Perhaps, I wanted this game too much. Played in my home town, on the next to the last weekend I will live here, and having NEVER lost to a Texas team during my time here, I wanted this one bad.
I am not a "win or else" or "winning is everything" guy. But, I do not find our count "moral victories" either.
I have consistently set my standard by Coach's definition of success
"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."
By that definition, our program was not successful, today.
Much will be written in praise of the many players who left it all on the field. In my eyes, they were successful.
And, much will be written about the players who had a hard day; a freshman kicker who reminds me of the tin man -- in need of a short journey down the path to find the heart and peace that will allow him to use his awesome talent at its highest level; a center coming back from injury, a bit rusty -- he too, will settle in and prove his worth.
But, frankly, I do not think they are the story of the game.
To me, the story of the game was that we were, once more, out coached to the extent that we lost a game that we could have won; I won't say "we should have won" because that denigrates the Cougars who beat us fair and square -- but in my heart, I think we should have won this game AND would have won this game had we been properly coached.
CRN has rightfully placed himself on the hot seat -- and this game shows why his recent body of work has placed him there. I do not want to hear about new coordinators, that we need time for them to adapt and fit in. CRN has been here 4 years. This is his program, now. His responsibility. These are his players, his coaches -- we can't blame CTS, DG or anyone else -- this season is on CRN.
So, why am I so upset by this loss? Because major parts of our program do not pass my eye test -- and have not passed the eye test for his entire tenure in the program.
I'm sorry, but was there anyone, anywhere who thought that in his 4th year of his program we'd have a defense that cannot tackle, gives way too much cushion, cannot dominate the line of scrimmage even against a team that was demonstrably smaller and somewhat less experienced than we are? That a defense with some really great individual players -- players who are now experienced, would look so inept and disorganized? We can blame Walker, Bullough, and now Tresey -- but the truth is that we have made the same mistakes and had the same weak spots under each -- and the true common denominator is the head coach, CRN.
Was there anyone, anywhere who thought that in his 4th year of his program we'd still be committing stupid penalties, beating ourselves? These are experienced players. They have been with their head coach long enough for the head coach to instill within them the need for discipline. Ten penalties for 80 yards? Inexcusable.
Was there anyone, anywhere who thought that in his 4th year of his program we'd still not be able to manage the clock, get our plays in on time, that we'd still be wasting the clock in key moments. Sorry, head coach, that's on you. And, it is especially galling when it was a fault you "recognized" and said you would eliminate, this year. (On that last mess up, the announcers said that there were three people looking at each other blankly as the clock wound down -- CRN, Mastro, and Johnson. I don't know that to be true, but at a time like this, I expect the CEO to be on top of the game and steering the ship. Sorry, but our pilot reminded me of the guy who ran the Exxon-Valdez aground.
Was there anyone, anywhere who thought that in his 4th year of his program we'd be a program, as Petros Papadakis, so rightfully pointed out "is in search of an identity"? Four years and no identity? Do you think we have a positive identity? If so, what is it?
Let me be clear. I am not giving up on this team or this season. I actually think we will have a winning record and will go to a bowl game.
Actually, I saw the same positive things many of you are highlighting. Richard Brehaut either outplayed Keenum (More yards -- Keenum 339 total, Brehaut 351 total) or certainly played him even. We averaged 7.7 yards a play to their 6.6, and had 554 total yards to their 468.
He and his team mates deserved more from the coaches than they got.
What stimulated this rant? A text from a good Bruin, one who was in the stadium, at the game today. She sent me this:
Poor absent coaching, today. The players deserve better. you should have seen Brehaut walking out of the stadium.
I am not calling for CRN to be fired. I want him to succeed. If he does, we will.
But, I don't think it fair to blame the players for this loss. To me it's on the coaches -- this was a systemic loss.
The may who controls the system has to step up, or step away.