Monday, November 01, 2010

Throw the $!@# Ball Toledo.

If you are a follower of this blog, have some tolerance for my opinions, watching Saturday’s game was a lonely wreck in slow motion. Everyone around you, the announcers on the radio, were cheerily lapping up Orleans Darkwa’s nifty rushing totals. You were very alone with dark thoughts:

On paper, this is all a success. But I'm worried… not only Tulane is rushing the football almost exclusively, but particularly on first down (25 rushes in 32 first downs). As usual, we aren't turning rushing the football into the thirty points needed to beat good teams in this League. Aren't we deliberately eschewing big play opportunities on the most advantageous down and distance combination?

That is SMU and C-USA QB assassin Kyle Padron over there- a big play machine that can make this lead go away real quick with only a quarter, even ten minutes, of decent C-USA offensive play. They are not afraid to throw and score 21 in a quarter.

Frankly, like UTEP, Tulane has executed this "run the ball" game plan perfectly, played awfully well on offense. And yet, like Frank always says, the Green Wave is $!@# again stuck on 10-17 points, deep in the third quarter, in a big totals League. Why are we again deliberately playing a game where we need to be excellent for sixty minutes to score 21 points, and SMU can undo all our work in ten minutes of decent play?

How many times have we seen this game plan from Toledo? 51 runs, 26 passes. Jeez. I mean, how many teams have won League games with just ten completions this decade? Why does zero feel like the right answer? Why do we have to re-invent this wheel?

Of course, Toledo simply doesn’t get it. See the next quote- blaming the defense?- who held SMU to a perfectly normal kind of day in C-USA. Note how he equates running the ball well with success, and not actual scoreboard points:
The first half, I thought we played really well. We did really well on defense and offensively we were running the ball real well. Then the second half, we didn't block as well, Orleans Darkwa was nicked up a little bit, he got hurt, and we didn't run the ball as well.

Defensively...we fell apart. We didn't tackle well. We didn't stop the run. Our passing defense was very poor. They ran one route several times and they beat us. They beat us deep, we didn't tackle the guy and they just had a very good fourth quarter and we didn't.
No such ideological problems on the SMU sideline. Coach Jones not only knows how to generate wins in this League, but also does not think ten points through three quarters on offense is evidence of "playing well".

The Mustangs too were having a wonderful day running the ball, but did not allow that Siren to divert them from the real Conference USA business of throwing the football (358 passing yards). Mind you, SMU was also averaging six yards a rush (184 yards rushing). Despite that, the Mustangs threw more than ran (37 passes, 28 rushes). Because SMU gets it. Three straight scoring TD possessions featuring a 25+ yards pass play result, two crushing fourth quarter giant pass plays, a commitment to the business of big scoring, was the difference.

That is how you score 21 points in ten minutes. 200 yards rushing is getting to 17 points, the hard way, through three quarters.

Don’t be pointing the finger at Ryan Griffin either. No quarterback can succeed in this League without be allowed to throw against base defenses (no nickel/dime), and throwing a lot on first down. 15 of 26 of Griffin’s passing attempts were second or third and long, another two were on fourth down. Nine attempts- nine!- in passing situations where the advantage is with the quarterback. How clueless do you have to be about the state and nature of C-USA to try and win a game with only nine attempts in good passing situations, ten total completions? In a passing League! C’mon!

Shameful performance from the offensive coaching and Coach Toledo.

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