|« Mocs' Davison done for season after all||Robert Morris' Coach Walton will retire after 2013 »|
Tough opponents make evaluation hard for UCD
Diehard football fans often feel like there is too much focus on the quarterback’s effect on wins and losses — and they often have a point.
But on Saturday in Hawaii, Rainbow Warriors signal-caller Bryant Moniz deserved all of that focus and more.
His stellar play in UH’s 56-14 win over UC Davis — passing for 424 yards and seven touchdowns in just one half of play — made analyzing any other part of the game pretty much unnecessary.
“It was the best passing performance I’ve seen,” said Aggie head coach Bob Biggs, who has seen four quarterbacks under his tutelage move from UCD into the professional ranks.
“His ability to put the ball vertically … there were times we had safeties outside the hash mark and he was still able to put the ball in the right spot. When you are on the field, you just feel like ‘man, is this an intermural game’ the way they are moving up and down the field. And then you see the film and you are just in awe with some of the places he was putting the ball.”
Down 49-0 at intermission, the Aggies (1-3) remained competitive with Hawaii still playing many of its regulars, outscoring the Warriors 14-7 after the break. Biggs and his staff have been happy with the team’s ability to play well in the second half of games, even when trailing by big margins. It’s a situation the Aggies have unfortunately faced a lot in the first four contests, which have included games against two Football Bowl Subdivision teams and a top-notch Football Championship Subdivision squad — all on the road.
“The nice thing was Hawaii did play its first-string defense throughout most of the third and fourth quarters (when we played better). The difference, of course, was that they changed the quarterback,” Biggs said on the weekly Great West teleconference. “This team has shown a tremendous resilience. Its been unfortunate in the Montana State game and the Arizona State game and again in this game that we haven’t been able to make plays offensively or defensively to keep the game competitive in the first half.
“But it’s easy when that happens for a team not to come out in the second half with the same energy and passion. That’s not the case … and that is encouraging to me.”
Starting the season with just one win in its first four games, however, isn’t UCD’s biggest problem right now. Because the opposition was so strong, those losses are easier to take, but the real drawback is that the Aggies still don’t really know how good they are against competition that is closer to their level.
“With the difficulty of the schedule, the difficult part is to really know, at this point, how much we have improved,” Biggs said. “We need to improve and there are obviously things we need to do better, but I want to keep good perspective. Our effort has been tremendous.”
After looking at the film from the Hawaii game, as well as the other early-season contests, one area the Aggies have identified as a trouble spot is the pass rush. Through four games, UCD has just two sacks.
With a bye on Saturday, then a home game against Humboldt State on Oct. 8, the Aggies have an extra week to work on getting better. The UCD players got Monday off from practice and will also get Friday and Saturday to heal up and rest. The rest of the time will be spent on improving for a challenging but manageable remainder of the schedule.
“It gives you a chance to really evaluate yourself after four games and gives you a chance to see work on some things that are causing you to be just a step behind and get in a hole against some good teams,” Biggs said. “We know we have some tough games coming up, but the good things about these players they have a good way and will self evaluate themselves. We aren’t getting much pass rush, but it seems like we are just a step away, so we need to figure out a way to do some things to disrupt the flow of opposing offenses.”
By Chris Saur, Davis Enterprise