Grades, MVP’s and overall thoughts. All in Reverse order.
Overall opining: First, The Lions went into a tough environment against a very good team with a new quarterback, new defensive players, and a lot of unknowns. We know now a lot of other things. Like our offense is legit, our REC’s are fast, Richard Cooper has gotten better, Kris Martinez is getting to be an amazing kicker, and our defense can hold an opponent at bay without rushing and blitzing too much. So, lets get to it.
Offense-Luis Perez. The RS Junior QB from San Diego made his debut and he was just outstanding. 17 for 23 for 322 yards and ZERO turnovers. He also rushed for 11 yards and was amazing in the pocket. I was incredibly impressed with his entire body of work and he looked very confident, something you have to have in the QB role.
Defense-Hatari Byrd. The LB from Fresno, CA had a fantastic game. 11 solo tackles, 2 pass break ups and one huge interception that set up the first score for the Lions. This guy was just incredible last night and came to play. He was literally all over the field. Another new name but this guy is going have his name called a lot. I was very impressed.
Special Teams-Kris Martinez. Martinez was great. 5 for 5 on PAT’s and hit two critical FG’s one from 38 and the other from 35. We are going to need his play going forward. Despite this being last week, I really wish he had been shown on some kickoffs, but this was a great showing by him.
Offense-A Minus. The pluses were that the team scored when it needed to and had a great pass/run mix and balance. The line play was very well, minus one huge deal. Jason Osei is a fantastic player but he killed 2 scoring drives with some stupid holding penalties, and he was not the only one that had that problem. Those linemen are watched more than anyone, they need to be told they are not going to get away with it. Correct the correctable and this offense might be unstoppable.
Defense-A Minus. The first 3 drives were rough. DSU just ran it down the Lions throat until the Lions figured out that daring DSU to throw it was the best policy, and it worked. Great adjustments and 3 interceptions make up for that. Great adjustments and good fundamentals. No stupid mistakes like poor tackling.
Special teams-Overall it was a good effort, but we had 5 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. That cannot happen. When you stop a team, you have let your play speak for itself. that said, no stupid plays other than the penalties for mouthing off. They get a B.
Coaching-Colby Carthel had a masterful game plan and had his team ready to play, and to play well. Matt Storm’s offensive play calling allowed Richard Cooper to get his touches and let Luis Perez settle in. Justin Deason had a great set of adjustments and when that happened, DSU basically became impotent offensively. Great overall coaching. A Plus.