Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Day, New Thread


Top of the Morns to you all, Cougar Nation.

Well, after last nights yuck-fest, combined with some off-color and out-of-bounds comments, we thought we'd turn the page.

So, in deference to a great comment by Atlanta Coug, here is the question of the day:

Given our HORRIBLE defensive breakdowns against the run the last couple of weeks, AS WELL AS our lack of depth at DT, AS WELL AS Mattingly's struggles at defensive end, is it time for us to take a serious look at playing a 3-4?

If so, would this be a good or bad week to implement such a change?

Fire away.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dont know if we will even beat psu next saturday. Cal is losing to Maryland, and not even by a little bit...thinking that the only reason we got blown away by cal is wrong. We are downright horrible.. No offensive line, no solid quarterback, and no defense whatsoever...but everyone already knows that. I think that this pattern will continue due to doba's horrible recruiting classes until about the 2011 season when Wulff can finally get a chance to get some talent for the cougs.

kaddy said...

I think you put your best players on the field, period, at this point. If that means playing Mattingly at Strong Safety, so be it. We have to at least compete, especially at home. Do anything to contain the run - anything.

Sedihawk said...

I wonder if they will change the defense. Rip Doba from here to eternity, but the one thing he did do is throw the switch to the 3-4. And why did he do such a thing? Our d-tackles were decimated then, as they are now. We were at times without Ropati, Aaron Johnson and Ahmu, so the 3-4 was essential. And oh by the way, in what role has Andy Mattingly thrived? As a 3-4 OLB.

Talarico once told me that he talked to someone who's known Mattingly since his high school days at Mead. He said they always believed he was at his best when he played in space, so to speak. That's part of the reason he was playing safety in high school, even at 6-4, 200. So now, we have a player who was an all-conference candidate last year with over 90 tackles and 8 sacks, and this year, he's merely a backup DE (and not a very good DE at that).

So I love the idea of getting your best players on the field, NOW. Don't forget Xavier Hicks is back at safety next week. But I think there is another step they can do, even more than going to the 3-4. But that's a story for tomorrow.

Stiffmiester said...

Sedi,
I agree that we need to do something to get the talent we have in a position to make an impact. CPW has his philosophies and they will work when we get the right personnel for the system, both offense and defense, but is it time to stick to the plan or modify it for we have now? Our recruiting efforts are already going better than what we have had in years past but that doesn't help us now. I worry that the impatience will drive a good coach out before he has a chance to prove out. So with all that said what do I as a rank ametuer think? 3-4 and see what we can do.
Above all keep the faith
GO COUGS

Sedihawk said...

You are right Stiffy. The thing is, fans PANIC in situations like this. But Wulff and company have brought in a whole new change, and the growing pains are brutal right now. For them to radically change or give up on what they believe in so quickly would be a bad sign to the players that hey, we have a system to believe in, but if you can't handle it we'll change everything.

It's a double whammy right now. Not only is it a brand new system with new starters, but it's a brand new system to every single player on the roster. It's almost as if you are starting with freshmen all over the place, when you really aren't. As much as we'll offer up our opinions, the reality is that they have a system in place, a system that has worked before. It will work here too, but it never once was promised that it would happen overnight. I know we all thought or hoped that we would be far more competitive than this. It's not the losses right now, it's how we are losing that kills.

And for that matter, I don't think Wulff will be run off. We have far too much invested in him to turn this thing around, and the admin knew better than anyone else that they were handing him a mess. He will get the required time it takes. But if we're sitting here in year 4 and we're still awful, well, hide the women and children. It will be UGLY.

Sedihawk said...

Banner weekend for the pac-10 thus far:
WSU, CAL and Stanford all lose, already.

BYU 42, UCLA 0 - 2ND QUARTER!?!
Purdue 20, Oregon 3 - 2nd quarter?

Hey, Oregon St is beating Hawaii. Somehow we forgot to pick that game this week. But wow, what a rough start to the games.

Anonymous said...

There biggest issue right now is players. There were some curious players on the sideline last night. The defense looks like it has rolled over at times and simply gives in others. A change to 3-4 probably isn't the cure we are seeking.

I don't know if Wulff is the guy to turn this back around but at the moment it is almost impossible to assess. The talent is lacking, tons of injuries, and a decent amount of players not buying into the system.

Sedihawk said...

Just watching some of the game on DVR right now. Some first-quarter thoughts:
Nice opening drive for a TD. Lopina made a nice play on 3rd and 8 from the 42, checking off into a slant to Gibson over the middle. Love that he saw something, checked into it, and it worked.
Robert Griffin OMG, what an athlete! He does things very few QB's in the nation can do. His crazy AD-lib TD pass, where he rolled one way, reversed field, ran all the way to the other side of the field, and then threw a strike 40 yards in the air, in stride and into tight coverage?? Unbelievable. I get the hype now. Wait until he gets some more games under his belt. His speed is breath-taking. Just think, he's barely slower than Jeshua. We're talking world class speed.
Lopina is inconsistent but has only played in one game. You can see his arm strength isn't great, but I like his ability to move around. But his arm is certainly adequate. He had another long slant to Gibson over the middle, getting 20 yards on 3rd and 7. Nice throw. Later in the same drive, 3rd and long, Lopina read blitz, checked to Jeshua on one-on-one coverage, and threw a nice 10-yard comeback route to move the chains.
For the first time this year, we actually ran the ball OK early. Staden fits in pretty well, but Ivory still looks like the best guy.

Sedihawk said...

2nd quarter. Good call to go for it on 4th down. Good push by the oline to get 6 on 4th and 1.
Lopina's scramble on 2nd and 8 to run it frm the 40 to inside the 10 was impressive. He turned the corner on Baylor's DE and OLB.
Lopina had another good throw to Gibson for a 10-yd gain, just a simple stop route.
Finally, Lopina's TD run was strong off the read-option run play. He's got good feet, nobody can deny it.
Boy, the D did look slow last night. But Wulff was right, Griffin makes everyone look slow. His long run after we tied it at 14 just killed our momentum. But seriously, if anyone has this game on tape or whatever, I encourage you to go back and watch the first half. Lopina shows a lot more promise than I thought, quite honestly looking like, dare I say, a good fit in this offense??

atlanta coug said...

You are right...Holy bad day for Pac-10. Does BYU shalacking of UCLA mean that UW is not that bad? I am not surprised that UCLA offense struggled, but I thought they had good D! I hate to look to far ahead, but can you imagine what Jake Locker will do to our defense in the Apple Cup? Let's hope our offense REALLY improves.

CougX said...

I hope everyone who has participated in this blog remembers when Wulff was hired we expected great things but there was going to be tough times. We are here experiencing some pretty tough times but the tide will turn. Dennis Erickson's first year was not pretty but he turned the program around. Contrarily Price and Doba started off well then settled into mediocrity.

These players will remember these tough times and be stronger leaders in years to come not to mention better players. Overcoming adversity is a virtue that real Coug fans know comes with the territory.

Go Cougs

Anonymous said...

I know that it is pretty tough to show emotion when you're being beaten like the cougs are right now, but the players and even the coaching staff are showing none whatsoever. In order to even think about winning they need to fire each other up after the few big plays that they make, i.e. gibsons receptions plus broken tackles against baylor. On the 3-4 note, there is no doubt in my mind that the switch is needed. Locker will tear this team up on his feet when the apple cup rolls around, and we know he isnt as developed passing, so why not Wulff?

Oklahoma Cougar said...

Five turnovers and you guys are worried about defensive formations?

Anonymous said...

Hey all -

Couple of thoughts. Obviously the talent level is not where we need it to be, but what I can't figure out is if it is that much worse than last year?

So, with that said, I move on to the question of philosophy. D-wise, we were bad last year no question, but this is awful. Can anybody tell me if there is a tangible philosophy change with this staff? It's one thing if a scheme is being implemented and there's a learning curve... but if there isn't a real change involved, are we just talking talent? I feel like the talent is similar and the results are arguably worse. So, suffice it to say, not inspired by the D staff at this point.

O-wise, talent is obviously an issue, but there is much more of a sea-change in philosophy to consider. There has been a lot of talk about using "half the playbook" and what not, but if this multi-set/weave run/option/roll-out of the pocket bs is the philosophy, we are in trouble - in my opinion. For that to work, ala Oregon, you need serious athletes. Which if you are a top D-whatever program you might be able to out recruit other D-whatever programs, but Wazzu will never compete for the athletes needed to run that system, I just don't see it. Maybe it's that we haven't rolled out the other "half" of the playbook, or the kids haven't learned it, but I was under the impression that play-action and airing it out was going to be a little more prominent than what we are seeing at this point.

With that said, it is real early, and from what I can tell I'm sold on Wulff as a really solid, no nonsense, coach. But as I've said to everyone who's asked me, it remains to be seen if the guy can actually coach.

Coug97

Anonymous said...

One last point, Sterk should have canceled the game. Moving it up a day and making the kids fly 5-6 hours and play the same day is flat out bush-league. Never should have happened.

Coug-97

Brinkhater said...

Fantastic series of posts, 97. Keep em comin'.

Anonymous said...

opponents average 8 yards every time they run the ball. They average 10½ yards every time they catch the ball. Defense is a problem too.

E said...

Here are my two cents after a day to cool off ...

First, the four turnovers in the first half put us in a big hole. No matter what defense your are running or the skill level of our defensive personnel, coughing up the ball 4 times creates an awfully big uphill climb. And, this year we don't seem to have the ball-hawking, aggressive defense that was the signature of our greatest defensive teams of the past ('94, '03) to generate takeaways of our own. So, if we are going to compete in the rest of the games this year, the offense needs to be much more careful with the ball.

Second, I am disappointed to see Cougar Nation torn apart by what appears to be developing as yet another QB controversy. This one has a ton of parallels to the 2002 season where you have a tall gunslinger (Swogger/Rogers) competing against a scrappy, mobile QB with good feet (Brink/Lopina). I wish Rogers would have had a much better showing in the first two games so we could justify keeping him as the clear #1 guy. I understand why Wulff made a change, since we weren't generating much offense with Rogers under center. But, I wasn't impressed with Lopina simply because of the number of turnovers he generated. There were two pretty terrible picks, and a fumble all before halftime. There was a second, snap off the face which the official stats credited to "team" (truly was a team effort), so you can't chalk that one up to Lopina. Anyways, I think that untimely turnovers was always Brink's main weakness, and now Lopina seems to have the same affliction.

Finally, is anybody else frustrated by the confusion we seem to display between every play on Offense? I thought the no huddle was supposed to dictate the pace of the game to the Defense by limiting their ability to substitute players, and aggressively attack. To me, it looks like the keystone cops, milling and bumbling around until about 5 seconds left on the play clock when we realize we'd better hurry up and snap the ball. All the while, our O-line is in their three point stance waiting, waiting and waiting. Anybody who had to do the "bird dog" drill at PHS knows that squatting for 30 seconds a pop all night is going to wear you out pretty fast. This is just not what I imagined when Wulff announced that we'd be running no huddle. I was at the OSU game, and those guys ran the no huddle how I pictured it. They hustled up to their positions, looked at the huge flashcards on the sidelines, went into their 3 point stance in unison, and moved at a fast clip. To me, this is a coaching problem, not a talent problem. So, like Coug97, I really like Wulff as a no-nonsense, solid guy but the jury is still out on his coaching skills.

-E

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