Sunday, September 7, 2008

Richmond in review

So, Retro Day. Sharp-looking uniforms, no? I wouldn't mind seeing that getup with the current helmet instead of the Penn State knockoff and the V-sabre on the shoulder instead of the old block V. Tell me we wouldn't look good in that. Ironically, during the period when that uniform was worn, we never played Richmond.

Anyway, in honor of Retro Day, it seems there was a lot more throwbackin' going on than just the uniforms and the ticket prices. Let's take a look at what else was retro yesterday and where exactly they threw back to.

- The offense: Back to the last time we played Richmond. Seriously? 10 points? The run blocking is lousy: Simpson carried 23 times and might have had adequate room to run on maybe 2 of them. Pass protection was slightly better than adequate this time around, so there is improvement. Lalich started off really sharp and fell off, but his play was improved as well. It's hard to gauge improvement given the two extremes of opponents we've played, but quarterback accuracy for the most part is irrelevant of the opposition, and Lalich's accuracy was definitely better than last week.

- The defense: November 10, 2007, the last time the defense pitched a shutout. As bad as they looked last week, they were that good this week. I don't care that Richmond is a I-AA team, hell I don't care if the opponent is Sister Mary's School for the Blind. Zero points is zero points, and that's even better when the opponent gets to start five drives in our own territory.

- The band: 1933. Overalls?

- The camera work: Also 1989. Did the yellow first-down line get cut from the budget? Couldn't afford another camera at the other end of the field, or one of those fancy carts that goes back and forth? It was like being back in the student section, only without the fun.

- The broadcasting crew: Any time before the media guide came out. Marcus Covington, Gary Koch, and Yannick Revering all had great games, huh?

Some other observations, including the coveted game ball, which FOV does not hand out for 52-7 losses:

- Al Groh has giant brass balls, which he must have found in the parking lot before the game. Four attempts to go for it on fourth down? That's awesome. I'm not even being sarcastic. I wish teams would go for it on fourth down much more than they do. 4th and 1, 75% of the time, it should be a no-brainer that the punt team stays on the bench. If you can't pick up one lousy yard, which usually is more like a foot and a half, you have bigger issues than overly bold playcalling. I don't care that we failed on 3 of 4 attempts, I want to see this kind of aggressiveness all the time.

- Game ball goes to the entire defensive line for stomping the Richmond O-line into submission. Six sacks and five more TFLs (I know, I know, a lot of that was linebacker play, which couldn't have happened if they didn't keep having to double team the ends.) I think it was Field that blocked the FG. The whole day was picture-perfect 3-4 defense D-line play - they kept the entire five-man O-line occupied and made a lot of the plays themselves. Hats off.

Now for the QB review. If you missed it last week, I go back through the game watching the quarterback's throws, and adjust his stats based on what "should" have happened with that throw. A nice gain is wiped out by a holding penalty? I add that to the stats. A receiver makes a brilliant twisting catch of a badly thrown ball? Subtract those numbers. Ball is dropped by a defensive back? Give the QB the pick that "should" be on the stat sheet. I fully realize this means some yards get counted twice, as in a 5-yard completion after a holding penalty wipes out a 15-yard pickup, but the idea is to gauge the results of the throws themselves.

This is also, for the most part, not to judge where the quarterback should have thrown the ball, just what happened when he did. Most throws happen "as they should" - the QB threw a bad ball and it fell incomplete, etc. A lot of this is judgment on my part, because whether or not a catch should have been made is entirely subjective.

Lalich's stats for the game: 21/39, 204 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Lalich's "real" game stats: 23/42, 228 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT

Like last week, not a lot of variation. (This is probably to be expected. This sort of review is pretty experimental anyway. If we go through the season and there's not a lot of difference, I'll probably scrap the idea and try and come up with something else.) Anyway. Here's how we got the new stats:

Throw #6: Doesn't show up on the stat sheet thanks to an offside penalty on Richmond. It was a 3-yard completion to Torchia, we took the penalty instead. Add a completion, an attempt, and 3 yards.

Throw #8: An incompletion that doesn't show on the stat sheet thanks to another offside penalty. Add one incompletion and an attempt.

Throw #10: A really nice 26-yard completion to Kevin Ogletree that was wiped out by a holding call. Give Lalich 1 completion, 1 attempt, and the 26 yards.

Throw #14: A screen pass to Peerman which Peerman should have had. It's a good thing he didn't because he would have been dropped for a five-yard loss. Add a completion but take away five yards.

Throw #21: Ogletree made a nice sliding catch of a badly-thrown ball. Take away a completion and 10 yards.

Throw #23: Ogletree made an even nicer sliding catch of an even worse thrown ball, and it probably should have been overturned on review anyway. Subtract another 25 yards and a completion.

Throw #25: Dangerous but accurate throw which Ogletree dropped. Add a completion and 20 yards.

Throw #39: Covington had it right on his shoulder and dropped it. Add a completion and 15 yards.

So, all of this: what does it mean for next week? Well, we have UConn next week and our first road test. Take nothing away from their Temple game. Temple is a lousy team but that game was as sloppy and messy as I thought ours would be.

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