from Colonel Mustard
For the readers who only want to read positives I will start with those. I thought the team played with a lot of heart in coming back in the 4th quarter. That was a very good sign. Nunn and Fluellen had big games. Fluellen's would have been bigger if Joe had more accurate. Ross is a star and makes more happen on his own than any back we have had in a long time. The line protected Joe and opened holes in the running game. Joe only had one pick even though it was costly. Koch had his usual good day.
Other than punting, the special teams were fraught with execution and strategic errors. From a missed chip-shot to bad snaps and a kicker that kicks the ball too low. Where is Dyches, he makes two long kicks and never gets to try again while Sandro is wildly inconsistent. In the 4th quarter we pooch kickoff to their 35. If you are going to do that, kick it out of bounds or dribble it. Friday I read that Busch was slightly irritated when asked if we had given up on punt returns. We are all slightly irritated by the punt returns. Am I to believe that little 80 is the only kid on the team that can safely field a punt? Also, we can never seem to get the gunners blocked. This is one of the many things that the new coaches do that I don't understand.
On offense we are a running team. Bill continues to force his system on the players instead of adapting the system to the players. Our gameplan features our struggling QB and not our hot running back. I bet Iowa State's coaches were happy with that. Joe had only one pick but he continually threw deep to the receiver that was covered and the corner had safety help over the top. These coaches need to teach Joe to make his reads. Bill says the passes were open and they were, but he needs to teach his QB to make the throws or go away from the strategy. It doesn't help us win if guys are open and we can't hit them. It comes across as ego and not practicality. We continue to be slow getting the plays in and have to burn timeouts. Also the litany of procedure penalties. This is not OK in your ninth game. Nunn and Fluellen had big games and Nunn made some tough catches. On the INT, Fluellen was open and Joe just threw it too flat. I know that Bill doesn't have the perfect QB for his system. But there is no reason to gameplan away from the strength of your team. This team should be getting better, but we still can't get plays in and stop the unforced penalties. These are not the traits of a well-coached team.
The defense again was too passive, particularly having trouble getting off the field on 3rd downs. Blythe was the focus of their passing attack and yet he caught a damaging TD at the end of the 1st half over our 3rd corner and a freshman. These are the kind of match-up problems that we had two years ago and that disappeared last year. This group doesn't play with much passion and seems confused a great deal. This is also reminiscent of '02. McPherson was just getting on the field and trying to call time when they hit their bomb in the 3rd quarter. We have taken to highest-rated pass defense in the country and preseason top-rated secondary and now they can't cover anybody. What is wrong? We definitely need pass-rushing linemen, but that isn't the whole reason. With all of the returning talent the performance of this unit, is shocking and disappointing.
This staff does so many things that I don't understand nor do they seem to work. From having Joe run over to get the play, to not using a kicker that had a big year last for a young man who has been inconsistent all of his career, to not using a punt returner who is a threat, to making our struggling QB the focus of our gameplan and not our hot back. They can certainly recruit, and that is a great positive. If you believe they will improve as game coaches when they get their own talent in, you should optimistic. But if these guys are great game coaches and motivators they haven't shown it yet.
Keep the faith. GBR.
-- The Colonel