Coach Clawson held his presser yesterday. I listened to it, so you don't have to.
Removing the praise of the Hokie program, Frank Beamer and Bud Foster, the remainder of the presser was spent talking about the UT game and the general state of the program right now. There were a few things of note and I have a few comments to add.
I don't know. Maybe its just me. Coach said some things that I felt were not in line with what has happened. Note: he was clearly responding to criticism about the performance Saturday.
He said we were focused but we didn't execute well. We dropped a slant and had a TE misread his assignment early in the game on offense.
That doesn't sound like focus to me. Or, I might ask, what is the purpose of focus?
He said that our game plan was to stop the run, stop Owens breaking out and contain Reedy. All of which we did.
So we executed the main tenets of our defensive game plan and lost the game?
Terrance Owens played really well.
I agree. When will BG be ready to stop a QB who is playing well or do we have to hope we only play QBs who don't play well?
We had good practices and he was confident going into the game. And, in a related note, our kickers are making 90% of their kicks in practice.
Notice a trend here?
He said we played 23 guys on defense so we could be fresh in the 4th Q. Rhetorically, he said people ask why we can't stop the run in the 4th Q--maybe because we were tired.
UT held the ball for 12:42 in the 4Q against BG's 23-man defense. They made 6 first downs and ran 23 plays.
Now, to be fair, Coach said we need to be able to defend the pass better and not get off to slow starts on offense. Specifically, we said we "lost" the matchup vs. Russell, which is obviously true.
He also said we had an inability to score Red Zone touchdowns, which has been an ongoing problem for the program.
For those who wonder, he said the conservative playcalling was based on the way UT was defending us, which was very deep and soft. They wanted to make us drive the field. Coach said this was a "smart" game plan.
But no one is happy with the 15 points BG is scoring.
He did rise to the defense of his team. He said we are "a better, deeper, more talented football team than last year."
Which I hope is true.
He also said "they out-executed us."
Which, I thought, being better, deeper and more talented was supposed to prevent.
He said that last year we were 3-1 and that this team (likely to be 1-3) is better. I don't doubt that. And we're going to get some wins as the schedule softens up. In fact, with Akron and UMass on the schedule, it is possible for us to finish 7-5 and not be really much better than last year's 5-7 team.
To me, here are the questions.
- How much better are we?
- How much better are we than the competition, or did we get a little better and they got even better than that?
- How or when will we translate strong practices, depth and internal competition into beating a good team that is playing well?