Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ferrum Battles Tough, But Runs Out of Steam Against Hornets

After updating my browser, I am once again able to see Ferrum broadcasts online. This week, I saw several things that I was pleased with, but at the same time I see much room for improvement. The positives were mainly on offense. Ferrum's  longest run from scrimmage was 12 yards against Emory and Henry, but it was 34 yards against the Hornets. In the Shenandoah game, Ferrum rushed eight fewer times than in week 1, but gained 89 more yards on the ground. There were 2 touchdowns rushing this week as compared to one in week one, and the point production went from 7 points to 27.
The bad news is that Shenandoah is not Emory and Henry, but I will take this as an overall positive step. A very positive step.  Keep in mind that it has been several years since Ferrum ran a triple option offense. We have seen the spread option for a few years now, and this is a learning process for everyone.

Why the change? I think, and this is just speculation on my part, that this offense, is far more simple to teach, to understand, and to execute. It also does not require a huge offensive line, and finally, it can be very effective. I was very impressed with Troy Helton, and felt that he is really starting to grasp how the option works. Helton showed good decision making as the play developed, and has a good amount of speed. Give it time, the implementation of the option will be a good thing for Ferrum.

Shenandoah, in my opinion was hard to stop offensively, and this was mainly due to the size of their offensive line. For the second week in a row, Ferrum failed to record a sack. They did get pressure on the quarterback at times, and had what I saw as pretty good coverage on the Hornet receivers. While Ferrum did work hard defensively, the numbers do not lie.

SU ran a total of 58 offensive plays, and 31 of those were running plays. On the ground, Shenandoah picked up 126 yards, and found the end zone twice on the ground. The other 27 plays were passing plays and 19 of those passes were completed. The Hornets had a total of 355 yards passing, and found pay dirt four times. This to me is where the emphasis must be. Especially when you factor in the stat that Ferrum had the ball over 9 minuets longer that SU.

I am glad to see Ferrum improve over week one, and no I am not surprised at the outcome. There need to be changes, but there are also injuries on the defensive side of the ball that are hurting Ferrum. Rashad Johnson, Ferrum's leading tackler in 2014, played against Emory and Henry, but has sustained an injury, and did not play Saturday.

Things do not get any easier for Ferrum this week as Ferrum hosts Hampden-Sydney Saturday, again at Cy Dillon Stadium in Rocky Mount. The Tigers will come into the game fresh off of a road win against Christopher Newport University.....remember them?

After this game, Ferrum has an open date before beginning conference play. Be patient fans, things will improve.

Go Panthers!

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