My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Monday, November 21, 2005

Scouting Report: UNH offense

Instead of lumping it all in one pre-game scouting report, this is the playoffs, so we get to really dig into it and take an in depth look at our opponents from the Granite State. Today's look: the high powered and often unstoppable Wildcat offense that ranks in the top 10 of all I-AA.

Quarterback

Sophomore Ricky Santos is the real deal. Sometimes, if all is quiet in Durham, you can actually hear another record being broken. Nothing in the UNH record books will remain untouched by the time Santos leaves - in two years!

Looking first at the hard stats, he has a quarterback rating of 171. He's averaging 295 yards per game, thrown for 33 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions and completes over 70% of his passes. Ouch.

Even more so, this is a guy that as a freshman stepped up when injuries hit the Wildcats and led UNH to the playoffs with victories over teams like Delaware, I-A Rutgers, and Georgia Southern down in Georgia. He is not the weak link in any chain.

Running Backs

In this offense where the pass gets all the press, New Hampshire still manages to run the ball for more than 160 yards per game. There is no true feature back but rather the yards are gotten mostly by committee. The standout is John McCoy, who gets about 65 yards per game on an impressive 4.9 average yards per carry. He's helped out by Santos, who usually scrambles for 20 plus yards a game and usually does it in situations where he can score. Santos actually leads the team in rushing touchdowns.

The supporting cast is Robert Simpson with some bigger runs to his name and Matt O'Brien, a freshman who has seen some time as of late.

Receivers

Junior David Ball is without a doubt the main target for the extremly efficient Santos, and he doesn't let Ricky down. Ball has 1190 yards receiving to his credit this season, averaging 5 catches a game for over 108 yards per game. He's scored 18 times this year; that's over a touchdown and a half per game folks!

In addition to Ball's prowess, much like Lehigh there is a whole armada of recievers that Santos can throw to. Aaron Brown, Keith LeVan and Jonathan Williams at his tight end spot all see action on the field. For a good example, against Northeastern Santos threw for five touchdowns, all to different receivers.

Offensive Line

The hogs up front run like this from left to right: senior David Sundberg, junior Tucker Peterson, sophomore Nick Couturier, junior Tim Schwab and junior Will Yarborough. The first thing you'll notice is there is only one senior in the bunch, so they are a bit young. But you can stop right there. They've only given up 20 sacks this season and judging by Santos's productivity, they're doing a spectacular job.

Colgate Matchup

The best thing Colgate has got going for itself in this one defensively is its offense. More to come on the UNH defense later, but Colgate's style of play does not usually lend itself to getting into a shootout. We average over 35 minutes per game in time of possession. New Hampshire is closer to 26 minutes per game. If we can keep that ratio or even get it up to over 60% of the game, our defense doesn't have to perform as much because they are not on the field!

But ultimately, Santos and crew will get the ball, and they will be very efficient at moving it. The biggest threat is Santos himself. The Colgate defensive line is a quick one, but we will need more sacks and hurries than we usually see to delay the deep threats as much as possible. We will probably see a lot of nickel coverage from the Raiders, and I would not be surprised to see UNH try and exploit freshman Sam Breslin with some of their talented receivers. Breslin has been solid all year, but this will be his first time on the big stage of the playoffs and that's who I'd attack first.

Ball deserves our best coverage every down, and most likely double coverage at times. It will be up to the remaining members of our secondary and linebackers to pick up the 'committee' and tackle them at our first shot. I think we've got two huge assets in Jared Nepa who has proven to be a very capable linebacker in coverage and Tom Cassano who has given us flexiblity in coverages from his end position.

I like our chances to have a good game against the run but our approach must treat this team as a balanced one; not as one that will pass first. I think UNH will be quite happy to take what we give them, so we might be trying to stop the run in nickel coverages and stop the pass with eight in the box.

Defensive Keys to the Game

1. Keep that Colgate offense on the field!
2. Keep our coverage honest.
3. Tackle at the first hit.
4. Convert big plays into points. We've not been great at this lately and UNH does not turn the ball over much. Nepa, Bean or Williams scoring 6 points is a huge lift to this team.
5. Stay in the game mentally. UNH can put points up early and often. We can't get down on ourselves if we find ourselves down by 14 points in the first quarter. Our offense has shown the capability of coming back.
6. Have fun. This defense plays great with nothing to lose.

Tomorrow's installment: The Wildcat Defense.

4 Comments:

  • Wow. I don't know how I went the entire season without finding your blog. Keep up the great work and Let's Go 'Gate!

    By Blogger Brett, at 1:01 PM  

  • Thank you. Don't be shy around here.

    13

    By Blogger colgate13, at 1:27 PM  

  • Thanks for the analysis . How
    do you measure Gate's pass rush
    and ability to blitz? Sounds
    like a D needs to carry the play
    to the NH offense . Otherwise
    NH can run up too many points
    against a team whose offense can
    be sporadic .

    Looking forward to tomorrow 's
    analysis .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:16 PM  

  • Normally, the only way we Colgate alumni living in New Hampshire get news of Colgate sports is by checking in with the Colgate Athletic Web Site, the Colgate Message Board and the very interesting The 13 Yard Line.

    But, lo and behold, the headlines on the sports page of the New Hampshire Union Leader (leading NH paper) herald the fact that the NH Wildcats are the top seed in the Division 1AA football tourney and they will take on Colgate. There is quite an article on the game set for Saturday.

    On the sports page, this headline article continues and there is another article hadlined "High Noon Start Suits Wildcats."

    This article mentions connections between Colgate and UNH - UNH Athletic Director Marty Scarano was an assistant director of athletics at Colgate for 13 years and was involved in the decision that moved Dick Biddle up to head coach. Colgate's Ed Pinkham was an assistant coach at UNH for 12 years and coached now head coach Sean McDonnell and UNH offensive coordinator Chip Kelly. Colgate's Mike Foley is a good friend of Chip Kelly.

    Dick Biddle mentioned that Pat Nolan, of Exeter, NH has played quite a bit in the last 3-4 games -really his first year of playing. He has had some back problems, but he is going to be a good player.

    Wow! This kind of stuff is like giving sustenance to a man starving in the desert.

    Go Gate!

    This kind of coverage can't but help with recruiting if there are some good HS football players in NH.

    By Anonymous Lennie, at 6:48 PM  

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