Monday, October 22, 2018

Desperate Attempt at a Pragmatic Response

Saturday. Yeesh. And effing Purdue, man.

Ok, enough wallowing.

At the risk of being exposed as someone who still believed in the Titanic captain while the ship was ass in the air and Jack and Rose were getting ready to jump, I’ll just say I still like the overall direction of the program. After playing OSU last week, people were bought into the system and could see some good things happening for the rest of the year and, especially, 2019. That doesn’t all go away because of a catastrophe at Nebraska.

Simply put, we’re not as bad as we were on Saturday. Which is good, because that was really, really bad. 2007 bad. Maybe worse, it was Kevin Cosgrove bad. But – and I recognize this “but” is doing some very heavy lifting – a lot of it is super, super fixable. On a few of the (many) big runs, we just lost contain because the LB or CB crashed in, leaving no one on the edge. I know it’s more complicated than this, but, I mean, if you know you’ve got contain, don’t, uh, do that. So much of this is just a matter of gap and discipline – it’s on the coaches to get that drilled this week. In pass defense, we’re just making it way too easy. Martinez threw for 86%(!), mostly because we just give them 5 – 10 yards passes whenever they deigned to pass the ball. Pressing the WRs and, oh, I dunno, throwing in a couple blitzes on occasion, at least makes the other team work for it a bit. Make them out-execute you on lower percentage 15+ yard pass plays. Just get back to basic schemes.

On offense, we’re pretty inconsistent, especially inside the 20, but you can definitely see growth week to week. It was nice to see a screen work and Morgan seems better equipped to manage the offense going forward given his running ability. The OL generally played well and Ty Johnson continues to be a monster. I’d be somewhat surprised if we don’t put up 25-30 points per game over the next four weeks which, assuming even a modicum of defensive improvement will give us a chance to win. The biggest area for concern is our ability to put points on the board in the red zone. It’s easy to chalk this up to youth, but, in my very humble opinion, we need to set the Sethcat formation on fire. If we’re cruising down the field with our base offense, keep that unit in to finish the drive. Save Sethcat for 4th and short or, better yet, launch it into the sun for a week or two to aid my blood pressure.

We’re 3-4. I expected us to either be 3-4 or 4-3 at this point in the season, so if it’s a dumpster fire is at least an expected dumpster fire. Yes, the optics are important: getting pantsed by a bad Nebraska team hurts the insides and isn’t acceptable; but it’s a bit early to declare the Fleck tenure a failure. Let’s swallow the bile, maybe give this one a mulligan, and see where we are over the next four games.

Being a fan of this team isn't easy sometimes. This is certainly one of those times.

2 comments:

  1. Tell me there is a 4 star safety or two with a heavy Minnesota lean out in the recruitosphere. Because oi vey. Watching from the cheap seats of Memorial stadium that was the glaring issue.

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  2. It's a dark day/week and clearly some things need to get fixed but as you say it's all fixable. We've got a critical weakness at the DB position, maybe something to do with losing like 6 DBs in the previous regime's scandal and our best remaining DB to season-ending injury. That can be fixed with recruiting and Fleck has already shown his ability there. We've got a DC with a suspect track record and poor optics to date; he can either turn it around or be fired.

    If they haven't already, I might suggest they look at some WRs (where we seem to have a lot of bench talent) that may be physical enough to play DB. If they retire the Sethcat from offense maybe he can play safety? Maybe crazy but I think they need to look at anything and everything to get more athleticism and physicality into the DB position.

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