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My thoughts post-EMU
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bcunn3128 Offline
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Post: #1
My thoughts post-EMU
Just got home. I had predicted a tough 38-31 Rocket win--before I knew we would have no Swanson and Thompson would be done 3 minutes in--so I'll take the W.

To be blunt--the D won this game. Can't believe I wrote that. It was feast or famine out there for the Rocket D, but in particular in the second half they got some big stops and some great tackling on a few EMU run plays. It was their stand that forced a bad punt into the wind that, combined with an EMU penalty gave us the ball on their 18, and the next play was the TD. Then 2 interceptions at key moments. And the fumble return for the TD (screw the MAC refs--they blew that call badly).

Shame to lose Thompson. He was having an All-American kind of season. His absence clearly made our playbook much smaller. I know we talk about "next man up" but he is not replaceable, so we'll need to change some things up. Losing him as the holder on special teams also hurt. He is such a key component that losing him so early but still being able to claw out a win is notable.

JonVea Johnson needs to pick his game up a bit. Seems like he's struggled early on. Opportunity awaits young man...what will your response be?

O line did a pretty good job in pass protection but I'm still unconvinced given their body of work so far as to their ability to get push for the run game at the line of scrimmage. Even without Thompson, this may turn into a "pass the ball!" Kind of season.

Eastern is physically tough, especially on D. That's a program that could flip places with Toledo in the next couple seasons. The West Division has become so competitive.

Coaching staff sometimes makes me shake my head.. too many penalties AGAIN, particularly on the offense...running out of the shotgun at the 1 yard line...having your rugby-style punter kick straight away into the wind even after seeing what the wind was doing to punts, resulting in something like a 10-yard kick, when a rugby style pooch punt would have been nice...not calling a timeout after the "non-fumble" so that replay could maybe get it right...for a team that really can't afford to be off its game, these things add up and could cost us at some point if lessons aren't learned (hopefully they will be).

Every next game is big now. After today, I don't think any of them will be in the "easy" category. Have to limit mistakes & get some guys to continue to step up their play, and be mentally tough to win games in the 4th quarter.
(This post was last modified: 10-07-2017 03:54 PM by bcunn3128.)
10-07-2017 03:52 PM
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adunifon Offline
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Post: #2
My thoughts post-EMU
With regards to the punting I’d make Julian the full time punter. He is very good and smart back there
(This post was last modified: 10-07-2017 03:54 PM by adunifon.)
10-07-2017 03:54 PM
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eastisbest Offline
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Post: #3
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
Biggest injury since?

Thoughts to the injured. Particularly tough I imagine for the Senior.
10-07-2017 04:30 PM
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T-Town Offline
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RE: My thoughts post-EMU
I got a kind of feeling early on that the team whose offense shot itself in the foot last would lose and that is way it played out. There is a lot of room for improvement. No problem with the talent so much as with the execution.

I have not watched a replay of the game and I could be wrong but it seemed to me that the refs made a lot of bad calls but I didn't see any bias as both teams got burned by the refs IMO

Feel terrible for Cody Thompson missing his senior conference season and he probably lost a lot of ground in the NFL draft which equates to a lot of lost $$$$$. However, I disagree with the majority of board in that I believe McKinley-Lewis can be a serviceable replacement and as long as the O-line can provide adequate protection for Woodside, the passing game will flourish. Where we most missed Thompson today was as the place holder for the kicking game. Hopefully that is something that will attract a bit of coaching attention and practice before next week.

The Defense is not playing good with consistency yet, but they are showing glimpses of potential. I do like the way the d-backs play close man coverage a lot rather than a few years ago when they routinely gave 10-15 yard cushions to receivers and hoped that between dropped passes and bad throws their opponent would self destruct at some point of a long drive.
They certainly earned kudos today for holding Eastern to 15 points.

Eastern is probably the best team the Rockets have yet defeated this season---at this writing Tulsa and Nevada, the 2 FBS wins, are a collective 1-10. Central just defeated Ohio who beat EMU in overtime and by the time November kicks in WMU and NIU will certainly have a chance of beating UT. While Woodside is certainly the best passer in the MAC and the UT receiving corp (even without Thompson) is at or near the top (of course Roberts is sorely miss but Fisher has begin the step up a bit at tight end), but the O-line can not consistently support a productive running game IMO and not being at full strength doesn't help ----sure there are a few plays that gain nice yardage but when it comes down to 3rd or 4th and 1 or 2 yards the run game can not be counted on with full confidence. This was not the case the last 4 or so years when there was Hunt or Fluellen lined up in the backfield behind an O-line that usually had a future NFL lineman or so in the game.

So far so good with a 4-1 record but it is not getting any easier from here on out. The Rockets are certainly in the running for the MAC West this year but so are 3 (or 4?) other teams at this point. It is not going to be easy.
(This post was last modified: 10-07-2017 05:44 PM by T-Town.)
10-07-2017 04:33 PM
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bcunn3128 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
While I like McKinley-Lewis' speed and do think he'll be targeted more often now, the reason I think Thompson is irreplaceable is that he is a bit bigger, tougher receiver who showed he could take the ball away from defenders and had the strength to break tackles. I don't see those qualities in our other receivers. They rely on quickness. Game plan will just have to change going forward.
10-07-2017 04:53 PM
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T-Town Offline
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RE: My thoughts post-EMU
(10-07-2017 04:53 PM)bcunn3128 Wrote:  While I like McKinley-Lewis' speed and do think he'll be targeted more often now, the reason I think Thompson is irreplaceable is that he is a bit bigger, tougher receiver who showed he could take the ball away from defenders and had the strength to break tackles. I don't see those qualities in our other receivers. They rely on quickness. Game plan will just have to change going forward.

Thompson is certainly special as you point out but my point is that so long as Woodside is healthy and the O-Line can provide adequate pass protection, McKinley-Lewis and the Johnsons constitute a reliable receiving corps that will allow Woodside to maintain his high octane passing offence---that is what I meant by SERVICEABLE replacement. I am not saying Thompson will not be missed, but I doubt (i.e. hope) that his impact will be missed in the passing game as much as Roberts' impact was missed this year. By contrast I think that the ground game took a significant step backward this year with the loss of Hunt and three O-linemen and would I (hopefully) not expect the lost of Thompson to have a comparable negative impact on the passing game......of course I could be wrong.
(This post was last modified: 10-07-2017 05:44 PM by T-Town.)
10-07-2017 05:39 PM
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Rocket_Fanatic Offline
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Post: #7
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
So it sounds like a 10-2 or 9-3 regular season would be a strong finish given the injury To Thompson
10-07-2017 06:40 PM
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northcoastRocket Offline
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Post: #8
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
Speaking of receivers, Desmond Phillips didn't play. Injured? That would be another dent in the depth chart.

I was also surprised to see Blackman playing at the end over, say N'Shaka who was very highly touted before being injured last year. He's been seeing some time on special teams, but not as a receiver that I recall.
10-07-2017 06:49 PM
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bcunn3128 Offline
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RE: My thoughts post-EMU
(10-07-2017 06:40 PM)Rocket_Fanatic Wrote:  So it sounds like a 10-2 or 9-3 regular season would be a strong finish given the injury To Thompson

Either of those records would now be a great success. I can see 4 really tough games that could all end up as losses: @CMU, @Ohio, Northern, & Western. That would be 7-5. If we can split those 4 games and win the other 3...but that would still mean no MAC championship game, more than likely. The loss of Thompson's skill set is significant. Maybe one of the taller young guys, like Kovacs or Mitchell, will end up being a big surprise down the stretch to give Woodside a bigger target to throw to, otherwise we have to rely solely on a group of quick but small "smurf" receivers to get the job done.
10-07-2017 08:26 PM
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eastisbest Offline
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RE: My thoughts post-EMU
10-2 and no one's sister runs on the field during a game. That would be an excellent season.
10-07-2017 08:53 PM
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ToledoMike Offline
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Post: #11
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
(10-07-2017 08:53 PM)eastisbest Wrote:  10-2 and no one's sister runs on the field during a game. That would be an excellent season.

Haha, I’d take that! Well...maybe if she was hot?
10-07-2017 09:04 PM
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eastisbest Offline
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Post: #12
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
(10-07-2017 09:04 PM)ToledoMike Wrote:  
(10-07-2017 08:53 PM)eastisbest Wrote:  10-2 and no one's sister runs on the field during a game. That would be an excellent season.

Haha, I’d take that! Well...maybe if she was hot?

Eye of the beholder brother, eye of the beholder. Put WMU into the news cycle, as if their game wasn't newsworthy enough.
10-08-2017 05:22 AM
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Toledo Football 1st Offline
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Post: #13
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
If you think back over the years, typically our WR lineup consisted of one excellent WR and one or two others who could be pretty good. The Johnsons and Lewis make an excellent lineup all the way across the board. Things will be different without the yard gobbling Thompson/Woodside monster, but there is no reason our passing game should not continue to be excellent. Working the TE in, plus the throwing to the RB's makes more than enough of targets for Woodside. We're still going to continue to have the issues with the OL, though, and the penalties.

It would help if they could find a way to improve the running game a little so we can punch it in from from inside the 5. We're having to settle for FG's too often. Central has the #8 rushing defense in the conference, so maybe the RB's will be able to get more needed experience on Saturday.
10-08-2017 10:12 AM
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ToledoMike Offline
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Post: #14
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
(10-08-2017 05:22 AM)eastisbest Wrote:  
(10-07-2017 09:04 PM)ToledoMike Wrote:  
(10-07-2017 08:53 PM)eastisbest Wrote:  10-2 and no one's sister runs on the field during a game. That would be an excellent season.

Haha, I’d take that! Well...maybe if she was hot?

Eye of the beholder brother, eye of the beholder. Put WMU into the news cycle, as if their game wasn't newsworthy enough.

Hahaha, true on both counts!

(10-08-2017 10:12 AM)Toledo Football 1st Wrote:  If you think back over the years, typically our WR lineup consisted of one excellent WR and one or two others who could be pretty good. The Johnsons and Lewis make an excellent lineup all the way across the board. Things will be different without the yard gobbling Thompson/Woodside monster, but there is no reason our passing game should not continue to be excellent. Working the TE in, plus the throwing to the RB's makes more than enough of targets for Woodside. We're still going to continue to have the issues with the OL, though, and the penalties.

It would help if they could find a way to improve the running game a little so we can punch it in from from inside the 5. We're having to settle for FG's too often. Central has the #8 rushing defense in the conference, so maybe the RB's will be able to get more needed experience on Saturday.

Agreed. One thing I have noticed that calls for more dink and dunk...most of the defenses we have played have respected our passing game and receiver speed so much that the DB's are often 10 yards off the line of scrimmage. I didn't think we took advantage of this enough yesterday against EMU. We need to get McKinley-Lewis in space more often...he can make people miss almost as good as Eric Page used to do every time he touched the ball.
10-08-2017 10:29 AM
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Toledo Football 1st Offline
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Post: #15
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
Hadn't thought of the comparison to Page, but yeah, he is really coming on. All 3 are big play threats. They give a defense a lot to account for.
(This post was last modified: 10-08-2017 10:37 AM by Toledo Football 1st.)
10-08-2017 10:36 AM
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UT! Offline
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Post: #16
RE: My thoughts post-EMU
We are soft up front on both sides. Getting off blocks, not getting turned, eyes in the back field when we need to be taking on our blocker and defeating him and not getting knocked off LOS. We are young up there and not incredibly athletic.

We have a good group of Dbs, will be an exciting finish for sure.

Windy day seemed to hurt both Qbs. Roback the real deal, will have a shot on Sundays
10-09-2017 07:14 AM
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