Author: TW Hague
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
The second half I tried to enjoy more of the game, so it isn't as play-by-play. And to be honest, my "Dr.'s ordered, strictly for medicinal purposes" cough syrup was kicking in, too.
Justin Siller came out and had two really nice back to back passes. Per the earlier comment that he might have been putting a little too much rainbow on his first few passes, these were both on a rope and directly to the receiver with plenty of zip. Devarro Greaves had some very good penetration into the line, using speed and hands to get there. Plue continued to impress. Size alone does not a great lineman make, but it sure helps. If this kid listens and picks up on what his coaches are telling him ...
Another short pass to Crank for a nice gainer, he has good hands on the pass. Kevin Green with a NICE tackle. Next play, a pick by Tyler Haston. Another pass and good YAC by Waynelle.
Siller back under center, the play opens up and he has a nice read and pass to Dierking for a touchdown.
Probably one of the highlight plays of the day, Valentin over by the side line covered by two defenders. They are basically mugging him (as interpreted by Indianapolis residents, not NYC residents) and there probably should have been a pass interference call; but even so, he comes up HIGH in between them and snags the ball, pulling it down with one hand and tucking it in for the completion. Really sweet, the defenders couldn't have done anything else short of knocking him over and he still came up with it.
Another nice catch by Keith Smith, who is also looking pretty good at the position.
That's it for the second half.
1. Painter MUST start hot and get hotter. No 1st or 2nd quarter slow starts. He can't force it, he can't rush it, he can't try to do it all himself; he just needs to settle in with the first play and play HIS game. If he plays tough all 4 quarters, we will surprise a lot of people. If he doesn't ...
2. Joey Elliott just looked good. Good decisions, good communication with receivers, good runs, good arm, knew the system and called the right plays. Just a bunch of improvement. I'm not sweating Painter going down as much as I was last year. Siller had his moments, but if this was 2009 and based on what I saw today, I'd have to say Joey. Better scrambling than I've seen him do, after the game he was joking around with some friends and did a little play fake spin through them, then turned around, looked at them and said "What?" with a big smile on his face. Nice to see the kids enjoying
3. Dan Dierking is going to be very interesting, and I think a lot of fun, to watch. That kid plays with intensity. "How can you tell if he plays with intensity all the way up in the stands, Tom?" you ask? Because the motor doesn't stop. He's like one of those wind up walking toys that you tip over, and their legs are still moving. Wild. If Plue can get some help, heck, maybe just by himself, we will see some of our running backs take that path right through the line for big gainers. Taylor and Sheets will start, and as seniors should have all the incentive they need to play their best ball yet. But Dierking and Crank will see some playing time, and be ready to fill in nicely.
4. Not nearly as concerned about wide receiver as I was. Valentin, Gravesande and Panfil make nice compliments for Orton, and the next crop of tight ends seem to be on track or maybe a little ahead of schedule. A no huddle offense means that these guys will have to be smart, get their routes down, but good, and run them to completion. Some of the misses on passes today may have been "wrong place, wrong time", so hopefully summer workouts and fall ball will correct that.
5. We were talking about supporting the individual players (as has been done over the years, and why I want my "Jerry's Kids" t-shirts) and I mentioned that I thought the individual groups of fans really ought to pick one guy and become a "fan club" for that kid. That way they know they always have at least one group out there cheering for them. Grover took it one step further. He thought that when the PANHEL met at the start of the year, each fraternity and sorority should "pick/adopt a player" that they would then back, follow and support throughout the year.
6. No bad snaps! We've had good to great centers over the last 6-7 years, here's hoping it stays that way.
7. Siller had a nice ball-fake play that the D bit on. Better passer as the day went on, and he did uncork a long one on target, which you love to see from a supposed option player. Give him another year under his belt to learn the system and I think we may have something here.
8. The secondary could be very salty for our opponents. Really like what I saw out of Pender and Conway, and God willing and the creek don't rise, we'll get Torri back in the fall for the whole season, plus Royce and others.