Before I dwell too much on the negatives I have to say that the defense played their most inspired game. They looked motivated, they hit hard and other than a few drives they really tackled. If they had this effort against New Mexico or Oregon State you could envision very different outcomes.
The Sanchez run was ridiculous. While he can certainly move, we are not talking about the second coming of Vince Young. There is no way he should be breaking tackles and why guys were diving at his legs I'll never know. Just wrap him up and plant him in the ground. Instead he danced and juked and kept the drive alive.
Worse was that the Cats waited until under 1:30 to use their timeouts. The Cats could have had over 2:00 to work with on the final offensive drive, instead they had less than 1:00. Mike Stoops has to call the timeouts earlier. There is no other answer. It was just poor clock management…
Arizona's final drive:Let me get this straight, you need to march 70 yards in :55 and you throw four underneath passes? One of them was behind the line of scrimmage and not only lost yards, but lost nearly :30 off the clock.
You have to assume USC was in a prevent, but the Cats choose to dink and dunk and got dunked. You're telling me you couldn't have gone 20 yards up the field over the middle?
Part of the blame goes to Willie Tuitama for throwing the short passes, but some of the blame has to go to the play calling. Why were guys running short routes in the first place? You needed a touchdown and the Cats couldn't muster a first down. ..
We can all agree that Willie Tuitama has played better. He completed a high percentage of his passes, but almost everything was dink and dunk. Frankly, he should have more yards when throwing over 40 times in a game.
Tuitama was much better getting rid of the ball and avoiding sacks, but that was nullified by his choices to throw short of the down marker all game long. On no fewer than four occasions, Tuitama threw short passes that were not close to extending the Cats' drive. In fact the final drive saw the Cats waste 35 seconds to move two yards. Either Tuitama is not recognizing down and distance or the staff have to answer for why plays are being called where receivers are running routes that won't give them first downs.
There have been a number of people who have asked to bench Tuitama. This is a dumb idea. While Tuitama is not ready to be the first team All-League, he is having a solid season. It is tough to blame a loss on him. Fact is, Tuitama gives the Cats the best chance to win right now. He's better than Kris Heavner and you aren't going to turn the team over to Tyler Lyon, who in addition to being brutal in fall camp, is in the doghouse for his September alcohol violation.
I know he fumbled, but get the ball to Rob Gronkowski. He lost the ball fighting for extra yards and should be a top target in the Red Zone.
Speaking of Redzone
Can I just say I hate the lob pass to Mike Thomas in the corner of the endzone. Not only is he usually double teamed, but Thomas is short. The team has two 6-4 receivers and a 6-6 tight end who can catch. Why are you throwing jump balls to a player who practically needs lifts to ride the roller coasters? No linebacker or defensive back can cover Gronkowski. He's too tall, two strong and too talented not to be the top option down low.