Thursday, September 23, 2010

Going through the motions

You'll have to excuse the lackluster blogging effort this week (i.e. late) after a lackluster game on Saturday. Ugh. What a stinker.

The offense was out of sync. Robinson forced his first pass of the day resulting in an INT. He fumbled several snaps and seemed to read a couple of zone read plays wrong. The O-line missed a few assignments, and there were a few missed cuts by the RBs. Still they racked up 550 some odd yards on 56 snaps. Even when out of sorts, this is a potent offense. Offense is not the problem.

Defense is. More specifically, linebackers are. Even my untrained eye saw Ezeh and Mouton make bad read after bad read. Give Umass credit, they ran a lot of misdirection , roll outs and short passes that put the onus on the LBs to make the right read. Time and again they didn't. What is scary is that there are several Big Ten teams that play exactly this style of offense.

That being said, I'm not sure this meager effort changes the big picture. Even with the defense of death, the offense appears to be good enough to win four of the remaining nine games. If the defense improves (i.e. they discover some new linebackers), we might see more wins.

This and That:
-A lot of fans will make a big deal out of a close game with an FCS team, but this really isn't any different than a basketball win over a mid-major. UMass, Villanova, James Madison, App State, these are the football equivalents of the Butler team that came within a few points of winning the Big Dance this year. Now Umass probably isn't as good as Butler was this year, but they were chalked full of seniors. had plenty of experience, and probably won't be the worst team we play this year.
-The thing that disappointed me the most in our game is that we didn't see any backups. Obviously some new prospects on defense might provide some hope, but I was also hoping to see the backup RBs. Still not convinced Shaw and Smith are the answer.
-What a call by Dantonio in the MSU/ND game. The amazing thing was that it wasn't open when the punter first stood up. He had to wait for his receiver to come open. I found it funny that Kelly, who is know for his gambling nature passed on a fourth and one in overtime, and Dantonio, who is considered conservative took the risk.
-Hope Dantonio recovers in time for the Michigan game. We should have known that something was wrong when he smiled in the post game interview.
-Not to look to far ahead, but the State game looks like it will be a barn burner. Two potent offenses, two poor defenses. I think this game is huge for Rich Rod. If he loses that game, I don't think he comes back next year.
-Only watched a little bit of the Iowa-Arizona game before I fell asleep, but man is Mike Stoops crazy on the sidelines. If you had told me Sunday morning that a college coach had a heart attack the night before, I would have guessed Stoops.
-Bo Pelini looks to have Nebraska rounding in form just in time for their move to the Big Ten. I would love to see them win the Big 12 this year.
-I wonder if the Pac 10 is having second thoughts about Colorado. First California routs CU 52-7, then the bears get blown out by Nevada 52-31. They've added a few teams and still can't beat the Mountain West.
-A new set of Golden Rankings coming in a day or so.