OK, we got thumped by MSU at home on Homecoming Day. Now we have to move on.MSU did us a really big favor by showing the rest of the world what our weaknesses are. Maybe we can give Ol' Rich& Co. a hand in fixing them.
Let's break them down and see where the solutions are.
- Injuries: They are killing us in more than one position, but the good news is that they are not serious and we should have most everyone back healthy BEFORE Vandy, and maybe as soon as Eastern.We should see Trevard back as well as Micah on defense. That should fill a few of those holes that allowed 300 yds rushing last night. Of course, if they are not utilized properly, it won't make a dime's worth of difference. Offensively, we need to rest Locke this week. Just put his butt on the bench and take his uniform if that's what it takes to get him healthy. We are going to need him to get through the rest of the schedule. We have very capable backups that need reps. Moncell Allen and Trey Bowland can run the ball. We do not have to give up the ground game to rest some guys.
- Planning: There is no other way to say this nicely so I will just say it. We have been outcoached on more than one occasion this season. This is not a bash on anyone, it is a fact. We cannot continue to do the same thing week in and week out and expect thatno one will be able to adjust to us. We are NOT Bama. We cannot simply walk into a stadium, look the other side in the eye and say "We will be running the ball today and there is nothing you can do about it". We have got to put the ball in the air enough to keep the other side honest. And we have to complete the passes we throw. Randall Cobb CAN throw the ball. Is he the second coming of Willie Joe Namath?, no. But he has a great arm and can do anything with the football. He has shown he has legs that just won't quit. Now we need to showcase his arm some more.Newton is coming along nicely, and will continue to get better, but Cobb needs to be able to throw a pass when we need it. Have a little faith Joker, there are answers at WR. We will get into those in a minute. I know that for some reason we seem to think that Cobb and Locke are the only returners we have, but that is not so. Let the other guys return the ball this week. Let's see what they can do. And Steve Brown and Rick Petri.....let me just say this....I am 6'0", and weigh about 320lbs. I have 2 bad knees and move slower than molasses. And I will bet that I can gain yards on you guys just by being smarter. Use your heads. Adjust when necessary. A RUN blitz is not a bad thing. Let those safeties do their job and make the other team beat you by tricking you, not by slapping you in the face and running over you.
- Personnel: We have some really good players on this team, and we have some superstars, and we have some decent utility players. Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke do not have to play every posiiton. Our receiver corps is good, but so far they are getting very little chance to show it. Chris Matthews needs catches.....I do not believe he is as bad as he seems to be so far. Gene McCaskill can catch, and knows how to run after he does it. LaRod King showed last night that he can take a hit and hold on to the ball. Reward him.....get the ball to him and see how he does. Our running back situation, while not quite as good, is still very adequate. Let's use our strengths and make the defense have to guess what is going to happen. Newton is coming along nicely as I said before, just keep moving the pocket. His 1st reaction should be to throw, and also his second....but using his legs has been successful, so why not let Cobb try and throw to him every blue moon. We have players that can run this Wildcat offense, and even the true option. USE that. But don't be so predictable that EVERY PERSON ON THIS BLOG would know what you were going to do like we did last night. We were calling the plays before you ran them, literally. If you rest our stars a little and let them take over a game in the 2nd half, they will make some big plays.
- Coach Brooks, you have got to get everyone on your staff on the same page. Every week we have another facet of our team falling apart. Yes, the players must execute the game plan, but anyone could see that the Defense was out of it yesterday for the entire 2nd half. Players were out of position to help stop the run, and I for one do not believe it was all their fault. Dont let your coaches put Newton in a 3rd and goal, or a 4th and goal and have to throw the ball.....not to win a game at this point.
I have seen enough of this group this year to know that there are big time plays in a lot of guys. But when we allow ourselves to be so predictable that the opposition can see the holes, and then walk right through them, we have a problem. This late in the season is no time to go soul searching for what ails us. It is time to put our heads down and play football.