Yes, I'm spending a sunny holiday by doing some work that I took home on Friday afternoon and re-watching the Coastal Carolina game. Some thoughts on the latter:
- The quarterbacks were great. Daryll Clark was precise. Pat Devlin threw one of the nicest passes I've seen in 10 years at Penn State. It's just Coastal Carolina, but I think we're going to be fine at QB. By the way, rushing yards for Daryll Clark? Zero. Rushing attempts? Zero. The flavor of the day was vanilla.
- He was the almost-savior at Michigan State last season, but I think we have enough evidence now. Brent Carter is a better running back than we thought. Also nice to see Stephfon Green getting carries inside the tackles. And of course, Evan Royster is still amazing.
- After that Derrick Williams touchdown, Coastal's brief hopes were crushed. The Nittany Lions could've named the score at that point. Penn State's offense managed to keep throwing the ball and getting Devlin passing reps without blatantly running it up against Coastal Carolina.
- Defensively, there were some issues. Coastal provided future Penn State opponents with a blueprint. They began by attacking Mark Rubin and (to a slightly lesser degree) Josh Hull in the passing game. Halfway through the first quarter, Coastal figured it out. They lined up quickly, which allowed the quarterback to see where Penn State's cornerbacks were playing. If they were providing a large cushion, Coastal threw the easy eight-yard out patterns that have driven Penn State fans insane over the past few years. If the corners were up on the line of scrimmage, Coastal went after Hull in the middle of the field.
- They used the strategy successfully on one drive, but it was derailed by consecutive false start penalties. They stayed with it on the ensuing drive, and it resulted in Coastal's only touchdown. The corners were up, QB Zach MacDowell called the crossing pattern going after Rubin, all three LB blitzed (why? why are they blitzing there?), and the Rubin/Scirrotto tandem didn't handle the crossing receivers properly. Nobody home in the middle, perfect play call, easy touchdown. It was the culmination of a period which was easy pickings for the Chants offense. Didn't last long, but the point was made.
That issue aside, a fun day of football. Lots of true freshmen played, including Brandon Beachum, Michael Mauti, and Jack Crawford, who made a surprise appearance at defensive tackle.
What does it mean for next week? Oregon State's defense isn't much to worry about. Stanford ran all over them, and they don't tackle particularly well. However, Mike Riley is an advanced offensive coach and Oregon State is going to bring significantly better players to Beaver Stadium next week. The Beavers attacked the middle all night long against Stanford and have multiple deep threats at receiver. If they get the right mismatches and limit QB Lyle Moevao's brainfarts, we could be looking at a wild shootout on Saturday afternoon.
One variable people aren't discussing yet -- the weather.