This game ended up being the worst loss of the season for App State. They lost their starting quarterback on the first drive of the game and had to make due with a freshman. Then they lost their starting middle linebacker to a targeting call soon after.
There isn’t a lot to learn from this game because GSU runs the option and App State had to adjust because of the injury to their quarterback. I did find a few plays that give a good look at what we might see from the offensive line, though.
I’m also back to making gifs for these posts, so I got that going for me. I’ll get back to doing these post but they will be every other week until I run out of games to do. This way I can keep up with them.
App State Ball, 2nd and 15
I’m just going to be honest and say that I loathe this play call. Football Study Hall did a nice explainer on how offenses like App State’s are using different formations to confuse defenses. The unbalanced line here is meant to do that but then they run a jet sweep to that side. You can see how easily the defense adjusts and then they react to the blocking scheme and string the play out. My hope is that the line was supposed to start unbalanced but there was confusion early in the game.
GA Southern Ball, 1st and 10
Coach Satt has pointed out that his defense forces a lot of turnovers but doesn’t give up big plays. This play stood out to me because you can see how they defend this fake screen play. Clemson runs a variation of this play and other teams will mix it in to specific game packages. I’m not sure why GSU ran it before they tried to run a screen play, but whatever I guess.
The App State defenders outside communicated before this play started and you can see that they all keep their eyes in the backfield and react to the play while maintaining depth. The mindset is that they can react to the screen and close with one unblocked guy. Keeping their depth allows them to react to the fake and stay with their man down the field. The trust in the pass rush also factors in and that trust pays off as the quarterback has to bail out.
GSU Ball, 3rd and 14
The pursuit on this play is amazing. Watch the defensive end to the play side get his shoulders turned and make it impossible for the lineman to get into his pads to drive him anywhere. He beats that block and completely blows up the play. The OLB to that side is also there to make the tackle. Throw in Clifton Duck at corner being right on the pitch man and this play is dead before it gets started.
GSU Ball, 2nd and 6
This is really good assignment football by everyone on defense. They read the offensive line to see that this play is being blocked to the left and they all work to get to the ball carrier. You can see that the linebacker that makes the initial hit keeps his feet moving the entire play. That energy is needed to be able to explode once you diagnose the play. UofL defenders flat out didn’t do things like this last year.
GSU Ball, 3rd and 7
This is a good look at the “The Other 10” mantra at work. The defensive line gets blown off the ball on this play but you can see that the second level players sift through and get to the back at the line of scrimmage. I feel like a broken record already when I point out the effort of this defense but it shows on nearly every play. They beat blocks over and over again like you can see on this play.
GSU Ball, 4th and 7
This is a good mix of really awful blocking by GSU and App State overloading in the correct spots. They rushed off of the right side of the snapper and they end up making the wall chose. They opt to stop the guys straight ahead like they’re supposed to and an outside guy gets a free shot at the block.
App State’s special teams made a handful of big plays this season and that should translate in some areas next year.
App State Ball, 1st and 10
The App State run game was built on precise execution like you see here. Watch the center and left guard get a great double team with the center moving on to the linebacker that tries to shoot the gap. He shoots that gap because the double h-back set to right of the quarterback. It seems obvious that this play is going to be to the right side of the formation.
However, it’s an inside run with the tight ends crossing over as the backside blockers. The hole is massive because everyone does exactly what they’re supposed to do. That includes the back hitting the hole hard. He doesn’t get touched until he’s seven yards down the field.
Louisville will have to fix a major issue with the offensive line because this level of execution never happened last year. Dwayne Ledford got great execution out of his line in his time at NC State, so there’s a good chance that he can work things out quickly here.
App State Ball, 1st and 10
I could just repeat what I said about the last play. The offensive line execution is just great. You can see how they all move in unison at the snap and they work together on their blocks. If UofL can get to this point, they’ll be in good shape next year.