Adam Gold

Logan offers lessons on acting, QB play and roster makeup in Week 1

Posted September 5

Apparently, Steve Logan hates weak side line backers and nickel cornerbacks.

We’re going to learn a lot in a short period of time during Sunday’s “Logan Zone” (11 a.m. on WRAL-TV, WRALSportsFan.com and 99.9 The Fan). I know I did in the season kickoff show. We’re going to understand keys to quarterback play, like why Brandon Harris likely lost the job to Chazz Surratt over in Chapel Hill. I learned that acting is important in football. And, how its’s the opposite of a good sign if you’ve got about a dozen graduate or junior college transfers on your roster.

First, if you tuned into our maiden voyage and weren’t completely put off by the fact that it was me and not Jeff Gravely, steering Coach Logan through the 30-minute show, you found out that Coach enjoys torturing defensive personnel. In the segment which showed how Panthers running back Christian McCaffery could revitalize the Carolina offense, Coach demonstrated how his versatility could really play havoc with a defense. If they try to cover him with a linebacker, we torture him until he – well, I can’t finish the phrase he told me off the air, but it has something to do with a bodily function gone wrong. If they bring an extra defensive back, we pound him with a 250 pound fullback.

Either way, someone is getting abused. And, that’s why we love The Logan Zone.

South Carolina 35, NC State 28

“What did I tell you on Friday?” Logan said to me after we kicked off the broadcast. “You don’t have to win the kicking game, you just have to tie it.” Well, there were only two big plays on special teams, and South Carolina was the beneficiary of both. Deebo Samuel took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, thanks to at least a couple of missed tackles. And, of course, there was the inevitable missed field goal.

Since the start of the 2015 season, NC State is just 16 for 32 on field goal attempts. No one likes to settle for field goals, but if they’re just a 50-50 proposition, you’re going to lose a bunch of games you could have or should have won. Did that missed 29-yard field goal cost State the game? Probably not. At least not moreso than the two turnovers that turned into touchdowns for the Gamecocks, or the eight penalties, or the handful of times the defense allowed South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley to escape sacks and turn them into scoring drives.

By now you can tell that there were a lot of “t's” not crossed and “i's” not dotted. And, if that causes you to harken back to last year, or the year before, or the year before that, or the year before that ... you get the point. This Wolfpack team is clearly good enough to win a ton of ballgames this year. Ryan Finley looked really good, for the most part. His accuracy wasn’t great after getting his leg rolled up on that early third quarter sack/fumble. But, Finley was arguably their best player Saturday. Once the defense got it together – and the offense stopped turning the ball over – they showed how good they’re capable of being.

Unfortunately, the little things added up to big things and it totaled a loss.

California 35, North Carolina 30

“When a quarterback hits a linebacker in the facemask, it’s a vision problem," Logan ranted as we folded into a discussion of the Tar Heels loss at Kenan Stadium. Brandon Harris overthrew an easy touchdown pass and threw two bad interceptions and probably lost the quarterback job to Chazz Surratt as much as the southpaw took it away. That’s not to say Surratt, a redshirt freshman, didn’t do some nice things. “He’s got a smooth delivery," according to Logan. "I liked the way he kept his eyes downfield even when the play broke down. You coach those guys.”

Okay, with that settled, now it’s on to figuring out the other side of the equation. What to do with a defense that couldn’t apply consistent – or even intermittent – pressure with their defensive front? Carolina allowed too many big plays, had serious issues in coverage and missed a ton of tackles.

Yet, Carolina was probably going to win this game – or at the very least make it really tough on the Golden Bears – until Jalen Dalton lost his marbles late in the second quarter. After spotting Cal the game’s first touchdown, the Heels scored the next 17 point and were poised to get the ball back with about two minutes left in the half. With the Bears facing a third and 12 from their own 18-yard line, Cal quarterback Ross Bowers was flushed out of the pocket by Dajuan Drennon and was forced to throw the ball away. But, Jalen Dalton delivered a clear helmet-to-helmet shot to the passer, an unnecessary hit that gave the Bears a first down and got Dalton an early shower. On the next play, the one that should have seen Cal punting the ball back to UNC, Bowers found a wide open Vic Wharton down the left side of the field who ran through whichever Tar Heels were in his way and scored a soul-crushing touchdown that completely destroyed Carolina’s momentum.

“Just a selfish play," Logan said of the illegal hit by Dalton.

Duke 60, NC Central 7

It’s hard to know what a win like this means for the Blue Devils. As good as Central has been under Jerry Mack – and they’ve been excellent in his three seasons – they’re not on Duke’s level, and it showed just in just about every way. Duke ran for almost 250 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones threw for a little more than 200 and a couple of scores and the Blue Devils’ defense just punished the Eagles all night, holding their Durham neighbors to just 158 total yards.

That Duke won handily isn’t a surprise. The manner in which Duke won, however, could be significant. We’ll see for sure next week when Northwestern comes to Wallace Wade. “Did anyone get seriously hurt?” Logan asked. “Then it was a success.”

James Madison 34, East Carolina 14

It’s going to be a long year in Greenville.

“I knew the Pirates were in trouble right away," Logan said. “When they came out of the tunnel and they didn’t look any different than JMU, I knew this was going to be a tough deal.” ECU gave up more than 600 yards of offense to the Dukes. Yes, they’re the defending FCS champs.

But, they’re the FCS champs. FCS.

FCS.

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