Monday, October 31, 2005

No! Not Losing to Marshall too!

I just hated this game last night. I came home from Belmont Park- flush with watching championship-caliber athletes perform at a brilliant level- in a great mood. Tulane played a solid first-half: ran the ball, got decent quarterback play in flashes- and the defense stuffed them again and again. Even put points on the board. They did not play great- but played within themselves and made few mistakes. That is ALL YOU NEED TO DO against a bad Marshall team. (photo credit)

They were justly rewarded with a thirteen point lead.

But this team categorically cannot give you 60 minutes of consistent effort. This stems from two places. First- the special teams are a disaster. They are good for two momentum shifting plays a game. At least two. You can’t play coherent football if twice a game you offer your opponent chances for free points- or take your own points off the board because you can’t/are afraid to kick.

Second, the quarterback- and the managing of the quarterback position- is bush right now. Ricard can’t complete just seven balls, for 96 yards. He just can’t. All those who used to roast me and send me nasty e-mails about pushing Irvin need to think about apologizing.

That being said, one thing Tulane ought to know conclusively is Cannon cannot play I-A. Nice classy kid- but not a quarterback in an offense that requires tons of technical competency. When you lose by only a field goal- those two lost possessions nag and nag. And I think you can kill Scelfo, if you want to, for the two-point conversion play.

That was a tremendously important snap- and if Coach thinks Elliott ought to be taking the tremendously important snaps- then freaking start him! If Coach doesn’t trust Ricard to throw the ball more than seventeen times in a spread offense, then don’t play him!

Yes, Ricard probably is the best quarterback option Tulane has right now. So then let him play. Throw it 35 times. Let him take all snaps when the game is competitive. If they lose, they lose. But at least they lose with their best option- not their second or third best. Those two-points were the difference last night- and the coach did not put his team in the best position to get them.

The defense- well, after playing well all night- particularly against the run- they seemed out of gas late. They threw two scores up there. I guess you can’t give them a great grade. They did allow the clinching score late. And again, they seem to lack the depth to play sixty minutes of I-A. But the Herd is no great shakes on offense… I dunno. It is bitter. And Cowen’s alleged remarks did not make it better.

You can’t blame this one on the hurricane. Right now, this is just a bad football team. Special teams are dreadful. The quarterback is uncompetitive for long stretches. The backs struggle. And those are three big starts to a bad football team.