Sorry momma, I know you told me

Submitted by myrtlebeachmai… on November 15th, 2008 at 4:41 PM

... told me, "If you don't have anything nice to say"... but DAMN, my head is going to explode. (I'd have liked to use the "head asplode" as I generally find it humorous, but nothing is humorous anymore.)

Don't mistake my intent: I am the eternal optimist, think RR will produce a quality team here in the next few years, am excited about our recruiting, think success will be sweeter for having to suffer for it first, etc.

I'm also fine with believing we should stay the coarse with the new schemes, to get experience, work on execution, etc. I am not one of those calling for a return to Carr-esque pro-style offense/defense and am actually glad our coach isn't afraid to be accused of "adapting too slowly" just to appease the media/fans.

But for God's sake, some things just need to change:

Special teams coach needs to go, period. I'm sorry but it's been downright embarassing, plainly inept, and unexcusable. Somewhere along the way we should have realized that we needed to identify a non-starter returner who could devote time exclusively to special teams in practice.

The biggest concern I have with RR is how he's handled the QB situation. How on Earth could he have picked Sheridan this week? Injury forced his hand last week, but in a system struggling this badly, consistency is a HUGE factor. It was a no-brainer to go back to Threet. Even if still dinged up(seems unlikely since he came in), he's played dinged most of the year. Even with Threet's lack of perfection, he was finding a way to produce small gains each week, while allowing us to run some semblence of our future offense. Sheridan has made major steps backwards away from any progress that was being made. It concerns me going into next year, where once again, we'll have a QB "situation". I am convinced both Beaver and Forcier will play next year, and I'm now worried about us getting in the way of ourselves as far as development of the offense goes with untimely QB moves.

Lastly, can we please stop running laterally so much????? I am sick to death of the play where RB lines up next to QB - takes the underneath handoff crossing in front of QB and runs to the sideline looking for a hole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again, I don't want to go back to Carr-ball but for crying out load, HIT A HOLE UP THE MIDDLE ONCE IN A WHILE. In the coarse of the year we have to have realized that our O-line (even with some improvement) cannot hold up long enough to allow such a play to develop. The spread could make use of some options, or even tosses where our "speedy buggers" might have a chance. It just seems that all year we've run our Shaw/Mcguffie types between the tackles and our Minor/Brown types off the edge.

Maybe the unprecendented 8 loses is pushing me over... However, I have to be honest, I've got concerns in starting to look back at the "season" that have nothing to do with mis-matched personnel (which I've been drinking the Kool-aid of all year). I almost hope that after a successful next year, RR admits that the coaching staff just started phoning it in the end of this season to keep teams from seeing future schemes.

Please tell me it'll be okay.

Comments

bouje

November 15th, 2008 at 4:49 PM ^

Yes parts of our special teams have been lacking BUT look at our defensive special teams.. WE ACTUALLY BLOCK KICKS/PUNTS... It's incredible we've blocked more this year than we did with Lloyd as our coach ALL TIME (I'm not even making this up)

Seriously you guys need to calm down and just realize that we were screwed this year no matter who was coach... Plain and simple

turbo cool

November 15th, 2008 at 4:56 PM ^

yeah we did block a punt.. anyway, how was it a no-brainer to start Threet this week? explain that to me. of all the games we've played, sheridan had the most competent performance last week. and it's not like Threet lit it up when he was in. he missed several wide open WRs. at QB it was a matter of pick your poison with either sheridan or threet. i won't blame the coaches for have really shitty QB options.

Bo inside all of us

November 15th, 2008 at 5:31 PM ^

a few points are right, others are wrong:

qb: if i'm going to complain, my complaint is the opposite. threet is immobile and can't pass. at least sheridan is mobile. i'm pissed that they tried to throw the ball in the 4th quarter. they should have known that every drive was 4 down territory once to mid-field, and run the ball every play. the second to last drive they passed on 3rd and 4th and 2. in that weather, why not fall forward twice and get the first down?

special teams: the least of their concerns, just don't fumble and i'll call it a wash.(you're also not mentioning that we've successfully faked more punts than ever before. i like it.)

running: brown had the game of his life, give him the ball, up the middle.

Magnus

November 15th, 2008 at 6:08 PM ^

I think you should have waited a day to post.

Re: QB's
If you want consistency from the quarterback situation...then Sheridan started last week and did very well. The INCONSISTENT thing to do would have been to start Threet. I'm not quite sure what you were going for there. They practiced all week with Sheridan. Threet only practiced for a couple days and had a non-contact jersey on for that time.

Re: special teams coach
There isn't one. So...uhhh...he can't be fired. Also, the biggest problem has been fumbles on returns, which can be attributed largely to true freshmen returning kicks. Cissoko, Odoms, McGuffie, and Shaw have all taken turns, and each one has fumbled and/or muffed kick catches. It's not like there's some coach out there saying, "Hold the ball looser! Grab the ball on a short-hop in the rain!"

Re: running laterally
I think the lateral running was by design today. They were running away from Wootten. Also, running up the middle would send them straight into John Gill, the DT who tore us up last year. Anyway, because this offense often lacks a lead blocker through the hole, it's more necessary to run laterally and create spaces. We're not going to blow anyone off the ball or run an iso on a linebacker (often), so we have to get everyone flowing one way and then cut against the grain.

jmblue

November 15th, 2008 at 8:32 PM ^

WE ACTUALLY BLOCK KICKS/PUNTS... It's incredible we've blocked more this year than we did with Lloyd as our coach ALL TIME (I'm not even making this up)

That can't be true. In 2001 we had an incredible punt-rush unit and blocked something like seven punts. But it is true that we didn't block a single punt in Lloyd's last 3-4 years.

Back to the original question, the problem with coaching special teams is that there is a limit to the number of coaches you can have on staff, so if you assign a guy to STs full-time, you leave yourself one coach short on either offense or defense. Anyway, I don't think our STs are all that bad aside from our problems catching punts, which is partly an inexperience thing (Odoms should have never gotten near the ball today).

myrtlebeachmai…

November 15th, 2008 at 11:32 PM ^

1) How does who we started "last week" have anything to do with consistency? How many games did Threet start once that move was made by comparison - way more than one. Granted Sheridan did ok-well last week, but 1 game does not a "consistency" make. Have we forgotten the "consistency" of the first 2 games which he started? I didn't claim Threet was perfect, or even drastically better. However, I do have issues with the idea of him being a worse choice based on his "mobility" at this point. His better decision making and pocket awareness led to him gaining more yards and avoiding more losses than Sheridan most definitely, regardless of mobility.

Aside from the discussion of which was the right current "poison" to start today or next week, is no one concerned about the "flavor of the week" mentality and how it relates to next year?

2) I was not aware the was no ST coach. However, does that make it OK? Why would I think someone is instructing them to "grab the ball on the short hop"??? Obviously, NO ONE is telling them NOT TO - that is the problem!!! Someone has to be responsible, if not at least the HC, for stepping in. I also don't see the return game problem as being a freshman issue. Trent and Matthews have both been tried too. The problem lies with trying to utilize the biggest playmakers, all of whom unfortunately right now are too consumed by trying to learn their "real" roles. Someone, ST, HC, ANYONE has to realize this and make a change.

chitownblue (not verified)

November 16th, 2008 at 10:11 AM ^

You completely missed his point.

He said that it's not as if someone told Odoms to "field a punt on a short-hop in the rain". I guarantee you someone is telling him not to do this. He's a freshman, and tried to make a play, and made a poor decision instead.

Second, Sheridan played because he practiced every day for two weeks, Threet practiced twice, with a green jersey. Sheridan was able to practice yesterday's gameplan all week, Threet was not. That's it.

myrtlebeachmai…

November 16th, 2008 at 10:52 AM ^

Was it really? What did we do that differently (as you like to say "specifics please!!") that Threet would have missed out on? Threet could have easily run the offense (he's been running the same thing the past few games), even without the two weeks practice. What would we have been afraid of? His accuracy suffering? Obviously, even RR thought that Sheridan's 2 weeks of game-plan practicing needed to take a seat on the bench, or Threet wouldn't have come in. My point is that I have concerns about the apparent "going with the hot hand" mentality because if often overlooks simple reasoning = Sheridan was still less effective even after 2 weeks of practicing, and we should have known it from the first 2 games. It doesn't bode well for next year.

Also, I'm not missing the point on returns... the point is that I'm willing to bet we have a near record setting season on return muffs and it's disappointing to see effectively "nothing" being done about it. I.E. soemone deciding to not put freshmen (who are most likely to make "freshman mistakes") back there...

Magnus

November 16th, 2008 at 12:44 PM ^

Okay, I realize coming off the bench in the cold isn't an easy job, BUT...

How could you possibly make an argument for Threet's game readiness when he came into the game late and did THAT? Neither QB was good. They were both wildly inaccurate. Their receivers couldn't catch. Sheridan ran the ball 10 times, partly because throwing the ball in that weather can be very difficult. Would we want our recently concussed QB running the ball 10 times? No. He only ran it 4 times and got hurt again. And please don't give the argument that "Northwestern threw the ball successfully, so we should have, too" because Northwestern had Bacher, Lane, and Peterman, all of whom are experienced seniors. I expect that guys who have played for 4 or 5 years in Chicago's fall/winter will be better at cold weather preparation than a freshman from Florida (Odoms), a freshman from Texas (Stonum), and two juniors from Louisiana and Georgia (Savoy and Brown).

Magnus

November 16th, 2008 at 12:34 PM ^

1) You're right. One game doesn't make consistency. How's this for consistency since Toledo?
Toledo - Threet played half a game, Sheridan played half
PSU - Threet played half a game, Sheridan played half
MSU - Threet played
Purdue - Threet played
Minnesota - Sheridan played
_______________________________
FIVE WEEK TOTAL BEFORE NORTHWESTERN: Threet played 3 full games, Sheridan played 2 full games

There hasn't been consistency. Yes, Threet has been the starter and is generally recognized as having more upside. But if you're looking for consistency on this team, the QB position hasn't had it. Neither QB has greatly outperformed the other. I don't see it as a "flavor of the week" mentality. I see it as a "Threet hasn't practiced and neither guy has been excellent so let's go with the hot hand and the guy who doesn't have a concussion" mentality.

2) Let's explore the punt/kick return issue. I coach freshman football. I tell my freshman returners not to handle a punt unless they catch it on the fly or unless the first bounce is a big bounce. If I do it, I'm sure Michigan's coaches do it. And we've tried Mathews, Warren, and Odoms back there on punt returns. Mathews is not a big play threat. Warren won't call a fair catch. Odoms either gets an exciting return or he muffs it. Neither Mathews or Warren is a long-term fix at punt returner, so why not put Odoms back there? The best way to learn is through game experience. If he doesn't get practice now, then he would inevitably make bonehead mistakes when Mathews graduated or when Warren entered the NFL draft. Odoms is our punt returner of the present and maybe for the next three years. Let's get the rookie mistakes flushed out of the way now, when the difference between a 3-7 season and a 3-8 (or 3-9) season isn't that great.

OldManUfer

November 16th, 2008 at 12:15 PM ^

I don't know if his injury is still affecting his throws, but Threet was not exactly impressive. The semblance of the offense they run with Sheridan looks pretty similar to the semblance they run with Threet, and who knows if either would be the answer next year even if they played every snap.

My biggest problem is that they fucking threw downfield on all four downs on the last offensive series. And with Sheridan no less. Once or twice I can understand, and Sheridan almost hit Odoms for a big gainer on first down, but we had enough time to just extend the series a few times before going for it all. Drove me fucking crazy. How much of it was the playcalling and how much was Sheridan making reads?