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Thoughts in Brief: Rice

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So I feel weird doing a 3U3D for a game in which the entire second half was garbage time, but the grind never stops, and there are takeaways.

Notre Dame v Wake Forest Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
  • Greg Dortch. 11 grabs, 163 yards, 4 TDs. Sweet Georgia Brown.
  • I know Greg was the big story of the day but let’s not discount Sam Hartman’s outing either. He was insanely efficient and while much of that was thanks to the connections with Dortch, the throws were absolutely on point, and Hartman also had a 42 yard bomb to Jack Freudenthal and a 17 yard connection with Sage Surratt (who, unless I’m mistaken, nearly took it all the way as well).
  • The defense was imperfect, yes, but at no point did I think it was a dumpster fire as before. For one, two defensive scores, bigtime yes. For another (this is anecdotal, admittedly), it looked to me like the defensive players were communicating a lot more before the snap. Multiple guys were signaling, pointing out assignments, etc. The whole unit just seemed much more active, and that also translated into many absolutely bone-rattling (but clean!) tackles the likes of which had been missing in the previous 4 games.
  • Clearly the coaching staff didn’t take my advice to heart, and Sam is The Guy going forward. I’’m fine with that, though, provided his reads on RPOs are more like today and less frequently “gain yardage but also get murdered by a linebacker”. This seems a little trite, but more performances like today, please!
  • This game solidified my belief that Kendall Hinton should, barring injury, be third on the QB depth chart behind Sam Hartman and the apparently injured Jamie Newman. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an incredible athlete with a lot to contribute but in a situation where he’d need to throw 15-20 times in a game, it might get kind of ugly. He just doesn’t have the ball placement of the other QBs, and if it’s obvious to everyone he’s run-first, as a starter he’d be much easier to key in on and stop.
  • I’m not that bothered by the garbage time scores by Rice. Even literally the best teams in the nation give up garbage time touchdowns. That’s no more an indicator of failure than the positives are an indicator of success. That is to say, they might be, but in a vacuum it’s a bit early to say.

All in all, good win. I’m encouraged, not necesssarily for next week, but certainly for the back half of the season. As always, sound off in the comments, on to the next, and Go Deacs.

—SF