Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
Was able to finally get out to the Rose Bowl for the Cal game. I was hoping to see improvement from the Defense after reading about the "Players Only Meeting" but what I saw was the same concerns we've raised here on BN.
Here are some stats courtesy of: CFBStats.com
Total Defense Rank: 33
Scoring Defense Rank: 45 (21.6 pts per game)
Passing Defense: 20 (168.3 yds per game)
Rushing Defense: 79 (151.71 yds per game)
Here are the stats for the 1st Quarter:
Passing Defense: 91 (390 yds, 60.5% completion rate)
Rushing Defense: 95 (291 yds, 4.48 avg per carry)
Analysis after the jump.
These are our Pass & Run defense statistics from the season thus far:
San Diego State
Pass: 18-45, 238 yds
Run: 18 carries, 39 yds, 2.2 avg
Pass: 13-26, 93 yds
Run: 44 carries, 115 yds, 2.6 avg
Pass: 21-35, 199 yds
Run: 37 carries, 69 yds, 1.9 avg
Pass: 14-20, 198 yds
Run: 44 carries, 174 yds, 4.0 avg
Pass: 9-17, 82 yds
Run: 43 carries, 221 yds, 5.1 avg
Pass: 14-23, 205 yds
Run: 41 carries, 289 yds, 7.0 avg
First off, I personally think its a bunch of crock using the Bullough is/was told to not deviate from the DW defense. This is Bullough's defense and he is 100% responsible for the porous results thus far. I've read the arguments that we're young. Yes, we are young relatively speaking but this team does not lack game experience. Guys like Datone, Akeem, Rahim and Tony got plenty of time on the field last season and have been in the program for at least 2 fall camps. Even if Bullough was told to keep the DW playbook, we all read quotes from guys like Reggie who indicated that Bullough has added his personal touch to the defense.
Second, I have BIG issues with the Game Planning by Bullough. Time after time, we've seen our defense come out in the first quarter and look lost. The first quarter statistics for our defense are pretty telling in my eyes. Why the defense is not ready to fire on all cylinders from the kickoff continues to baffle me. In game adjustments seem to take way too long to happen.
Don't let those passing statistics fool you. We have yet to face a single big time QB this season. We've faced Lindley (new offense), Crompton (Overrated & new offense), Coffman (new offense), Luck (RS FR), Costa (Fill in for Masoli & coming off 2 ACL injuries) and Riley (erratic). We took advantage of the first 3 but failed to do so when we entered conference play. In conference play, teams didn't need to pass a lot since they were moving the ball on the ground. Why take the risk when we can't stop the run?
I'm more critical of the game planning/scheme since conference play has started. I believe that conference games are generally tougher than non-conference games because each team has accurate scouting reports of the other therefore teams don't lack information nor film of their opponents strengths/weaknesses/tendencies. Everybody and their mama knew that we were going to get a heavy dose of Gerhardt. Yet, we still got run over by Stanford in the 1st half. One would think that Bullough would stack the box and make Luck beat us. I saw too much base defense from us instead of changing coverages and blitzing Luck to cause confusion and create pressure. We then faced Oregon starting Costa who is making his 1st career start. Once again, we should have sold out to stop the run considering Costa was making his 1st start. Same goes for Cal who is quarterbacked by an erratic Riley.
We can point out that we were starting a True FR at CB. I can see the logic in protecting him for the Stanford game but if Price was the better option over Viney (still confused as to why he has yet to play considering Pressley & Carroll have gotten into games), then the protecting Price excuse does not work with me. The decision was made to go with Price over Viney so Bullough must be responsible for this decision.
Third, assuming that Bullough's game plans were sound, he is still failing miserably. Players are responsible for executing the game plan. However, it's clear to me that the players lack discipline (penalties & over pursuit) and cannot tackle if their life depended on it. We've seen penalties by the defense at critical times during the games keeping the opponent's drives alive. We've seen players not stay home on the backside leading to Best's TD run. We've seen our failure to tackle manifest itself when James flipped the field from the 1 yd line juking his way to midfield.
Our players are failing miserably in these aspects but the responsibility lies with Bullough. Every single player on our defense has had multiple starts and has been in this system for at least a year except for Price. This is an experienced defense with Mid-Season AA at all 3 levels of the defense. The lack of depth argument doesn't fly either. There aren't many teams that have the talent and experience we have on our defense. So are people going to make the same excuse next season when we lose both Boz's, Ward, Jerzy, Reggie, ATV and potentially BP? I guess people can use the "Youth" excuse next season.
I have been very critical of Price as well as others. I believe that Price is going to be a very good player in due time but he is clearly over-matched right now. My frustration lies with the fact that we've got Viney on the bench who has proven to be a good tackler for his size and played a very good game at Tennessee yet we fail to play him. Also, the Best run is not on Price. Akeem failed to stay home and Dye from his spot came inside where everybody else was instead of staying home on the outside. Dye would have had an opportunity to tackle Best and would have had help from ATV instead of ATV being on his own. Price came from the other side of the defense and tried to stop Best but there were 2 blockers. Price showed heart/hustle and never gave up on the play. For that, I commend Price.
I've been frustrated by the offense but I cannot deny the improvement no matter how small they may be. The defense on the other hand has been pathetic when considering all factors. As of now, count me in as someone that believes Bullough is in over his head and needs to get his pink slip. I hope he proves me wrong but I have no confidence in him and his coaching abilities.