Saturday, August 30, 2014

Complete Disaster, Part II

Well, the sun did come up.  So there's that.

I listened last night to Coach Babers' post-game comments.  They don't do a briefing, so it was outdoors and apparently within about three feet of a ringing bell, so it is hard to hear.

I give Coach credit.  I was fearing I would hear a lot of stuff about "the process" and how good WKU was.  He did not do that.  His answers were short, he was clearly frustrated and did not try to minimize what happened.

He said he was "very disappointed."
He said we played very poorly and that when a team plays that poorly, the Head Coach has to have had something to do with it.
He said the defense played very poorly.
He cited a lack of ability to tackle in space as the main problem.
He said there were too many dropped balls on the offense.
When asked if there were any positives, he mentioned the kicking game.
He said it will be a rough week in practice.

So, there were no excuses.  He said that tackling in game 1 is every coach's nightmare because "you never get enough" live tackling in camp.  OK, that's fine.  I don't think teams do much live tackling during the season either.  The WKU game is over, but the problem has been revealed, so there's no place to hide now.  The good thing is that he clearly saw that.

The tackling was terrible.  The frustrating thing for BG supporters (including the coach) is that we know these guys know how to tackle.  You might have expected some problems tackling, but we went from good to awful with the same guys.

He didn't mention one other issue that is just as big of a concern, which was downfield coverage.  BG's secondary was constantly torched.  Doughty was playing pitch and catch with open receivers all night, especially across the middle.  In a sense, this is the more worrisome issue.  We have some new guys in our secondary and they were totally dominated last night.

It didn't help that Darrell Hunter was ejected for a punch to the face.

BG also only got one sack and most of the game Doughty was comfortable in the pocket with time to do what he needed.  When he was pressured, he was often able to get out of the pocket and make a play while running.

WKU ran 97 plays in the game.  That's just unbelievable.  I mean, you just don't see that.  They had 702 yards of total offense.  That's "only" 7 yards a play, but I doubt if there is a team that has run 97 plays in a regulation game and lost in recent memory.  Third down was a disaster for BG.  The Hilltoppers were 14 out of 18.  I doubt if too many teams have lost while doing that, either.

WKU had 40 first downs with 29 passing.  Incredible.

I would say that BG did a nice job on the inside running game.  In fact, WKU had only about 3 yards per rush.  Which means they had all those passing yards while essentially being one-dimensional.

So, from here, the defense has work to do.  As I said last night, they need a night and day improvement before they can even think about winning titles.  Yes, we are going to score points, but you aren't going to win a title going 45-42.  Ask Toledo.

This certainly wasn't how the coaching staff wanted to introduce themselves to the program.  One thing to keep in mind is that for all the talk about offense, Coach Babers is not someone who has had one-dimensional teams.  Granted, there's a short track record, but last year EIU was 26th out of 122 FCS teams in scoring defense.  So, they have done it, if only once and I think the players are there to have a decent MAC defense.  It just has to happen and there was very little in last night's performance that projects that way.

Also, in case you were wondering, it was not the worst loss of Coach's career.  In his first season at EIU he lost two games by of them in the NCAA playoffs.

Finally, time will tell, but I don't believe you will see WKU turn into some kind of offensive juggernaut.  They are a decent or good team, but I don't believe BG forced them to do anything difficult last night and most of those yards are on our team.

Coach said that team's make their biggest improvement from Game 1 to Game 2.  Two things.  First, I doubt that will be true for WKU.  Second, BG has an easy game next week.  We then get very tough tests against two Big 10 teams and then UMass.  BG does not get a solid test on where they are until Buffalo in October.  Now, if BG plays good D and beats Indiana, that says something...but it will be a while before we start to get an idea what we really have.

More later on the offense.

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