The offense balled out, staying within the system. This week’s review might be a bit gif heavy but there were some great plays that may have gone unnoticed in the heat of the moment.
Offensive Snap Counts (total 81):
- QB: Clifford - 55, Levis - 22, Roberson - 4
- RB: Lee - 37, Holmes - 32, Bruno - 3, Smith - 1
- WR: Dotson - 54, Washington - 56, KLS - 38, Lutz - 21, George - 14, CSB - 23, Jones - 23, Dottin - 4, Weller - 4,
- TE: Strange - 52, Johnson - 31, Kuntz - 3, Warren - 5
- OL: Menet - 72, Walker - 72, Fries - 72, Miranda - 66, Wallace - 49, Scruggs - 35, Whigan - 21, Holmes - 9, Effner - 9, Wormley - 4
Offensive Personnel Takeaways:
- Anthony Whigan got his first snaps of the season on the 11th drive of the game. Taquan Roberson, Joseph Bruno, Tank Smith, Jaden Dottin, Justin Weller, Bryce Effner & Saleem Wormley also got their first season snaps in this game.
- Mike Miranda played center on the first “garbage time” drive, Juice Scruggs was the next center.
- At this point in the season there’s not usually much left to show, so I didn’t notice any new looks within the first team offense.
Defensive Snap Counts (59 total):
- DE: Toney - 35, Simmons - 29, Isaac - 26,, Vilbert - 20, Vanover - 8
- DT: Mustipher - 36, Shelton - 31, Hansard - 11, Ellies - 8, Culpepper - 12, Ellies - 8, Beamon - 9, Izzard - 8
- LB: Brooks - 47, Luketa - 44, Smith - 50, Dixon - 7, Fisher - 8, Dwyer - 8, Elsdon - 5
- CB: Ellis - 35, Wilson - 42, Hardy - 41, Constantini - 8
- S: Brisker - 50, Wade - 15, Sutherland - 30, Brown - 110, Rudolph - 8, Jennings - 5
Defensive Personnel Takeaways:
- Aeneas Hawkins, Zuriah Fisher, Tyler Elsdon, Robbie Dwyer, Sebastian Constantini, Tyler Rudolph & Enzo Jennings got their first season snaps on defense for this game.
- It happened! Brandon Smith moved to box LB in the nickel formation! It happened multiple times!
- Lamont Wade must have been injured because he played two drives, sat six, played one, then never returned. In his stead Jonathan Sutherland got a lot more snaps alongside Jaquan Brisker.
- Lance Dixon made it into the dog house for his lack of tackling on Illini’s final TD. Never saw the field again.
- Sean Clifford: On Target - 9, Catchable - 7, Miss - 2, Uncatchable - 1, Throwaway - 2
- Will Levis: On Target - 3, Miss - 1, Batted - 1
- Sean Clifford’s stats looked good and he had fewer big mistakes. He was more accurate, though once again everything was made easy on him. One pass over 20yds and he underthrew it by a good bit. His next furthest throw was 16yds on a scramble drill and a 14yd laser to Cam Sullivan-Brown. Every other pass of his was <10yds from the line of scrimmage. Ciarrocca has the restrictor plate on his offense right now so that the QB play doesn’t put it into a wall. I was surprised upon review that nearly every throw to Dotson on those curls was low, it might be a result of emphasizing not throwing high.
- Speaking of Dotson, roll the film. All six of his receptions were within 8yds of the line of scrimmage and he totaled 189yds on the day. YAC, YAC, Yakety YAC. He’s a big play threat, some might say. The most impressive reception of the day was his third where he made some guys really miss. Also, showed the speed and slipperiness on his big punt return the possession before that. Hopefully this isn’t his final game in Blue & White.
- Brenton Strange and Theo Johnson had a really good day. Johnson had two early grabs for 42yds. Strange had four receptions for 31yds and a very fun TD. The TE position is strong. Good hands, good athleticism, and good blocking.
- Johnson started out strong with a greatly designed 23yd gain where he was the inline TE. Strange took a LB with him to the outside and kept the attention of the CB, Lutz cut the face of the LB responsible for Johnson, and Johnson just ran a seam route. Levis hit him on the money and Johnson made the grab. It was a great design to get the targeted man wide open.
- Johnson had the very next reception too for 19yds after nine consecutive rushes. The OL blocked for a run left and the LBs bit so hard. It’s quite funny to see #35 realize far too late that he’d run past Johnson who was wide open. This wasn’t an RPO, it was straight play action, but both rely on establishing the run. #ETR
- Keyvone Lee and Caziah Holmes had to earn their TDs. Only Will Levis gets to be a TD scavenger. Lee had 8 carries (of 15 plays) including the final 4 on his TD drive. Holmes had 9 touches (of 12 plays) on his two TD drives.
- Parker Washington only had one target on the day but it was him being his usual self of knowing the right place to be at the right time. Clifford was scrambling left so Washington found the empty level in the Illini defense and tracked Clifford until the ball was thrown his way.
- Nice to see the backups in the game. Walk-on RBs Joseph Bruno and Tank Smith averaged 10.5ypc for the season(/game/drive). Backups ARE better than the starter.
- Brent Pry and poor starts are way too close. Luckily strong finishes nearly always follow the poor starts.
- Lance Dixon had a disaster day. On the big QB run to set up the 2nd Illini TD, he ran right past the QB not realizing he’d kept the ball. On the catch & run TD to the TE, he made a very weak tackle attempt almost like he hoped someone else would do it. Didn’t get back on the field for defense the rest of the game.
- Brandon Smith however, he’s most of the way through his werewolf transformation. He’s transformed right before our eyes and next year will be a force to be reckoned with nationally. Especially since it appears Pry is going to start using him in the nickel and as a box LB at times.
- Brisker also had an active day. With Wade not playing 12/15 drives, he was on the field a lot and often around the ball.
- Luketa, not a great game not a bad game, but he did give us this moment. Just man-strengthed a 250lb TE right into the RB then cleaned it up for a tackle. Then let everyone know it.
- DTs played well on the day in pass rush and run stop vs RBs. Considering Pry is doing less pass rush and more QB contain, the defense still let Williams run for quite a few yards.