A few thoughts/observations from a 24-17 overtime loss at Arizona ...
-Everyone seems to have a definitive opinion on who should be the quarterback. Based on his leading two touchdown drives, Owens is the popular pick. That said, I'm still not sure. Dantin was close, a couple of times, to making something happen. Let's not forget that he led the drive into the fourth quarter that produced a field goal and tied the game. Yes, I know, the run game was key that series. ... Campbell inserted Dantin in the second half because the passing game had stalled and he wanted to mix things up with Dantin's legs. In theory that makes sense. But is Dantin an obvious upgrade over Owens as a runner? I'm not convinced of that.
-The secondary was clearly overmatched. Cornerbacks played soft coverage presumambly to not get beat deep. Some might argue, based on Arizona constantly shooting itself in the foot and only scoring 17 points in regulation, that this plan worked. Still, the Rockets allowed 624 yards to an offense unveiling a new system. Campbell said today on the MAC teleconference that 180-200 of those yards were a result of a missed tackle. Tackling needs to improve, but so does coverage.
-A positive: Both lines, which were my biggest concern entering the season along with cornerbacks, looked fine. The O-line was dominant on the series that bridged the third and fourth quarters. The D-line was just okay in applying pressure but did not get blown off the line. Barring injuries, UT will be adaquete or better at both units.
-Another postive: Special teams, led by punter Vince Penza, was excellent. Penza, the MAC West special teams player of the week, averaged 44.9 yards over nine punts. Six landed inside the 20. Additionally, J.D. Detmer nailed a 40-yard field goal (not a given when you see the kicking woes at Arizona and Bowling Green) and Bernard Reedy returned a kick off 54 yards. Detmer did miss a field goal, from 48 yards, after the Rockets lost seven yards on third down.