Sunday, September 17, 2017

Another Long Night for Falcon Football

Well, Coach Jinks is going to see another week of a frustrated fan base.  Very little good happened in Evanston last night.  To be sure, BG is built to win the MAC, not beat Big Ten teams, but (in addition to the occasional upset) you do expect to make a showing and that did not happen last night.  This is not South Dakota.  You play poorly you get destroyed.

The Falcons continued their trend of making opponent players look like Heisman Trophy candidates.  Thorson was 23 of 30 for 370 yards, which means over 75% completions and more than 12 yards per ATTEMPTED pass.  Justin Jackson (who is legit) had 6.7 yards per carry.  Overall, Northwestern gained 9.2 yards PER PLAY.

On offense, things were not much better.  BG did get an offensive touchdown on a really nice run by Josh Cleveland in the first quarter, and the Falcons did move the ball in the first quarter, but after that things got a lot worse.  In the 2nd and 3rd Quarters, BG had 5 first downs.

Special teams (except punting) were no great shakes either, particularly the kick return game.

Coach also came through on his promise to let some new guys play if the other guys were not getting the job done.  On defense, you saw more from Sotolongo, Malik Brown, true freshman Darius Wortham, r-FR Torian Hampton and Josh Croslen.  On offense, Jared Wyatt got playing time.  Pete Norris.  And Doege, of course.

I guess the point is this...putting Jarrett Doege in there is not going to solve everything all on its own.  The team has big problems and QB is just one of them.

We were looking for incremental improvement this season, some sign that we had a program being led by people who knew how to build a team in college football.  I'm not being facetious when I say that Memphis hung 70+ on us last year, so Northwestern at 49 might represent an incremental improvement.  I think, however, we were hoping something slightly less incremental than that.

Nothing has changed.  This team, more or less, looks as poor as they did last year.  You know my feelings, this did not need to be a bottom-up rebuild, but it has turned into one.  The point is, after a full off-season to work with the players...something they did not have the first just don't see anything going any better.  In fact, they might be incrementally worse.  The three-game winning streak at the end of last year is the illusion I said it was at the time, as BG beat three of the worst teams in the FBS...teams it should have beaten any day of the week.

Right now on the ESPN power index, BG is ranked #121 out of #130.  Only one MAC ranked lower.  There are no guaranteed wins on this schedule.  I don't think it is very likely, but it is possible that BG could go 0-12.  And, to be clear, even under that circumstance the coach will not be fired.

I don't accept, by the way, the premise that Babers left the program in a shambles.  Every time Mike Jinks loses a game, Dino Babers becomes a worse coach.  Babers did not leave things in good shape, I understand that.  But we should be showing improvement.

Anyway, things are not good right now.  I thought the guys kept playing, so there is that.  There's another tough game coming up on Saturday before BG gets into conference play and now we've got a raging QB controversy hanging around.  Very possibly could get worse before it gets better.

1 comment :

NWLB said...

Babers did leave the program a mess, but you aren't required to agree any more than I do with people who swore he was a messiah to some sort of next level nirvana.

Jinks won't get fired, barring something unthinkable. It is his mess to fix. But this is year two, I'm going to watch from afar and see what happens this year. Any game-to-game triage is going to be an exercise in over-analysis. This is something to be looked at over a couple of games, three or four even better. So far, in game two, year two did not leave me feeling things are as bad as they started last year. They even looked at times like if the parts came together and consistently the Falcons could turn around quickly. Yet when things didn't work it was painful to watch.

And I get where you are at with the Babers issue. Yet you can't talk of him without looking one coach back and ask if BG wouldn't have been better off staying that course than trying to totally change things, then have to change back. In fact, you could for the sake of argument say Babers was "all that" and it was a "good hire." Even then, same things apply. We would have been better off staying with the style and approach Clawson took.

Opinions vary, judging Babers won't be complete until after Jinks has his time here. And when we see what, if anything, he can do at 'Cuse. In the meantime, football is a write-off. Hockey starts soon. Maybe basketball season will surprise us.