THREE THINGS THAT WORKED WELL
Secondary on the ball: The West Chester secondary played aggressively against New Haven, picking off four passes. Carl Barnes, who got the start in place of an injured John O’Donnell, intercepted Ryan Osiecki’s pass with 7:31 left in the first half at the Charger 36. The Rams turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession.
The Rams’ second interception came on a botched punt attempt by New Haven late in the second quarter. Punter Chris Scifo mishandled the snap, then made like Garo Yepremian in throwing the ball, almost in desperation. Matt Colyar picked it off at the West Chester 39, though had he simply batted the ball down, the Rams would’ve had possession at the New Haven 43. The Rams had to settle for a field goal with four seconds left in the first half.
Bob Sabol’s interception of Osiecki in the end zone in the final minute of the third quarter set up the Rams’ fourth quarter touchdown. Brian Hinderer’s interception from the New Haven 43 with 9:32 left in regulation set up Shawn Leo’s 28 yard field goal.
Carroll’s impressive debut: Matt Carroll showed why he won the second-string quarterback job for West Chester during training camp. Going 9-for-11 for 110 yards and a touchdown and leading the Golden Rams with 90 rushing yards in your first collegiate game in two years is certainly a good way to get noticed. Carroll seemed to be the more effective passer than Sean McCartney (14-for-28, 173 yards), who threw some passes that were more like Cliff Lee curveballs than spiral passes. Still, head coach Bill Zwann is committed to McCartney as the starting quarterback.
Keyser, Lee step up to fill DePalma hole: In limited action as a sophomore last season, LaRonn Lee showed flashes of brilliance with his pass catching abilities and his speed. Against New Haven, Lee caught five passes for 84 yards, including an 11 yard touchdown on West Chester’s first possession of the third quarter. The junior from Penn Manor is expected to be one of McCartney’s (or Carroll’s) go to receivers to fill the void left by Dan DePalma’s graduation. Other than a dropped pass, Lee continues to improve with each passing game.
Keyser, who also saw extensive playing time last season as a redshirt freshman, caught seven passes for 69 yards against New Haven. The most noteworthy play for the redshirt sophomore wasn’t a catch, but rather a personal foul penalty that pushed the Rams out of the red zone (from the New Haven 19, the 15 yard flag pushed the Rams back to the New Haven 34) late in the first quarter. West Chester had to settle for a field goal.
Which segues into…
THREE THINGS THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT
Ill-timed penalties and other mental mistakes: In addition to Keyser’s personal foul call, the Rams made several other mistakes that Zwann said wouldn’t have been made by “an eighth grade squad.” Colyar’s interception on fourth down late in the second quarter was a textbook example. That faux pas was compounded a pair of false start penalties which further stalled the drive. The Rams were fortunate to have come out of that drive with a field goal as opposed to the touchdown they should’ve scored.
And that was on top of:
- The three kickoffs which went out of bounds, including Chris Hill’s back-to-back bungled kickoffs in the first quarter and the costly kickoff by Leo at the start of New Haven’s game-tying drive to force overtime.
- The two penalties by West Chester on that final New Haven drive in regulation that not only gave the Chargers improved field position, it also allowed them to tie the game.
- As a team, the Rams were flagged 12 times for 158 yards; they gained 182 net yards as a team on the ground.
- Despite his interception, in the second quarter, Barnes appeared to have misread a couple of pass plays, including New Haven’s first touchdown pass.
The mental mistakes were one of many reasons 2010 was a disastrous year for the Golden Rams. If they aren’t addressed immediately by the coaching staff, they could very well ruin the 2011 season as well.
Offensive line fail: For the most part, the offensive line played reasonably well during the first half and in the early stages of the second half. In the final 10 minutes however, it appeared as though McCartney and Carroll were spending most of their time desperately trying to avoid getting sacked.
The offensive line allowed four sacks, two of them in the final quarter. McCartney, in particular, seemed to rush some of his throws as the game progressed. One could say that it was a matter of conditioning that had an impact. However three of the five starting offensive linemen in the game have played together for the past three seasons. Could this be a coaching issue?
The offensive line’s issues also had an impact on the running game, as the Rams were only able to rack of 31 of their 182 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Suffice to say that the offensive line has to step up their game before the meat of the PSAC East schedule comes around.
Musical quarterbacks leads to inconsistency: Zwann’s decision to have McCartney and Carroll playing in alternating series may be a good idea if this were a scrimmage. However, when West Chester starts league play, a firm decision needs to be made.
Will Zwann stick with the proven McCartney, who at least has a season of PSAC competition under his belt, in spite of his occasional accuracy issues that flared up off and on during the game? Or will he ultimately turn to Carroll, who not only displayed better accuracy than McCartney, but also has the ability to break off a 10-15 yard run when needed?
The time to resolve the quarterback question once and for all is around the corner. The Rams offense needs to have a consistent presence at quarterback throughout the entire game. It shouldn’t be a point driven home down the stretch of a key divisional game against a Bloomsburg or Kutztown.
NOTES:Despite being listed and announced as the starting safety, John O’Donnell did not dress – though he did make the trip to New Haven – due to ongoing issues with his knee sprain injury. Zwann hadn’t indicated whether O’Donnell would be ready to play against Delaware on Saturday. … There were no other major injuries for West Chester during the New Haven game. … New Haven now leads the all-time series 8-4-1, including wins in four of the last five meetings. All four of the Golden Rams wins have come at New Haven.
Notes and Analysis | First Half Scoring Recap | Second Half Scoring Recap | West Chester Statistics | New Haven Statistics