To continually do the same things, in the same manner and expects different results has to be the definition of insanity. That is what our defense has become to me; an exercise in insanity. We have been cocnsistently awful in 3rd and long situations were we almost concede first down yardage through this awful soft zone that we have not been able to execute all year, but yet we still go to it every time we've got 3rd and forever and it seldom works. How many times are we going to reach for that hot pot handle before we learn that it burns our hand? The next time I see a safety covering a slot receiver in any situation, I'm gonna loose my mind.
I don't like criticizing student athletes as I understand how difficult it is to play football at this level and how demanding it is, but I have to question the coaches at this point because if these guys are still not able to excute the defense by the 8th game of the year, irregardless of any transitions, then there is a major problem with the installation of the defense. For the kids to play fast, they need to be able to read and react almost without having to think and this is not happening, nor is it getting better. If you do not have the personel to run certain schemes then you don't shove the square peg into the round hole. You evaluate your players and put them in a position to be succesful. If the kids don't know where there are supposed to be our have any doubts as to what their assignments are, that causes hesitation and hesitation causes breakdowns in the defense.
Admittedly, I am old school and I love to question GSimmons about his love of the 3 man front, but there is nothing wrong with playing simple fundamentally sound defense. You don't have to disguise everything and get all fancy with your blitz packages, especially if the kids cannot execute them properly. One of my favorite stories from Bo was the one about the coach out of california that thought he had this new fangled way to be innovative in his playcalling and he goes through this big presentation with diagrams and slides, but while he's talking Bo notices that his defense was giving up like 400 yards a game. When the coach finishes his presentation, Bo raised his hand and asked the coach about the opposition's 400 yards per game and the guy responds with something about having problems tackling. The moral of that story is that no matter how fancy or innovative or diverse your schemes or your playcalling may be, if you do not execute the basic fundamentals of football, such as tackling, all the rest of it doesn't matter and it won't work. I believe that is what we are seeing now. We are seeing the fundamentals go by the wayside and the results are ugly.
If the players we have now cannot execute the defense, then how are new players or freshman going to have success in the defense? Every week these message board idiots call out the DBs, especially Brown, and rake them over the coals for making the same mistakes, but as genuine as their anger may be, why aren't they asking why our safety continues to take bad angles and use poor fundamentals 8 games into the year? These are correctable issues and there are two ways to correct it. You can either drill them to death and coach them to be fundamentally sound or you can replace them with someone who can execute the fundamentals consistently. Not that I advocate benching players, but before you can install any offense or defense you need to have the fundamentals installed and drilled. I know of this site, the idea of "out executing" the opponet gets a lot of flack, but there is something to be said for being more fundamentally sound than your opponent. This will continue to show up on the field if not corrected.
It killed me to see Dumb-tonio with that shit-eaters grin on the sideline towards the final moments of the game as if he'd really accomplished something great in beating and 2-5 team that lost to Toledo at home. But we let that game get away as we continued to give up big plays and play that ridiculous defense with the safety over the slot on 3rd and long and we go into a soft zone on the snap. A mediocre QB like Hoyer looked like Tom Brady today because of our playcalling and even when we had the right defense on the field we couldn't get guys on the ground or we lost people in our zones due to poor read and reaction, IMO. I am not someone who calls for the coaches job or starts websites about firing coaches, but I am not encouraged by what I've seen so far. My suggestion for the rest of this year would be to simplfy the defense, trash the 3 man front and play 3 Corners on 3 receiver sets and 4 corners on 4 receiver sets, and to start getting the new guys some snaps as we'll need them next year to have some experience. Otherwise, we'll be talking about this next year. Shafer may very well be a good coach and he's got two other guys on the staff with coordinator experience, so it's not like they don't have more knowledge that the entirety of the message board idiots combined, but sometimes it's good to dumb it down and do it well before you build it bigger as no house built on a bad foundation has ever stood for long.
Lastly, I just want to single out Brandon Graham as being the best player on this team on any side of the ball and claims that he takes plays off are completely ridiculous as some plays are designed for him to contain and spy and not rush the passer or blow up the backfield. For the past two years, BG has consistently provided game changing plays and today he was the lone bright spot on this defense.