Final thoughts: Houston

Posted: November 3, 2014 in Football

The dust has settled after that ugly performance against Houston. Now the team is heading into the bye week trying to find some answers. For me, there are too many questions and not enough answers out there for this team and the direction it is headed. Here are my final thoughts on both sides of the ball and what we can look forward moving into the next game against SMU in two weeks. 

The offense

Where do I start? It’s a mess for this unit. To start, the offensive line isn’t getting anything going. There is no push that I can see and the running lanes are not there. Marlon Mack doesn’t look as explosive right now, showing he might be wearing down late in the year. D’Ernest Johnson and Darius Tice are getting more carries which is a good sign, but again there are no running lanes. For a unit that relies on the run game to set up everything, they aren’t doing enough.

As far as the receivers, they didn’t have much of a chance in this game. Rodney Adams had a negative gain. Mike McFarland (no Sean Price) dropped two passes. Andre Davis had to sit for the entire first half, limiting the number of targets Steven Bench had. Overall they didn’t have a great game but when there were no throws coming their way, not much they can do. If they have a better quarterback throwing them, they could do more but that all comes from the man under center and oh man, we have a problem there.

Now we get to the quarterback issue. What on earth is the coaching staff doing out there? They benched Mike White after an ugly game against Cincinnati. They went with Steven Bench and it was worse. Bench couldn’t get anything going and showed he doesn’t have the arm strength to hit the long passes down the field. The experiment didn’t work and now they enter a bye week with more questions. Will the team go back to Mike White? After benching him, I doubt his confidence is real high and it wouldn’t look that great for the coaching staff for him to go back. Do they stick with Steven Bench? I don’t know what we can expect with him moving forward, it can’t be much. Then we get to the issue with Quinton Flowers. What is the plan with him? The coaches burned his redshirt and so far the young man has only thrown it 4 times. If they are using him just as a running threat, then defenses won’t have to play it safe and stack the box. If they want him to be the future of the program, then they have to let him throw. If he has a limited knowledge of the playbook and they fear him throwing, then just using him as a running threat was a waste of a redshirt.

The defense

Another unit that is a mess right now. Let’s start up front. The 3 man front is still not getting the job done and for the entire game Greg Ward Jr. was able to just stand back there and not feel any heat. They can’t get a pass rush at all and opposing running backs are just gashing them right up the middle. They aren’t getting any pressure up front and they can’t stop the run. Something has to be done either with the line or with the linebackers. Having the backers sit back in zones is not helping. They need to come up more to the line and help get some pressure (in my opinion).

Then we get to the secondary. They can’t tackle anyone! Time after time, players get the corners and are able to break through the weak arm tackles the corners are using out there and the backers are out of position in the zones as well. Jamie Byrd and Nate Godwin continue to lead the team in tackles it seems each week, a sign that opposing skill players are getting deep in the secondary and they are being forced to make the last tackle before points are scored against them. It’s bad, real bad. The schemes the unit is using are not effective and players are just out of position all of the time. It is something we see each week and no one has fixed it. This is on Coach Bresnahan at this stage and people should be more upset with him.

Moving forward

Where is the energy and passion from this team? Where is someone firing up the troops or showing some emotion after the loss? Watching the team there is no passion, no one seems fired up, either from the coaching staff or the players. They are probably emotional, but no one is saying or doing anything out there. This team really has no identity right now. Who are the leaders? Where is the player rallying the troops? They just seem lifeless out there with no energy or direction at all. I hope they hit the sleds hard this week, do some soul searching, and try to find themselves. Coach Taggart, you have a lot of work to do.

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