Oct 16 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Talking Football With Nikki Newman

We were lucky enough to haver Nikki Newman join us on the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast. Nikki is a former JMU basketball star and is currently working the sidelines for the JMU football radio calls on JMU Sprint Broadcast Network. She joined us to talk about her deep love of the Dukes, being a part of a family of JMU athletes, what she sees in this year’s football team, and then offers up some thoughts on the state of both hoops programs. We had a blast chatting with her and think everyone will really enjoy listening to her.

As always, the JMUSB Podcast is brought to you by Pale Fire Brewing. Stop by the brewery for a beer and let them know JMUSB sent you and you’ll go home with a free pint glass.

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  1. OBXDuke1983 / Oct 16 2018

    I just saw in the box score that Raven Greene had a solo tackle for Green Bay last night. Did anyone see the game? Did he get a lot of game time?

  2. Scotty / Oct 16 2018

    Look forward to your show every week and really love what you have both created. I especially have appreciated that even as diehard JMU fans, you’ve both been fairly objective on your comments and analyses after games. For some reason this year, you seem to be drinking more of the purple Kool-Aid the you normally do; you’ll raise an appropriate concern and then find a way to mitigate the criticism. For example, this week when talking about some of your concerns you stated that one had to consider that Villanova wasn’t a pushover like some of the previous schools we’ve played. Without Bednarczyk, Villanova is nothing like the Villanova that beat Temple and was ranked #13 in the FCS. Please don’t become apologists for areas where JMU is still questionable.

    Here’s my hopefully glass half full and glass half empty look at us going into the bye week:

    Special Teams – truly elite. I would put our special teams up against any FBS team, including kickoff, punting, field goal unit, and return teams. Why any team would ever punt to Amos again for the rest of the season is beyond me. Every player on those return teams is completely committed to the scheme and making their blocks; a joy to watch. You can’t help but hold your breath every time we return a ball.

    Defense – Looked immensely improved with the return of Word and Atariwa, but I’m taking it with a grain of salt. This Villanova was one dimensional and even that dimension was pitiful. They could do absolutely nothing all day. How much of that was our defense versus inept QB play is unclear. I’ll still take it but am not ready to put the defense back up on a pedestal until they show they are able to stop a balanced offense with a competent QB who can push the ball vertically. I’m not sure how legit Stony Brook and New Hampshire are offensively, even though they have solid QB’s. We may not truly be tested by a legitimate offense (as in playoff caliber) until Towson.

    Offense- Still a major concern and not just in the red zone. Maybe it’s only due to the stack that both Elon and Villanova play, but I think team’s have watched us play and are going to basically overload the box and take away the run. Our inability to run is not due to the line or backs, it’s the fact that they are facing teams whose primary objective is to do whatever is necessary to take away the run. Nooch’s running for his life is his own doing because teams aren’t scared to bring the house against him. They are willing to give up the high percentage short passes because they know that those become increasingly difficult as the field shrinks when we enter the red zone. As the ND State Coach said last year, you don’t win by scoring field goals. Nooch is going to have a high percentage of completions because he almost exclusively throws passes in the 0-10 yard range in the flats and hopes the receivers make a play. He may even accumulate some decent yardage by the end of the game. He consistently throws off his back foot when under pressure and had at least two more interceptions dropped (one broken up by Stapleton in the end zone and another when another DB collided with the player intercepting the ball). His net yards gained running the past two games have been 2 and 16 yards. Our non-punt return possessions in the 2nd half were punt, punt, interception, and a touchdown against a completely gassed Villanova defense with 5 minutes left. Be honest about where the offense is at.

    That being said, I’m not saying dump Nooch. He was especially crisp on the first few series. Yes, they are the same short patterns but with Stapleton, Dean, and Brown, as well as a solid if not spectacular TE corps, we should always have someone open. All of them can break loose for serious yards after the catch if he hits them in stride. He made two nice non-sidearmed throws to Dean in the Elon game in the 4th quarter. He HAS to do that consistently in order to open up the running game. Maybe planned rollouts, instead of scrambles would allow him to better look downfield and set his feet before throwing. Rollouts may also allow him to threaten the pass, freeze the linebackers, and then give him more room to run if nobody is open. Why not some more screens when they are blitzing so often? We really have only played one solid team that had good film on our current offense before they played us and we lost.

    I’m really hopefully that the defense we saw against Villanova is what we get against Stony Brook and that the offense starts to figure it out. The playoffs are only 4 games away.

  3. Chris / Oct 17 2018

    @ Scotty. Solid analysis. I’m hoping the bye week opens up the playbook for some RPOs and some wrinkles in the running game, eg counters.

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