If Mark Richt and his coaches could pick one offense to be playing against while they figure out life without Jeff Owens, Central Michigan's high octane attack would not be their first choice.
Granted, Central Michigan didn't look that impressive in a 31-12 victory over powerhouse Eastern Illinois. But quarterback Dan LeFevour was a workmanlike 21 of 31 for 217 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. That's significantly less than the roughly 281 yards per game he averaged last year through the air. Not to mention the 86 yards a game he averaged on the ground in 2007. LeFevour has sometimes been referred to as a "Little Tim Tebow", That comparison ignores the fact that while both are juniors, LeFevour started as a freshman and has thrown for almost twice as many yards in his career as Tebow. I submit that Tim Tebow is in fact "Little Dan LeFevour"
The recipe for stopping a mobile passer like LeFevour is fairly simple: get lots of upfield pressure in his face using the front four, and leave seven defenders back to play pass defense and prevent disaster if the quarterback takes off running. But like so many other tasks in life, this is easier said than done.
Especially when your best defensive lineman is gone for the year. It's almost cliched to say in situations like this that "someone has to step up." Here, several somebodies will have to step up, because we don't really have any one player with the experience of Jeff Owens. These guys are just going to have to give it their all and get better every week.
But in the end, that defensive tackle unit needs a leader. Brandon Wood and Ricardo Crawford just haven't shown the chops to do it yet. Deangelo Tyson is clearly too young and inexperienced. Kade Weston has shown steady improvement throughout his career, but we won't see him until at least next weekend. Corvey Irvin has shown a lot of potential, but Saturday will be only his second start of his career. No, the guy who's going to have to lead the defensive tackles for the remainder of this season, our bellcow in the middle, is going to have to be Geno Atkins.
And in honor of his first day on the job as "the guy", I suggest you join me in toasting to Geno Atkins' success with a Gin O' Atkins. You'll need:
2 1/2 oz. of gin
1/4 cup of orange juice
Pour the gin and orange juice over ice in a highball glass, and top it off with the ginger ale. This same drink is also known as a "Bulldog Highball", which I find appropriate. Let's hope that Geno has as good a time on the field as you do with this drink at your tailgate (though with substantially better balance and coordination). I'll be back tomorrow with this week's 5 Things. Until then . . .