This is not going to be a fun article to write. I have watched us lose some pretty bad games, and I've been disappointed before. But this was one of the worst performances I can recall. Coming off a huge win, the Hoos simply came out and laid an egg.
Perhaps I am over-reacting. After all, the defense only gave up 21 points. The special teams played well. There a couple of highlights from the offense as well. Maybe it just seemed worse because the NC State fan that was sitting with us was hoarding all the remaining alcohol.
Actually, I don't think so. I don't think I'm over-reacting. Check back after the jump to find out why...
Were special teams better? Yes, they were. But then again, there was no place to go but up after the special teams performances this season. We still can't return a punt, and we even fumbled a punt. We also missed another FG.
The defense only gave up 21 points. But the NCSU WRs dropped at least 3 deep balls that each probably would've been a TD. And Tra Nicholson did get beat for a 79 yard TD.
And how about the offense? Wow. I don't even know where to begin. NCSt was missing its top 2 DTs. So, it would seem obvious that running between the tackles would be successful. Did we try that? No. We kept rushing to the edges. I realize that we have been successful all year with the perimeter rushes. But, once it became clear that they weren't working, maybe it time to rush the ball inside. We have two big backs, not to mention a pretty good FB who can carry the ball. Why not see if we can get some yards running over the Austin Pasztor/Anthony Mihota A-gap?
Let's forget about that for a second. The ground game wasn't having success because NCSt was playing 8 and 9 defenders along the line of scrimmage. So, what do you do? You run some play action and throw the ball deep, right? If they are going to play their safeties up, they have no help deep. Throw the ball up over the top. What do we do? We throw short pass after short pass after short pass. One deep ball went to Tim Smith, and was completed for a 60 yard TD. That was the highlight.
Needless to say, I was highly disappointed with Bill Lazor in this game. His gameplan wasn't working. That happens. You make adjustments. He didn't He stuck with the same game plan, and we ended up with 249 yards of total offense.
I should give some credit to NCSt. Mike Glennon had a good game, and if his WRs could catch, he might've had a great one. And their defense played very well, swarming to the ball, and not letting us get any momentum going on the ground. Still, if we had played a little bit better, we could've won.
As usual, here are some random tidbits that I wanted to mention:
- Robert Randolph is a good kicker, but I don't really think he has range out to 52 yards. Why not give Chris Hinkebein a shot at that kick?
- Mike London has said that he will changing up the QB rotation going forward, and letting Michael Rocco stay in the game when he is playing well. I will believe it when I see it. The QB rotation is simply killing this team. I can't say that Rocco is definitely the best QB on the team. I can say that Rocco is the best QB at running the offense that we are running. If Watford is going to be in the game, you simply HAVE to call plays that he can be successful with. Asking Watford to run the Michael Rocco offense is like asking me to perform brain surgery. Watford has way too much athleticism to waste it on a 3 step drop. This is my biggest frustration this season.
- My second biggest frustration is our punt return unit. This has been a problem for a number of years. I watch a lot of football. I do not recall ever seeing a team consistently be unable to get a punt return going. Almost every time Dominique Terrell is fielding a punt, there are 2 or 3 (or more) defenders in his face. Why can't we block these people? Are we ever trying to block these people? Is it a scheme thing? Is it a coaching thing? I am dumbfounded.
- For a team that has had as much success on the ground as we had this year, there simply needed to be a more concerted effort to run the ball. If we are going to get beat, get beat doing what we do well. We got beat trying to play the Matt Schaub offense. We have a strong OL and a great stable of RBs. If teams are crowding the box, they will stop a lot of the runs, but when you do break one, there is nobody back deep to make a tackle, and you get big plays. We gave up on the run far too easily.
- I hate to say this, but I am beginning to have doubts about our coaching staff. We have lost 2 games this year to inferior teams, and we have won two close games over inferior teams, each of which we had big leads early and had to claw back at the end. These are the marks of a poorly coached team. I like Mike London, and he is a great recruiter. But on the field, we do not execute well, and we do not gameplan well. Only time will tell if I am right.