Todd Berry: We had to adjust to the "unhappy triad" defense that FAU ran
Going into their game against FAU on Saturday, Todd Berry was expecting to see some form of the same defense that the Owls had shown in their previous five games.
Instead they came out in what Berry could only describe as "the unhappy triad," a defense that he hadn't seen since his first season as the offensive coordinator at ULM back in 2004.
TheNewsStar.com explained that Berry noted that FAU came out in an odd front with two defensive lineman lined up on the inside eye of their tackles, and mixed that with some different coverages, which forced them to make some adjustments across the board.
"It created some problems both in the pass game and run game and protection also," Berry said. "It was unique, it really was. I don't know if it's something they'll continue to do down the road or it it was just special for us, but there was some unique things to us."
"It's not just one guy trying to fix things. Everybody's got to fix something. Everybody has to adjust." Berry explained.
"There's been time periods in the course of the season that there was a cover shell change dealing with the receivers and quarterback, but now you've got a front and coverage change. It's the unhappy triad —that's everything. There were a lot of things that were disjointed."
Louisiana-Monroe ended up making the offensive adjustments that they needed and got the win, 35-14 to improve to 4-2 overall, and 2-0 in conference play. This weekend they'll take on Willie Taggart and Western Kentucky (5-1, 2-0), who have won 12 of their last 14 games. Their only two losses during that span were to Alabama and LSU, when each of them were ranked #1.
That kickoff (scheduled for 4pm ET on ESPN3) will be one game this weekend that you'll want to make sure to catch or at least keep tabs on.
We'll see if we can get Berry on here to talk a little bit more about this later this week. It would be interesting to get his thoughts on why the different alignments and coverages gave them issues.
Boise State gets black uniforms
Boise State will be blacking out the stadium this weekend when they take on UNLV, and also unveiled some new uniforms in the process.
The new black uniforms follow the same basic outline as their blue pro combat unis, and feature the over sized Bronco on one side of the helmet and their number on the other side, similar to what they wore against Michigan State earlier this season. They'll be wearing black from head to toe from the helmet to the jerseys to the socks and shoes, only the gloves and other accessories will be blue.
This will mark the first time that Boise State has ever rocked an all black look. Looks pretty sharp, especially the matte black helmet.
First and 10 - Recapping the Week That Was
It's hard to believe we're sitting at the halfway point of the 2012 college football season. We could have sworn Labor Day was just a week or two ago. Regardless, 50 percent of the season is already in the books. Here's what we found noteworthy from Week 7 of the college football slate.
1. Move over Ohio, is New Hampshire the new Cradle of Coaches? Probably not, but this stat (courtesy of Bruce Feldman) is astounding: Coaches from the state of New Hampshire, Chip Kelly and Dan Mullen, currently sit at 12-0 so far this season. Not bad for a state with zero FBS programs and just one FBS signee in 2012.
2. Speaking of the Buckeye State, Ohio stands as the top state in college football right now. Urban Meyer is 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in the AP poll in his first season at Ohio State. Butch Jones is 5-0 and ranked No. 21 at Cincinnati. Frank Solich has Ohio at 7-0 and No. 25 in the AP. In fact, the MAC East standings read Ohio, Kent State (5-1, 3-0), Bowling Green (4-3, 2-1) and Miami of Ohio (3-4, 2-1) while Toledo also sits atop the MAC West at 6-1 and 4-0 in the league. Ohio's seven FBS teams are a combined 38-14. Oh yeah, and Mount Union is also 5-0 and has allowed only seven points all season.
3. Arkansas seems to have put the wheels back on the wagon. One week after handling Auburn 24-7, the Razorbacks again looked like the top 10 team many expected to see in a 49-7 dismantling of Kentucky. No coach in the country could use a two-game winning streak more than the embattled John L. Smith. Yes, the wins came against teams that are a combined 0-8 in the SEC. But when you are 1-4, a two-game winning streak is a two-game winning streak.
4. Duke missed its first chance at bowl eligibility. David Cutcliffe's team jumped out in front of Virginia Tech 20-0 only to see the Hokies reel off the game's final 41 points. Duke's next three opponents (North Carolina, Clemson and Florida State) are a combined 16-4 until a date with 2-4 Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Nov. 17.
5. Congrats to James Franklin and Vanderbilt for finally cracking the code to Florida's fourth quarter defense. After not allowing a point in any fourth quarter this season, Vanderbilt managed to register 10 points in the final frame on Saturday night. It wasn't enough to pull the upset as Will Muschamp's team improved to 6-0 with a 31-17 win. After being outscored 72-22 in fourth quarters last season, the Gators hold a 54-10 fourth quarter edge this season. Florida also claims come-from-behind wins over Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU and Vanderbilt. Conditioning was clearly an emphasis of Muschamp in the off-season, and strength coach Jeff Dillman has definitely succeeded in transforming his team.
6. We're glad to see that Jerry Kill plans to coach again this Saturday. Kill suffered a seizure in his private locker room less than an hour after Minnesota's 21-13 loss to Northwestern on Saturday. Coach Kill was released from a Minneapolis hospital on Sunday morning.
7. Wisconsin has returned to form after a shaky start to the season. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada and interim offensive line coach Bart Miller have found their footing, and the Badgers' offense is back to its old ways. In a 38-14 win over Purdue, the Wisconsin offense rushed 57 times for 467 yards and four touchdowns. Starting tailback Montee Ball contributed 247 yards and three touchdowns on 29 rushes. After rushing for just 3.3 yards per carry over their first five games, Wisconsin is churning out 7.1 yards per attempt over its last two games. The Badgers are 5-2 and 2-1 in the Big Ten, a full two wins ahead of the pack of bowl-eligible teams in the Leaders Division.
8. Oregon will face an interesting challenge at Arizona State on Thursday night. In his first season in Tempe, Todd Graham has the Sun Devils sitting at 5-1 and ranked No. 24 in the Coaches Poll. Paul Randolph's defense is far and away the best unit in the Pac-12 on paper. Arizona State leads the league in total defense by nearly 60 yards per game over second place USC. The Sun Devils is giving up just 3.92 yards per play, nearly a full yard better than the rest of the conference. Randolph's unit also leads the conference in pass efficiency defense (4.86 yards per attempt), and its 3.23 yards per carry allowed is over a full yard better than Oregon's Pac-12 opposition to date. And then there's this: the last time Oregon traveled to the Grand Canyon State on a Thursday night was in 2007 when the No. 2 ranked Ducks lost to Arizona, 34-24. Chip Kelly and co. will hope history doesn't repeat itself this week. Scott and Zach from our staff will be at this game. More on this to come later in the week.
9. Notre Dame trailed for the first time this season on Saturday. The Fighting Irish actually trailed for a full quarter against Stanford after falling behind 10-3 at halftime; they didn't tie the game until a 24-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. Brian Kelly's team trailed again 13-10 before scoring the game's final 10 points in a 20-13 overtime win. Bob Diaco's defense still has not (officially) surrendered an offensive touchdown in four full games.
10. Midweek action begins this week in college football. Starting with Louisiana - Lafayette at North Texas tomorrow night, we will have Tuesday or Wednesday night football all but one week through Thanksgiving.
"Tackling has decreased, that's why there aren't as many great defenses"
Indiana took a top ten Ohio State team down to the wire on Saturday in a 52-49 shootout.
After the game, Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson was asked about their point total being the highest the Hoosiers have ever put up against a top ten opponent. Wilson responded by saying, "It was four points not enough."
Wilson was also asked about their tackling performance, adding that it was good at times, and bad at times. Coach Wilson said that he "saw something the other day" from Chip Kelly noting his belief that missed tackles are largely due to personnel, which is a belief that he shares.
"You have to give credit to those guys being good players. The best thing to do is go to a little league game or a junior high or JV game and listen to some parent or coach say 'block somebody'. So you're always thinking 'tackle somebody'. Well it's kind of hard, it's not like you can always make the tackle, those are good players."
"We continue to work on it, but it's a dynamic of college football. Tackling has decreased year after year, that's why there's not as many great defenses as there used to be."
Indiana State knocks off #1 team in FCS despite no offensive touchdowns
On Saturday, Indiana State traveled out to the Fargodome to take on North Dakota State, a conference opponent and the #1 team in the FCS rankings, and put together a very impressive defensive performance to get the win.
Despite scoring no offensive touchdowns against the defending national champions, the Sycamores ended up winning 17-14 because of two interceptions returned for touchdowns by defensive back Johnny Towalid. Indiana State recorded three total interceptions the entire game.
Coming into the game, North Dakota State had not thrown an interception all season.
The Bison were looking really good coming off of a big 48-7 win over #3 Youngstown State last weekend, but couldn't get the momentum to carry over against the Sycamore defense (which ranks 3rd nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 13 points per game) , The Indiana State defense held the Bison to under 200 yards passing with no touchdowns on the day.
“I don’t think anybody thought that we would win other than our players and us as coaches. Anytime you can beat the defending national champion at their place, it says a lot about our team.” said Indiana State head coach Trent Miles.
“This conference, they are all heavyweights,” Miles said of the competition in the Missouri Valley Conference. “Anybody in this conference can play with anybody. It will be just as tough next week going into Western Illinois.”
Obviously the defensive coaching staff put together a great game plan, and if their guys continue to execute as well as they have been, Miles and his guys are going to be tough to beat.
Video: Tedford leads the team in a postgame chant
Following their 31-14 win over Washington State on Saturday, Jeff Tedford personally greeted and congratulated each member of the team and coaching staff on their way back into the locker room, and then led them in a unique Cal chant.
Take a listen.
While the Bears (3-4, 2-2) have now won their last two in a row, this win marks their first road win of the season. They'll play Stanford at home on Saturday, followed by a trip to Utah next weekend.
Monday TV - Denver at San Diego
Denver travels to San Diego tonight for Monday Night Football.
Eastern time listed.
Denver at San Diego - 8:20 - NFL Network
Coaches of the Week - Week 7
Now that Week 7 of the college football season has come and gone, which coaching staffs did a standout job of getting their teams ready to play? We highlight those stood out to us with our Coaches of the Week.
Head Coach of the Week: Gary Patterson, TCU
One week after suffering his first loss in nearly a full season and four days after announcing that his team will play the rest of the season without its starting quarterback, Gary Patterson's team submitted its most complete performance of 2012. That is what coaches look for when they talk about responding to sudden change. After his first full week of working with co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rusty Burns as a starting quarterback, Trevone Boykin completed 22-of-30 passes for 261 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Dick Bumpas' defense forced Baylor into six turnovers while holding the Bears to its season low in total yardage and less than 40 percent of its scoring average. Patterson's team broke the game open with a 21-0 fourth quarter and posted 509 yards of total offense, its most versus FBS competition in 2012. Gary Patterson's team is now 22-6 following a loss in his tenure and has amazingly won 14 straight conference road games.
Offensive Staff of the Week: Oregon State
Credit the work of Mike Riley, Danny Langsdorf and staff, because no one would have ever known Beavers quarterback Cody Vaz was starting his first college game on Saturday. Taking his first snaps since 2005, the Oregon State quarterback connected on 20-of-32 passes for 332 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Langsdorf's offense also ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns, nearly doubling the the total allowed by BYU's third-ranked rush defense (2.23 yards per carry allowed). Oregon State's 42 points were by far the most scored on a BYU defense that entered Saturday with just 49 points allowed for the entire season. Seamlessly replacing the nation's sixth-most productive passer allowed Oregon State to move to 5-0 for the first time since 1939.
Defensive Staff of the Week: Texas Tech
How's this for perspective of just how dominant the Texas Tech defense was versus West Virginia - coming into Saturday, the Mountaineers' offense had scored 14 or more points in 13 separate quarters this season (that's 65 percent on the year), including seven of eight quarters in Big 12 play. It took West Virginia over 57 minutes to reach that number in Lubbock. Despite not posting any turnovers or sacks, the Red Raiders defense got off the field by holding West Virginia to 9-of-21 on third down and 2-of-7 on fourth down. Art Kaufman and co. held Heisman Trophy favorite Geno Smith to nearly half of his season averages - 52.7 percent completion rate (down from 81.4 percent), 275 passing yards on five yards per attempt (down from 399 yards and nearly 10 yards per attempt) and one touchdown (two below his season average). Texas Tech also held the West Virginia ground game, which so befuddled Texas a week prior, to 133 yards on 3.7 yards per carry. With 50 percent of the schedule behind them, Art Kaufman's crew has halved their 2011 averages (486 yards per game in 2011, 243 in 2012; 6.45 yards per play in 2011, 3.89 in 2012) while jumping 110 spots in the in total defense. A group that finished last season No. 114 in the country currently stands at No. 4.
Special Teams Unit of the Week: Iowa
Kirk Ferentz's team hardly ever does anything spectacular, instead winning with balance, execution and efficiency. Iowa's special teams were exactly that Saturday in the Hawkeyes' 19-16 win over Michigan State in double overtime. Kicker Mike Meyer nailed all four of his field goal tries, including the game-winner from 42 yards in double overtime. Iowa punted eight times, allowing only two returns - one for a yard and another for minus-2 yards. Under the direction of special teams coordinator Lester Erb, Iowa held the Spartans to an average of 17 yards on four kickoff returns while taking their lone kick return 45 yards. In fact, Jordan Cotton's 45-yard kick return in the second quarter sparked the drive that got Ferentz's team on the scoreboard after trailing 10-0.
Call of the Week: Les Miles, Greg Studrawa and Frank Wilson, LSU
With a stable of running backs that boasts Kenny Hilliard, Michael Ford, Alfred Blue and Spencer Ware, you wouldn't think LSU would have to call on his No. 5 tailback, true freshman Jeremy Hill to pull him out of a tight spot Saturday night in Death Valley. But Hill, who entered the South Carolina game with 13 carries on the season, provided the spark that the Miles' team needed with 17 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-21 win over South Carolina. Credit for this move also must go to offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa and running backs coach Frank Wilson - first for getting such running back depth on the roster, and also for keeping all that depth ready to play. "I think that's something the coaches preach," Hill said after the game. "They do a good job of keeping everyone patient. This team has a lot of depth. They recruit well every year. Once you come here, you know you're going to have to wait your turn to play. Once you get that opportunity, you've got to take advantage of it and run with it."