Here are my gut reactions (expect French's detailed film review on Tuesday), please leave your thoughts below.
After a slow starting first quarter the offense, especially the running game, kicked it into gear and looked focused and crisp. The coaches reevaluating the running back rotation resulted in Tony Gregory getting the ball more, and he didn't disappoint. The speedster led all tailbacks in carries and averaged 6.2 a rush. He looked great getting outside, hitting the funnel, and turning it up field. Coleman, Holmes and Scales all looked much more decisive carrying the ball. They hit the hole quickly and it resulted in big gains. Great blocking by the offensive line and fullbacks helped their cause. Logan Thomas complimented the tailbacks, made much better decisions on the zone read, and was able to expose the heart of the defense.
Logan was a conservative 11 of 26, for 144 yards, 2 TDs and a pick. However, there were a bunch of drops, and he only had one bad decision, a forced throw to Davis that resulted in an interception. He looked extremely sharp in the second quarter, but lost part of his fingernail on a QB-sneak-and-score, which might have affected him the rest of the way.
On a few plays Logan dropped back, stood comfortably in the pocket, but rolled out after he was unable find a target. The receivers need to be more consistent separating.
There were some neat play calls too, play action off of the zone read, a fake screen, and more tosses.
The pre-snap motion is causing a lot of false start penalties.
Bud Foster switched up the defensive looks. Michael Cole replaced G-W in the nickel package, and Ronny Vandyke replaced G-W at whip. Vandyke held his own and can move in space. I am interested to see what percentage of defensive snaps G-W played.
Kyshoen Jarrett was all over the field. He had at least 6 tackles and broke up a pass. He played at the line of scrimmage and made a tackle in the backfield. On first glance, Exum played a much better game. His beak was in a couple of piles at the line, and he was a blanket in coverage.
The linebackers, Taylor and Tyler, blitzed early and often mostly right at the A-gap. Until today, Tech mostly tried to pressure the quarterback with just its four down lineman. They struggled to get after the passer, so Foster included more blitzes into the game plan, and they hit home. Tyler and Taylor were tackling machines, 7 and 6 total respectively, and I only noticed one play were Tyler struggled in underneath coverage.
The only two offensive linemen who own their spots are Becton and Painter, the tackles. Arkema, Via, and Benedict all rotated at guard. All three had a horrible miss one-on-one in pass protection, but Via caught my eye a couple of times run blocking—pulling outside. It looked like Miller and Farris alternated every series at center. By my count, Miller had two errant snaps, one high, one low.
We needed that win because Cincinnati is going to be a tough one. Hopefully we're feeling confident and remain focussed.