I apologize for the late thoughts. I got in pretty late last night and got the 5 game balls up and then just hit the sack and didn’t wake up until I absolutely had to. Anyway, let’s to the 5 thoughts.
- Lincoln U was a LOT BETTER than ANYONE predicted them to be. They fought hard. They played hard, and they had some big talent. Believe me when I say they WILL BE BETTER SOONER rather than later. We may have scored 52 points, but we had to earn EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I spoke some of the Lincoln U assistants after the game and told them as much. They were thankful to hear that. This was not a game we had to play with a running clock and there was not a thought of “oh no, we might score 100.” This LU team was so much better than that and I am pulling for them the rest of the way.
- For a season opener, this was a MUCH cleaner game. Very little in the Pre-Snap and procedure penalties. Basically, no dunce caps were handed out last night on anyone really and that is what we were looking for. HC Bailiff seemed pretty happy by that. No stupid unsportsmanlike penalties that I can recall, and that has been a while since that has happened. If we keep this trend up, it will be a major plus for us as head into tougher opponents.
- The offense did not start the game well, but huge kudos to the offensive staff and OC Billy Reibock for letting the offense settle down and getting them into the right plays. At the beginning the question, “Jagger LaRoe, or Eric Rodriguez?” Eric Rodriguez for now, is the answer. There was no sense of doom after the first two drives went nowhere, and no sense of panic. When the players started making routine plays, the offense got humming, and Reibock attacked ALL PARTS of the field. The middle, the flats, the perimeter, and the play calling was balanced as was ball distribution. Was it perfect? No, there were 3 turnovers that should not have happened, good news is you can clean all that up. The offense did not huddle up one time and often times looked raring to go and executed on the no huddle. That is where most mistakes are made by most offenses and what is impressive is that there were very few in that area, and it was the first game.
- The Defense by in large played extremely well. A fumble return for a touchdown and a pick 6 that really got the crowd into things were huge. We will need that intensity and playmaking ability going forward. One that that has not changed since Colby Carthel took over in 2013 and David Bailiff taking the reigns in 2019 is how this defense creates turnovers and big time plays. Different group, same results. The Blue Gang is the defensive tradition in Commerce, and 1 game in, it looks good. They held an offense that had some playmakers and speed to 165 yards of total offense and created two huge turnovers. By the way, a lot of those yards came on two huge pass plays, one for a touchdown. They scored on a 75 yard drive that was aided by a 60 yard pass. If the safety stays in place, you are looking at 105 yards total offense.
- Finally to the 3,000 or so fans that made it despite the weather, our hats off to you. We had a lot of people calling and texting us to see if the game was going to even happen. We had a lightening delay of about an hour I am guessing, but the teams warmed up in 30 minutes and we had a 7 PM kickoff, and we had our first football game as a Division I school. For a rainy, humid Thursday night, this one was not bad. Next time we are at home, Lord willing, it will be a sunny Saturday afternoon in the early fall.
Coach David Bailiff Presser-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtcXRNdgnmo