Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Well, that sucked.

by Dave Schmitt, KankaNation Columnist

Very disappointing game. I guess our incredible offense was hiding a sub-par defense all along. We ran into a great defense that was able to slow us down some, and their balanced offense put it out of reach. The young guys on defense hurt us - Wooden had a brutal game (although he's been better than anticipated all year), Crum had some dumb penalties and looked lost on that crucial 3rd down coversion, and OSU ran at Talley all day long. Hopefully, by next season, the defense will be coached up some more. We really could have used a serious pass-rusher like Tuck, also.

But when you're not generating a pass rush with your front four, why not try blitzing? When I saw we were not blitzing early, I knew it was a mistake - letting Smith find a rhythm was the worst possible scenario. Minter's chicken-shit schemes were beaten like a drum all night long. I understand that when you're going up against tremendous speed at WR, you don't want to blitz because it leaves your corners on an island - but sitting back in coverage clearly was not working anyway! We failed to get to the quaterback in any conceivable fashion, and then we didn't keep contain on him. I'm still trying to understand how our linebackers fit into the gameplan. Minter has a very big year next year, and I have a feeling Charlie will be spending more time on that side of the ball.

Offensively, Quinn did all he could - he was hit a lot and there were many unusual dropped balls. The offensive line was truly awful, which is odd since they've done a nice job of blitz pickup. Really, the only guy who stepped up big on offense was Walker. He was extremely impressive. It reminded me of his debut in the Michigan game last year, where he took it upon himself to be the offense, whether the offensive line was there or not. Walker, and Landri and Zbikowski on defense (who were in on every tackle, no matter where on the field) were the only guys to play really well. That's not gonna beat too many top-5 teams.

Still, a lot of progress was made this year, virtually all of it offensively. If the defense can improve by a decent margin in the offseason (possibly aided by a few key recruits?), with almost the whole offense back, there's no excuse for not being in the the BCS again, if not the national title picture. The schedule really isn't that hard. Let's make Brady's final year a special one.