Saturday, September 01, 2012

Defeat In the Swamp. Initial Thoughts

So, the first game of the season is over.  I'm sure there will be a lot more to say, but here are some initial thoughts.

First, having had an hour or so, I am pleased with our effort on balance.  I thought we played physically with Florida pretty well, didn't get pushed around and did a pretty fair job defending the run.  I thought we ran the ball well in spots.

I thought the o-line played well.

Schilz was good, I thought.  There was a 2nd Q cold streak, but our WRs were just not winning any battles and were typically tightly covered.  He seemed bigger and more in command than he was last year.  He just seemed different.

Samuel, Martin and Pettigrew each ran well, I thought.

So, again, on balance, I think it was a promising performance.

Two things could stand some work.

First, we were worried about the WR play coming in and I'd say that was reasonable.  It was OK in spots (maybe for most of the game).  There was a period in the 2Q when they were unable to get separation and then there was a period where Shaun Joplin made a few drops, one of a play where he was alone in the middle of the field and another that led to a back breaking INT.

Second, special teams were pretty sorrowful.  Fans will focus, rightly, on the two missed FGs, each of which came at a critical time for the team.  They were both short and make-able.  It is incredibly frustrating that this team cannot make FGs and as the problem persists year after year it starts to reflect the program's leadership and not the players.

Beyond that, there was one poor punt, one big punt return that resulted in a poor net, and a fumbled punt.

Most of all, the game came down to BG doing what has been typical for many years with the program. which is to play well on most of the plays and then not get the job done when it matters most.  You look at 4 plays---the two missed FGs, the INT, and a Truss missed tackle on the big Florida TD pass, and you can account for most of the difference in the game.

I contrast that with the Ohio-Penn State game, where the Bobcats made the plays they needed throughout the 4Q to close out the Nittany Lions.  No, Penn State is not Florida, but Ohio U showed last year at the Doyt that they can make the plays to win the game, and I guess I feel like our team has fallen short of that too much.

Now, this was a very tough assignment and it was on the road.  It is just the Florida opened the door by making a lot of mistakes and the Falcons didn't walk through it.

In the end, of course, it doesn't matter.  The MAC games matter.  I think there was plenty to suggest today that BG is going to be ready for that competition, if they can figure out how to make the key plays when they count--as winning teams do.

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