Hello Followers. Hope you've had an enjoyable Saturday.
Well, today our Cougs fought valiantly for about three quarters of two quarters-including a shocking 7-0 first quarter lead-before falling 50-16. In case you missed it, the game was an interesting 21-13 until SC blocked an extra-point and then ran off 29 unanswered to turn the game into a 50-13 laugher. Couple of quick hits.
1. Do we have the seeds of a new offense? For these eyes, the modified pistol we ran today looked really good at times. Obviously, we need to learn how to run the stinking football, but with the exception of one or two times, we had a first down on nearly every drive. That result alone represents amazing progress.
2. Tuel is still young, but promising. A bunch of you have shown in comments that you have been spoiled by the likes of Andrew Luck and other young sensations. But, in most cases, what we see from sophomore quarterbacks is what we saw today-some really great moments marred by some untimely (and disastrous) turnovers. Without question, if you take that pick-6 off the board, this team had a chance to keep it interesting for a tad bit longer.
3. You miss, you get RUN. When you are young and under-talented, you simply cannot afford to leave points on the field. Today, Tuel missed Wilson on a deep ball on that first drive that should have been six (and yes, we did score anyway). He did the same on the third possession. And, then on the fourth of the first half, Solomon dropped a sure first down on a bubble screen. In short, when you're trying to build belief during a football game, you HAVE to convert when opportunities show themselves. We still haven't learned how to do that, and that is why we are still getting blown out.
4. 4-3, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? At the beginning of the year, I implored the coaches to abandon the dream of a 4-3 defense and play a 3-4 from the get go. Well, today we saw how PAINFULLY long we still have to go on defense. To be sure, our secondary is still painfully young, but our D-Line play-particularly up the middle-is simply sub-par. So, when you're getting blown off the ball between the tackles, have no sure fire middle linebacker, you are going to get run over. Granted, the 3-4 isn't the best solution to stopping the run, but based on what we saw today, something has to give. The 4-3 has been a sieve every single time we've used it the past FOUR YEARS (including Doba's last). Lets get back to a 3-4 or 3-3-5 that gets more speed on the field. The strength on D-Line is just not there, and it is PAINFUL to watch.
5. Running in Quick Sand. As of this writing, UCLA is winning by three scores at the end of the third quarter @ TEXAS!! Stanford is also winning by two scores on the road. The point: With the exception of Washington, the Pac-10 is looking better and deeper than it has in a long, long time. So, when you're a young team trying to improve against other teams that are also (relatively) young, improving, and established, the end result is looking like you're standing still. So, while this team is MUCH better than in years past, the score doesn't show it. And it won't throughout the year, I'm afraid.
And that can only mean trouble. Until Monday...