Now to the game and season. Let me post my thoughts on the season so far and the questions that I would like answered if I could sit down with CRN.
1. Play calling. Starting with a pass both games. Passing on first down. This team can run. Franklin not only averaged 6.6 yards per carry, he came within a saving tackle twice of breaking a long run. Franklin was able to run and get first downs even when Stanford not only knew we were likely to run (short yardage) but we were successful mostly running the same running play. Same thing in KSU game. This is a tribute to the line as well. Jones also looked good. Why don't we run until the other team stops us? Why don't we start the game running instead of three passes last week and a bomb this week?
2. Personnel decisions. It seems that Coleman may be the worst of our three backs. Franklin had a fumbling problem last year but the coaches have shown a willingness to let him carry the ball deep in our territory and his only fumble was a bad exchange, arguably the QB's fault. Also, Malcolm Jones in limited action is averaging 7.2 yards per carry and looks real good.
Yet we started Coleman. In his first 2 series (both 3 and outs) Coleman went 3 for 8 rushing and caught a pass for minus 2 yards. No first downs.
Franklin's first series he went 2 for 10 yards and ran for a first down that was brought back due to a penalty. The next series he ran 4-27 yards including 2 first downs until Carroll fumbled. We moved the ball with Franklin in the game. Similarly Jones first 2 carries were for first downs.
This point maybe moot given the injury to Coleman but it seems Franklin (and Jones) are our best RBs and should be starting/receiving most of the carries. Why did the coaches not start Franklin with Jones as #2?
3. Dealing with injuries. Belloti said at the end, "you don't practice you shouldn't play." I wrote about that here. Why start a hurting Prince who has not practiced much?
4. Game management/organization. How hard is it to timely count to 11? That is a problem both weeks. I don't think anyone can argue about the substitution problem which was embarrassing at a minimum as shown by the back to back time outs last night and cost us a TD against KSU.
5. Conditioning issues. What are the coach's doing about the conditioning problem on D? Our D looks tired in the second half of both games and we were even puking early in the game last night. For example, Akeem looked like he had just run a marathon after Stanford's second series. What is going on?
Since I am asking questions and being critical, let me also say something positive about CRN. Last year we lost 5 in a row in October and CRN turned it around to lead us to a bowl game. The team did not give up as it easily could have. He can do it again as this is only two games into the season and we need perspective. That does not mean there are not questions and concerns, but it does mean it is not time to give up on the season.