This take is solely based on what I have read about the game last night from the MSM, other Bruin boards, and the comments on this site. Due to difficult family circumstances, I am in rural West Virginia with a television situation that border’s on non-existent (about 10 stations with basis cable). No FSN. So I missed the game.
Woke up this a.m. to check the score and was disappointed at the outcome, but somewhat relieved at the score. The Bruins were expected to lose by 20+ and they ended up only a TD away.
The Bruins are 2-4. I think most reasonable fans closely following the program over the last decade would have expected 3-3 at this point, with losses to UT, BYU, and Oregon. The Bruins are only one game off from what people expected, despite losing Bell (he is still not 100%), Everett (did he play yesterday), Paulson, all in the first Q of the first game.
Notwithstanding this, I am seeing these type of comments (mostly on other boards):
Craft looks lost and scared
Coaching sucks (bad onside kick decision)
I am tired of losing
Bad penalties, delays of game
Bad clock management at the half
Running Game Sucks; Terrible Line
Bad tackling; Lockett
I don’t know if the people posting these types of comments are first year freshmen with delusions of granduer or Dorrell apologists, but the lack of perspective is appauling to say the least. Let’s looks at each of these complaints (arguably, it is easier for me to do this despite not seeing the game last night because I can focus solely on the results, and not be swayed by the emotion of the game):
Craft looks lost and scared.
Looks at the numbers. He threw for over 280 plus yards. His percentage is around 60%. 1 INT, which I guess came on a play where Austin was injured—thank God he appears to be OK—where the ball bounced off Austin’s hands. These are solid numbers by a kid who came to the program 7 months ago and was never expected to see the field. His arm strength is what it is—would you rather see another performance like the first half of UT. I for one would rather see short passes that work that long passes that end up i the hands of our opponent. Our other Qbs are not ready. Don’t you think CNC would be using them if they were ready? I have read comparisons of Kevin Craft to Brett Johnson. From someone who was a student in 1989 and cosely followed that team, those comparisons are simply laughable.
Coaching sucks (bad onside kick decision in 3rd Q).
If the play works and we go down the field, score to tie the game 14-14, and gain all the momentum, CRN is a genius. Hindsight is 20/20. I’ll take my changes with a coach who is willing to roll the dice to try to shock the world in the most hostile venue in college football.
I am tired of losing.
Anyone who thinks that the Bruins could erase the past and turn into a contender in less than one season is delusional, especially considering the injuries. As mentioned above, the Bruins are only one loss (or one fumble against Fresno State) from being where most expected, and one poster (on another site) compared the Bruins unfavorably to Harbaugh’s Standford team. Well, Jim Harbaugh’s team was 3-9 last season (with a glorious, shocing victory against SUC). They are coming around and are much improved with a coach who is very similar to CRN. I foresee a Stanford type season for the Bruins next year. I also foresee the Bruins beating Stanford next week.
Bad penalties, delays of game.
The Bruins are much improved over last season, where multple delay-of-game-penalty-games occurred repeatedly AT THE ROSE BOWL!!! And the Bruins never varied the snap count last season—all snaps were “on one”—so this never needed to be discussed in the huddle. I am willing to give the team a pass at the exceedingly loud Autzen. Because of that venue, this one game cannot be used as a measuring stick to compare progress from last season.
Bad clock management at the half.
From what I can tell, CRN tried to move the ball toward a score with less than 2 minutes left in the first half (while down 7-0), and was unsuccessful in goin so (without running out much clock). As such, the Ducks got the ball back with enough time to score and go up 14-0 at the half. As stated above with respct to the 3rd Q onside kick, I will take my chances with a coach who is playing to win the game rather than go into a shell, take a knee, and run out the clock. If the Bruins score and tie the game at the half, everyone is praising CRN.
Running Game Sucks; Terrible Line
Anyone who thinks that this isn’t a work in progress is living in dream land. These guys had never played together before as a unit and had next to no experience before this seaon. Some of the guys with experience are now injured or not playing. The line was improving until WSU last week, where they stcked the box. With respct to this game, it is not unreasonable to discount the effect of Autzen on the line’s ability to communicate and work as a team in that environment. The line is getting better and will continue to get better. Bell is clearly not 100%. Dean and Carter are hurt. I foresee a much improved effort next week against Stanford.
Bad tackling; Lockett.
There is no excuse for bad tackling. Although I didn’t see the game, I recall some of our more promising, young players missing tackling in weeks past (Ayers, Moore). These guys are true freshmen oftentimes trying to tackle guys that are 3 or 4 years older, and more physically mature. There is a big difference between an 18 year old kid and and 22 year old man. As for Lockett, the prevous coaching staff left the cupboard bare. His backups are all freshmen.
In summary, 31-24, is better than what many predicted. I didn’t see the game and all the warts, but from an objective review of the stats and from reading what others posted (chicken littles aside), it appears that we are continuing to move in the right direction.
It is not the time to panic and point fingers. Keep supporting the team and these kids. The effort is there and, I believe, will continue to be there end the last whistle of the last game. They wil not quit. Continue to be relentlessly positive. My passion bucket is still full and I hope true Bruin fans’ passion bucket remain so as well. This team will continue to improve and, I believe, will split the remainder of its 6 games (unlike past regimes, which started fast and faded in November). That would put them at 5-7, which is right where most expected they would be.
Looking forward to a solid effort against a much improved Stanford team next week.