Le Swine's Opine
The more things change… the more they remain the same. Whether business, entertainment, or college football, that proverb always holds true. In particular, you must perform the fundamental duties with an aggressive attitude to do well.
Pertaining to the Razorbacks, the differences between the team that was 1-3 and the team that is now 6-3. In the 3 game stretch of Tenn/Bama/Uga, the Razorbacks did not do any of the basic fundamentals of the game particularly well. Oh sure, they had some stellar numbers on defense, in certain areas. But the same defense was allowing rushing yardage by the furlong. By and large though, the whole team was not doing the basic fundamentals of blocking, tackling, being in position before the play starts, footwork. The basics of playing football.
Somewhere between Bama/Uga and the Weber State game, the light came on ever so slowly. QB's were making the proper reads, RB's were starting to hit the hole quicker, O-linemen were actually blocking somebody, D-linemen were standing blockers up in the hole, etc. Fundamentals. So, what happened?
Per this fan, one simple thing which had a huge effect. The insertion of Shawn Andrews at RT. Borrowing a literary reference from Ernest Thompson Seton, sometimes you just need something with sheer guts and determination instead of pure-bred bloodlines. Shawn Andrews is all that, plus he is a pretty good lineman. He refused to back down from the blueblood DL of Bama, and even did well against the racehorses of Tenn in spot duty. He simply came to play on every play, no pomp or circumstance required.
Through the simple sheer example of bringing it on every play, of not backing down, of doing your job fundamentally, the other players began to emulate this attitude and method of play. Instead of talking about how they were going to play, they simply shut-up and tried to do what Andrews was doing. Playing football at it's fundamental level of hitting someone and liking it.
Now, of course it was not only the insertion of Andrews into the offensive line that made the difference. But, in terms of a shot of moxie and guts, he provided the catalyst and example.
Oh, the Ernest Thompson Seton reference? It was his story about the hunt for a killer bear. All the bear dogs in the hunt would always stand back and bay the bear, allowing it to maul them and escape. Until he received a bull terrier as a gift from a friend. Intended to be more of a yard/house pet, the bull terrier instead escaped the yard and joined in the hunt. When the dogs caught up with the killer bear again the bull terrier, half to a third the size of the bear dogs, went straight for the throat of the bear. Once the terrier charged, the other dogs did too. The killer bear was stopped once and for all.
Actual story aside, sometimes all a group needs is an example and a dose of guts. Andrews provided both.
Commentary: Le Swine Opine
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