Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I decided to wait a few days to write about last weekend's game. Right after the game I was a mess. I was furious, frustrated and probably as upset at the team and the coaching staff as I've ever been. The App State loss left in a daze (I didn't really believe it, I think). This loss left me angry. I thought about using words like "unacceptable", "travesty", and "fireable offense". I wondered how deep the bottom would be. Could we win another game all season? If we did go 2-10 this year, would a decent season (8-4 or better) even be possible next year? Did we make the wrong hire? How long would this mediocrity last? And of course, I realized that we are 10-10 with several rather embarrassing losses since Bo died.

But after I calmed down a bit, and let the emotion of the game wash away, I realized that I needed to show a little more patience, accept that where we are is where we are, and that things will get better. No coach should be judged on one game, or even one season. No matter how good, bad or ugly it gets, Rich Rod should get at least four years to make his system work. However unlikely, the very minimalist goals for the year (to make a bowl game, beat a rival) are still possible. Even if we don't make it, every power team has gone through a similar type season at one point in the last 40 years. Ask LSU fans about Curly Hallman, or USC fans about Paul Hackett.

So with that in mind, I'll try not to get too bogged down in blame. There is certainly plenty to go around: Rich Rod and Shafer from some defensive play calling; Carr for not recruiting enough good offensive lineman his last couple of years; Mike Boren, for allowing his kid to quit (ok, I understand our kids have to make their own decisions, and we can't live their lives. But when your son makes a promise to your alma mater, and then breaks that promise and trashes the school on his way out the door, you put the kid in his place and tell him to finish what he started, not help him make his getaway. Far as I'm concerned, Mike Boren should give his varsity letter back and his name should be stricken from the record books. Don't bother calling any of your old teammates, you're not welcome.); injuries to Threet, Odoms, Carlos Brown, and others; etc. One thing I heard that I think does bear repeating, is that this team, and particularly the offense really lacks leadership. I wonder if the lack of captains this year is hurting them.

So going forward, what do they need to change to get better?
-First, Threet has to stay healthy. We couldn't beat Pioneer High with Sheridan, we need Threet.
-Secondly, the offensive line has to get better. Simply put, its hard to run any offense if you can't block anyone. I'd like to see more of the other running backs other than McGuffie. Don't get me wrong, I love Sam, but I think a change of pace would help offset some of the other issues.
-I think the long hand off (quick throw to WR who stays at the line) is there almost every play. It should be an automatic, if the CB is more than 10 yards off the line, toss it out there.
-More crossing routes (provided we can block long enough to get them across the field)
-A few carries by the FB. A little misdirection carry out of the I got him about 5 or 6 on Saturday.
-Some deep shots, provided Threet is in. For the most part, the outside receivers have been single covered, and the safeties have been crowding the line of scrimmage.

Of course, all of this probably won't matter, as they face the best team in the league who has an 11-year losing streak to avenge. It will probably be painful