Three-point stance: What it means to play full time

October, 20, 2009
10/20/09
5:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel

1. It’s hard for backups to understand what “one play away” means until it’s too late. Arkansas’s Dennis Johnson, in for injured back Michael Smith against Florida, gained 246 all-purpose yards on 20 touches. But Johnson had only 38 yards on five fourth-quarter touches. Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino praised Johnson Monday but added he needs to be in better shape: “When you’re not playing full-time all the time, the intensity and the amount of carries drains you a little bit.”

2. The Virginia defense knows that if Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt throws on Saturday, the ball is going to 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior wideout Demaryius Thomas. Of the Yellow Jackets’ 40 completions, Thomas has caught 27. He leads the ACC with 95.9 yards per game, and an amazing 24.9 yards per catch. “A lot of teams are playing with corners that certainly aren't 6'3",” said Cavaliers coach Al Groh. “They can be pretty close, but not close enough to make a play.”

3. USC coach Pete Carroll and several defenders expressed their disbelief after the Notre Dame game that the Trojans forced four fumbles and didn’t recover any of them. USC is minus-2 in turnover margin and not likely to fix that this week. Oregon State is one of only two teams (with Cincinnati) that has yet to lose a fumble this season. In fact, sophomore tailback Jacquizz Rodgers hasn’t lost a fumble in 454 career rushes or receptions.

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