…..what a young team looks like.
Good evening, Followers. Hope you’ve had a great Saturday.
Well, tonight, our Cougies fell 35-21 to the SMU Mustangs and their ridiculously still “getting lei’d” head coach, June Daugherty Jones.
Couple of quick thoughts on the game:
(you should know that I saw the game in a sports bar-sans volume-and so there is a BUNCH of the game that I missed as a result).
1. Tuel IS a sophomore. I know this is stating the obvious, but some of us tend to forget that. Tonight, not only did Tuel rarely look off the safety, he often looked ON the safety. And that’s what young quarterbacks do, they lock in on their first read. And that “lockonitis” was present throughout today’s game. Granted, he’ll work through it, but we should all expect that we’re going to see a whole lot of forced balls (and missed open receivers) throughout the rest of this season.
2. Our offensive weapons are better than what we’ve had in years. Tonight we saw Chapter II in the Marquess Wilson highlight show. We saw how dangerous Karstetter can be at times because of his size and strength. We saw solid possession receiving from Solomon, Barton, and Simone. And, there were actually a few plays that I wanted to see us run the football. And really, that is one helluva accomplishment, because it signaled that we actually had some success running the football. Imagine that.
3. This is NOT Year III of this program. I know that some of you want desperately to think about results at this stage of the game. But think about it this way: This isn’t Wilson’s third year. Its not Tuel’s third year (its not really his second if you count number of games played). It isn’t Longs third year, or Mizell, or Bucannon, blah, blah, blah. This is Year I folks of having ANY talent in the program. And tonight, we saw both the promise and pitfalls of watching kids try to figure it out on the fly. (And having to watch coaches figure out what their kids can and cannot do).
4. Tonight WAS significant improvement. In my view, SMU was significantly better than the Hawaii team that we played last year. And as we all know, that Hawaii team hung 35 on us AT HALFTIME. Tonight, we found ourselves legitimately in the game with 8:00 minutes left-ON THE ROAD IN 96 DEGREE TEXAS HEAT. In other words, this was a nice gut check for this team and in my view, the type of game that young teams can and will learn a lot from.
5. The Offense Needs a Breakout Game for us To win Another Game. I know, this is again stating the obvious, but in spite of all of the positives-including a legit first quarter touchdown drive-we still only had ONE offensive touchdown until the 2:00 mark in the fourth. That HAS to change for us to really turn the corner. But, if you figure that Tuel should turn the corner sometime around week 6 or 7 of this season, then there is some hope that we’ll see a breakout performance sometime this year.
6. The defense needs to play this way every game. Tonight, we saw a defense that was nasty–at least in terms of attitudes. Both personal foul penalties were marginal in my book, but both were NASTY, message sending hits. That type of nastiness is something that we haven’t seen in quite some time. And despite over pursuing every third play, they’re getting better and better in my book. And boy to do I love Deone Bucannon!
So, lets get ready for a very interesting game against a lack-luster USC team. Could we get blown out next Saturday? Sure. But that is what happens to young teams: Some week’s you show progress, other week’s you look totally lost.
But what is most important is for ALL of us to recognize that young talent for what it is–YOUNG–and realize that we ARE headed toward better times.
So, let us all agree to let the Jimmie’s and Joe’s mature a bit more before worrying too much about X’s and O’s.
And while I personally encourage you to question or rip individual decisions, please stay away from the “fire the coach” talk.
Because at this point, that kind of talk is simply misguided at best.
You see, like Wulff said, this is YEAR I of the walls going up on this program. And tonight, our young team just lost a hard fought battle to a good (NOT great) football team, on the road, in 96 degree weather. And that’s what young teams do.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, the forthcoming Husky Whine session, and LETS GO COUGS.