Hello Followers. Hope you’ve had a nice weekend.
I know that I, for one, really enjoyed the extra hour of rest.
In fact, I slept so well, I ALMOST forgot that we had a game last night.
Followers, Sir Vincent Grippi said it best in his post today on Sportslink, our Cougar Defense played as hard as I’ve seen them play since UCLA in 2007. In fact, after the game, I told Sean Hawk that our defense played “competently.” (Insert Sean’s hysterical laughter here).
In any case, the point that I was trying to make to Sean was that, scheme-wise, we seem to be hitting stride with matching what we do with the personnel that we have on that side of the ball. And, although we are clearly not seeing the results that any of us want, there ARE improvements there—especially when you relate what happened last night to what would have happened last year (someone say 65-0?).
Plus, you take off that ridiculous Hail Mary off the board (and kudos to you, Golden Tate, you are a FANTASTIC NFL prospect!), then you have a team that was on the field for about 3 hours that gave up “only” 33 points. Again, not great by any standard, but at least it feels like we’re nearing the verge of respectability.
But the offense is a totally different deal—in fact it is starting again to feel like that side of the ball is slipping away. And, as I told Sean last night, I now find myself SERIOUSLY doubting whether or not Mr. Todd Sturdy has what it takes to succeed at this level.
For example, the reason why I thought we could actually win yesterday was NOT because I thought that we would stop Clausen (who also is a nice pro-prospect!) and company. To the contrary: The reason why I thought we could compete was because I thought we could SLOW them down a bit (which we kind of did).
I also had the audacity to think that we would be able to throw the ball against the 115th ranked pass defense in the country. But, of course, we didn’t. And it is “why” we didn’t that has me up in arms about Sturdy and his capacity.
For instance, given that Notre Dame’s coaches get paid for a living, anyone out there think that ND didn’t know that their secondary was suspect? And since you all read the papers and stat lines as well, what would you do if you had a weak secondary and were playing against a team with a suspect offensive line and a freshman quarterback?
You think you’d blitz????????
So given that everyone KNEW that ND would blitz, I was completely shocked when I saw that our ONLY answer to the blitz was to try to beat them down field vertically. (UHHHH, check me here, but doesn’t the vertical/down-field passing game take some time to develop??????—time that you don’t have when the other team is bringing the house??)
And so, I’m still amazed about the lack of screens to Tardy, the lack of bubble screens, and the lack of short hits to Kars on the outside…Where were they? And yes, Tuel looked and played like a Frosh last night, but even more than that—our offense as a unit looked completely unprepared!
So now, as we look forward to the rest of the season, the future again looks pretty bleak.
1) Yesterday, Hawaii lost 31-21 to Nevada--sending the same Rainbow Warriors that had us down 35-0 in the FIRST Half to 0-5 and DEAD LAST IN THE WAC.
2) UCLA hung around ON THE ROAD and nearly forced OT against a very good Oregon State Team.
3) Arizona is resting comfortably right now by the pool.
With that all in mind, be ready for the 70-10 blitzkrieg that’s coming to meet us this Saturday in Tucson. Also get ready for UCLA to provide a nice 30-10 spanking on us in two weeks. And beyond, that, well, does it really matter?
In my book, we need to start showing some considerable improvement in our scheme (if you're going no huddle, then force tempo, if not SLOW THE GAME DOWN) and execution on offense. Because, unlike the defense, I’m not seeing much improvement on offense in spite of better personnel and one more year in the “system” (lack of Gibson and Norrell notwithstanding). SO, It’s time to turn the heat up, folks. It’s time to put Todd Sturdy on the hot seat.
Have a great week!