from Colonel Mustard
The Ball State game taught us that our defense didn't look overmatched just because USC is so good. We have all the problems that a defense can have from no pass rush to poor tackling. Any misdirection play is effective because we don't maintain our responsibilities. Several times Saturday I saw players have trouble getting lined up properly. It reminded me of the Bohl years when that happened on a regular basis. I thought the team as whole looked as though they lacked energy in the game. I understand being sluggish in the first half as a hangover from the USC game. But the defense was helpless in the second half. That was the worst I can ever remember one of our defenses playing. I understand the frustration with the defense that created the booing that happened in the second half. But I personally don't think it is appropriate to boo college kids. Maybe it was directed at the coaches, but the players didn't take it that way.
Thank goodness for Sam — without him we would have been in trouble Saturday. With a porous defense and an inconsistent running game, he is going to need to win a lot of games this year. Once again the receivers did a good job of holding on to the ball. Hopefully the drops are behind us because it appears we are going to have to score a great many points to win this year. On a personal note I was thrilled to see Hill have a big game. He is an fifth-year walk-on and a type 1 diabetic. I am a diabetic as well, and so I am excited to see him excel. There are two concerns with the pressure on the passing game to win games. First is that because our running doesn't scare anybody, defenses start dropping eight into coverage. Or Sam feels that he needs to score every time he has the ball and starts taking too many chances.
So where does this extremely troubling game leave us in the big picture? Clearly what we saw Saturday doesn't indicate progress in the fourth year of Bill's regime. But I believe we should reserve judgment on where the program stands until the end of the season. Clearly even if you would like to fire Cosgrove, Bill, Steve, or all of them, nothing is going to happen until the end of the season if then. For now all we can do is hope that Sam stays hot and we win shootouts for the remainder of the year.
Keep the faith. GBR.
-- The Colonel