Saturday, October 17, 2009

UW-Iowa halftime thoughts

Not too much to complain about in the first half, we played well. Offense moved the ball fairly regularly, but Iowa's excellent defenders made some plays you'd expect them to make. Our defense was tight, with the exception of the one long pass play. I'd much rather be up two scores.

-Horrible kickoff coverage again to start the game. Iowa's Wegher looked like he was running in sand, but he still got it out past the 40. A Twitter post noted that we seemed to have more defensive regulars on the unit on subsequent kickoffs -- good move.

-J.J. Watt has been excellent coming off both edges, and O'Brien Schofield has continued adding to his honors resume. We need them to keep making those plays in the second half of the game, and the season.

-Mike Taylor gets hurt, and who's around the ball making plays? Chris Borland, of course. He's awesome. Hope Taylor's injury isn't too bad.

-John Clay was really running well before he got hurt, showing nice patience and vision. The offensive line has looked really good on running plays, the last one being Montee Ball's touchdown run -- great execution. Ball is looking like a guy we can trust.

-On his first punt return, David Gilreath doesn't call fair catch and gets drilled by a gunner with a running start. On Iowa's next punt, he doesn't catch it and the Hawkeeys get 15-20 yards in favorable bounces. Not only is our punt return game not a positive right now, it's a liability.

-I had just finished praising Jay Valai to my dad -- how he's had less highlight hits this year but also less major miscues -- when he seemed to be out of position on Iowa's long pass play. Can't say for sure without seeing the film or knowing the coverage call, though, so it may not have been his fault.

-Why put Curt Phillips in? Scott Tolzien was coming off his best drive throwing the ball, and we follow that up with a three-and-out. True, Curt looked good on his keeper run and was a shoestring tackle away from breaking it. And since Phillips hadn't played in a couple weeks it's not likely Iowa spent any time preparing for him. But it was a curious decision at the time.

While I'm happy with the proceedings thus far, I also remember Barry Alvarez's last game in 2005, when we were up by a similar score at halftime and got dominated by Iowa in the second half. They make good halftime adjustments. Let's hope our coaches can do the same.

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