Monday, October 18, 2004

Tulane v. Memphis wrap up

I watched most of the tape yesterday at work. Unlike ECU, this Memphis team is so much better than us I am not sure how much you can take from it. We are not ready to play this sort of team yet. Much like last year, their offense physically dominated the Wave front seven. That, coupled with the fact that the Memphis back Williams is a real nifty player, meant that the Wave was increasingly in trouble as the day went on. Going into the season, Memphis & Louisville appeared to be two outfits where the Wave could not compete bodily up front on defense- so it really isn’t surprising to see Memphis just dictate.

But I did not think our effort was all that bad: on the road, a hopeless underdog. The only thing that upset me was the awful 40 yard touchdown Memphis threw- seconds before the half. That cannot happen.

As I blogged below, I wanted to see three things out of the Wave in this spot: make it competitive for a half- particularly on defense (14 points allowed- seven of which were stupid), see Ricard show a little life (done), and play decent special teams (ragged). Accordingly, it wasn’t a lost afternoon. If Ricard plays like that, or a little better, they can hang with both Army and Houston. The offensive line struggled run blocking- but again this is a strong Tiger front that was loaded up to stop the run. The pass protection was the best it has been this year. In fact the whole passing game- quarterback, pass protection, and wide outs- played their best game by far. In fact, that is two games in a row where you can upgrade the offense from "horrible" to "sort of okay and bad at times". Improvement!

Maybe Ricards’ 15-for-31, 226 yards can potentially grow to 19-for-35 for 275 against Army and Houston’s soft back seven and poor pass rush. The Wave can win with that on offense- and that is all we are looking for this year- an offensive script we can take into 2005.

I am not going to comment on the coach’s future prospects- other than to assure everyone once again Scelfo is not going anywhere. The Tulane administration simply does not share your visions of repeat 6-9 win seasons. They think it is impossible: with crowds around 15,000, a scattered alumni base, a league with few attractions for prospective football athletes, and an in-state recruiting monster absorbing most of the in-state talent. They do see a coach that they feel can get them to a decent bowl game every 4-5 years, play most seasons around 4-6 wins, graduate tons of players and run a program that causes zero off-field problems and embarrassments. If those are not your four priorities- then you better get used to them regardless- or you’ll be sorely disappointed.