Monday, October 11, 2004

The Pirate bring woe and gloom

Well, the Wave covered- moving me to 3-0 on the season- but....

What can you really say? Although the blog generated a record number of outraged e-mails. One thing that is great about outraged e-mails from Tulanians is that they are spelled and punctuated correctly- despite the venom.

This is the first loss this year that hurts really. Before the season, I picked Tulane to win 3-maybe 4 games- and the four win projection was based on sweeping ECU, A&M and Army. Frankly, this the first loss that potentially turns this season from a bad one to a disaster.

I don’t know really know exactly what to post. I don’t think Tulane is very good- but I must admit I did not think they were capable of losing a game in such dispiriting fashion- a real gutbuster. Was that Scelfo's finest hour or what? He really cannot coach any more games like that or I will have a stroke.

Seriously, did anyone understand our offensive approach at all Saturday? The bizarre quarterback rotation strategy? I want Irvin to play more- but I really can think of no more confidence/rhythm- sucking approach than that “system”. It was so clearly horrible I sometimes think I missed the point somehow?

Also, I want them to throw more and run more spread offense- but you know, right now the best part of this football team is running the football. Period. How can the best (well, not "best", let's say consistent?) offensive player on the team get only seventeen carries? Jovon’s numbers weren’t all that good- but sometimes you got to run to run it. The wideouts played well- but we got the requisite killer turnovers from the quarterbacking position. Don’t want to go through any game without a few interceptions, right? Quarterback is still a big net minus. Did you see one thing you are confident that Ricard or Irvin could do next week?

The offensive line had a mixed day- frankly the first half was not good- their worst since the first half against MSU. But they picked themselves up a bit later. Down multiple scores, having to pass protect when the other team knows have to throw, they dug in and protected the quarterback. Actually, I thought they pass-protected pretty well- but ECU really stuffed the box and we could not move them and rush the football consistently- although again I do think we abandoned the run too quickly. But bottom line, ECU is brutal on defense, and the nice drive at the end in crunch-time doesn’t begin to excuse the mess that rolled out there in the first half.

Point is, no one really played well on offense. It was shoddy. I almost think you sort of have to throw it out from an evaluation stand point- when everything is bad it is hard to sort out what might be working underneath- if anything.

I don’t want to really say much about the two-point conversion. It was stupid. Period. This is not high school. It is Division I-A. You always take a free point- particularly when it helps you.

The defense scored some points- made some plays. But if you score 25 points on the road against a terrible offensive team like ECU, even if the "D" and special teams scored a lot of it, you like to think your defense can make that stand-up.

So what can you say here either? Our DL is not mature enough that at times opposing teams can’t push it around. Our linebacking is not very good outside of Cannon. And with one exception, our corners aren’t good either. Plus, our D plays with so much pressure on them. They are on the field all the time. How can we play an entire college football game and only run 55 plays on offense? Someone explain that to me.

From a larger standpoint, it is a crippling loss. It is no lay-up they’ll get to three wins- although I sort of think they will. But at least now we sort of see the year for what it needs to be. I read somewhere that only two teams in the nations have more “aggregate years” returning- which is code for we are starting a ton of young players. I really think the two lines are going to be much better in 2005-6; I cannot remember when we had so many big underclassmen who look like they can play C-USA; it is a shame we don't have a fewer older guys to provide immediate impact. One of the QBs will emerge- or at least play better than this.

Last year, the kids did not quit on themselves- and I sense they won’t this year. They’ll beat Army and upset someone else- like UAB last year. I still believe they’ll get to three wins this year and be Bowl eligible in 2005.