(Written by Ken Crawford)
Boy was THAT a disaster. Minus pity points and letting off the throttle, that would have been a 70-3 affair. Oregon was the far, far, far superior team.
At the same time, I find myself discarding it as an indication of where the program is, other than to remind myself that this is not an elite program right now (duh!).
This team has been completely re-engineered in the off-season. When a coaching staff does that, they focus on the stuff the HAVE to focus on and aren’t left with much time for other things that just aren’t quite as important like wet-ball drills and spending lots of time on fumble recovery drills.
As a result, while 2-3 years from now I would be ticked as all get out to see such a poor performance in the rain, today I’m not. It was UGLY out there, and this team just isn’t ready for that and it’s just not that surprising or indicative of where this program could be heading.
Nevertheless, the ugly conditions do not account for all the problems, particularly on defense and on special teams. (The offense mostly gets a pass because of the conditions, although the offensive line performance still leaves something to be desired.)
My hopes for vastly improved tackling were for naught. My hopes that the scheme would start to show some improvement are all but dashed. The only good I saw is the defense seemed to be executing this archaic scheme at a higher level and there wasn’t the sort of blown coverages we saw in past weeks and gap assignments weren’t horrific (although the scheme still seems to WAY too often get the outside linebackers trapped inside the tackles where outside run plays go for BIG gains).
And while I’m willing to let a bit of the struggles be accounted for by the conditions, it doesn’t explain it all. Frankly, I’m not too far from making my official position on the defense be “BUH-bye”.
And special teams… WTH (that’s H for heck people). Never have I seen such bad angles to the ball and such bad tackling. Note to players: “flying around” does not mean you dive to the side of a guy and let him fly right by.
In summary, while there’s a lot of me that discards last night and another large portion that has a wait-and-see approach, there’s still plenty of reasons why I’m pretty fearful for what’s coming in the next few weeks when there are no more excuses.
All I know is this: The Bears MUST beat WSU next Saturday to have any hope of salvaging the season. Dykes task today is to get the Bears to completely wipe from their memory what happened last night and have an excellent week of practice preparing for the Wougs.