Clayton Hotze - Arkansas State Sports Information

Analysis of Arkansas State through four games.

Looking at how the Red Wolves got here.

I’ve had time to process the games, so more thoughts.

AState isn’t in a simple situation where one grand action fixes everything.

This is a different sort of situation. Don’t run off after I say this, read the explanation.

Airplane crash.

If you aren’t one of those people who gets sucked into non-prime time cable channel fair, you may never have seen one of these shows, but there are a few different ones out there.

They take the crash of an airliner or a near disaster airliner flight and break down what happened.

Every show I’ve seen plays out the same way. There are a series of small mistakes, most are common mistakes that have probably happened on a flight you were on and never knew it because you landed safely. The sequence of those mistakes happening on the same flight results in a crash.

I really believe that is where AState is right now.

There is sequence of problems. Most if not all would never have been noticed by fans but they all aligned this one flight or uh season.

Protect the ball at USU or against UCA. We don’t win easily but probably win both games. Don’t pick up an embarrassing total of flags at USU probably win that game. Get a better mix of blocking up front and establish a run game. Win both. Can’t get the run game going but put screens and quick slants into the playbook, maybe go jet sweep off motion (yes an offensive player can be in motion) we can probably substitute for a rushing attack enough to win. As I’ve mentioned before at times play calling has seem to reflect an expectation that the personnel on the field would be different. Again a change that might equal a couple of wins. Struggling to run? Play the read option to force the defense to respect the QB as a ball carrier.

Small changes here and there and we might be 2-2 now and glad to be over the breaking in phase of the new coaches and players.

We’ve been here before, you just didn’t notice, because not enough small things went wrong in the same game.

Beat Idaho by 14 but we needed a short field on a pick to get to our last 7 points and stop an Idaho drive. At USA trailed by 11 with 13:12 left in the game, a nice drive and 2pt play cut it to 3 and AState scored 21 points off three straight turnovers.  AState trailed by 7 in the fourth quarter at home against Georgia State. A 53 yard punt return by Blaise Taylor put AState in position to tie and a pick gave AState the ball back to take the lead. The Red Wolves trailed at half at App and a large part of being close at half and later pulling ahead was 28 points off turnovers for AState vs. 0 points off turnovers for App.

AState was a beast getting points off turnovers and had some critical special teams plays. Against UCA, gave up 15 points off turnovers, and 7 off special teams. That’s 22 of the 28 points the Bears scored. The Red Wolves started one drive inside UCA territory and that was on their unsuccessful onside kick. Last year App, three times started in their territory, same for Idaho, against Georgia State four times, South Alabama EIGHT times (this counts scoop scores and pick sixes).

The offense has problems but special teams and defense aren’t giving the offense as short of a field as last year either.

Rather than chain saw surgery, AState needs some finesse changes to how things are being done.

The scary part of it all is there are some looming obstacles.

Staff has to get on the same page.

Players have to buy in instead of checking out.

Timing is a mess. While it is nice to have time to fix things, there is going to be no flurry of positive outlook between now and October 5 with Georgia Southern. If that is a loss, especially one that isn’t competitive, it’s 10 days before another game. That doesn’t go well you have 14 days before the next game.

It will be 33 days between the Toledo game and Georgia Southern. That’s more than a month of alums, students, boosters in a bad mood about AState football. Drop Georgia Southern, especially without a bright side to cling to, the span from Toledo to USA is 43 days. Mess that up, 57 days from Toledo to ULM. AState’s regular season is from September 2 to December 3, ninety-two days.

Having fans holding a bad attitude about the most recent game for 50% (or more) of the season is just dangerous for the program.

AState AD Terry Mohajir often speaks of the importance of positive energy. Right now, that energy is going to have to start with small spark here and there, seeing improvement in practice and then winning a play at a time against Georgia Southern.