Monday, September 10, 2012
Mississippi State Review (AU 10 State 28)
WTH?! What an embarrassing performance against a team that recruits at a level below even that of Terry Bowden. We simply ran up against a team that was hungrier, better prepared, more confident, capable of executing, believers in their abilities and schemes. When we play football that uninspired I question two things...where are our leaders within this football team and why can't our staff have a team better prepared (particularly our offense)?
I thought for three quarters our defense played quality football. Wasn't perfect, blew some coverages for touchdowns, too soft up the gut defending the run in our nickel package, but terrific third down efficiency, improved (not perfected) tackling, more pressure and man-to-man technique in the secondary.
I can't put a ton of blame on the defense for the missed tackles and lack of energy in the 4th quarter. I've been there. I've played in games in which your offense is the defense's worst enemy. I've been asked to go out and keep my team in the game after the offense continually puts our backs against the wall with turnovers, no running game, no confidence. It's a tough position to be in and the level of discouragement is astronomical. So I get not being willing to sacrifice your body for the untenth time knowing full well your effort is in vain. It takes sheer pride in your uniform, yourself, in your parents efforts to travel to watch you play, in the fans that come to support you week in and week out to overcome the desire to quit.
Where I do find fault with the defense is it's propensity to roll out the red carpet for the State offense into the endzone. Third and 10? Let me interfere with you and help you sustain your drive...TD State. Third and 10 again? Let me jump offsides and make this crucial down much more manageable for you. In fact, just run for the 1st down right down our throats...TD State. Let me just not cover your tight end or your slot receiver, or better yet, let me pick up a personal foul and set you up inside our five...TD State!
Cut out the freebies and this defense plays well enough to win the football game. I hear people griping out tackling, and I agree, it ain't great, but it was much better in week 2 than week 1.
This defense just seems timid too me. It's unsure in it's progressions, unsure of what it sees, unsure if they can depend on the guy lined up next to them, behind them, in front of them. We don't play with authority, with speed, with tenacity, with ruthlessness, with a damn chip on our shoulder, boulder-sized, eager to make your life on offense a living hell for 60 minutes. We don't disguise what we're doing well, cause we don't know what we're doing. When I watch LSU or even Georgia's defenses over the weekend, I'm envious. I see guys fly to the football making people pay on the other end. They would strike a bit of apprehension in me if I were to compete against them. Against Auburn, I'd just make sure my QB stepped up in the pocket...that's about my only concern. That's pitiful!
Offensively, no excuse for not giving Kiehl Frazier easy throws to attempt to build some confidence on the road against an outstanding secondary (not sure it would have even mattered?). Not only did we make him read the defense, we made him read the defense with his back to them with play-action, and we asked him to read #13, State's most savvy defender. That was the ultimate mismatch, yet we continued to do it. I can't fault to OL for not running the football for more yards. It's not hard to stop the run when 9 are defending against 6 or 7.
I watch Texas A&M, Florida, even Utah State and see young QB's nary shy of confidence, making plays with their arms, their legs, leading their football teams as underclassmen. I find myself asking why? Why are these kids so far ahead of Kiehl Frazier developmentally? Is it demeanor, coaching, system? I've come to the conclusion that Kiehl just doesn't believe in himself right now. Maybe for all the above stated reasons. Maybe for a litany of others. But the difference in Auburn and Mississippi State Saturday really boiled down to QB play, plain and simple. And until Kiehl Frazier gets it together, this season will continue on its same course...rock bottom. There is no other answer at the QB position for this team (unless R. Therezie chooses to play QB too). I'm pulling for you Kiehl to find the answers, to play with confidence, to be a success. I'm hoping your coaches earn their keep and find what makes you tick to help you in your progression. I'm hoping some seniors on this football team step up and be the leaders their seniority requires and let you know they support you and are there to help make your job easier. Good luck my friend. We need you in a big way.