This loss to Cincinnati feels less like a "sky is falling" loss than we've have the last 5 years. I think back to Boise St. x 2, Cincy '07, Cal early a few years ago, Frenso St., etc and I remember thinking that a bowl game might be tough.
This loss feels like Stanford or Utah of last year. Games we could have won (probably should have won) if the breaks went our way. We are lucky we survived UNLV. But honestly, if we had one of two things happen I think we win that game.
I think we win if the fumble was called a fumble, or if on the next play we don't let them convert that 20 yard pass for the 1st down after the huge loss. And, actually if we got a 3 and out after our failed 4th down conversion, there was plenty of time to score twice with the help of an on-sides kick. But letting them drive the field for 4 minutes killed that possibility.
Even playing our "C" game (and Cliff is right on in his report card), we could have won that game.
How painful was that TD at the end of the first half? How about that series on the 6 yard line where we went backwards twice?
The AftermathThe post-game reaction is pretty wide ranging. Much of the blame either lands on the Offensive Line (no running game between the tackles, 5 sacks), the QB Sean Canfield (5 sacks, strange desperation plays, holding the ball too long), the play calling (nothing down field, too much Rodgers bros), and maybe the D-Line (no sacks). Some even called out everyone and their mother, including the fans. And of course, Canzano wants Moevao.
Cliff has some great post-game video on his blog
Here's some great photos of the game from Flickr user nayray
Beaver fans are clearly reeling. This isn't the post I would have written last night. I was pissed at the refs for that call, pissed at Canfield, the final play calls, the lack of push up front, and even had the thought "what if Moevao was the QB". So I feel you.
Then I remember last year. That started MUCH worse. A Pac-10 loss early? A blowout loss to PSU? A tough loss at Utah? Who would have thought we would end up one win away from the Rose Rowl? That may have been our 1 in 10 years Rose Bowl shot.
Before you jump off a bridge, take a look at this quote:
“We went down early with that crazy, unbelievable crowd,” Pike said. “Oregon State is a great team – an obvious top-25 team. We were able to go through some tough times and come back out of them.” - Pike, 'Cats too much for OSU
The FutureWhat have we learned from the non-conference schedule? Here's what I've learned:
* The secondary is going to be OK. I like what I'm seeing. The coverage, generally, was good. Sometimes excellent. This isn't going to be 2005 where we were burned 1000 times on the long routes. And, yes, we do turn around and look at the ball.
* The defensive line is good at stopping the run with Paea up the middle, but will need help from blitzing LBs and corners to really pressure the QB. I thought Ben Terry would be a monster, but that hasn't panned out yet. We are going to miss Slade and Victor.
* The offensive line is a work in progress. We lost too many top OL over the last year to not struggle. We are young and have too many walk-ons/frosh to not have issues. I trust coach Cav to make them better. Hopefully fast.
* We may have a QB controversy soon. Even though we have two senior QBs, neither is the total package. But I think both can get the job done if the running game is solid.
* We have two great players in James and Jaquizz. You win by letting your best players make plays. You can't just start not handing the ball of to Quizz or throwing the ball to James because the fans think they get the ball too much. Trust me, we want them to have the ball in their hands. Hopefully someone else emerges (TE Halahuni, WR Bishop?) this season, but if not, they are what gives us a shot to be great. Deal with it.
* The WR core is young, and could be part of the problem with the sacks and passing game. Hard for me to say definitively. Clearly we miss Morales and Stroughter. But I've seen enough good play to be excited for the future.
I know one thing from past history of Mike Riley coached teams: they will improve. And adjust. The early season schedule could be better, but its not bad.
Sep 26: Arizona
Oct 3: at Arizona St
Oct 10: Stanford
Oct 24: at USC
Oct 31: UCLA
Arizona is winnable. Depending on improvement, Arizona St. is winnable (though we rarely win in Phoenix). Stanford is winnable. There is time to improve within that schedule.
FeedbackWhat do you see? Where are the Beavs as they head into the Pac-10 season?
How about voting on where you feel the Beavs will be at the end of the year? Is the sky falling for you?