WMD's Armchair QB: Burn That (Red)Shirt Edition

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

What can we learn from the Alcorn blowout?

Peeps, it's hard to learn much - positive, at least - when you play an opponent that was as overmatched as Alcorn. But never fear, WMD will take a stab and tell it like I saw it.

Defense:

1. Our defensive talent completely dwarfed Alcorn's offensive talent. If it weren't for the fluke tip catch and a blown coverage, Alcorn gets shutout.

2. The stat that blew me away: After getting 2 first downs on their opening drive, Alcorn didn't get another one until the 4th Quarter.

3. Our defensive line absolutely dominated the game. Alcorn's QB was constantly under pressure. The thing I liked seeing most were the tipped passes by the DL. When our guys realized they weren't going to get to the QB, the hands went up trying to bat the ball. Frankly, that is becoming a lost art. You can definitely see the coaching change just from that.

4. Surprised to see Chris Jones start. He played well, though. Nice to have a guy who's going to get some pressure right up the middle. QBs hate that.

5. Where was Nickoe? Hurt? Suspended? The good news is Market and Arrington got plenty of game action. We'll need them later.

6. Taveze Calhoun made the defensive play of the day. He makes the hit, wraps up, punches the ball free, then jumps on it himself. Hell of an effort. And I loved seeing him run off the field with the ball and give it to Collins. Couldn't help but think of the scene in the Replacements where Jon Favreau's character causes the fumble, then runs the ball back to Gene Hackman's character. Loved the excitement the mayhem play created.

Special Teams:

1. Still a little inconsistent in this phase. Devon Bell has to stop missing the easy kicks. With the offensive situation being what it is, every point matters right now. When we have an opportunity to put 1 or 3 on the board, it needs to be automatic.

2. Kickoff distance and coverage was good.

3. Brandon Holloway's 99 yard return was pretty sick. Has to be an awful feeling to get tripped up at the 1, though. But then we didn't give him the ball and let Shumpert steal his TD? C'mon man!!!

Offense:

1. I thought our offensive line struggled early. It looked like Alcorn was getting some pressure with just their front 4 on the opening drive. That is NOT a good sign going forward. The positive is that they got better as the game went and finally took control.

2. The play of the game was the (two) 4th down conversion(s) on the opening drive. I've been a big Joe Morrow critic, but he came up clutch before the alleged Alcorn timeout. Then Malcolm Johnson comes back and converts it (again).

3. I thought Dak played well. He showed his mobility and the threat of him as a runner really opened some lanes for the other backs. His TD throw to Milton was really nice. The DB got inside position and was going to force Milton out of bounds if Dak tried to lead him. Dak saw it and made a nice back shoulder throw so Milton would be the only guy with a chance to catch it. On the whole, pretty impressed with his performance. Now we'll see who starts next week.

4. Awesome to see Nick Griffin back and running hard. Hopefully we can get him more involved going forward.

5. I was not impressed with our WRs as a whole. They seemed to struggle to get separation, forcing Dak into having to hold the ball. If we struggle getting separation against Alcorn, we'll struggle the rest of the way in that department. However, they also made some really athletic, tough grabs. Fred Brown's tip catch was a thing of beauty.

6. Speaking of Fred Brown: I hate the celebration penalty with the fire of a thousand suns. That said, it was the right call. You've GOT to control your emotions. And to screw up twice and get ejected? His week of practice needs to be a living hell.

7. I'm pretty upset we burned Ashton Shumpert's redshirt. We're already 4 deep at RB. There's no reason for him to play unless he can start or be the clear #2. That said, I loved watching him run. He was an absolute man out there. The power he runs with is amazing. When he trucked the Alcorn defender on one of his early runs, I couldn't help but think about the time JJ Johnson trucked a Vandy LB and took off his helmet. Very similar collisions. He's going to be an absolute beast in the future.

8. Now that we've burned Shump's redshirt, we need to commit to using him heavily. I'm talking a minimum of 10-12 touches a game. If he gets it less than that, it's a personnel management decision that would make Croom proud.

9. I don't have a problem with burning Damian Williams redshirt. We have no clue how long Russell will suffer concussion symptoms. Williams has to be ready to go, because as it stands, he's 1 injury to Dak away from playing.

10. Williams impressed me in the second half. He's got a good arm and a very fluid throwing motion. Runs really well for a big guy. Thought he showed some good elusiveness in the pocket. He struggled feeling pressure and made a couple bad decisions. Nothing I wouldn't expect from a freshman, especially a true freshman, though. I'll take my crow blackened and with plenty of pepper, because I feel pretty comfortable with him in the future, assuming he progresses in his development.

11. I thought the play calling and creativity was MUCH improved this week. Nice to see us using Tubby and Holloway on the jet sweep. Also saw a couple of bubble screens. The mobility of the QBs really seemed to make our offense flow more smoothly as a whole, because the D had to account for them. Hard to know if that will translate to SEC play and Auburn next week, but it's certainly a reason to hope it can.

Miscellaneous:

1. The Sound of Dyn-o-mite brought the goods. Halftime can now return to being standard and boring.

2. Nice to see us clear the benches and get so many guys snaps. 23 freshmen played yesterday. That bodes well for the future. But it also is a little scary in the present and speaks to how young we are.

3. For those who care (not me), the cups didn't smell.

4. MSU Media Department: WIN with the Jonathan Holder video. Second largest cheer of the day. Keep up the good work, I can already see the improvement.

5. The more streamlined breaks between play were good. Also, props to whoever is selecting the music. Good choices and a nice mix of old, new, rock, rap, etc.

6. CRANK UP the Moo Tube volume. Seemed even more quiet than usual yesterday. The improved media is no good if no one can hear it.

Should be a fun week leading up to Auburn. It's become a must-win for us, and I think we're going to be ready. Plus, we'll have the "Who's QB?" Guessing Game to play all week.

In Mullen We Trust,

WMD

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