Since I am the guy taking heat for being Pollyanna in the post game thread, let me be clear I am not happy with our game Saturday but I am not suicidal. While there are a lot of areas to cast blame (and some positive areas), there was one overriding big mistake that I think cost of the game: starting Kevin Prince after he missed so much time.
And while, we don't have much data on this season. We should have known this would happen because the same thing happen the last time Prince was rushed back to start. Flash back to the Oregon game last year. I am going to be a bit lazy here and mix Nestor's post and the OC Register he cited ( go to the link if you want to see which is which, but the emphasis throughout this is all mine).
Prince, who was cleared to play Wednesday from the broken jaw that has kept him out the past two games, took the first-team repetitions for the third day in a row. The redshirt freshman said earlier in the week he felt his timing still needed work.
"I thought he was good today," Neuheisel said. "I thought he was better."
That's good to know. Meanwhile, the reporters have been really digging into Prince's eating out schedules all week. Yesterday we found out via Jon Gold that apparently he had steak at Lawry's after he was given the go ahead to eat solid food. Now Ted Miller reports breathlessly that Prince "was able to hit a local Persian restaurant for a couple of beef kabobs," in "between the doctor's appointment and a team meeting."
Let me add an LA Times story on Prince's practice before Oregon last year.
Prince struggled through practice, missing on more than a handful of throws.
The result, the worst game (yes, worse than Saturday) of Prince's career:
His jaw was wired shut and he sat out the Kansas St. and Stanford games ... Returned to start against Oregon and completed 13 of 25 passes for 81 yards and one interception which was returned for a score
Now after the jump the KSU game this year:
In the meantime Prince finished his third straight day of practice without feeling any kind of serious lingering effects (according to Prince himself and CRN).
Three days good practice, the same as the Oregon game. Let's look at some of the other comments and see how they compare. First:
According to reports Prince "practiced at full speed for the second consecutive day" yesterday. For the "first time" since camp started he threw long passes on consecutive days.
He did deliver a number of touch passes, including a nice deep ball to junior transfer Josh Smith, but Prince was off on others.
"I'm still not there with my accuracy, so that's definitely a point of emphasis with me to work out the next few days," Prince said.
I realize the injuries are different BUT the effect was the same. A long break between practice and same three good practice days. Same accuracy problem. Guess what: same drops, same missed passes, same bad game.
CRN and staff blew it. There is no way Prince should have started this game. One part of a comment from the game thread:
The implosion...the interception...Kevin Prince looking simply lost...the buzz when Brethaut suddenly is standing on the field and looking pretty good...the missed tackles on defense...the dropped balls by the receivers.
This comment except for Brehaut could have been form this Saturday instead of last year against Oregon It is CRN and the coaching staff's duty to prevent Deja Vu.
Let me add an important caveat. I am not saying Brehaut should start this week or that Prince is a bad QB. I also don't think our WRs suddenly became guys who couldn't catch a cold. I am saying that if Prince misses practice after an injury, he should not be rushed back. For if he is, we know what is going to happen for certain, as it has already happen twice.