The football season ended today at the Doyt with BG getting completely annihilated by the WMU Broncos, 41-7. It was a cold day and very windy, but despite all that, WMU simply picked us apart on offense and we had nothing on offense. It was a very difficult finish if you are looking to build hope for the future...that doesn't mean there isn't any, it just means that it is hard to see much of it from what happened out there today.
A little wallowing...
- This is our first 10 loss season.
- It is our first season with 2 wins since 2000, the year that ended the Blackney era.
- For the last 3 games of the season, we failed to get a first down in the first quarter in any game.
- Today, the first first down was inside of 10:00 left in the second quarter. At that point, WMU had 27 points.
- We haven't won 1 conference game since 1988 and before that it was 1970.
- We lost by 34. #4 ranked Boise only beat us by 35 last season.
Usually, I take a long look at the stats from the game, but not this time. The final game stats show an evenness which is not an accurate reflection of the carnage that was out there. BG even finished with more first downs than WMU had--you know that has to be misleading. Simply put, they dismantled us in every way possible. When it was needed, they moved the ball at will, seemingly making a first down on every play. As feared, we had no answer for Nunez and White, especially White, who seemed to get open at will.
Instead, I'm going to take a look at what Coach Clawson said in the post-game presser.
Beyond thanking the crowd (as mentioned in previous post), he was very candid. It was a disappointing way to end a disappointing season. We made no progress in "a lot of areas."
I appreciate the candor. This is the thing that worries me most about the program. I expected a difficult year. Maybe not this difficult, but a difficult year. That's all well and good, it happens. One of the things you enjoy about a year like that is seeing the team get better every week and hopefully finish the year playing well. This team finished playing worse than it started, and the mistakes which plagued us early plagued us late.
He said that we struggled since Marshall on offense and on defense we give up big plays and tackle poorly in the secondary.
Going into the year, his two biggest concerns were the O-line and the defensive secondary and those things "haunted" us all year long.
Note that he was worried about the O-line before Walker, Lewis and Bojicic were injured.
We have to get a lot better, especially in those two areas. One thing he noted is that just because young players get time does not mean they will become good players. As an example, I'm thinking of a young defensive back who played as a true Fr. last year but did not play much this year, despite the problems in the secondary.
He talked about Matt Schilz, using the words "uneven" and inconsistent. He did note that given the issues on the line, it would have been hard for Tyler Sheehan to QB this year. One thing he said that he has not said before is that Schilz was never healthy after the Marshall game and could not throw the ball in practice. This would account (it seems) for some of the timing and execution issues that hurt the offense.
He said that Schilz does not trust the pocket and he doesn't set his feet.
My note: I know a lot of fans wonder if Schilz is the long-term guy and whether the backup might not have been worth a try. If they were playing Schilz every week without practicing, they had to be pretty sure he was the guy for this year.
He reiterated: we have to get "so much" better on the O-line, just to be competitive.
Early in the year, we hid the weakness behind screens and delayed draws, but then the defenses took that away and forced us into plays you had to block and we could not.
- Willie missed the first quarter as discipline for missing a meeting.
- The defense got better 4-man pressure than normal and made progress during the season.
- Only 3 offensive starters were not injured.
There is no easy part of any of this. The team will need to work hard. They need leadership, physical gains, and to get more talent into the program, including the 20 redshirts.
He noted that he had been "here" (meaning having a terrible season) twice before. We will look at that in a post next week.
So, the season ends in sad fashion, with blow out losses to two good but not great MAC teams. At 2-10, it is among the worst 10 seasons in our school's history. I am not too discouraged because I think we are headed in the right direction. But, there is a lot of room for improvement, and we're going to see what we are made of next season.
Of course, more reviews of the season, the senior class, the recruiting, etc, will be done in the coming weeks.