Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
1. We still do not know how good this team is. We have beaten three teams, but none is a touchstone we can use to compare ourselves to other teams.
It is still to early in the season and comparative schedules are yet to be meaningful. I did not see Tenn. play, but it sounds like their D played well -- that may tell us a little bit about or O.
But, or D may not have had a meaningful test yet. KSU came into last night's game rated having thrown for 363 yards in its two prior games (28/57/2/3). Against us, it threw for 199 yards (better than previous games) 21/35/2/0. They came in with an average of 4.48 yards per rushing attempt and we held them to 1.9. However, their previous two games were against La-Lafayette and Massachusetts. Their passing game was better against us than against those two teams.
2. I am more concerned about our D than I am about our O. Don't get me wrong. I love our team and our D. I love these kids. But, I fear many of us are drinking the Kool Aid. I write this section in response to a post in the game day thread, last night. Someone referred to "Kevin Crap" and then went on to say that at least we had a "top 10 D". I wrote a long response but could not post it because the thread had changed. I will write about Craft, in a moment. This is about the D. Before last night's game, our D was rated 30th against unranked teams. I don't think we will move up much after last night.
Here are some opinions and some numbers. I write this section, not to criticize the D, but rather because I am tired of the criticism of Kevin Craft and the praise for the D. Neither are soundly rooted in fact.
I see the ugly remnants of the CTS/Walker D this season. Inconsistent from the get go. Why must we start every game by giving up a long drive? Why do we wait until late in the game to dominate? Why can't we stop a spread? Even a spread by teams that have not been or will not be highly ranked?
At times last night, our tackling was atrocious. Shades of the past.
And the penalties. Don't get me started. Yes, some were SPTR penalties, but when you have people in a hole, giving first downs or improved field position by penalty is not the way to win games.
I'm so sick of the complaints that the O forces the D to be mediocre. For the last few years, this has been a D that cannot get itself off the field. This year, the added wrinkle: Our D is starting with better field position than it has in the past. Thank you Locke.
In the first quarter, fresh off the bench, the D was on the field for 9 and 8 play drives. In the second quarter, one 3 and out and 6 and 7 play drives. The D, on it's first time on the field after the half, gave up a 14 play drive that resulted in a touchdown. The following: 3,6,3,11 and 4.
The O Drives: First quarter --11 (touchdown), 4 (field goal), Second Quarter -- 6(interception), 8 (field goal) 2 (end of half -- we had time but ran out the clock), Third -- 5, 4, 4 [this was our very bad 3rd quarter. Fortunately, Nestor turned the momentum by changing the game day thread]. Fourth -- 10 (Field Goal), 4 (Touchdown) 5, 2 (fumble) 1(end of game).
I've always thought Time of Possession was a meaningless statistic -- often misinterpreted. In the past our Defense Apologists have used TOP to blame our O for the D's failings. When you look at the drive charts, you see another story.
3. Get Off Kevin Craft's Back: Yes he had shaky moments last night and a tough 3rd quarter, but he delivered a win. For those of you who think Kevin Prince is so much better, look at the numbers. It's a bit hard to compare because although both are listed as having played 2 games, in reality, Craft has played but one. Craft has a higher efficiency rating 124/105, but they are quite even elsewhere. Completion percent? Craft 54.2 Prince 55.8. Each is averaging 1 TD and 1 Interception per game. Craft is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and Prince -10. And, BTW -- the longest pass play this season? Craft's 51 yard TD, yesterday. (And, he had a TD called back by an "interesting" penalty call.)
Would I rather see Craft start? No. But, we don't jump down Prince's throat if he has a bad series or makes a mistake. Let's give Craft the same allegiance.
Kevin Craft is a Bruin Warrior worthy of the same support and adulation we give our other warriors. His commitment and effort cannot be challenged. And, he delivered a win last night.
4. The best part of the team? Other than the MVP (Kai Forbath) the O line. It is playing way better than anyone expected. Opening holes and protecting our QB's. From what I hear, the Tenn. D is for real. So, I think it safe to say the O line has had a real test this year and we have reason to believe it is much improved. It certainly is in attitude. The looks on the O line players faces are so different from the looks in prior years. They are clearly on a mission to prove themselves and they are doing it.
So, where does that leave me? Thrilled. We are so clearly on our way back that I can see the glory days on the horizon.
But, I have tempered expectations. We have yet to play a team that is great. I think Cal is great. During the first weak of the season, after watching UW play LSU, I posted that I am now officially worried about that game.
At the beginning of the year, many of us said that we thought we will win the games we are expected to win and will steal a win or two of those we are expected to lose. I think that will hold up. We have one "unexpected" victory over a Tenn team that is probably not going to fall like last year's team. I think we will beat sc (I always think we will beat sc, but this year I think that even more.)
We are a young team starting to master CRN and CNC's systems and I think we will "overachieve" this year.
PS. The suspended players: We missed Viney last night -- but for the most part Sheldon Price played a good "first game". The two big losers in the group of 4? Carrol and Presley. How are you going to keep Rosario out of the line up?