Tyler Sheehan delivered a powerful message regarding the penalties. “It always comes back to the little things off the field --- showing up late for meetings and stuff like that,” he said. “I think it’s really showing because we’re having some struggles with our discipline on the field.”
This quote, in Ryan's Bladeblog, I think says all that I fear needs to be said.
First, the mere fact that it was said at all is important. Its unusual for a player to say something like this. Goodness knows, the coach never does. Anyway, the fact that a frustrated Tyler Sheehan said this in front of the media--not to a classmate or on his facebook page--demonstrates some significance.
And then we get to our big fear. I have tried to avoid thinking this without evidence, but I fear we are losing control of the program. Between the legal problems, the issues Sheehan mentioned, and then the under-achieving on the field (and discipline problems), it is just too easy to conclude that the coaching staff has lost control of their players...that too many compromises were made on recruits with talent, but who were not program guys.
I hope I am wrong and I might very well be. I have no inside knowledge...my fears are based only on the things I list above. And there is still plenty of time to turn this around...if the problems are just on the field.
But you know, and I know, that argument doesn't add up.
If the problems are just on the field, they would have been fixed by now...the EMU game would have taken care of the whole thing. And they probably never would have come up in the first place.
If the problems are systemic, then they will be lots harder to turn around.
Again, these are just observations from the outside. Losing always creates problems. Everyone is happy when you are winning. The NIU game is a tall mountain though...as Lily Tomlin said recently (in another context), things are going to get worse before they get worse.
I'd love to drive up to Ford Field in December for the MAC Championship and be thinking, wow, I was worried over nothing. As I have always said, you cannot hide from the results.