OFFENSE: SHE SAYS
The offensive line had some struggles in both pass protection and in the run game. Some of that can be attributed to the stout Minnesota defensive line which could be one of the better lines they see all year.Darell Garretson did a lot of good things in his first game as a Beaver. He saw the field pretty well and made some tough throws. The two fumbles were killers, but that can’t be completely shouldered by him.
Seth Collins looked like a veteran receiver, although I wasn’t a fan of the wildcat keeper as it was too predictable. Ryan Nall was also great early but the O-line didn't help him much as the game wore on.
SHE SAYS-GRADE: C
OFFENSE: HE SAYS
As I expected, the offense was a bit hit or miss all night.
Positives were Garretson, Collins, Nall and Noah Togiai.
Garretson played quite well for his first game, on the road in a Big 10 stadium. He showed poise and confidence. He outplayed a senior QB on the other side of the field. I’ll take a 62.5% completion rate any day of the week.
Collins, as Angie mentioned, was also more than solid. If he keeps progressing, he appears to have the potential to become an excellent receiver.
Noah Togiai showed nice hands coming off the line, making some tough angled catches for important conversions. It’s so important in this offense to have a good pass catching tight end.
The negatives were the offensive line. They really struggled opening holes in the run game. Take out Nall’s 40 yard scamper and he averaged 2.58 yards/carry on his other 12 totes. In addition, Garretson was heavily pressured most of the game and was sacked 4 times, which directly led to the two fumbles and subsequent Gopher scores.
Shore up the o-line just a bit and the Beavers pull that game out.
Victor Bolden and Jordan Villamin need to play better going forward. Both had drops that need to be caught at this level. And Bolden REALLY struggled in the return game, tracking the ball. Not sure if it was a lighting issue or what, but it was bad.
HE SAYS-GRADE: C
DEFENSE: SHE SAYS
The very first thing that stood out to me when the defense lined up was the fact that the defense looked bigger, like they were the same size as their opponents. The Beavers of the last few years have seemed smaller than most of their competition. It’s clear that the work put in this off-season with Coach Simon and his staff is paying off.
The second noticable item is that Manase Hungalu and Devin Chappell have stepped up their game. Both were all over the field making plays and have gone from minor role players a year ago to looking like defensive leaders this year.
Were there some lapses? Yes. But as a whole, this is a defense that appears vastly improved over a year ago.
Like the offense, this game film and bye week will give the coaches time to really nail down some key concepts.
SHE SAYS-GRADE: C
DEFENSE: HE SAYS
Yes, there were breakdowns, but in general, they seemed well prepared and in position, which is much more than I could say most of last year. Last year’s defense was nothing short of dismal. On Thursday night, I never felt like I was watching last year’s defense.
While I don’t think Minnesota is going to set the world on fire offensively, they are an experienced squad that struggled at times with the new look Beaver D.
The Gophers only racked up 280 total yards on the night and were the beneficiaries of some fortunate fumbles that sparked two of their touchdowns.
Their experienced senior QB completed only 50% of his passes for a measly 130 yards and zero touchdowns through the air.
Xavier Crawford had a nice all-around game with 8 tackles and two pass breakups. The redshirt freshman, who originally signed in September 2014 and greyshirted, shone brightly in his first game action.
On the down side, the Beaver D struggled containing the run game and had a few tackling miscues, all of which helped the Gophers win the game.
The D-Line, which physically appears much more capable, didn’t get much consistent pressure on the Gopher QB and failed to register a sack. This will have to improve as they enter Pac-12 play.
It appears there is more to work with this year, but still a long ways to go.
HE SAYS-GRADE: C+
COACHING: SHE SAYS
They always say that the biggest jump comes between week one and two. The Beavers have an extra week to tighten things up and continue to get better before running the gauntlet of 11 straight games.
Kudos to the coaches for getting the team ready, especially the Strength and Conditioning staff led by Evan Simon. The team was visibly bigger and they seemed to be in adequate condition.
It will be interesting to see what changes the coaches make, especially on offense.
SHE SAYS- COACHING GRADE: B
COACHING: HE SAYS
I’m still buying what this staff is selling.
There were zero procedural penalties on the Beavs. None. On the road. In the first game.
In contrast, Minnesota had five.
I thought the team looked well prepared to compete. They were competitive throughout and had more than a decent shot at winning.
DIdn’t love all the play calls, but being the first time out for the co-coordinator duo of Kevin McGiven and TJ Woods, we’ll see how they adjust going forward.
This was a complete rebuild from the day Gary Andersen took the job. It’s not going to happen overnight, or in a season or two. However, if this first game of Year 2 is any indication, the trend is going in the right direction.
HE SAYS-COACHING GRADE: B-null