Lembo's Language is a weekly article in chief football reporter David Polaski dissects statements made by Ball State head football coach Pete Lembo in his press conference.
“You were pleased with the defensive performance against Northern Illinois, how much more pleased are you that [the defense] performed that way without [starting linebacker] Ben Ingle in the middle [because of an ankle sprain]?”
Lembo: “Sean Wiggins did play well in Ben’s absence. Sean was prepared for a very multiple offense … Darius Conway, Tyree Holder and David Moore, played the final three quarters in a rotation at corner … this was the least number of explosive plays we’ve allowed all season.”
David’s explanation: Against a strong Northern Illinois offense, the Ball State defense played fairly well, especially considering the injuries. Ingle, one of the anchors on the defense, missed the entire game. One of the best tacklers on the team, Eric Patterson, broke his arm in the first quarter, but the team still defended well for the most part.
“How impressive is it that [Massachusetts] can get that much production out of a pro-style look, how much stress does it put on the secondary?”
Lembo: “It puts a lot of stress … they will get into more spread looks and throw it down the field, they’ll throw bubble screens.”
David’s explanation: Umass brings a versatile offense, but much of it comes from a traditional pro-style offense, meaning the quarterback is under center and not in the shotgun. Senior quarterback Blake Frohnapfel has thrown 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, bringing significant offense and passing power in a system that doesn’t always make its quarterback look good.
“What do you think is the biggest step [kicker Scott Secor] has taken from last year to this season?”
Lembo: “One of our ongoing conversations since early in the year is red zone productivity … the good news for Scott is he has been put to the test this year, because of our growing pains on offense.”
David’s explanation: Secor was named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza award, for the best kicker in the country. It means that Ball State has one of the most reliable kickers, but also means the offense has struggled after entering opposing territory. Each field goal gives the Cardinals three points, but is a reminder that they missed out on a possible seven.