Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sweet Victory: The Defense

EKU ran the ball 56 times and passed it 21.  They were in the game until the last play while completing only six passes.


BG cannot stop the run.  Until they do, there's no reason for anyone to pass the ball against them.  When a reporter asked Coach if team would take that exact strategy, his answer was "wouldn't you?"

Yes, you would.  No exaggeration.  If BG doesn't figure out how to stop the run, they could lose them all from here on in.  All these midwestern MAC boys would like to buckle it up and plow a team over, maybe except Kent.  I'm not saying that will happen or I expect it to happen, but until BG figures out how to stop the run, they are at risk of not being anybody. (More on the offense in another post, but we're also not in win-the-shootout territory, either).

Also, just for our own mental health we can forget that we play Georgia Tech for the moment.

Coach said that BG's issue is tackling.  His claim is that the players are getting into the right position and filling the right gaps and just not executing the tackles.  I don't know which way I would prefer it.  Coaches have said it is hard to adjust tackling during the season.  (Clawson used to testily say "they know how to tackle" when asked this question.)

For my money, it did seem to me on a couple of their long runs we did have them hemmed in until someone took a bad angle and McCleskey was good enough to make one miss into big yardage.  Anyway, it will need to get fixed.  Prior to this game, we were able to talk about all the NFL players on the other side of the ball from us.  Not so with EKU.  Most, if not all, of the offenses we face from here on in will be better.

If you reverse out the sacks, EKU had 7.2 yards per rush.  They had 7 guys run the ball and only one averaged less than 5 yards per carry.  They had precisely zero negative yard rushes, sacks excluded.  They made 18 rushing first downs.  It was no contest.

From the start, the defense was going to be a struggle and injuries have made it worse.  As tough as it is, for the program to advance this year they are going to need to improve and be good enough to win, at least, by Saturday.

The defense does have promising players.  Karl Brooks is playing as a true FR and was a late signee and even missed part of fall camp.  He had 9 tackles, a sack and two hurries.  Jerry McBride is a junior and seemed to be in the Belton spot and led the team in tackles.  He's a junior.  Khole Abrams-Coleman had 10 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered it.  He's a true SO.  Kyle Junior is a stalwart.  Roland Walder seems to have some upside, too.

There is promise and we have proven defensive coaches.  Now they have to do something very difficult, which is turn around a floundering ship in stormy seas.

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