Random Thoughts About Our Football Program and Fandom

Bumped. A must read post from Classof66 who once again sets the standard for how folks should be engaging in this community. GO  BRUINS. - N

I've had a lot of time to think about the state of our program. I've been on the road, 12 hours a day -- driving from Houston to Pasadena. (Ultimate destination: UCSD on Saturday).

I watched the Stanford game from a hotel room in Amarillo and was on the game day thread for the first three quarters of the game; I finally went to bet around 12:30AM Texas time -- so, I missed the Brehaut performance.

I too, was disappointed in the loss. But, after a lot of road reflection, I have the following thoughts about the game, the team and us, the fans:

1. We are a very inexperienced team -- not necessarily a young team, but a very inexperienced team. And, that's a factor of the mess we were in when we made the coaching change. 

Our seniors have very little playing time; that was clear when the announcers of the KSU game made clear that although we had a "senior OL" they had very few combined starts amongst them.

We are not experienced at QB. Much has been made of this, already, but it is something we have to admit. Kevin Prince has very few games under his belt since his junior year in high school. His back up has very little varsity action at UCLA. 

Our D line has little experience. And, so it goes. Our most experienced player is probably our best -- but Kai is hurting.

Experience matters. It is the difference between "knowing" what to do and actually doing it in real time in a game. Talk and practices are not the same as doing it when it matters. It's the difference between what the education philosophers call "knowing that" and "knowing how". It's one thing to know a play on paper. But, you really don't know it until you can run it -- by instinct.

That's why we see our D linemen out of place and our young WR's run the wrong routes. And, that's why RB is still not ready to play. It why you see a punt returner run on the field on 3rd down (yes the clock may have been wrong but he should be focused on the game and know the down.)

We are simply inexperienced.

And, that causes a great dilemma -- the same one CBH faced.

I think some of our most talented players are our young players. Our recruiting has gotten better. I do not think we are over-evaluating our talent. But, we may be expecting too much of inexperienced players.

So, the question is the same one CBH faced last year. Do we play the players we think give us the best chance of winning (in our coaches' eyes -- the more experienced players) or do we play the young 'uns, with the risk that they will make more mistakes, maybe cost us a game or two, and maybe destroy their confidence?

And, unfortunately, we have to answer this question with a very hard schedule facing us down.

I for one, trust our coaches to make that decision. They are playing to win.

They have chosen to take the risk of a less than healthy Kevin Prince over a Brehaut they think more likely to make a mistake. Hard to argue the choice.

2. The Comparisons to What Other Coaches Have Done In 3 Years Are Not Apt:

It does not take a coaching genius to come into a talented, experienced program and deliver wins. Unless you can show me that Harbaugh took over the same empty cupboard that CRN found, it is not a fair comparison. Same with other coaches. And, the truth is that as much as we hate Lame, he will win games this year, not because he is a good coach because he is not, but because he took over a lot of solid, experienced players.

3. There Is A Reason We Are Getting Players Like Hundley --

as good as our present kids are, I think we will all agree that with each class, CRN brings in more talented players

. That's because of two things. Kids who are really good and want to play in their second year -- see opportunities here; they can sense where we are weak and where they fit in. This is but an extension of the idea that position competition improves the play at the position; the competition is trickling down to recruiting decisions because some of these kids see what we have and think they can be better.

The second reason -- with one major exception, we have a very strong coaching staff and I think these kids can see that when we pull it altogether, they will be playing exciting football on a winning team.

4. I'm Tired of the Babble About Friction Between CRN and CNC -- It Is Pure, Mindless Speculation:

One of the great strengths of great leaders is that they surround themselves with very strong subordinates -- people who will strongly disagree and push points. CRN is that type of leader and should we should admire him for that. The role of the subordinate is to push hard until the point when the boss says "Thank you, I'll make my decision, now." CNC should be admired for being that kind of coach.

For those of you who keep seeing a rift -- did you notice that CNC, with the full encouragement of CRN, just signed a contract extension? I saw one BN comment where the poster said something like "he gets paid a lot of money to live where he wants to live". I find that to be demeaning speculation. CNC is truly a man of integrity and I find it offensive that a Bruin fan would speculate and question his motives like that.

The bottom line -- I really like and respect the relationship between CRN and CNC. They are a strong team. I'm glad they are on our side.

5. I'm Not So Sure About Bullough:

I have not been happy with our D schemes for years. I was never a Walker fan. Uh, let me clarify that. I like the fiery Walker, the motivator. I liked the recruiter. I just hated the schemes he called. 

When CRN decided to elevate Bullough, I was one of the first voices questioning the choice. I feared more of the Walker schemes. I wrote about it. And, then I joined the other critics in agreeing "if CRN wants him, then I want him."

I am hoping that CRN will want him no longer. More than enough has been written here about the failure of our D schemes this year (and last). I won't say more.

But, CRN needs to make a better choice. It's his job to make sure he has the right people teaching/scheming/coaching at the right places -- and I think Bullough has had enough time.

Funny thing is, I feel the same way about Bullough as I did about Walker. I like the man, but not the game day coaching. Maybe, he too, will take us out of a difficult position by finding his own HC job. I hope so.

6. The Game Day Threads Suck -- And it is a handful of people who are ruining them with whining and personal attacks.

We were not minutes into the game when the whining began. And, it never stopped. Then came the personal attacks and invectives.  That has never been BN and should not be now. read the thread. It was gross.

I know, I made this same complaint last week. And, I'll shut up, soon.

Let me make one thing clear: I'm not saying one cannot be critical. Being fact-based, substantively critical is what BN is all about. Simply whining about how sick you are of this, calling out players personally, calling players and coaches names -- that's not BN.

I said it last week, I said it in the thread, and I'll say it again. Calling a player a pussy, challenging his fortitude -- seems rather odd when the challenge to manhood and character is issued by someone on a message board hiding behind a false name. As I said in the thread, I doubt that most of these name callers have ever been hit as hard as Kevin Prince has been hit. Let them take a hit and complain about his play.

And, I'm sick and tired of people who have no idea what John Wooden stood for citing him -- mindlessly. One poster said Wooden would "Play to win." Wrong. John Wooden never stressed winning. He stressed effort. Playing one's best led to satisfaction no matter the end score.

I think if we grade our team on "effort" we will have a hard time complaining. The team I saw against KSU and the 3/4 of the Stanford game was playing hard. The team did not give up or lie down. It fought.

The fact that it made mistakes or was not good enough, is not a character issue. 

And, the fact that the coaches could not deliver a win is not a character issue.

The question is whether they are trying to live up to their full potential. I think they are. 

And, it pisses me off when a bunch of chicken shit anonymous posters call them out, personally.

Nestor, I know this is totally out of place, but I would love for you to consider two game threads. One for the chicken littles. And, another for the people who come here often, and contribute to building BN.

During the game thread, I clicked on the profiles of a lot of the chicken littles -- almost none had ever done a Fan Post or gave any indication that they had contributed here other than their whining in game day threads.

I've said this before. To me the game day thread is like sitting in the stands with people who love the Bruins, know the Bruins, love the game, and love each other. That's the group I sat with for 12 yeas when I live in CA and went to all of the home games. 

We have those people on BN. They are the people who know how to analyze (and criticize) with facts -- and do so. I'm tired of sitting with the people who come to the game and puke -- who ruin it for my friends and me.

And, I'm tired of seeing a moderator have to enter a thread to remove people. Beller's job was to enjoy the game and comment -- not to be the cop in the stands who has to throw people out.

Enough of my rant.

Bottom Line For Me: I am not happy with this season but I understand it. I am not happy with some of my thread mates and I cannot understand them.

Our team and the outcomes will get better. I wish the same for our game day threads.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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