Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
I started to write this as a response to a front page post -- but it kept growing and I did not want to disrespect or hi-jack that post, so:
1. A Recurring Problem We Have to Fix: For the last several years, our D has given up long drives and scores on the first series of each half. There is absolutely no excuse for that. In the old days, people blamed the O -- improperly -- claiming that the D was on the field so long it got tired. That excuse does not work when the other team shoves the ball down our throats the first time the D is on the field and the first time it comes on the field after resting during the half time break.
Although the players have to make the plays, the D coordinator has to: 1. have them mentally prepared to play from Moment 1; 2. have them understand the D schemes from Moment 1; and, 3. teach them to tackle, tackle, tackle -- make is so ingrained that the skill is not forgotten under the pressure of a game.
I was not a Walker fan; and I think Bullough is too close to that mold. I, for one, would have hired Rocky Long, at the end of last season. I hope Bullough makes me eat these words.
2. A Recurring Problem We Have to Fix: Penalties -- we have not improved in this area. We had to. And, we should have. There is absolutely no excuse for two of the critical, stupid things we did, yesterday.
As much as I love Akeem, that late hit was absolutely unnecessary. The penalty was blatant and had to be called. Yes, I know he gets amped up. But, he is one of our best players, one of our leaders -- and he has to set the example. Penalties are harder to accept when they are committed by more experienced players (Paulsen) or leaders.
3. We really miss Brian Price. Without him, our middle is vulnerable. He was an exceptional player and will be hard to replace. Yesterday, showed just how important he was to us.
4. I went into this game believing that our receivers were the strength of the team and that if the OL could hold up. and give Prince time to throw, we would move the ball easily.
The OL exceeded my expectations -- albeit against what may be a weaker D front. I'm pleased with the O line.
Obviously, the receivers did not have the game any of us expected from them -- with the exception of Marvray and Harkey.
Speaking of Harkey, why in the world did we not go to our tight ends more? They are a very talented group and were under utilized.
5. This loss was not on Kevin Prince. It was a team loss on both sides of the ball. Blaming Prince or calling for his replacement is simply not fair. For the most part, I think he made good decisions. Whether or not he executed well is open to debate -- he would have looked a lot better with a little bit of help from others. I actually think we will see him run this offense very well, soon. His ability to run -- as he did on the touchdown -- may well be the key to the season. This new wrinkle to the scheme, with the improvement of the O line, and a stronger and wiser Prince, will let CNC work his magic. We saw some of it, yesterday. I think we will see a lot more in the conference games.
5. KSU is a good team. Coached by one of the best. This was never a game we "should have won". It was clearly a game "we could have won". For us to have a good season, we will have to win the games we should win and pull off some wins in the "could wins".
I am confident we will. And, I think we will win at least one game no one thinks we will be able to win. I did not see Oregon play. But, sc's D looks suspect. And, Oregon State's QB did not look invincible. The Rodgers brothers are the real deal. But, we have the speed on D to stay with them. We will really need the D line to do better on the running plays -- but I really think they will.
6. My player of the game? Probably Locke. He gave the D good field position by touchback kick offs and good punt placement. He is a great weapon IF the D can step up and force 3 and outs.
7. Overall, we are an older team but not an experienced team. We are a bigger team. A faster team. But, not an experienced team.
I know we wanted to win that game, but I'm glad we got some freshmen on the field. And, I don't see how they hurt us. I would have liked to see more get some game time -- particularly Reilly.
Games like, yesterday, prove the value of experience. And, that's why spring and fall practices can't tell us what we really have. We need games. And, now we know what we've got. And, I'm excited about it.
8. Stanford is a game in my "should not win but may well win" column. Andrew Luck is the real deal. He played for Stratford High School -- Jen's rival school. In person, I've seen him play 3 times. He's smart. And, a really good kid. Yes, Gerhart is gone. But Stanford remains a very tough, physical team. But, I have a feeling we will build on this week and win. Yesterday, was only one game. But, I think many of our players will settle down now that they've have one under their belts.