ball regardless. Doesn’t have ideal size, but the kid seems like a player. I expect to see more of him as the season goes on.
Some of the more obvious bright spots from the game include: Josh Gaines (I’m hoping that was his breakout game and he continues to play like that). Evan Royster (Makes it look easy. Great vision and showed improved speed.), Jordan Norwood (Seems to be Clark’s number one option.), O-line (see #1 above), Odrick (made some great plays, tough to block), Darryl Clark (great seeing him run. Some nice passes, some off the mark – worries me sometimes when he throws flat-footed without stepping into his throws).