Monday, October 05, 2009

On How To Handle Prosperity

Well, I guess rain makes it look like football. Gumbo in the rain, along the Hudson River, is very restorative. And speaking or restoratives going down easy, the Tulane Green Wave will now face a new challenge: handling prosperity. Their 17-16 win over Army at West Point makes it two wins in a row- and squares the season mark.

Sure, Tulane is better than Army- and not by a little either. But as always, the kicking follies: blocked punts, missed FGs, kick-offs out of bounds- plus other special teams follies (why is it the more the more important the kick-off return, the more likely it being returned 40+ yards?). Ross Thevenot had a horrid game until the last FG.

And, as always, “personal foul is how we roll”. Can’t maul the kicker in a one score game. Can’t take a selfish, emotional penalty after a huge turnover. A sloppy turnover, many penalties and a bad kicker almost turned this into a loss- except Army features the exact same three problems!

Junior DT Oscar Ponce de Leon will never in his life have to wonder what was his best game at Tulane. Army tried everything: run at him, double-team him, run away from him- and he just held his place inside. The reason Army’s offense fell apart more and more throughout the day is Oscar would not be moved inside, the ‘backers were free to move further and further to the edges of the box to compensate for their lack of speed to the edge and to deal with Army wide OL splits. Those run to the tackle and off-tackle plays ceased to work once Oscar single-handedly clogged the middle and killed any fullback-style dives.

Robottom has to do more than almost make a potential horrid bonehead special teams contribution (mishandling a rolling punt everyone else managed to get away from) if Tulane is going to win four games. He is a horse, get him the ball. I don’t understand why he is one the punt return anyway- everyone else manages to get by with one guy back there, Tulane wants Banks to get touches- what is the problem?

The quarterback is getting better. It is kind of fun to watch Kemp grow- almost like T. Jones in the 80s (Shaun King arrived God-like). He is much maligned- but he is completing 2/3rds of his throws. Army was committed to forcing him to throw yesterday- they were all over Anderson from the get go. And, while far from a finished product, Kemp made repeated, on target, low risk throws- plus he made a play or two stepping up, and threw a few gorgeous balls outside the numbers (the first TD pass was excellent).

My only bone with defense is, again, some thing bad happens and they immediately turtle. Just once, I’d like to see them rise up and stop someone after a blocked punt, etc. Against a good team, a blocked punt cannot turn into ten minutes of mailase and ten unanswered points every single week.

Bottom line: like last week, any win is a good one around here. But I thought after Tulsa and BYU, I had seen nothing that made me move off 4-8. And after McNeese State and Army, I have seen nothing to move me off 4-8. There is still a long way to go to match the firepower generated by say UTEP and Houston yesterday. But, the Wave seems a whole step better than last year, that is solid improvement.

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