I'm speechless right now because I usually play the law of averages and the numbers usually don't lie, but after this game, I don't know what to think. Let's do a real quick exercise and pretend I'm talking and you can hear my voice, okay!
If I told you Cincinnati would throw for 509 yards and three receivers would go over one hundred yards in receiving, without knowing anything else what would you think?
Of course you would say without a doubt Cincinnati won the game. So what's wrong with this statement?
Oh, I forgot to mention one key stat from the opponent, 38 points. After letting you know how many points were given up by the UC defense, then I bet you would quickly change your answer to a loss.
The overall numbers don't add up but the final score does. Missed tackles, no pressure on BJ Daniels, no pass coverage, big plays, and fifteen-yard penalties summed up the night for the defense.
This against a unit that hadn't scored an offensive touchdown in two weeks, hmmm!
This against a QB who coming into the game had thrown 10 INT's, hmmm!
This against a team that had no identity coming into the game, hmmm!
This against a team that was not only winless in the Big East, but was also winless in Nippert Stadium, hmmm!
I don't understand it! Louisville had a much better offense than South Florida and Cincinnati played a much better game. Now BJ Daniels does present more problems than Adam Froman because of his athletic ability, but haven't we learned from studying film on opponents in previous games, how to attack them?
For example, before we played NC State, their QB had probably the worst game of his career. Central Florida pressured him from start to finish and he made a bunch of mistakes.
What did we do? We didn't pressure him and he picked us apart. Fast forward to Friday night. BJ Daniels had been blitzed by Syracuse and West Virginia in back to back weeks; they pressured him into making mistakes. What did we do? We didn't pressure him and he picked us apart. Do you notice a trend here?
What good is it to game plan if you are not observing and taking notice of things? Previous opponents have had success doing to them and the defense should be attacking, attacking, attacking, and attacking for the entire game.
The offense should have to adjust to what you're doing to them not the other way around. I find it disappointing as a former defensive player that we look so bad on defense. Especially on a night when the offense scored 30 points, that should have been enough to win the game. Can we stop sitting back and getting torched? Start bringing some constant pressure and you are either going to get burned or force a mistake and right now what does this team have to lose?
You might as well get prepared for Saturday right now! Don't kid yourself if you think that Syracuse is going to try to run the ball. After watching this defense in pass coverage, Nassib is going to throw the ball all day. With that being said, I don't think I have to tell the defensive coaches to blitz, blitz, and blitz! Help out the secondary by not giving the QB time in the pocket and then maybe the defense will get some much-needed interceptions.
I'm not done yet! Although the offense scored enough points to win, mistakes, penalties, dropped passes, and bad play calling doomed the chance to win.
You ever heard the saying practice makes perfect?
Well I'm not convinced this offense is practicing the little things that translate over to the game.
As a team, Cincinnati had over 100 yards in penalties! That is a stat that you usually see with losing teams because they constantly can't do anything right without shooting themselves in the foot.
Zach took two bad sacks by not throwing the ball away even after he was outside of the pocket. After the first three games, I thought we saw the end of that but Zach still doesn't understand that it's okay to get rid of the ball.
The thing that stings the most besides all that I have mentioned is the bad play calling.
As a coach, you need to recognize situations and I don't know if our coaches understand that all the time. Two plays stuck out to me, one is the fourth and one play towards the end of the game, instead of Zach being under center and sneaking it, he was in a shotgun and got stopped trying to run it. Lastly, after Cincinnati cut the lead to 31-23, the ball was pooch kicked and USF got the ball at the forty and then proceeded to drive down and score the winning touchdown. Now I am not paid to coach but I know everyone that saw this game knows those two plays I just mentioned.
What's the answer? That's up to the coaches. Coach Jones is going to have to make a decision as to how he prepares this team and evaluate what is working and what is not. I can live with mistakes as long as the effort is there and as long as coaches put players in position to make plays. But I have no tolerance for a team full of talented that makes silly mistakes costing them from having success. Mistakes are correctable if you take the time to address them but if you sweep them under the rug as if they didn't happen then they won't go away.
I know this team is young but that is not an excuse that should be made. There are many coaches that have young players and they still seem to get them to perform. I have tried to remain as positive as I can about this team hoping that they can develop some type of consistency but if the mistakes continue, there will be no talk of a bowl game this year folks!