Saturday, September 01, 2007

For Brinkhater, There's No Defense

Well, with the exception of a few minor details related to process, the outcome of today’s contest went pretty much as expected. With two exceptions:

1) The Offense was MUCH better than expected.
2) The Defense was MUCH worse than expected.

Given that 1 & 2 basically cancel each other out, you have the predicted outcome: we KINDA stayed close, but then got BLOWN out in the 4th quarter.

Couple of notes from the actual game:

1) Is there ONE playmaker on defense? While the D-Line played well against the rush, the defense against the pass was beyond awful. I have NEVER seen a more passive Cougar group in my life: no pass rush, no blitz that was successful, no hard tackling, NADA.
2) This is EASILY the worst safety play that I’ve seen from a Cougar team. In addition, is Greg Trent the worst MLB the Cougars have had in ten years? He still looks as lost as he did in his first start. VERY disappointing.
3) I thought the offense, including Brink, played pretty darn well. The problem: WE SCORED ONLY 21 STINKING POINTS. That my friends is a REAL problem for the rest of the year.
4) The special teams are still awful. The ABC gang was correct, we’re gonna have a bunch of punts blocked with that spread formation, and our kickoff game with the new rules is BRUTAL.

Final Points:


I’m telling you all, the Big 10 is a stinker of a conference. While I LOVE their offensive line, watching Tennessee and CAL shows the difference in speed. Simply put, I think the Badgers are a 4th place team in the Pac-10. THAT does not bode well for us.

2) We have the RIGHT offense and offensive scheme with the WRONG Defense.

I think all of us will be amazed by the end of the year that this group will not be able to score sufficiently to give ourselves a chance to win. That is NOT a slam against Alex Brink, by the way, but if you look from last year forward, you will notice that our vertical game is non-existent. What we do, and DID, very well was dink and dunk and run the football like a charm. The problem: That strategy helps you keep your d off the field, but it doesn’t yield the 4 play 81 yard scoring drive. THAT, my friends, was the trademark of the 42-40 shootouts. This team will not be able to score 35 very often despite being quite effective (IF we had any defense at tall).

3) Alex is MUCH BETTER yet NO BETTER than last year.

Based on what I could tell, Brink is a much more confident QB than he was last year. In fact, I really enjoyed watching his command today—including his ability to throw over the middle. And I really liked his decision making! That said, his arm strength is NO BETTER than last year, and his ability to throw the deep ball is still beyond suspect.

In the end, it really now is all about seeing how we do against Arizona and Arizona State. Win one of those games, and then maybe we have something to offer.

But judging from today, these eyes saw an 8th or 9th place team.

And that, dear Cougar Nation, is NOTHING to get excited about.

Onward to San Diego State!

(and yes, the fake punt was the chicken bleep call of all time)


Anonymous said...

As a Badger, I am used to the program being under-rated or not rated at all. Over-rated is a nice change of pace. And to think, I was worried about the QB...

Sedihawk said...

I couldn't disagree more about Wisconsin being overrated. That offense is as good as we'll see this year, outside of Cal and USC in a few weeks once their new WR's get comfortable. Remember, they were a 12-1 team last year that beat Arkansas, and they returned everyone on offense except Joe Thomas. That line was outstanding. Their D, sure, it's not great, in fact I thought it was a little bit average, but with that offense they are going to be just fine. With Michigan giving up 34 to a mountain range school, and Ohio State breaking in a ton of new starters, Wisconsin or Penn State are the teams to beat out there.

But I digress - this is about us. I cannot believe that Doba actually defended the fake punt call today. Even Gibson called it out in today's Times, and I'm glad he did. That was a chicken shit call to go away from your absolute team strength at such a crucial time. Just like the Cal fake in '05, when he had 1900-yd Jerome Harrison, he chose to run the ball with Scott Davis. Ugh.

Here's the thing though. I feel bad about yesterday, but not too bad. Brinkhater called 41-17, I called 38-20, and it was right where we thought it would be. So 42-21 is no surprise at all, in fact it went exactly to script - we'd hang tight for a while, maybe even deep into the 3rd quarter, only to wear out and their ground game would take over. That's EXACTLY what happened.

I guess the sad reality is that our D is even worse than we thought it would be. We are in for a long, frustrating season of not getting anyone off the field. And as Brinkhater said yesterday, this is a recipe for disaster, because offensively we're not a big-play team! We're dink and dunk, and we can run the ball, and that's great if you have the Pittsburgh Steelers defense behind you. But when you've got so much inexperience and you lack anything resembling a big-play guy on defense, you are in big, big trouble.

Wait until we have to face USC. Wait until Oregon's spread offense and Dixon go bananas on us at Autzen. Wait until Cal's speed is unleashed on these kids (and oh my GOD, Cal. That is, by far, the fastest Pac-10 team I've ever seen on offense. And that includes Reggie Bush's SC team that blew out Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, maybe the best USC team of all-time. They are unbelievable. They looked fast against Tennessee, which is a track team on defense. UNBELIEVABLE speed.). And don't even get me started at what Jake Locker would do to our defense, because we sure looked a hell of a lot like Syracuse on defense yesterday.

I guess we can only hope that these guys grow up fast, and Doba and Burtnett and Walkosky can coach 'em up. Or else this could be a very long, painful exit for Doba.

Anonymous said...

i was impressed with the offense, and i think we will get better. while brink actually OVER-threw guys on the long ball (usually he cant get it to them), on three other times the receivers looked to run the wrong routes. i can't see brink and co. not correcting those...brink will dial in the long ball, and the receivers will get on the same page. and the running game looks like it will be very solid with tardy and ivory.

the defense was blantantly bad, but i think that too will get better. being the first start for many of those cant expect too much. once broadus comes back, we will have a pass rush and not have to blitz all the dang time. i saw glimpses of the potential of the secondary...among the many times they just got flat beat. but apart from that, the coverage scheme needs to be re-looked at. the corners were giving 15 yards to the receivers coming off the line? i think that takes their athleticism out of the picture and makes them have to think. on the touchdown to swan where nwachukwu got beat...swan was already at full speed by the time he got to chima, and blew by him with ease, because chima took a half step the wrong direction. maybe they should give only a 5 yard buffer.

overall, not disappointed, and i think we can do pretty well in the conference this year.

Brinkhater said...

I think that the BIGGEST reason for optimism had to do with Stoops' upstaging of Doba in the first-to-get fired race. That PITIFUL showing by Brinkhater's darkhorse against B-Y-WHO just made that game VERY winnable..

Like I've said, this team WILL get better. The question is, "will this team arrive before the bowl train has already left the station?" If we could enter ASU 3-2, that would REALLY help our chances!

RE: The Badgers. Please don't interpret my take as meaning that the Badgers are BAD, they aren't. They are GOOD football team. But they are NOT a top 10 team either. Take last year's Auburn team: I thought they were GREAT, but then they wind up 9-3 and out of the title picture.

Wisconsin will do well in the Big 10, I think, but remember, this is the BIG, Slow version of the Big 10--a phenomenon that happens every few years and changes after they get their tails handed to them on a national level--something that started on New Years last year and extended to yesterday's shocker in Ann Arbor. Give the conference a couple of years, and they'll be back again with burners...its a cycle.

But is Wisonsin better than CAL? I don't think so.. Could an Oregon State with Sloughter beat them? I think they might. Would last year's Cougar team have beaten this Wisconsin team? With Bruce and Frampton, I think we might have.

But that's just me...

And to the Wisconsin faithful, you kicked our butts and are 1-0, so we would obviously rather be in your have all season to prove idiots like me wrong...

Anyhow, lets take it to SDSU and get some confidence!

Sedihawk said...

Watched some of the game again today on the old Comcast DVR. A few more thoughts:

1) Abdullah BLEW IT on the TD to Swan right before the half. It's shocking how poorly he played that ball. His quote today was right, that was his responsibility, but I can't believe he couldn't get over there. That was really, really poor and I expected more from a varsity letterman (name that movie?).

2) Answer: Breakfast Club.

Anyway, the offensive line really did play well. I'm very, very impressed at how they did sealing off the edges and allowing Tardy to get outside for 4, 5, 6 yards a touch. Tardy is a very good back, but the line did a great job. I think we're going to be very happy with how they play this year, and they might be shades of '05 in regards to how we run the ball. Not to suggest that Tardy and Ivory will approach those kinds of numbers, but even as Brinkhater says the Big 10 is slow this year, they still are stout up front and take major pride in stopping the run. And they really didn't stop it yesterday.

4) Back to the defense - poor Chima. He was roasted by Swan. On that TD throw, he was stride for stride and for some reason he just let up at about the 20. Donovan stared down the play the entire time, there wasn't any pump-fake or anything, but Chima just hesitated for no real reason, and Swan was five yards behind him. I know Doba loves him and says he comes from a big-time high school program, but SO FRIGGIN' WHAT! That sure didn't mean a thing on Saturday did it? The kid was almost admitting to wetting his pants at the size and speed of Wisconsin.

Finally, I'm ready for UW to lose. Please. There is so much garbage spewing from their suddenly-cocky mouths, it's hard to stomach. Why the need to go to Cougfan and talk about how great they looked vs. Syracuse, it's just sad. I guess when you haven't won a bowl game since 2000 you have the need to go tout and chest-pump all you can when you win a game. Oh well. Wouldn't it be a wonderful day to see Boise State School of Trucking stroll in and squash them Saturday? Not that I think they will (I'm sadly feeling like UW will beat them), but it would be a great day to be a Coug in Seattle if WSU wins and UW loses!

longball said...

The end of the first half and the fake punt were both BRUTAL. The secondary was completely clueless. We have nobody on our D line who can get in the backfield. Our special teams are worse than most high schools.

But... Our O-line and running game looked great and we did respond when Wisconsin gave us some gifts from their own special teams. Too bad we were just as generous.

I think we are in big trouble when the Pac-10 comes to play. As much as our D-line refuses to mount any semblence of a pass rush, it is the coverage that concerns me more. Being a Wisconsin receiver was a lonely job on Saturday since most of the time there was no Coug defender in the same area code.

I am calling it right now, SDSU will shock us next weekend unless our pass D does an about face and our special teams stop performing like they bet money on the other team.

Sedihawk said...

Fair enough Longball, good call. But at this point I don't even know if we could call it a "shocker" if we do lose to SDSU! They have a ton of offense back from last year, and after watching the Wisconsin loss, they must be licking their chops to get out there and throw the ball around on us.

That said, I'm going to hold out hope that we'll right the ship somehow. I remember feeling that we were an absolute disaster about a year ago at this time after all the breakdowns and lousy tackling vs. Auburn, and then the D suddenly stepped up beginning with Idaho and then Baylor and they played well for the next few games. That old coach saying of you improve the most from your first game to your second, well, I hope there's something to it this year!

By the way, I'm still miffed at that fake punt. What is it about Doba's love affair with the fake? He's done it more than you think. Last year vs. Arizona, 4th and 2 at the 42 (similar to Saturday), fake punt is called and the run is tackled for loss. AZ drives down the short field, TD, game over. Of course we lost that game and the season went with it. 2005 it was the fake punt at Cal, up 10 with 4 minutes to go, again a run, again it failed. I just don't get it. Maybe they think something is there, when it just isn't. Even worse was Saturday, after watching the play again, that alignment we lined up in made Wisconsin play honest defense on the punt. They looked like they were told before the snap that it would be a fake! I don't know what the heck Doba was talking about, saying that they thought it would go for a TD if the snap was good. The replay from the end zone angle made it look like that play had zero chance before it even started! Special teams = brutal, once again.

longball said...

Even the Wisconsin fans sitting in front of me turned round after the fake punt and expressed their sympathy. I think the fake punt love affair goes back to Doba's first season when we ran trick plays and fake punts with a lot of success, notably at Oregon. It's like he's been trying to recapture that magic ever since.

Brinkhater said...

Its not the fake punt call per se that rattled Brinkhater's cage, it was the SITUATION in which the fake punt was called.

If its 4th and 10 and we're at the 40 something, then that call is a bit more understandable..

But, when its fourth and two, who do you want chucking the rock, Alex or Darryl (and his other brother Darryl)?

Which one is a higher percentage play? Darryl throwing a 25 yard fly pattern, or Alex throwing a 32 yard out for a two yard gain?

It was the situation that is idiotic!

Moreover, the additional rationale was that we needed to run the fake "to keep teams honest in the future." Why? Because our spread formation is such that we are sure to get more punts blocked!

Finally, how about our punt coverage unit?

First, we got Johnson and Rapoti blocking in the middle, and we got Jed Collins rushing down the field hittin people.

How smart is that? Alex's main over-the-middle guy and two down-lineman that we HAVE to have on the field but have been UNABLE to keep on the field.

I wanna stay on Doba's side, I really do, but its getting harder and harder and harder.

But we're not losing to SDSU.

We're not.

Brinkhater said...

BTW: 32 yard out was supposed to be a 2 yard out.

I even suck at typing!