Hello Followers. Hope you’ve had a great week.
As for me, well, it appears that a hurricane is heading straight toward my neck of the woods.
So, instead of sitting down this morning to write my Friday post, I headed out doors to try to get the house ready for the impending storm….And as I raked and bagged a dump truck worth of leaves, I found myself wondering if our Cougars were getting similarly ready for Saturday.
For more on that, read on.
Followers, on Monday, I told you that not one, BUT TWO upsets were on tap this Saturday. And while I almost semi-believed that on Monday, I don’t on Friday. Instead, there will be ONE upset this Saturday. And it will be Arizona beating USC 45-38.
The other upset I was going to pick this weekend was WSU over Stanford. And, while I have great respect for Sark’s ability to rally his team when the chips are down, the bottom line in my book is that the Beavs classic letdown game was last week. And so, I fully expect them to beat the Dawgs down with that swarming defense.
I see the Beavs coasting in this one 31-17.
With respect to the Cougs, well, I felt pretty good about our chances—but that was before I learned that our #1 running back (Caldwell) would be out and that our number 2 (almost 1b) WR Myers would suddenly disappear from Twitter, I mean practice…
So, with two out of our top offensive weapons already on the shelf, I just don’t see us being able to move the ball. But with those two, I actually liked our chances.
You see, as I’ve been saying for weeks, I actually like the Hair Raid defense.
And while some of you may have been discouraged about our performance against CAL after seeing them against Stanford, I implore you to consider the two to be apples and oranges.
I mean, two weeks ago, CAL spread us out across the field, punched us in the mouth, and used their blazing speed to pop through those open holes. And as we saw, they had the type of All-American WR that our shaky DB’s just weren’t able to keep up with.
Fortunately for us, Stanford has no such weapon at their disposal. Without Luck, they line up like LSU, displaying a healthy dose of power to go along with similar amounts of predictability. And so, while our D is still nothing to write home about in one sense, they’re also not the slow and weak outfit of Cougar teams of the past. And for that reason, if they are not asked to be on the field for 35+ minutes of this game, they’re going to hold up just fine.
Which again, leads me to the offense. With all of our weapons healthy, this game would come down to three basic keys: (a) Our O-Lines ability to hold their blocks for 2.5 seconds; (b) Our secondary receivers ability to get off the line and beat press coverage; and (c) Our Quarterback’s ability to check down quickly to his third or fourth read. When Arizona did all that a few weeks back, they TORCHED the Trees. And while AZ’s 3-3-5 wasn’t equipped to handle the run, we are.
And so, if we move the ball and score tomorrow, we’ll win. In fact, if we score 24 real points tomorrow, we’ll have more than a 50% chance of winning. Score 28 and I am 99% sure that we’ll win.
But again, with a starting WR group of Marks, Wilson, Simone, and Bartalone, we’re just not physical enough to get off the line and move the rock. (Kristoff Williams remains my X factor in this one).
So, I suspect to see a 13-6 halftime score give way to yet another Turd Quarter, as the Cougs give up 21 halftime points en route to a 34-6 defeat.
The only question is whether or not Leach will be resolute enough to give Tuel another start the next week against Utah. And yes, health willing, I’m already convinced that we’re going to win that game.
All for now. Go Cougs.
I know its stupid to think in hypotheticals, but I wonder what the Cougs record would be with regular offense line splits and traditional blocking schemes instead of this ridiculous zone.
I watched this unit specifically yesterday, and as they back up, they literally "one-hand shove" a guy and then move on to a different rusher, assuming that the guy next to them is also "one-hand shoving" them. Its just a bunch of one-hand blocking... its ridiculous.
@Soze Its the Jimmy's and Joe's....Stanford's defense is exceptional and we threw for 400 yards...If we played em tomorrow we'd throw for about 450, notwithstanding limitations with personnel...
We're getting better...and while we HAVE to start winning these games, we need to remember that this was Tuel's 3rd start of the year and we won't play anyone that even sniffs Stanford's defensive acumen the rest of the way.
We finally have hope!
I refuse to watch the in studio portion of the PAC-12. (P)Rick Neweasel just makes me gag. He has to be the most overrated blowhard in broadcasting today!
@Ambush184 I actually have been pleasantly surprised by Slick Rick, however, the game crews have been gawdawful terrible. I think the proliferation of networks has meant not nearly enough good announcers to go around. Until they get Akey in the booth I may be muting all the Pac-12 games.
@Ambush184 I'll give that nod to Coy Wire.
@Sutra I think you hit on the key to an upset here. Keep the defense off the field for at least half the game. They seem to lose it during the half-time break, which appears to be a combination of let-down after a good performance in the first 30 and just fatigue, due lack of depth. My feeling was that the Cougs would have been in the Cal game if the offense had performed in the first half the way it did after Tuel took over. The defense was whipped by then.
While Taylor is good, the Cougs have handled quality RBs fairly well – at least until they got exhausted. He’s not the big pound-away guy Stanford that has beat the snot out of the Cougs in the past. I see him getting some big chunks but not the consistent 6-7 yard hammering that wears out the front seven.
Having Caldwell and Brooks out does not concern me that much, Winston is probably the best inside runner and Mason can get outside as quickly as any of them. My concern at RB is more about what kind of blocking you get with Mason. Meyers will not be missed if the rest of the receivers play anywhere near potential. (You’re right, Kristoff having a big day will be huge.)
In the end, it is a good day for an upset.
Sutra, it looks like you'll keep the power on for tonight anyway, and even be able to watch the entire game before bedtime! This would be a huge upset if we win and I really don't see that happening. Stranger things have happened though.
We've all be so disappointed this year, it's hard to imagine wins for this team. They themselves don't seem to be able to imagine them either. I'd really like to know what's going on inside the collective head of this team and the coaches. What are they thinking and why do they seem to not make the right decisions more often than not.
I know we are about a dozen dropped passes from .500 or better ball this year. Why haven't the players been able to keep their collective head in a ball game for 4 quarters?
Also--just to be clear: I predicted that we'll give up 21 points AFTER halftime. I don't think we're bad enough to give up points during halftime. At least, I hope not!
@Soze they're not. But because we've been losing, it feels like we're 2010 bad. And we're not--not even close.
@Sutra No, I don't think we're that bad. Our OL might be, but the team isn't.
@Soze @Sutra We not only didn't embarass ourslves tonight, we acutally looked like a football team most of the game. It was interesting to hear what the network guys were saying about the improvement week to week we've had. Tonight I think I saw for the first time, a team that really played like one. We still have a long way to go, but now I'm with you Sutra, I think we can actually beat Utah.
This all makes a whole lot of sense. I kinda wish it didn't. Sadly, your pragmatic look at what our offense will do will probably be far close to reality than my, "Jeff Tuel is awesome!" prediction.
Just so you know, I agree with you though I do hope the turd quarter turns out turns out to be better than it has been so far. I can actually see a scenerio where the Cougs have a half time lead. It assumes we can hold and move the ball though and that's scary.