Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Rivalry" Loss #1: Big Picture

It is a measure of where this season is that it feels so good not to be completely humiliated by your arch rival.

And yet, that's where we are.  Coaches will say there are no moral victories--and there are not--but after the "debacle" that the first season has been, fans were terrified about this game.  UT is a good team capable of dropping a huge number on the team that was out there against Memphis.  That did not happen...and the game was tied with 3 minutes left to play.

There are no moral victories, and this wasn't one.  UT took the ball over with about 3 minutes left in a tied game and made 61 yards on their first four plays from scrimmage to ensure they would end up with their seventh straight win in the "rivalry"

The team is improving.  This is really the first game of the year where I felt the Falcons had a game plan that was designed to win and executed effectively for the entire course of the game.  I feel like we are making talked after the game about going to fewer down linemen, going to a nose tackle, playing more zone coverage, etc...and it does seem to be improving.

Here's the thing.  Coach Jinks said after the game that BG's "worst" defense in the country was skewed by "two games."  Which is true...the two worst games in the history of the program.  Those don't go away and you deliver that kind of result, it isn't dismissed as "two games."

Having said that, I think we are seeing signs that answered the biggest concern everyone had, which is whether the Jinks selection was some kind of monumental gaffe...put another way, whether Mike Jinks has the ability to deliver a MAC Championship to the Doyt.

The question is not answered yet.  It will take more than one better-played loss.  But I think you are seeing signs that he can coach.  We have seen (with very preliminary results) that recruiting is good.  We have seen he and his DC make strong adjustments week to week.  Did their inexperience lead them to have the wrong plans in the first place---that's probably true---but the team is improving with mostly the same players (Will Watson and Tyrik Jones excepted).

And the offense is finally playing like we need.  James Morgan is improving fast.  In fact, if there was a gaffe this year, it might have been not having him in the game sooner.

Coach said he will never play nine freshmen again.  "We want to build this thing the right way."  "We want to recruit holistically."

One other note.  You gotta watch Jinks' presser after the game.  You get a sense of the intensity he brings to the job.  On Mondays, he is so cool and confident and business-like.  After the game...WOW.  He's like a caged animal.  His eyes are darting around, he's talking in short sentences, he answers questions when they are 1/3 asked, he's pounding the podium.  He is intense.  It is well worth a watch.

Here's the thing.  Yesterday was not a moral victory.  It was another bitter defeat.  But it was also at least a sign of hope.


joel said...

For one of the few times I'm going to respectfully disagree with you assessment of a moral victory. I do think it was a moral victory that the team competed with a top notch MAC team, never gave up when they certainly could have, and most importantly appear to not have given up on the season. I was proud of the coaching staff for showing improvements and proud of the players for playing hard for 60 minutes. Yes, losses are bad, but this was the by far the best loss to UT in this current unacceptable streak. That to me is a moral victory and it keeps me interested in this team for the next week and hopefully the rest of this season. Just my two cents.

Orange said...

Fair enough, appreciate your perspective. Thanks for reading.

Ken said...

I agree with Joel. Given BG was 31 point underdogs (rightfully so), it would seem to me this was the quintessential moral victory. No one expected us to win, and after the loss, I have to say hope is restored. There was concern earlier in the year about "losing the team." I think this loss may have put that idea to bed for the time being. Here is to next week against another rival, Miami. Should be interesting!