[ED: Thanks to UMBAI for sharing his observations with us. As a reward, he's bein' frontpag'd.]
This is a just-off-the-top-of-my-head piece, as I just got back from the Vaught. No stats right now, because I was there mostly to enjoy, not keep track of how many passes people threw.
My overall impression is that we'll be alright. Between Mackey and Brunetti, we won't be wanting for a decent quarterback, though I was disappointed that I didn't get to see Stoudt for comparison.
Brunetti threw 2 picks, one which was almost returned for a touchdown, but offset that by throwing 2 or 3 TDs (can't remember, my brain's frozen), including a beautiful 90-yard bomb to Korvic Neat after spin move-ing out of a sure sack and another, the first of the game, to Ja-Mes Logan while scrambling.
Unfortunately, he also showed himself to be a bit of a butterfingers, fumbling the snap two or three times. The fact that it was 50 degrees and probably 10-20 mph constant winds in The Vaught (the coldest place in Mississippi on any given day) might have had something to do with that, at least I hope that's it.
Mackey wasn't completely mistake free, he threw an interception on the last play (a heave into the end zone) and took a couple sacks instead of getting rid of the ball.
Our receivers have greatly improved this spring. Most of the worst incompletions were when defenders were getting physical (read, all but interfering), including one time near the end where Brishen Matthews absolutely leveled Philander Moore (I think that's who the intended target was) just as the ball was arriving. To Moore's credit, he still managed to get a hand on it and tip it in the direction of Melvin Harris, who almost made the catch his own self.
There was also a very awesome play in the 1st quarter where Mackey optioned to Derrick Thomas, who threw a very good HB pass to (I think) Philander Moore.
It looks like our offense will be mostly pass-oriented this season, unless we can establish the run early in games. As good as our receivers and QBs looked, though, I don't think that will be a problem.
Similarly, the defensive backs didn't give up very many big plays, and got their hands on a lot of balls. The theory that our secondary can't possibly be as bad as it was last year will play out this year, IMHO.
The D-lines on both teams were able to get into the backfield with a bit of a concerning regularity, considering that they were competing against our O-lines. Good thing we have two good, relatively mobile quarterbacks, I think.
I was a bit amused pre-game by the announcement that Tyler Campbell was the Best Statistical Punter of 2010, according to the NCAA.
Also, except the student section where I was sitting, the stadium looked almost as full for the Grove Bowl as it normally does when we play night games in November against FCS teams. So that was amusing.
If anybody else wants to contradict my impressions or correct my accounts on some things, feel free. It felt weird just sitting in the stands like a normal fan, for once.
This post is a Red Cup Rebellion FanPost. Please don't sue us.