He commented he was especially encouraged at the offense's progress during the second half of the game, noting that after one bad series, the offense had four consecutive series in which they moved the ball effectively.
As has happened too often this season, Cougar offensive drives were halted by untimely penalties and costly mistakes. "The fumble and the illegal procedure penalty really hurt two of our better drives. What we need to do now is just to finish the drives," Crowton continued.
Crowton said the team remained upbeat and positive despite consecutive losses at home. "The team is positive about where we're going. I know we're not playing at the level where eventually we will be, but we have a good plan on where we need to get to. The progression isn't happening as quickly as I would have liked it to because we had to switch quarterbacks, but I liked what John Beck is doing. We're moving forward, we're not moving backward," Crowton said.
The Cougar head honcho felt the offense got better as the game went on and credited the improved play of the offensive line. The big change he made on the offensive line was moving senior Quinn Christensen to left tackle, paving the way for true freshman Ofa Mohetau to start and most of the game at left guard. Crowton said he will stick with this lineup in future games.
Meanwhile, Christensen commented on his new offensive line assignment. "I'm very comfortable with it. I feel that I'm a natural tackle. I can play either guard or tackle, but I feel more comfortable playing outside."
Both Crowton and Christensen agreed the offensive line play improved last Saturday from the week before against Stanford. "The second half I thought we did fairly decent. Not as good as we should be, but I feel that it's coming for us as a unit. When we get rolling, we can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot. I was responsible for one of those times and that can't happen.
"We still are a tight-knit group," Christensen continued. "Things aren't going as well as any of us would have hoped, but we're not down on each other. We know we can be good and that we're improving. We just have to build on that."
* Quarterback Matt Berry's finger is healing well, according to Coach Crowton. He said Berry should be able to throw the ball Thursday or Friday and may travel and dress for the San Diego State game as an emergency quarterback.
* Linebacker Levi Madarieta's status is day-to-day with lingering foot problems. Crowton said he will have tests to determine whether he can play on Saturday at San Diego. He added Madarieta has had foot problems for a while, but X-rays keep coming back negative. Madarieta has been playing through the pain, but said he couldn't push off effectively with his foot against Air Force.
* Linebacker Bryant Atkinson's leg injury is healing ahead of schedule. He was upgraded as questionable for Saturday's game. Meanwhile, Nathan Soelberg has not been cleared to play.
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