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Gardner Webb: Report Card and Thoughts

Quarterbacks

Grade (A): Great effort by Maynard, that's two very nice performances back to back (its been three weeks since he pulled that off against UTEP-Pitt). As always he spread the ball around well using Rack and Hamlin to tear apart a secondary that was keyed on Roosevelt. About the only really bad pass I saw from him was when he slightly over threw Roosevelt on a screen in the first half, Naaman caught the ball but was in a bad position when he did.

Homework: Work on those wide receiver screen passes, you have plenty of velocity on them but you are, sometimes, hanging your receivers out to dry.

Running Backs

Grade (A): UB has found their starting back, Ike Nduka has 300 yards in two games as a starter. This week it became clear why he is the right back for this line, he is superb at finding the best block and following it, nice cuts and explosion through whatever hole he is given. Brandon Thermilus also looked solid, I think his gift is a "change of pace back".

Homework: Just keep doing what you're doing, I cant see a single downside to our running game over the past two weeks.

Wide Receivers

Grade (A): I did not notice how much double coverage Roosevelt was drawing because I was busy watching Hamlin and Rack tear up the Bulldogs secondary. Clearly Gardner Webb forgot we had several receivers and a great threat off the line in Jessie Rack (BTW Amazing Touchdown Catch) but if anyone else in the MAC did not know we have more than one wide out they are going to know now.

Homework: I suppose the only thing I could find that might need improvement would be yards after contact, I saw a few broken tackles bu on the whole usually our receivers were going to the turf within 2 or 3 yards of a hit.

Offensive Line:

Grade (A): Nice big holes, good pass protection, and a solid push on almost every down against a pretty talented team. For the first time in a long time almost every running play featured first contact more than a yard beyond the line of scrimmage.

Homework: Figure out what you have to do to take this kind of performance to our next six, or more, opponents.

Offensive Coaching

Grade (A): No weird calls this week, when you're kicking the opposing defense in the teeth any play seems like the right call.

Homework: Clone Jessie Racks Hands and give them to everyone on special teams..

(All Defensive units lose a half letter grade because nobody took the ball away)

Defensive Line

Grade (A-): Solid pressure the whole game, keeping any program at or under 50 yards rushing is impressive as is the 2.0 yards per carry. Still I would have liked to have seen more pressure on the pass rush, Gardner Webb does not have a very talented offensive line and doo little should not have managed to throw for 150.

Homework: Do as good a job stopping the run against Akron next week, maybe put take another second or so off of the amount of time their Quarterback has to make a decision.

Linebackers

Grade (A-): They covered the field well, and did a pretty decent job taking away the short passing game. Cant really ask much more out of a Linebacker corp than what they offered up this week.

Homework: More work stripping the ball by the second and third guy in.

Defensive Backs

Grade (A-): The force of contact at the catch was great but UB did give up a couple of 15+ yard plays (that me in nitpicking mode again)

Homework: As much as I want to give homework to everyone, and yes the DB's did not get a pic there is nothing they could have done better.

Defensive Coaching

Grade (A-): I hope we are seeing the results of six weeks worth of butt chewing and not a fluke against a IAA team but I thought the defense had a great balance of blitzes against Webb.

Special Teams

Grade (C+): I still have to hold my breath every time we punt, kickoff, or try to return a kickoff, Our special teams have to be close to the worst in division IA ball and the shame of it is that Fardon and AJ are way better than they are kicking.

Homework: AJ, start kicking extra points until you get 50 in a row... Fardon, Start punting the ball until you put it 35+ yards 50 times in a row.

Overall (A-):

This could be just what the doctor ordered to get UB moving in the right direction, close losses to UCF and to CMU, (to say nothing of Temple Drubbing us in Philly) have really put this team behind the eight ball. If UB even wants to sniff a bowl this year they have to win five of their final six ( with WMU and Ohio on our schedule ). If they want a shot at the east division they have to win out.