There's times to be upset, and there's times to be disappointed, and then there's times to see things for what you can see.
The Cats are a work in progress, slow progress. Whether fans are angry or not, they were 12.5 point underdogs to win that game on the road in Starkville. Instead, they damn near won the game. They were lifted feet from what might have been a winning TD. They were a few feet from a momentum boosting onside kick. They were a few slow reads and tall passes from 1st downs and TDs all game. Ifs and buts...
Catching a pass is two parts hands and two parts location. Hit an open receiver in stride over the middle and you're 3 times more likely to get a completion. String him up high or set him up for a blindside by putting it behind him and you're diminishing the chances of a good catch.
While I know Timmons is having trouble with his handle no matter where the ball hits him, Blue and Sanders are just not being thrown the ball when open and where they can catch it and in stride many times when they do get it thrown their way.
The biggest reason for the lack of consistent offensive production is time, more than timing, however. Smith is hesitating big time when reading the D. He is either reading, deciding, and then reading, deciding, then throwing, or he is fixated downfield, fixing on a receiver, or just waiting too long to make the throw. It's hard to watch him struggle like this. He's not a bad QB, but he does not trust what he's seeing and is not putting the ball where it needs to be.
He never saw several wide open routes this week or last game. He's lost his touch on the ball, which tells me his shoulder is not near better. He's also not trusting his receivers for some reason.
The difference between this offense and the one Mumme ran is that the plays are taking WAY too long to develop. Couch. JLore and Bonner all got the ball out wide to the receivers quickly and hit them in stride, allowing them to read and setup blocks rather than let the DBs get position on the blockers and dictate which way the WR has to cut. In the middle of the field, Smith sees the open receiver, but still makes an extra motion or delays before delivering the ball. He just doesn't yet have that feel for this offense.
The defense is adjusting well, but still overplays the ball early in the game, leaving their responsibilities unmanaged at times. Second half looked much better most of the time.
I like where it's going so far, but I don't expect too much improvement in the passing game with Smith until he's 100% for a full week of practice. Whitlow is not ready to come back yet, either. Until then, we may improve, but won't see it much in terms of results against the speed of the SEC.
Got to be ready to throw now instead of ok ... now. Got to be ready to catch at all times, then run after. Got to be running north and south more than east and west with our feet off the ground- knees to chest- so we can make it through the hole to the next level.
Getting there always seems like forever. Hang in there. Still have a shot at bowl eligibility.