(Written by Ken Crawford)
Unfortunately, my preview for Northwestern was far too accurate and the Bears couldn’t quite put it together against a very beatable Northwestern. Frankly, I found it odd overhearing the Northwestern fans leaving the game acting as if their team did well. If I was a Northwestern fan I’d be very apprehensive about the season, particularly with the high expectations for this year. One said to console a Bears fan, “Well, the positive is that you were able to hang with Northwestern until about 5 minutes left in the game.”
Minus mistakes and blunders, it was Northwestern who was “hanging around” with Cal, particularly in the 2nd half.
So yesterday really will show us who are the glass is half full types and who are the half empty types. There’s a lot to be positive about. There’s a lot of potential. At the same time, there’s plenty to be worried about. If the stalled drives, bad catches that get tipped up, the general sloppiness with the ball (a lot of bobbles), the lack of discipline in run defense, the huge holes in the pass coverage, the false start penalties, the turnovers… if all those things don’t get cleaned up or somehow get worse, it could be a VERY long season. Yet overall, I guess I find myself in the half-full bucket. There was a lot of potential out there.
A few random thoughts:
- In seasons past I’ve just accepted the general “don’t show controversial replays on the screen” policy, but for some reason it REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bugged me last night. I’m a paying customer. I come to watch the game. Sometimes a play takes extra scrutiny/zoom to see well. You’ve got a video board that you use incessantly to market crud to me. TREAT ME LIKE AN ADULT AND SHOW ME THE FREAKING REPLAY!?! I just finally now saw the Bigelow somersault touchdown that was called back. Replay clearly shows his shoulder/helmet was down. I would have liked to know that sometime before Sunday morning. I just saw the McCain ejection. Beyond borderline in the direction of bad. That too I would have liked to have seen a replay of. And here’s the most ridiculous part: We’re going to boo either way. If anything withholding the information makes us more suspicious. Have confidence in your refs and show the plays.
- Faking injuries… I’m definitely in the camp of thinking they were “exaggerating” their injuries. The NW coach’s quote, basically saying that even if they’re just gassed/cramping/knicked up they should go down instead of limping off the field is legalistic BS where he’s basically admitting they were doing it. BUT I still am firmly in the no boo-ing camp. This will all come out via the press over time. Let it be handled by the coaches and the press. As tosh-gate showed, the post game repercussions are far worse than the booing is. Thus, there is no reason to boo, and you might just be booing a player who’s truly injured, which isn’t cool.
- Goff is awesome. He’s going to be a great QB. He made so few mistakes last night, fewer than I would expect from a junior who’s seen mop-up duty multiple times in years past but this is his first start. 2 of the 3 INTs weren’t his fault (the line of scrimmage tip is just how the ball bounces sometimes and the other tipped ball the receiver should have come up with) and the final one, while his fault, wasn’t cringe inducing. He just slightly under-estimated how quickly the safety could close the gap.
- If there was one thing schematically on offense that worried me, it was the plays where they were tossing the ball between players (like reverses)… they’re sure tossing the ball awful high in the air and it’s less like a handoff than it should be. Seems too risky for turnovers.
- If there was something that concerned me about the execution of the offense (minus false start penalties) it was the lack of run offense after the first drive. Doesn’t seem like that line is opening many holes.
- If you allow me a second thing, the dropped balls by the receivers were a bit troubling on the execution front too.
- If there was one thing that bothered me about the defense, I couldn’t tell you what it was. There were FAR too many troubling things to pick on just one (more on this in a future post). I’m far more concerned about the defense than the offense. I’m instantly questioning whether Buh was a good hire.
More to come, including the OTRH podcast, later in the day.