Mobile, Ala. – Greetings, all. Closing down the day. Not excited about getting on a plane in six hours, but I’m always excited about posting on the blog. A few thoughts.
1. The problem with the defense is a few things, I think. First, the line has effort guys, but I’m not sure they’re ready for the task at hand. It seems like repeatedly they get moved off the line of scrimmage. I don’t know that effort or technique is the problem; it might be that they’re just up against better players. They’re not a particularly big group, which is part of the problem, also.
Also, the tackling hasn’t been very good. USA running back Kendall Houston got hit behind the line of scrimmage multiple times, then bounced off and ran for positive yardage. I’d put that on players and coaches.
That said, the defense played much better in the second half than the first, and South Alabama coach Joey Jones said that he thought that Georgia State played harder and “bowed up” in the second half. Again, you put that on the coaches for not preparing players better and the players for not being ready to go.
2. What is particularly remarkable about how Drew Little is throwing the ball is that the offense is becoming increasingly one-dimensional and thus more predictable. South Alabama and Old Dominion, in particular, knew that Georgia State had to throw, and yet the Panthers were able to move the ball effectively in spite of that. Plaudits to the offensive line for effective pass blocking.
The Panthers have to get some semblance of a running game going by the time they go to Tuscaloosa, or I have to believe it will be all kinds of ugly. If the Tide can come after Little with little fear of a running game – perhaps the score will produce this situation anyway – that won’t be a good thing for Georgia State.
3. Coach Bill Curry noted after the game that South Alabama “wisely” decided to burn a year of eligibility last year with its freshman class by playing junior colleges and post-secondary academies. (Like Georgia State, South Alabama’s first class of players came in last fall.) Curry is unfailingly gracious to Georgia State opponents, but regardless it was an interesting choice of words for him to call their strategy wise. It’s obviously water way under the bridge, but it makes you wonder how things would have turned out if it had done as South Alabama had. Apparently, Curry might be wondering the same, also. He jokingly said he wished during the game that his team had played last year.
Of course, that’s Curry talking minutes after his team had gotten scorched by a team that was more experienced and simply better. This season would undoubtedly be different, but so would the 2013 season, when the current class of freshmen will be seniors and South Alabama’s first class will be out of eligibility.