I have to say, watching a game on CloneZone that's redirected off the MediaCom feed is disappointing after watching so many games in HD. It certainly beats refreshing my browser trying to follow the play by play on ESPN.com, but still.
How Does the Team Perform Psychologically?
The team seemed determined and focused with Jerome Tiller in control. They didn't look like they were "On Fire" but they certainly got the job done, particularly on defense. Not a lot I can say here other than some solid improvement. On the Penalties side, I'd say we're slightly improved over the last two weeks, but discipline still needs some work. Particularly on the offensive line and special teams.
I was very happy to see the running game re-established early. Alexandar Robinson and Jeff Woody made their presence felt as a 1-2 punch. Tiller's passing abilities still leave a lot to be desired, but he kept us moving and hung onto the ball, something Austen Arnaud can not say about the last two weeks. In that sense, I was happy to see Tiller in, but he's not going to win games against Oklahoma and Nebraska. Watching Texas yesterday, they seem vulnerable to repeated stuffing down the throat of the run, so who knows against them.
The WR play was just this side of Dreadful. Granted, Tiller isn't going to be an NFL starting quarterback in this lifetime, but still the WR play needs to improve, if for no other reason than to take the heat off the running game. Texas Tech will tell us a lot.
Yes, UNI is an FCS team, but the defense was drastically improved over the last two weeks. The secondary in particular stepped up and made plays against the run and against the pass. The pass coverage was particularly good on third down. They forced the UNI Quarterbacks to hold on the ball for a long long time. Linebacker play was good too, as Jake Knott and AJ Klein continue to impress me with their nose for the ball. All-in-all, I'm far more optimistic about the defense's ability to improve throughout the season and make some key stops.
Mark Kieffer hit the nail on the head last night when he said that this 27-0 victory felt hollow. I'm not going to write us off just yet, but the offense needs to get better, or we're staying home this offseason. Frankly, I think the next two weeks are going to tell us a lot about how the rest of the season is going to go. We're at home, so I like our chances of at least one upset, but we'll see.