Idaho Reaction

After the 44-14 loss to Idaho on Saturday, most Sioux fans were left scratching their heads as to how two halves could be so different.  Here are our thoughts on what went down on Saturday:

  •  The Sioux offense was poor on Saturday.  They only managed 11 first downs and had 197 total yards.  QB Joey Bradley was 15-31 for 166 yards (1 TD and 1 Int).  Once again, there were many drops that contributed to that low percentage but there were also some errant passes.
  • The offensive line played better in pass protection than Week 1 but could not open any holes for the running game.  The Sioux only had 29 yards rushing on 20 carries.
  • UND offense was 3 of 13 on 3rd down.
  • Time of possession:  Idaho – 35:35  UND – 24:25.
  • The Sioux keep trying to get the ball to Jer Garman but it never works out.  Either its thrown too high or gets batted down at the line.   The one pass he did have put on him was dropped on 3rd down.  Kid is snakebit right now.
  • The Sioux had a -2 turnover ratio after being +2 in week 1 vs. Drake.
  • Idaho QB Brian Reader ended up with 299 yards and 4 TD’s and 0 Int’s.   After a very shaky start in which the Sioux got to him a couple times he really settled down.  The last drive before the half he led them down the field without in incompletion and changed the momentum of the game.
  • The Idaho offensive game plan changed in that drive.  They max protected and simply ran 2-3 man routes and the Sioux could not get to Reader anymore with the blitz.
  • There were way too many holes in the secondary’s coverage that last drive of the first half and the entire second half.  Idaho kept beating what appeared to be some version of Cover 2 by hitting the receiver along the sideline in the pocket between the corner and safety.  The corners were not carrying the route long enough to let the safety get over there.   However, there were times that the safety did not get over there either.  Credit to Idaho for finding that gap. 
  • A couple times Reader recognized the blitz and checked to man routes for his receivers and beat our secondary.
  • The run defense was pretty good throughout (117 yards on 38 carries).  Idaho got some yards late but didn’t do much in the first 3 quarters.
  • The defense had way too many missed tackles.
  • The defense lost contain on the QB again too many times on the edge.
  • Special Teams was outstanding again on Saturday.  They had a 79 yard punt return for TD, blocked FG, excellent kickoff coverage all day, decent kickoff return average (25 yards).  Brett Cameron had a 41 yard punting average but only put 1 inside the 20.  We would love to see that get better.
  • The Sioux were outscored 34-0 in the 2nd half after having a 14-10 lead at halftime.  The Vandals went to a full time passing game and the Sioux had no answer.  With the offense stagnant, the defense had a combination of wearing down and apparent busted coverages throughout the second half.
  • This was a game where the fans were wanting to gauge how far the program has come with respect to winning an FBS game.  The first half showed them there has been some progress and that we have the players to compete.  The 2nd half was 180 degree’s opposite.

19 Responses

  1. UND92,96

    It really seems that ever since Freund graduated, the offense has struggled to find any sort of consistency or identity. With that said, I am certainly not saying that all of the blame for UND’s post-2008 offensive woes falls on the quarterbacks. It almost seems like all aspects of the offense have taken a step back since 2007 or so, or am I wrong?

    I know it’s tough to find a Dressler or Chappell-type talent, but at some point you’d think the 27 additional scholies would result in sufficient talent to be at least close to on par with the 2006 and 2007 offenses. Right now, it seems UND is light years away offensively from where the program was when it beat UNI.

  2. The offense is not clicking right now and we are not sure why. There is some talent there and the offensive line is getting better. It’s frustrating for all of us to watch because we are so used to having a solid program that has a chance at winning every single week.

  3. Siouxper fan

    After watching Saturday, I was amazed at how un-athletic we are at skill positions. Besides Harden, who on this team can run?

    Our skill people on offense aren’t very good and I thought our D-backs were way too soft in coverage for most of the game. We were soft either because we don’t coach them to play differently or……………..the secondary isn’t very athletic either.

    Bottom line…………….we need athletes.

    1. I can see how you would come to that conclusion based on the struggles of the offense. But the athletes are there. They just are not getting them the ball in the right areas or something. Ivery, McGill and Hardin are all very good athletes with good speed and quickness but the ball is not being delivered to them. It is either scheme or timing. We are not great offensive minds so we don’t know.

    2. Siouxper fan, appreciate your input, but I personally totally disagree with your statement about not having anyone else “on this team who can run”. Hardin, McGill, Garman, and Miller all have good top-end speed. Ivery also will probably start to show his athleticism as he gets more comfortable and more involved in the offense.

      I agree with your comment about the corners and safeties being too soft however. We have been pleading for the corners specifically to be more aggressive for the last 3 years. Our corners are athletic and can run, now they need to be smart DB’s and have good football IQ. Our 2 best safeties are Hawkins and Mersereau. Both are the same type of player and both “can run” as evidenced by Mersereau’s punt return for a TD last week. Hawkins returned a kickoff for a TD against Montana last year. Anytime you do that, you have guys that can run.

      We have guys on both sides of the ball who are less athletic than you’d like to see them be at this time. That will hopefully change as the recruiting classes the last couple of years start to get older and better.

      We always need more athletes. I just believe right now we do have some that are in that mold already.

      Thanks again for your readership and comments, Siouxper fan.

      1. UND9296

        Regarding the secondary, is it a scheme problem, or are the players just paranoid about not getting beaten deep and as a result giving too much cushion?

        1. Good question. It is rarely a scheme problem when it comes to pass defense. Our overall feeling after the game was that the secondary got beat a few times and then started backing off, which is natural. The problem was that down and distances changed but how far the DB’s played off the receivers didn’t. It comes with confidence and to Idaho’s credit they have a couple pretty good receivers that needed to be respected. We expect some of those young DB’s to get better as the year goes on (Hall, Mackey, and Brown).

  4. firg voss reporting

    oskie, please ask muss about what happened b4 halftime?

    also just hand off the ball to jer and let him go or hit over the middle (like jimmy in fargo or wes at UNI) and let him go…

    1. We too would have loved to see them go right back at Idaho with an offensive mindset that they want to take back the momentum and try and squeeze a FG out before half. They ran a normal play but didn’t follow it up with anything.

    2. virg foss reporting,

      Thanks for your comments as well. I agree to just give Garman the ball and see what he can do. However, he is not in the same stratosphere as the 2 aforementioned athletes at this point. Neither of them did their biggest damage on offense until their junior and senior years. We can only hope Garman’s progression is close to theirs.

      But point taken, just hand the ball off and see what he can do.

  5. firg voss reporting

    my point about jer is give him the ball going seems as tho when our players get the ball thrown to them their bodies are going to the sideline and they have to stop and regroup…it seems like bradley is fairly accurate use the middle of the field and let some of these athletes use their speed going forward.

    1. The offense is predicated on short crossing routes which mean the receivers need to be going sideways. I think your sentiments are shared by many Sioux fans in that they would like to see more of a vertical game mixed in with the horizontal stuff. Some of the routes your rarely see anymore are fades, slants, 15 yard comebacks. It is more crossing routes with the occasional post to stretch the field.

  6. RC

    SoDak currently has 6 BCS transfers and 1 Juco transfer in their two deep rotation, with another 2 Jucos likely moving up as the year moves on. (info from a usd booster friend). That makes 9 new non freshman contributing this year.

    Are transfers (save Bradley and the ineligible fellow from Science) a focus for Mussman? I’m not sure how it could be productive with the resumes of this staff.

    1. We understand your concerns. Honestly don’t know why UND does not get more transfers. We have heard rumblings about FBS transfers contacting and visiting but Daniels is the only one that has ever come here.

  7. Charlie Waffles

    Hopefully the Sioux take a much more agressive approach this weekend on offense. What have you got to loose? What bothered me some is that some of the players/coaches were almost patting themselves on the back about the 1st half and wrote off the second. You got bent over after half time, there should have been anger! I guess I can call this year a good learning and preparing year, but if we end up flopping our first year in the Big Sky, I believe some critical changes may be needed. But for now, I will continue to back the current coaches overall, but not every decision they make.

    1. That is fair enough. I don’t know how aggressive they really can be on offense because being too aggressive will only lead to bad field position and worse spots for the defense.

      I don’t think people realize how good Fresno State is. This isn’t some Big Six conference doormat. They are going to be ready to pound on UND after starting the season 0-2 against two very good programs. UND is going to have to be smart with field position.

    1. We have not heard of any new verbals. As far as Smith, we believe he enrolled at a JC in California but are trying to track down which one. They are updating their rosters now so we will keep checking.

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