1. The Reverse -- And, the Commentary of the Past Few Weeks
As I stood in the stands and watched that play fail -- I wondered what the reaction on BN would be.
Call it a "reverse" or call it an "end around" -- in the storm of criticism of CNC's "conservative playcalling" the failure to call this exact play was one of the oft mentioned BN examples of plays we should be calling.
Some of us put forth the propositionthat, with our lack of talent and speed on the O line, this play would fail; we were brushed off or seen as "apologists".
So, I find it interesting that, today, few here are applauding the call. Instead, many are critical. I know, consistency is the hob goblin of small minds and all that ... but, in light of previous comments, it seems that the "daring" should be acknowledged.
Me, I think it was a dumb call -- as it would have been at any time in the last few weeks.
2. I find it interesting that those who thought RB should have been starting instead of KP -- because they believed that RB was the better QB and that CNC was being stubborn in sticking with KP -- are using this game as support for their thesis.
Those of you who think RB proved so effective as to cast doubt on the fact that he has not been our starter all season -- From the stands he did not look that good.
Yes, he is now our quarterback and I support him 100%. This note is not about him -- it's about people who want to use yesterday's game to criticize CNC for thinking KP is a better QB -- which I think a healthy KP is.
Yesterday's performance was not all that good.
On more than one occasion, he had receivers well behind the defensive back trying to cover them -- and he threw bad passes; from the stands it looked like he was lobbing the balls -- especially the one that was intercepted -- instead of throwing them. In fact he threw a lot of bad passes -- some high and exposing the receivers to crunching blows when they went up for them.
There was a bad drop or two -- but there were some very good catches -- of bad throws -- that really helped him out. And, he has yet to develop "pocket presence" -- the ability to understand he is about to be sacked; how many times has he fumbled because he did not see a hit coming?
To his credit, he did make some very good throws -- but some were to well covered and double covered receivers where the first response in the stands was "Don't" and then "Whew!, that was great". He lived dangerously and got away with it. I acknowledge it took talent to make those throws -- but that throwing talent was not evident throughout the game.
He still cannot fake in the pistol -- he is wooden and predictable. And, I think CNC really understood this as he used more pro-set out of the shotgun than the pistol.
RB is our QB and I will be in the stands screaming my lungs out for him against Oregon State. But, to see him as the second coming, or the first -- depending on your persuasion -- and to criticize CNC for not seeing that, is wrong.
3. Where I Agree With the Criticism on the Choice of QB
I think it was wrong to play KP against KSU and Cal -- not because RB is better, but because I think it wrong to play an injured player -- no matter how loud he claims to be OK. We all knew he was hurt and the coaches should have, too.
And, wile I am on this theme -- I really think Ayers is hurt, too. Were I king of the world, I would send him to a competent doctor for a complete check AND not play him if he is hurt. I am upset that some here are spewing the "he's trying to protect himself for the draft" crap. That's unfair. That's an attack on his character and we have absolutely no basis to challenge his commitment or integrity. He is a warrior. I think he is an injured warrior.
4. Injuries, Injuries, Injuries
Are making me sick. Thigpen plays well and breaks a collar bone. Johnson is establishing himself as a very legitimate receiver and, he too, is hurt. Add that to the long list of starters and promising players who are hurt and you have to wonder -- what have we done to offend the football gods? Yes, injuries are a part of sports, but hey, come on -- we have had way more than our share. And, they are a major part of why we are inexperienced and under talented at key positions. We are simply not a good enough team to lose this many players.
In the stands, some were questioning our off season training. I assured them that our players got bigger, stronger and faster. That' snot it. Knees and bones cannot be trained into invulnerability. We are just getting thrown by the waves. And, it sucks.
4. I Really Do Not Want to Talk About the D
I simply remain steadfast in my position that the hiring of a DeWayne Walker disciple was a bad move -- precisely because the apple does not fall far from the tree and that tree did not produce much D.
But, I have to disagree with some of what has been written, here, about some of our players. From the stands I saw Rahim make some very sure open field tackles on runners who were going full steam ahead because they had reached the secondary untouched. He seemed to be one of the only players on the D tackling.
And, from where I sat, it was clear that our LB's and DB's were having to make a lot of tackles because the D line was not touching anyone. The holes were huge.
Finally, Scott is a good QB -- made much better because he had all the time in the world to throw. From my seat, I could count several seconds of time. No DB can cover, effectively, that long. I focused for a while on our D line. They got handled, play after play. It was predictable. And, sad. They were trying hard, but the scheme was not working for them. If there was a scheme, at all.
We looked so confused out there -- our D was often not set -- players were looking at each other as if to say "what are we playing, now". And, this was not an Oregon team that didn't give time to set up. This was a team with far fewer dimensions and one that gave us plenty of time, between plays, to get set.
5. The Good?
The team did not quit and neither did the fans.
I've read here that some were upset that the stands seemed quiet. I can say, from experience, that there are places in the stands from which you cannot judge the noise levels. The best way to know how loud things are is to be on the field (as I was lucky enough to be when I was a yell leader.) I know that the fans cause UA to take at least one penalty and call one time out -- and that they were having trouble with audibles.
The spirit really is there. People were standing -- throughout the game -- when Geoff called for them to stand. Some of us stood and hollered throughout the entire game.
Why is that important? Because, in my heart I know that, in times of deep disappointment we need to replenish ourselves by dipping into our passion buckets. Mine remains full.
And, I'll be there Sat with a recovered voice and optimism that we will Beat the Beavers.