Post-Game Awards: Toledo

Post-Game Awards: Toledo

Cory Grimes
Post-Game Awards: Toledo

UM went to Toledo, Ohio this weekend and brought the Rockets back down to Earth. Toledo was able to hang around for a little while, much like they did in 2017. I must say I was spot on with my Matchup of the Week, as it was the Canes running attack, which amassed 268 yards, and took the life out of the Rockets’ upset hopes and ultimately, opened up the offense for Malik Rosier. Jeff Thomas had his weekly highlight reel plays and Bandy dawned the chain yet again. Aside from a couple defensive lapses early in the 2nd half, it was a workman like performance for the Canes on the way to a 49-24 victory. After our smashing of the Glass Bowl, here are my post-game awards.

Best Overall Performance- Deejay Dallas

Last week, Dallas was seen with the “Put Me in Coach” Award. With 17 carries, 110 yards and a TD, CMR put him in and then some. Every time Dallas touched the ball, he continued to make something happen. He was able to show his patience picking holes behind the much improved O-line play this weekend. According to Pro Football Focus, Dallas had 90 yards after contact and forced 6 missed tackles. He was just effortlessly sliding off Toledo tacklers and extending runs into the last level of their defense. A lot of the success for Dallas and the UM run offense came between the tackles. This is where I thought UM could exploit the Toledo defense, and that’s exactly what they did. Homer tacked on 62 yards but only averaged 3.9 yards a carry compared to Dallas’ 6.9. With Homer at 16 carries and Dallas at 17, the two backs are starting to look more and more like a 1 and 1a situation. Both guys are starter caliber in my opinion, and it might just be whoever has the hot hand gets more carries. Right now, Dallas has the hot hand. Quite possibly Dallas’ best traits are his confidence and the high energy that he brings to this football team. He was seen taunting the Toledo faithful before the game, and he played the game to back it up. Deejay Dallas was a catalyst for the UM offense on Saturday and will continue to be throughout the season.

Play of the Game - Jeff Thomas Over the Shoulder Grab for 41 yards

Best overall performance could have also easily gone to JT this week, and it could probably could go to him every week if he continues to play the way he has to start the year. He’s hands down the Offensive MVP through the first 3 games of the year. Averaging over 26 yards a catch, this man is a walking highlight. And he did it again a couple times on Saturday. On this particular play in the 3rd quarter, JT was lined up in the slot and he runs a fly route down the left hash. As Rosier throws the ball to the outside, JT looks over his inside shoulder, but the ball drifts toward the sideline causing Thomas to rotate his head all the way around as he lays out and secures the catch. On a difficulty scale, this JT catch was a 10. To look over one shoulder and have to twist his head all the way around without losing sight of the ball, all while fully extending the body to get to the football, is borderline superhuman. It was a Larry Fitzgerald esque type of catch. Fans go to the games to watch the Canes, but JT4 is the show within the show. There’s no telling what he’ll do next. He’s the top big play guy on the Hurricanes and one of the best in the country, hands down. This won’t be the last time Jeff Thomas will be seen on the Play of the Game Award.

Put Me in Coach (Offense) - Venzell Boulware

I mentioned the O-lines improved work in the running game with a huge day on the ground, but the O-line also kept Rosier clean all day allowing no sacks. One guy in particular that I felt came in and did a solid job was Venzell Boulware. He stepped in and looked like he knew exactly what he was doing. From what I have seen, he has pretty good feet and usually seems to complete his blocks. Much of the running success on Saturday was through the interior of the Toledo front, and when he was in there, some of that success can be attributed to Boulware’s play at guard. I felt that he fit in very well with the rest of the O-line. In his limited snaps, Boulware has looked steady every time he goes out there. Jahair Jones certainly has to feel Boulware on his heels. With all due respect to Jones, I believe Boulware will take that starting job sooner rather than later.

Put Me in Coach (Defense) - Gurvan Hall

Last week it was Amari Carter with this award, this week it is another young safety, Gurvan Hall. I know a lot of people around the Hurricanes are really high on Hall, as am I. Hall’s potential is limitless and is likely the best candidate to fill Jaquan Johnson’s shoes when it is all said and done. He’s just had injuries in the spring, and it seemed to maybe slow down the progression for the true freshman. However this past Saturday, Jaquan Johnson went down with injury and the aforementioned Carter could not make the trip to Toledo due to a family situation. I thought to myself, this is the perfect time to get Gurvan Hall some meaningful game time reps. Instead, what we saw was Robert Knowles who, to put it lightly, has proven time and time again that he just can’t get the job done. Gurvan Hall is an elite athlete who has shown big time football instincts. He may be behind in the mental and schematic aspects of the game, as many true freshman are, but I feel like the best way to work through that is to get significant reps in game time situations. It is hard to learn from the sideline. Hall is talented enough to be on the field, especially in a game against Toledo where 2 guys at the position weren’t available. Hall saw some time at the end of the game when the 2’s started to come in, but I would have liked to see him much more Saturday, and hopefully, Gurvan will get some more run as the year goes on.

Trench Bully – Gerald Willis

The trench bully award goes to either an O-lineman or D-lineman who had a dominant performance.

I feel like the skill guys tend to get all the shine, so I made this Trench Bully Award for the hogs in the middle. Quite honestly, with the way he’s started 2018, I could have just called this one the Gerald Willis Award. Gerald Willis has been the best player on the field for either team in the first 3 games, hands down. The stories of Willis’ domination on Greentree are indeed true. He’s looked like a man among boys, and he was back on savage mode in Toledo. He racked up 5 tackles (3 TFL) and a sack. Toledo had no remnants of a designed run game. I won’t mention the QB scrambles that went for 10 plus yards time and time again. I digress. The lack of run game for Toledo was largely due to the fact that they had no hope in blocking Willis. The rest of the D-line played well, but Willis led the way. He seemed to get penetration on every play and came off the ball like a mad man. Willis’ athleticism is extraordinary for a man of his stature, and he’s incredibly productive for an interior D-lineman. G is out there playing with a noticeable chip on his shoulder in 2018, and the defense feeds off his mentality. Gerald Willis is the definition of a Trench Bully.
 

Comments (19)

Rosier or Thomas should have been best performance.
 
Gerald Willis is on pace for 30 TFL and 9 sacks. That's insane. I hope he keeps it up as competition ramps up. He was dominant against LSU but if another guy in the middle can't step up they are going to start really game planning him. Him and Garvin have been extra ridiculous up front
 
Good job Cory. I’m sure we all agree with you regarding getting guevan some PT.
 
No award for Feagles?
Right? Zero shanks for a whole game. Decent average. Meh hang times...dropped a couple inside the 20, and one that should have been downed inside the 5. Let's hope he carries that momentum forward.
 
Right? Zero shanks for a whole game. Decent average. Meh hang times...dropped a couple inside the 20, and one that should have been downed inside the 5. Let's hope he carries that momentum forward.

His award is getting to keep his scholarship for now.
 
Right? Zero shanks for a whole game. Decent average. Meh hang times...dropped a couple inside the 20, and one that should have been downed inside the 5. Let's hope he carries that momentum forward.

easily got all his nfl tape in on one day

scout notes include:
-didn't shank one
-didn't get one blocked
-didn't drop one
-caught the football with both hands
-punted past 25 yards
 
Jeff Thomas continues to be a superstar and a guy that bails out Rosier with his circus grabs...
 
Gerald Willis is on pace for 30 TFL and 9 sacks. That's insane. I hope he keeps it up as competition ramps up. He was dominant against LSU but if another guy in the middle can't step up they are going to start really game planning him. Him and Garvin have been extra ridiculous up front

Agree but I think the coaches are really smart to line him up next to Garvin. You can double 1, but teams are rarely going to use 4 guys up tlrying to block both, especially in that tight of a space. You almost have to pick your poison, and if Patchan develops we'll have a really good pass rush, assuming these guys stay healthy.
 
Jeff Thomas continues to be a superstar and a guy that bails out Rosier with his circus grabs...

His ability to track the ball is as good as I've seen in college.

And it's especially impressve because its obviously a skill he didn't really have last year.

Kid literally is the passing game right now
 
Gerald Willis is on pace for 30 TFL and 9 sacks. That's insane. I hope he keeps it up as competition ramps up. He was dominant against LSU but if another guy in the middle can't step up they are going to start really game planning him. Him and Garvin have been extra ridiculous up front

Thank you, Thank you. Don't mind patting myself on the back for saying in the "Preseason Hot Takes" thread that Willis would have the best season of any UM DT since Sapp in 1994. Said it in many threads. He is on that pace. The nation hasn't caught on yet but they will soon.

He will have a "OMG! Who is this guy!" type game against FSU this year as bad as their OL is and that is where he will make his name nationally known.
 
I like your style, Grimes. And I agree with all your takes.

Ambassador Dallas is our best RB right now because he’s a guy who doesn’t require well-defined holes to get his yards. He can get skinny through cracks and make just enough moves to create his own space. Homer is faster, but he needs better blocking to get his. If a good hole isn’t there he tends to duck his head and just square up on the tackler.

I knew Willis was going to be better than either of the dummies who left early. So I’m not surprised at all.

I’m with you on Hall. Knowles is a try hard guy, but he’s got no business playing here. Diaz is a dope if he doesn’t put Hall out there the whole game against FIU. He needs to learn on the fly because the minute Knowles gets on the field the defense tanks. It’s absurd. Never seen such a noticeable dropoff like that.

P. S. Bandy donned the chain, not dawned. Just a tip because The Legend likes you and is willing to take you under his prodigious wing of life.
 
I like your style, Grimes. And I agree with all your takes.

Ambassador Dallas is our best RB right now because he’s a guy who doesn’t require well-defined holes to get his yards. He can get skinny through cracks and make just enough moves to create his own space. Homer is faster, but he needs better blocking to get his. If a good hole isn’t there he tends to duck his head and just square up on the tackler.

I knew Willis was going to be better than either of the dummies who left early. So I’m not surprised at all.

I’m with you on Hall. Knowles is a try hard guy, but he’s got no business playing here. Diaz is a dope if he doesn’t put Hall out there the whole game against FIU. He needs to learn on the fly because the minute Knowles gets on the field the defense tanks. It’s absurd. Never seen such a noticeable dropoff like that.

P. S. Bandy donned the chain, not dawned. Just a tip because The Legend likes you and is willing to take you under his prodigious wing of life.
Preciate the love. And thank you for the correction. I’m always here for the tips.
 

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210
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190
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5'11"
200
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