Randy Walker: I've been doing this a long time, 20 year's coaching college football, and I've never seen anything quite like Saturday.Finally, we play a team that also can't seem to get it together....
(Our) team came out of the blocks and played exteremely well the first 20 minutes of the game, had a 14 to nothing lead, and were really playing well on both sides of the football.
All of a sudden the Wind came out of our Sails, Minnesota seized the momentum and we never got it back and to their credit they just piled it on and did a great job of taking it to us for the remainder of the football game and we continue to look for consistancy -- there are times we play awfully well and show some real good signs and be a real good football team.
We have to mature and continue to grow up.
There were some positives in our outing Saturday. Like I said, we came out of the Blocks and looked like a quality offense the first two possessions, had a good defense. Our kicking game was solid the entire day, we did our best job in terms of returns, and also being real consistant in punt and kick coverage.
So its probably our best outing in the kicking game -- if we could just find a consistancy play after play -- that's what it takes to win in the Big 10.
Now we have to go down to Bloomington, and that's been a tough place for us to play...Its [Indiana] a team much like ourselves...(their) defense fly's down hill.. (but) they're also looking for consistancy.
Indiana will be returning home for their Homecoming Game after two road losses at the hands of Michigan and MSU.
NU will face Indy's West Coast offense as run by ND transfer Matt Lovecchio -
NU ran right at Ohio State, [and ran all over Minnesota early in the game.]Coach Dinardo: Our expectations of him [Lovecchio] was that he would come in and compete for the starting position...Also in the mix for the Hoosiers are 3 running backs - Senior Brian Lewis, Soph Chris Taylor and Frosh BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The official Indy site reported that their O-Line continued to open holes allowing 20+ yard gains.
he has more maturity than an incoming freshman...he's done a good job, he's been very efficient... interceptions are well below last year...that was a critical thing for us
Dinardo: I'm excited about our run game...They're also practicing long passing [why not] - the Gophers did a pretty good job with the long ball...
Dinardo: We're struggling in the pass game, there's no question, ... our protection could be better, our route running could be better, our catches could be better...Junior WR's Travis Haney [6-4] and Patrick Thompson both had big catches during the offensive scrimmage part of practice Wednesday.
But to wrap up:
Dinardo: I thought our pass game would be further along. I'm excited about our run game, because that was a goal coming in to the season.Much of the improvement in the running game comes from freshman BenJarvus Green.
Obviously our scoring offense is down, our passing offense is down, but I'll be honest, if I had to choose one place to start it would be the running game; I just believe that no matter how many times you throw it, you have to have a running game to be successful because of situation football.
And if you don't, you're going to pay sooner or later, so I'm excited about the improvement in our run game, but I'm disappointed in our pass game.
Dinardo: BenJarvus is a very smart player and he builds on his experience and I think this is one of the reasons that he has so much up side and why he's going to be a teriffic player. He rarely makes the same mistake twice, and a tailback is a position whereyou can't put data into a computer because you can't preface every cut every week and I believe the great running backs once they see something, the remember it and they know how to react next time and BenJarvus has that quality that he builds on his experience.So, its a Hoosier team that is improving as they learn all the little nuances of the West Coast Offensive scheme. The parallels with NU a few years ago stand out - We had our best success with the spread using a transfer from the Irish too, remember?
It appears that Dinardo is trying to do the same thing at Indiana.
but when Coach Walker was asked about not running wide against OSU:Sometimes when you can't figure out a team, sometimes you ask a #2 player:
We didn't feel we had the speed that we would take a chance (and run outside). They were just too fast. ...His solution will be to try to figure out the best way to rush the football against an opponent -- Indiana does have a better rushing defense this year. But the Cats counter with Jason Wright [who usually finds a way to move the football], Noah Herron [a big back with good hands] and an improving, though thin again, Offensive Line. This should be the week that all those elements come back together.
I also have to mention that the Wildcats have a very fast running back playing at Corner - Mr. Ohio Football, Jeff Backes. You have to wonder what a 2 back offense, with Herron and Wright, spelled by Backes would look like behind all those 300 pounders.
"But as of right now we are doing the same thing as last year -- which is kind of letting things go by us without doing anything about it". - [Noah Herron - Daily Northwestern]Game time is 11:10 on ESPN+
And that just might be the problem with this Wildcat team - NU's challenge Saturday will be to continue to shut down the opponents' running game while dealing with an emerging pass attack.
In my opinion, the worse thing NU could allow at Indiana would be 2 long, back-to-back scoring strikes the way they did last week.
We really need to play this one like we did at Duke [and the first quarter last week] - shut down their running game, rush the QB and break up the passing game, and get Jason and Noah rolling north and south.
We play like that, and there's no doubt who will win Saturday.
and don't forget WGN with Dave Eanet and Ted Albrecht or WNUR. We'll have the Chat room open...
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