The straight scoop
from Colonel Mustard
Sept. 13, 2004
That was a game that Southern Miss didn't win, but that we lost. Bill has a decision to make. As I said last week, Joe is going to have big interception and big yardage games. We could keep throwing and develop Joe quicker and live with the mistakes. This could easily lead to 4 losses, but we would be building for next year. The strategy I recommend is that we take the game out of Joe's hands and feature what has become a powerful running game. That way Joe can develop without being the centerpiece of the offense. We have not had such a talented pair of I-backs since Brown and Jones. Feature the running game and Joe could still throw 20-25 times a game, but in more favorable down and distance situations. Joe has talent, but he is not ready to handle everything that is being thrown at him. In fairness it is only his second start in a new offense, so it is not surprising that there is a learning curve. Bill has Joe and not Gannon running his offense. We have found something that works in our running game; use it. If Joe has too many more games like Saturday, he will lose confidence, and that will hinder his development.
We have four very strong offensive weapons in Ross, Green, Pilkingtion and Herian. Both Ross and Green run hard, and Green is rocket. His fumble was an effort fumble and still don't know why the ref waved off the penalty. That was the turning point in the game. Both Herian and Pilkington had great catches and are go-to guys. The line had its good and bad moments but was able to get push even against 10 men in the box. I don't understand why we didn't try to go deep when they had their safeties no more than 5 yards from the line. On the whole, the offense moved the ball very well, and 476 yards should have produced 35 to 40 points. When we get better QB play, this offense is going to be a machine. The defense gave up only 9 points and 238 yards, so overall it was a solid game. But we had trouble generating pass rush and Cosgrove's Wisconsin problem of not being able to get off the field on third down surfaced. I feel bad for Grixby — he slipped and took a bad angle. He will learn from his mistake.
I was disappointed that we had to waste a timeout to start our last possession. We had plenty of time to get ready since we were coming off a injury timeout. We needed that timeout on the 4th and 1. The last series was odd because it featured passes to Nunn on 1st and 2nd downs and not our three veteran playmakers. But in fairness, Nunn was open — if only the passes had been on target. The 3rd-down pass to Herian was a good call — the pass was just too late. On 4th down, Joe lost track of where he was on the field. Also, in the 3rd quarter, we passed on 49 yard FG with the wind. So Bill must not have much confidence in our kickers.
This week will be very interesting because we will learn a lot about Bill. We can move the ball well on a good defense — we have proven that. But our mistakes will cost us more games if they continue. I know what I would do, but I have opinion and Bill has a decision. We are fortunate that we have a running game, so he has a choice to make.
Keep the faith. GBR.