First things first: the team scrimmaged today. Here's what jumps out at me about the reports.
- The reports about the offense continue to sound promising overall. The passing game wasn't quite as good today as it has been on other days this week, but it was competent. However, the running game sounds like it was excellent today. Kenny Miles was the big story. It sounds like he's solidified the second spot and may even challenge for the first. I'm fine with all the crowding in the backfield with Miles, Brian Maddox, and Bryce Sherman all playing effectively. When a committee approach is the way to go, it's good to hear that you've got the horses to run with run. Plus, it sounds like Wolford has just done wonders teaching the linemen to run block. I suspect that we'll all be praising Spurrier for that hire at the end of the year.
- My thinking is that if we can run the ball effectively against N. C. State, we should be able to set up a competent play-action game to take advantage of State's green secondary. We could score a lot of points against the 'Pack if we do these things and limit turnovers.
- Although the line sounds good, the continued reports of snapping problems is beginning to distress me.
- The other thing that's beginning to worry me is the status of our defensive tackles. Ladi Ajiboye is out for a few games with a suspension, while Nathan Pepper is nursing a sore knee. Pepper claims to be ready to play, but you have to wonder at this point.
- Needless to say, defensive line play will be key against State, as the trick to slowing the 'Pack's offense down is pressuring Russell Wilson. Get well soon, Nate.
Another interesting piece of news is that the NCAA is still considering expanding the rules regarding excessive celebration penalties (H / T Get the Picture). This change was struck down last year, and I had hoped it wouldn't rear its head again. The basic idea is to make celebration penalties live-ball fouls; therefore, if someone celebrates before he enters the endzone, the touchdown could be negated because the penalty would apply at the spot of the foul.
Now, I'm all for discouraging taunting on the football field. South Carolina and Clemson folks know what can happen when things get out of hand. Indeed, as SEC rules editor Roger Redding says, the rules are intended to discourage taunting, not celebration:
The issue is not around celebrating.. .. We want the (the players) to play with enthusiasm and celebrate with their teammates and enjoy the game. The line gets crossed when there's taunting and inciting.
Sounds fair and reasonable to me. However, the problem is that in practice, referees often have to make the judgment call on what the line between legit and penalty-worthy celebration is, and they often make dubious calls, oftentimes with game-changing consequences. Allowing refs to take away touchdowns based upon such judgment calls would give refs all the more power to make such game-changing decisions. I don't think that's fair to the players, most of whom are simply and reasonably celebrating the decisive plays of what can be a very emotional sport when they're flagged for these fouls. It's also not fair to us as fans, as we deserve to see games decided between the players, not on referee's subjective judgment calls.