I've run across a lot of blogs in the past few weeks which seem to hate Jimbo's offensive aproach, and think Ponder is OKAY at best. I'd like to take a minute to rebutle both.
1. Misconception: people seem to think Jimbo is a run heavy offensive play caller. not only is that not true, he failed to run the ball enough in our only loss this year.
Freaky D Looks: Wake had two weeks to prep for us, and it paid off. They ran some freaky looking defensive formations. They... (1) got in cover 2 and bailed the corner at the snap of the ball essentially running a 3 deep saftey look. (2) they also got in cover 2 and dropped the end (but not the way you usually do) basically giving us a dime look. They did this off and on the whole game. They set a trap and we continually sprung it. Ponder sees cover 2, drops back looks off the saftey and throws only to discover ther is a corner back there floating around in space. A veteran may have had to settle down and grind through that kind of crazy pass heavy play calling...much less a first year starter. my only critique of that game is that we kept calling deep passing routes and didn't run the ball enough.
Jimbo is not run heavy: He's balance offense, and whatever works today. He doesn't have a run heavy philosophy, he has a balanced offense philosophy combined with the outlook that you take what the deffense is giving you. Ever since the Wake game Deffenses have been running their own form of the same scheme. Colorado ran it more straight up and Miami added an occasional last minute blitz. But at least 60% of the time they were taking deep drops into pass coverage.
2. Our response. Don't force the throw....
We called more runs, and had the QB mentally prepared to tuck it and run...if they are going to leave that much green space open right in front of you, TAKE IT. That's not conservative, that's smart!!!
Ponder is young but VERY good. He is becoming in the minds of people a running QB who manages the game well and throws okay. I disagree with this interpretation. There are two reasons for it.
1. Defense is making him a runner:
Wake showed something...something we've seen before. Instead of pressuring a young QB confuse him. REALLY disguise your coverages and put A LOT of bodies in the passing lanes. This has forced Ponder to run the ball more... while I am impressed with his runnig ability, let's be honest. He's no Charlie Ward or Pat White. He's not even a good imitation of D'vo. He moves his feet well and isn't slow, but the real reason he's racking up so much rushing yardage is because that's what deffenses are giving us. OVER AND OVER AGAIN
2. Defenses are afraid to get burned.
I'm not sure wheather this trend will change. The truth is I think defenses are afraid to get burned. With the number, speed and size of recievers in our quiver, it's no wonder.
They are making sure to load up against the pass, and forcing us to show we can run it. Thus Ponder get's low passing stats, and very high rushing stats.
The real question is what's next. Wake took an extreme aproach to stopping us. We've adjusted to that over the past couple of games. Will defenses continue to try to make us one deminsional? Will they go the other extreme and apply tons of pressure forcing us to make quick throws in man coverage(very dangerous given ponders brain and our recievers speed and size)? or will they come back to a more balanced approach.
To be honest, I have no idea, but with us matching up so well against NC State, I wouldn't be surprised to see the later. Just play a balanced d and hope to get some breaks at home.
Either way the kid is young but good and only getting better with each game. Over time he will show that he is a balanced QB and definatley the man for the Job.