S or N: Stomping Hens
The classical definition for Slobberknocker is a literal hard hit. I'm going to play off that somewhat in a more figurative manner. While in contrast, and maybe more obviously, the Naw's are things that shouldn't have happened and/or need to change.
We're three games into what appears like it will be four more years of prosperity in the Fargodome. The passing and running are already well beyond Trey Lance's on field experience. The clearest example to me was on his touchdown pass to Noah Gindorff where he kept rolling to his right until the opportunity to fit in safely was there then with a flick of his wrist the ball was in the back of the end zone for six more points. I've seen more NFL quarterbacks than I care to remember that couldn't pull that play off. It seems as thought it'll be a recurring theme this year but I have a feeling that he'll find ways every week to be original about it. Probably not no-look or off-handed-jump-pass level original but noteworthy production that can't be foreseen!
The Sunshine Boys
With Dimitri Williams nursing an injury and Ty Brooks put on ice for closer contests down the schedule, Kobe Johnson & Saybein Clark did the majority of the damage running the ball. 161 combined yards in only 17 carries, 101 coming by way of the true freshman Johnson. Maybe it's too early to dub the young duo with a nickname but since they're both part of the present & the future, I'm not inclined to agree. They were the latest in the continual unveiling of all the things that will continue to frustrate the rest of the sub-division!
Up two touchdowns with time winding down, I get why the defense (except for Jabril) relaxed in the fourth quarter. There is a major difference between understanding something and approving of it though. The effort which allowed the thoroughly overmatched Hens to score was not acceptable. If I were to make a prediction about it, I'd say that the coaches have and will make that same point to the men this week.
If you are of a mind that you don't get why it was a problem, I'll explain it. The Bison are still in the preseason portion of the schedule. Delaware & UC-Davis will likely be on the playoff bubble, if not in the field once it's set. Delaware however, is not remotely the toughest team that they'll face before the playoffs and with all the new players in the mix, it's crucial to develop the stamina and mental wherewithal to go for all four quarters against good teams. Like I said, up two touchdowns I understand why it happened but it cannot be allowed to become anything resembling a pattern or more than a fluke, one time lapse.
Far & Wide
The stats weren't as eye popping but another pair of young players showed what they're capable of, even in limited opportunity. Today Phoenix Sproles was the one to make the single biggest catch of the receivers but Christian Watson had a highlight type catch of his own. Tyler Roehl won't ever go Air Raid on the offense, even though it seems like they have the players to make it work, but maybe his youth will lead to some metamorphosis from what has always been. Add in the tight ends, who managed two of the three receiving scores while otherwise being pretty quiet today and there should be little doubt of the dynamic potential of the offense!
NDSU seems to find good players at every position such that theres basically never a drop off, no matter how great the departed players are. Some of that is based on scheme but they also manage to find ways to keep the cupboard well stocked! The latest example of that, who made one of the biggest impact plays for the defense today was Michael Tutsie. That there has been no noticeable drop off from Robbie Grimsley should not be overlooked, just the opposite in fact!
I already mentioned him as the most clear example of a player going hard til the final whistle but I can't do a reaction piece about the Bison without mentioning Jabril Cox at length. It was a fairly ho-hum performance by the future NFL guy, which included putting pressure on the quarterback in coverage and as a rusher. Every game that he plays in I find myself confounded with how he got out of Big12 country but very glad that he's with the Bison!
In addition to Jabril's one sack, seven other Bison defenders wrapped up the quarterback for a loss of yardage. That's some equal opportunity harassment that everyone should be able to get behind! The stat speaks for itself so well that I'm just going to move on.
I know he's "just" the punter but I'm a fan of Gerret Wegner & today was just more proof as to why it's deserved. In addition to being one of the best punters in the country, which is a good enough reason to merit fandom, he has the new coaches confidence to the degree of calling a trick play and he pulled it off. As a long suffering Vikings fan, excellence by punters and kickers is unignorable & today's effort by Wegner was great!
Well, that's all I've got for this week! Until next Saturday, have a good one!