RECAP: A Few Thoughts On Last Night

First, a personal note. We, as writers at CougCenter, lay ourselves on the line with our work. We put a lot of thought and effort into our writing in an effort to give you, the readers, as much information and analysis as possible. Please keep discussions civil and on-topic here. After a bad loss, the last thing any of us want is a free-for-all of "Fire Wulff" comments. I know things get heated in game-threads -- and that's fine -- but when the game is over don't bring it elsewhere on the site.

That sucked. It took everything I had to not launch into a long, profanity-laced tirade after the game. It was bad. I'm not going to lie to you and say everything will be fine. I just don't know if that's the case.

Here are some random thoughts from the game. Take from it what you will.

  • How many times did we see a linebacker step up in the hole, only to get run over and dragged down the field? They were in the right places, but they couldn't do a thing to stop Kendall Hunter or OSU.
  • Remember this? Replace Golden Tate with Justin Blackmon. Blackmon won what seemed like every 50/50 ball. Jump balls in the end-zone, deep balls over the middle, everything. I was high on the corners. I really like Nolan Washington and Anthony Carpenter. They're redshirt freshmen and they showed it last night.
  • Want a bright spot? His name is C.J. Mizell. He isn't assignment sound, but it doesn't matter. At one point, he missed a tackle, got back up, chased down the running back and threw him down with one hand. Only one other player -- Myron Beck -- showed anything worthwhile in the linebacking corps. Let Mizell figure it out on the field. At least he'll hit somebody.
  • Speaking of Beck, the senior snuffed out a screen play early-on, drilling Kendall Hunter so hard that he knocked out Sekope Kaufusi in the process. Normally I'd be worried about an injury to one of our guys. Instead, I couldn't stop laughing.
  • I thought Chantz Staden was a third-down back. I think I thought wrong. Staden was hitting the hole and finding the second-level with relative ease at times yesterday. He's quickly making a case for more time in the backfield.
  • Before the half, Tyree Toomer stepped up in the hole at the goalline in an effort to stop Kendall Hunter. He bounced off. I thought "Damn I miss LeAndre Daniels" at that moment.
  • Inside of the defensive line: good. Outside of the defensive line: bad. I'll explain this more later.
  • Jeff Tuel did not look good. He made the right reads, but couldn't make the throws. I can't be sure why from a mental standpoint, but his mechanics were off. He wasn't driving on his throws, leading to balls sailing on him. The announcers said the balls were sailing because he was throwing into the sun. This is where I remind you that announcers are stupid.
  • Which leads me to the offensive line. I get the feeling Tuel got happy feet and was scared for his life in the "pocket". I say "pocket" because there wasn't one. The line simply could not block and it lead to a quarterback resorting to crap mechanics, throwing off his back foot and sailing balls left and right. They are what we thought they'd be. Again, I'll go into this more later.
  • Marquess Wilson is everything we'd hoped and probably more. I couldn't be more happy with what I saw from him. One problem we don't have is in the receiving corps.
  • Isiah Barton also gets his own bullet point. With Gino Simone out (side note: it took me three quarters to realize he was out. That's how pissed I was at the start), Barton stepped-in and stepped his game up. He was running free in the secondary many times, but Tuel dimply couldn't find him. When he did get his hands on the ball, he was steady and consistent.
  • Where was the no-huddle? Who cares. For whatever reason, the Cougs didn't use the no-huddle offense yesterday. A no-huddle wouldn't have done anything. I know we all -- including myself -- expected to see it, but it really wouldn't have made a difference. In fact, it probably would've made things worse.
  • I'm curious to see how the rest of Kendall Hunter's season goes. I know he shredded us, but I get the feeling he's a damn good back. Yes, he made the Cougs look like a JV defense, but he really is a powerful back.
  • John Fullington probably just won the starting job. With Micah Hannam unable to anchor the right side of the line, Fullington stepped in and was a nice upgrade. He did get burned at times -- and I'd expect a freshman offensive lineman to -- but he showed why the coaches are so high on him.
  • With the game still somewhat close, the Cougs called a fake field goal, running the option with Reid Forrest pitching to Nico Grasu. It was a great playcall, but Nico Grasu came up a yard short. Nico Grasu is definitely not the fastest guy on the squad.
  • Reid Forrest is still amazing.
  • Rickey Galvin and Jared Byers are both likely done for the year. Galvin broke his wrist on a freak play, landing awkwardly while going down. Byers took a helmet straight to the knee and saw his leg move in a direction it really wasn't supposed to. Thanks for showing the replays multiple times, FSN.
The tendency is to blame players, coaches, referees or anybody else that could possibly blamed after a loss like this. Don't. You're all better than this. Try to look at the game, what went wrong and see if it improves in the next week or two.

I expect to see more from this team. We got blown out in the first game of the season, away from home, while starting a bunch of young players that, frankly, looked in over their heads. What we saw yesterday is simply too small of a sample size to judge the 2010 season.

We don't know how good or bad this team is right now. We won't know it next week or the week after that, either. Give it some time before you decide to check out on the season, the players and the coaching staff. I know it sucks right now -- and I feel the same way as all of you do -- but it's not the end of the world. Seeing how this team bounces back is the true test.

I'll be back with more later.
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