Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
After watching these two games, I've tempered my expectations for the season to be one of continued growth rather than raw breakout. It's going to be a climb, but there is still much to look forward to as the season progresses. Below are the things I will be looking for as the season continues, in terms of actual measurable success.
1. Focus on the run, and lean heavier on Malcolm Jones. 50 carries a game in our Pistol offense is what I’m looking for. Jones needs at least 20 carries a game. Period. He is too good to not be getting more touches. 20 for Franklin, 20 for Jones, and the rest for the QB options/H-backs/reverses/etc. Let our big (and somewhat slow) O-Line do what they do best, bust out of the gates and smash some fools in the mouth.
2. Belliotti said it best – “You don’t practice, you don’t play.” We don’t have a Favre out there who has 20+ years of seasoning under his belt to lean on when practice can’t happen. I understand Brehaut’s lack of mobility in the Pistol is an issue, but Prince is being put in a position to fail. Our kids need quality solid practices to get their timing down and be able to succeed out there on Saturdays. If they’re too banged up to go, it’s unfortunate, but the consequence is the coaches need to turn to the backups who can and will practice.
3. Tackling drills, tackling drills, tackling drills. Wrap the arms first, drive with the shoulders second. This is basic fundamentals that we’re not seeing out there.
4. Give Owa increased playing time, and ask the D-Line to focus on clogging holes rather than overplaying the pass rush. Multiple times there were WIDE open lanes to run up the middle on QB scrambles or draws because the D-Line didn’t stay disciplined in rushing the pass. This can’t happen anymore, it’s discipline. Also, Akeem Ayers is not gonna look as good as he did last season because without a dominant presence like Brian Price jamming up the line, Ayers will not be able to roam around as much.
5. No more “stupid penalties.” There are some penalties you can live with – holding, pass interference, face mask — these are penalties that happen when kids are playing hard, need to do damage control, or are a bit too hyped. But the false starts, the illegal formation, the delays of game, and especially especially the late hit PERSONAL FOULS are inexcusable. These are discipline issues, and things that coaches need to drill into the team during practice.
6.Make conditioning a priority. I was concerned when Gold reported that practice last Wednesday was not at the intensity needed for a Pac-10 opening game. No excuses for that, and it shows on Saturday when the kids are wheezing and vomiting out there because they’re not used to the pace of play. This is inexcusable, and for all the talk about getting stronger and faster over the off-season, someone forgot to mention that stamina is a priority when it comes to conditioning.
These 6 points are things I will be looking for in the next few games. The scoreboard at Texas is not where I’ll be gauging improvement, it’ll be in the way the game is played, the way the coaches correct these mistakes, and the discipline and execution that is seen out on the field. I think we have some special talent on this team, it’s just a matter of coaches doing their part.