I find myself with some time as we cross over Texas, so I thought I’d provide some final thoughts from St. Thomas Aquinas’ 30-6 win over De La Salle last night.
For starters, I think anyone who watched on ESPN2 knows that the better team won. Now, that’s not to say that De La Salle isn’t going to be just as good as always as the season progresses. I have a hunch they could. But, for as many times as the Spartans shot themselves in the foot, the Raiders were there to take advantage. By the end of the year, Aquinas will most definitely be in the discussion for another national title.
I thought the units of the game for the Spartans were the offensive line and the linebackers. DLS was able to run up the middle whenever it wanted, but with only one running back (Vitale) with any experience at all, it was tough to sustain. I thought the line played well against some big boys. I also thought the linebackers flew around and made some nice plays, and thought Michael Barton played very well.
One big question coming home is still the passing game. I thought Bart Houston came out very confident and looking sharp, but as the game wore on, he wasn’t as effective. He’ll continue to search for that rhythm next week against Livermore. I also thought he could’ve gotten a little more help last night. There were a couple drops, and a few first-down penalties put the Spartans in 1st and 15 situations. That allowed Aquinas to prepare for the pass a little easier.
The turnover problems that plagued DLS last night are also a tremendous concern, and ball security will be a priority in practice this week, I’m sure. Coach Bob Ladouceur was understandably disgusted with it, as I’m sure everyone watching at home was.
The bottom line coming home today is that the Spartans are no worse off than they were before Florida in terms of the rest of the season. How serious Dasmond Tautalatasi’s injury is could be a factor, but we’ll see. The biggest question for the Spartans is did the team learn anything? If it did, then the rest of the season should be business as usual. If not, well, things could be rocky.
A quick comment on the scene last night. It was intense. We drove down from the hotel just watching the lightning storm in the distance and man, it was impressive. We parked in the parking garage at Aquinas and took a stroll through numerous tailgate parties. My Cal hat got a few sideways glances. We got into the stadium and the celebs were definitely out, with Michael Irvin and Bryan Cox easy to spot. I heard a rumor Dan Marino was there, but I never saw him. Cris Carter was on the sideline for the Raiders, and judging by a couple of the catches they made, he’s making an impact. It was a hot, sticky night and the crowd brought it big time. Great atmosphere at Piccolo Stadium.
I hope everyone had fun following the game and our updates this weekend. Big time thanks to the Aquinas staff and coach Rocco Casullo, who was extremely cooperative and accomodating to me.
Be sure to join Jimmy Durkin and I on Monday at 4 p.m. for our weekly chat. I have a hunch you guys might have some questions about DLS and Aquinas. See ya then.