Quick thoughts from the Tribe’s win over Central Connecticut State:
This was one to forget
Overall, there’s really not a whole lot to say about this game. The College needed to come out with some semblance of energy, which they did. Beyond that, it was largely a clunker.
Senior QB R.J. Archer looked very solid, apart from one boneheaded throw on the interception, and it seems that this offense is capable of coming close to last year’s in terms of effectiveness. So far, Archer has proven he can handle both a conservative game plan, and one that requires him to make plays. The latter can be expected against Norfolk State, Northeastern, Rhode Island and Towson. In the tough matchups versus Delaware, JMU, New Hampshire and Richmond, the task of winning the game will likely be given to the defense, while the offense attempts to control the clock and not turn the ball over.
Regardless, after two games (three if you count Villanova last year), I think Archer has put to rest any doubts as to his quality of play. (If there were any doubts in the first place.)
The offensive line is a big question mark
The second half of Saturday’s contest was largely given over to experimentation on the offensive side of the field for the Tribe. But the first half should worry anyone who’s a fan of the College. The Tribe o-line repeatedly failed to give Archer time in the pocket against what will be one of the weaker defensive fronts the College faces all year.
Archer did a great job of getting outside with his feet, as he should against a NEC defense lacking great speed. But imagine what Richmond’s defensive line is going to do against the College’s front? I think everyone vividly remembers that defense last year, hounding Jake Phillips into four first half interceptions.
And that’s not to say that the offensive line fared any better in the run game. The College racked up 243 yards on the ground, but very little of that was through the middle of the field. Jonathan Grimes, Terrence Riggins and Courtland Marriner found it tough going all night between the hash marks, as the offensive line mostly failed to open up any space for them. For that problem and in protecting Archer, Laycock is going to need a solution, and quickly.
Which brings me to…
As he reaches 1,000 yards for his career, let’s pause to reflect for a second on Grimes. From the moment I first saw him in the College’s final preseason scrimmage of last year, there was little doubt that Grimes was going to be a special back here. Now, 19 games later, he’s become the fastest in Tribe history to reach 1,000 yards. His last few games have been tough, but the guy simply does not go down on first contact and almost never loses yardage. Is it believable that the New Jersey native only got one scholarship offer coming out of high school? Simply a great find for Laycock and his staff. It’s one which will be paying off in a big way for the next several years.
Undoubtedly the toughest aspect of Saturday’s win. Moody injured his ankle attempting to make a tackle on Archer’s third quarter interception and was down on the field for almost 15 minutes, attended to by about 10 coaches and trainers. Sources on the sideline tell me the injury was horrific to look at and Laycock confirmed that it will require surgery. No official word yet, but I would be shocked the see the redshirt freshman back this season.
Which is a shame considering that he was quickly becoming one of Archer’s favorite targets. After catching 3 balls for 70 yards against U.Va., Moody looked strong again against CCSU before going down, combining good hands, with top-end open field speed. It seemed like the redshirt freshman was going to become a key component of the receiving game, but that will now have to be put on hold until next year.
A quick congratulations to former College cornerback Derek Cox, a third round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the April NFL draft. Derek started in his NFL debut Sunday, lining up against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, a tough opening assignment. He responded by making a goal-line interception, recovering a fumble and notching three tackles. Great debut for an excellent player and even better person.
UVA struggles continue
The Cavaliers couldn’t handle the Tribe last weekend and were blown out by TCU 30-14. Even the mascot is struggling: