Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Night Descent to the Fiery Depths of Despair - Pre-SJSU

Here we are. Another Friday night, another mountain of booze to drink to take the edge off. Things are still a little raw from last weekend. I mean, even a week later I still feel a little jilted. That’s totally not fair, of course; it’s one game and was probably a couple of standard deviations worse than we’ll play in any game for the rest of the year. But it’s hard to come into this game with a lot of swagger. Hence, the gallon of Bushmills I’ll be consuming tonight. Wheee.

I know nothing about SJSU other than their run defense wasn’t very good last year and David Fales no longer plays for them. I would typically lean on TRE’s astute analysis of this week’s opponent, but he’s been travelling this week and might not get one done. I could fill in, of course, since that’s what friendship in the bloglyfe is all about. But I’m way more about laziness than I am about friendship in the bloglyfe.

Here’s what I’ll say about SJSU: it’s a team we should definitely beat. We let them hang around in the first half last year, basically because Fales was using lasers and satellites and shit to hit his receivers where only they could make the catch. He was spitting fire, man. In the second half, we switched to some radical 3-1-7 defense and basically shut them down. Our offense may not have improved very much, particularly if last week was the benchmark of what we can expect going forward, but our defense is still solid. Since SJSU won’t have a bro on the team as talented as Fales using sorcery and time travel to make throws, we should be able to keep them contained defensively while flaying them with #RUTMs.

Two reasons why I’m confident we’ll win. SJSU has zero Apostrophe in Name Players. None! Do you even recruit SJSU? Also.


Effing Greg Robinson? Really, guise? I’m sure he’s a nice guy and probably throws a hell of a Christmas party, but dude has been anathema in college football for a decade. What the hell was the interview process?

SJSU: “Tell us about a time you were successful as a coach.”

Gerg: “Well, I was a pretty good defensive coordinator in the NFL. I coached the Broncos teams that won those Super Bowls.”

SJSU: “Wow, terrific. That’s great. That was when, again?”

Gerg: “1997 and 1998.”

SJSU: “Oh, okay. What have you done since then?”

Gerg: “Well, I helped Texas get their act together defensively last season under Mack Brown.”

SJSU: “Ah, yes, of course you did. What about in the intervening 15 years? What did you do over that period?”

Gerg: “Well, I was probably singlehandedly responsible for a lot of alcohol consumption and cirrhotic livers  in upstate New York and Michigan.”

SJSU: “Great, hired!””

Again, I’m sure he’s a great dude, but I’d seriously consider Kevin Effing Cosgrove before getting 
Gerg on as my defensive coordinator. Of course, now that I’ve said that, we’ll find out dude has become the Gary Kasparov of defensive minds and will hold us to 67 yards of offense. And then we’ll all wake up Sunday morning in a Gerg-induced haze.

*     *     *

So, it looks like Chris Streveler will get his first start tomorrow. That hasn’t been confirmed, but I’m at a 62% buzz and pretend is way easier at this point. I’m a little excited about it, to be honest. Got a guy I know who coached him in little league baseball who has nothing but great things to say about the kid. Dude is clearly a gamer: he skipped that pass at the end of last week’s game and was clearly beating himself up about it as he walked to the sideline. He seems like the kind of dude who, if he played tennis, would get called for racket abuse after missing shots on the reg. Big fan of people who would abuse their rackets.

Not sure what it is, but I’ve been a fan of his beyond the anecdotes from my buddy and belief that he’d need a dumpster full of tennis rackets to make it through a two-set match. He’s pretty obviously faster than any of our quarterbacks since, Gray (and he may be faster than senior-year Gray, who was pushing 250 at that point) and he can’t possibly be a worse passer than Leidner was last week. He has the makings of a Jordan Lynch-styled run-first-pass-when-you-respect-my-running-game quarterback. Maybe that style of quarterback isn’t what we want, but it’s the style of quarterback we deserve. As MV brilliantly articulated in his latest piece for The Daily Gopher, the Kill regime has failed to either recruit or develop (or both) a quarterback that appropriately fits their scheme. And it’s due to the vacillation between an option-oriented approach and a spread-based framework where passing is more critical to the success of the offense. Two different skillsets from a quarterbacking perspective are required and, until the coaches are set on a philosophy, it’s tough to define what we have at the position.

For my money, Strev is perfect for an option-based attack. He’s fast, appears to make the appropriate reads and is a gritty, tough player (gym rat, coach on the field, heady, etc.). He’s got a quirky throwing motion, but if he’s not operating as a traditional pocket passer, that’s not really the end of the world. I think that’s the sort of offense we’re going with tomorrow and we’ll have a quarterback controversy on our hands going into the Michigan game.

*     *     *

Oh, there’s an elephant in the room? Sweet, blessed injuries. We could field a nine-man roster with dudes currently on the injury report. We would change the name of our team to Minnesota-Bethune-Cockran to make it totally legit, too. Multiple hyphens make everything legit.

Cobber, Maxx, Epping. All dudes who are key to the success of this team, all suffering through some sort of injury. The best thing that could happen to us is to get up by a couple of scores early and get their backups in to make sure they’re healthy for the start of the B1G season. Couple of problems, though: I’m neither sure they’ll even be able to play nor that they’ll be healthy enough to produce at a high enough level to get us into a spot where they can be subbed. A lesser, injured Cobb or Maxx is probably superior to their backup; but playing them while injured risks a more serious injury. It’s just an ugly spot to be in.

The injuries make an anxiety-inducing situation all the more, uh, anxiety inducing. We’re already so, so young and adding more youth opens us up to a lot more negative downside. Frosh and sophomores just have a much higher propensity for eff ups, irrespective of their natural talent. I’ll be hitting it hard at tailgating tomorrow to pre-numb the potential pain.

(Frothy's starting word count: 23,080; Finishing word count: 24,241)

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