Sunday, September 10, 2017

The morning after.....

Watching Irma coverage as I write this...I do get it.  Football is just football.  And we have players whose families are back in Texas and Florida, and I'm thinking about their families.

From a football perspective, though, last night isn't feeling any better.  

That's the first FCS loss since 1987, when Moe Ankney's Falcons lost to Youngstown State in his first year.  Jim Tressel coaching Youngstown State, BTW.

We had a pretty decent crowd to start the game, nearly 18K officially.  And yet, when it ended, I became one of the few football fans in America to drive out of the parking lot after the game with literally no traffic.  I hate to see that...I think it hurts our crowds for the rest of the year.

BG set a school record for penalty yards.  Coach called it "absurd."  We had 2 touchdowns called back on penalties and one on replay.  A lot of fans were upset with the officiating and I listened to the post-game radio show and Todd and Gibby had similar thoughts.  Coach did not jump on that point.  He said that if the team was executing properly, they would get calls.  He said that South Dakota's backs did something with their hands ("handplay") that kept them from getting calls.  I thought South Dakota played physical with our guys, but that was far from the only issue.

Fans also are concerned about the playcalling.  BG ran a huge number of vertical routes, which, more or less, did not hit.  Often, they were double covered.  We did hit a couple, but a lot of them were overthrown and some were underthrown on a rare (by the end) windless night in BG.

Coach said that issues with protection were the main reason for that.  He said that BG's young guards (both Kramer and Bright are new) could not handle a "twist" which is a type of stunt.  When BG was in "10" personnel (which is the 4 WR formation with one RB), they couldn't protect the QB.  So, they went max protect, which leaves you with probably 2 WRs out for the ball and that led them to call the vertical routes.

I always thought that the virtue of the spread formations was that you could go with short drops and quick hitting passes and mitigate the risk of getting rushed.  Apparently not.

The pressure on Morgan was real.  He was sacked four times and hurried five times.  He was also forced from the pocket and forced to throw on the run a few times, sometimes working OK and then once for a soul-crushing INT at the end of the 2nd quarter.  He doesn't look comfortable throwing on the run.

Also, for a team that supposedly found its identity as a running team, we did not remain committed to the run last night.  Factoring out sacks, BG threw 54 times and ran 31.  BG's backs were effective, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.  And yes, we were behind, but BG's defense kept USD on 21 points from last in the first through the middle of the third and it was only 21-9 most of that time.

Coach did, a couple times, lapse into "we're a young team" talk, but he would quickly change course.  That's not going to work as an explanation for this one.  It might Saturday in Evanston, but not today.

South Dakota deserves credit.  They were the better team on the field last night and deserved the win.  They had a game plan, which included attacking one specific CB early and our guards, and they executed it.  They were better prepared and executed better than we did and it wasn't really close.  

As Coach said, though, "you're supposed to win these games."

Last night I looked at this from the perspective of what it does to BG bowl game chances.  There's a more sour view.  As noted in my preview, BG needs to show incremental progress to show the world (and ourselves) that we have coaches who can do something besides recruit at this level.  I was hoping for 6-6 and you'd like at least a one-game improvement.

To win 5, BG will need to go 5-3 in MAC play, most likely.  Anything less and its 4-8 again.

And, look, if you want to look at a worst case scenario, this team is not set up to beat anybody right now and faces getting a couple beatings before the Akron game.  This team could easily finish worse than last year's team and I could see it getting as bad as 2-10.  That team last night is an 0-12 team, but you'd hope you don't play that poorly week in and week out.

That's not what the program needed.  The longer it goes on like this, the more the questions mount.  And it isn't like they're going to get rid of him, because they aren't.  What happens is the program ends up like Miami did, and it took them 10 years to dig out of it.

In other words, we (or I) was hoping we'd get some evidence we had leadership in the program that could win and right now we have gotten none and in fact are back to where we were after the Memphis game last year.  We're 4-10.  On the bright side, we're .500 in FCS games.


Unknown said...

Spot on... changes in play calling need to happen immediately! Your right, this is our head coach and to his credit you did not see a lack of effort or intensity.

However, preparation is the assistant coaches primary responsibility. We need some experienced coaches, sprinkled with a few fresh faces....similar to most MAC programs or other schools.

Hold your assistants accountable and shift the play calling. You may not fire them, fine, but you will grab their attention!

Time for Jones to make a move.

Schadenfreude said...

That was Ankney's second year.

Orange said...

You are correct