Ok, so naturally we were hoping for a better debut than a 56-27 defeat doled out by Rice. The score and the loss notwithstanding, there are some positives to take away from last Friday's game. One thing is certain, the new uniforms are kick ass.
First of all the, offensive line held up well in its first game. No one is going to confuse Rice's defensive line with a bunch of Reggie White clones, but given that Chase was playing a new position, Tennyson, Boyd, and Beachum were all in their first collegiate games, the line performed as well as could be expected of it. Dennis McKnight has done well at folding two returning starters (Enright and Lobo) in with a converted TE (Chase), a returning reserve (Poynter) and a mixture of red shirt and true freshmen (Beachum, Tennyson, Boyd). The real test is still two weeks away when the Ponies play Texas Tech, but the early results are good. I also thought DeMyron and McKinney blocked well and seemed to fit their new roles nicely. DeMyron was always a tailback to be used on occasion--his performance against TCU in 2005 aside. I think he'll flourish in this offense, particularly as the QB (be it Bo Levi, Turner, or whoever) gets more comfortable in the offense as well.
Bo Levi Mitchell...He's a freshman who was making his first start ever at the collegiate level. What did we expect? The picks were bad decisions made based on fatigue. Not much to add to that except that he will get better. Logan Turner looked great in his brief time in at QB. His arm slot when throwing is remeniscent of Vince Young during his UT days. I sincerely doubt Turner has anything like Young's mobility though. Prove me wrong Logan!
The defense was....well it was a familiar sight unfortunately. McCann shut down Jarret Dillard in the first half for the most part, only to have the Rice coaches move Dillard to the other side where he was just too much for Derrius Bell. McCann, who played well all game, until the fourth quarter when, after having his great play pointed out by the ESPN crew, he was immediately owned by Dillard on a slant through the end zone...thanks ESPN guys (who the hell were those guys by the way?) The pass rush still needs some work. Elizee was double teamed by the Rice O line all night and so couldn't get to Clement (other than the one side swipe in which Clement appeared to hurt his hand). Dizer, Sowe and Handy were all fighting the humidty induced cramping. Dizer already had hammy issues coming into the game and his mobility wasn't helped by the amount of moisture and heat in the air. Rock Dennis is going to be good. You heard it here first. He needs to get a little more discipline though (the hit out of bounds was a major mental error which gave Rice even more momentum). It was also good to see Banjo get some playing time.
Sanders looked great and Robinson has great promise (Aldrick if it hits both of your hands that you mean you should have caught it). If there was any doubt that they will put up huge Crabtreean numbers in this system, then Friday night put away those doubts. It's going to be fun and frustrating to see this offense continue to develop.
The Mustangs welcome Texas State to Ford Stadium this Saturday. Ty and I will be on the Boulevard tailgating. I'm looking forward to seeing those new home uniforms. In the meantime, everyone stay patient with this team and with JJ.
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