GBU Report: Louisville

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly report is back, and even with the score, there was a bit of good to come out of the Herd's battle with the number 3 ranked Louisville Cardinals this past weekend.

Welcome to the third installment of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."  Let's get to it.


The Good

I know what some of you are saying to yourselves.  What good comes from that game.  Well there was some.  Our defense played their hearts out and they never stopped fighting.  When you look at how the other games Louisville has played Lamar Jackson ran all over the place.  Whatever scheme Heater drew up worked pretty well for most of the game.  It was eventually going to collapse if the offense wasn't able to get anything going.  Even when the offense couldn't string together drives our defense kept bringing it.  Once again we saw Ty Tyler with a scoop and score.

This game was finally the opportunity to showcase Tony Pittman and show the staff he should indeed be starting and it also gave us our first look at Willie Johnson in the return game.  His first touch nearly broke.

Oh yea the best part about this game was the crowd.  Could you imagine if we had that atmosphere every week.  I have never had to stand in the tunnel getting to my seats that close to kick like I did this past Saturday.  I was getting anxious and excited.  I felt like I was at one of the bigger venues in the country.  The striping also when off pretty darn well.  And how about that We Are...Marshall chant?  Was that not one the best you've ever heard.  It was exciting for sure.


The Bad

The result.  That was the bad part.  It's an obvious answer right?  Sure but in my opinion it was the bad here.  It's the bad because at least from where I sat had Litton been playing in this game we either win this game or we are in it up until the end.  It's was disappointing on several different levels.  It was our second consecutive loss on the season which is something we haven't experienced in a long time, it was lost opportunity, we saw a 25+ year streak against a team go away, and we knew we could have done a whole lot better if we were playing with our starter.  It was just so darn frustrating.


The Ugly

It's the coaching.  There's no other answers.  Sure you could point to a player or a personnel group but in this case it's really not fair.  We've been hard on some of them this season and at time deservedly so.  Not this time.  As I pointed out in the good they fought hard out there when they were clearly out gunned.  I know we don't use that excuse at Marshall.  It doesn't apply to us.  Well in this case it did.  This wasn't Stan Hill coming in for Byron Leftwich.  This wasn't even Graham Gochneaur coming in for Stan Hill.  We didn't have AJ Graham to come in for Rakeem Cato.  No we had true freshman QB that has been here for a couple months if that.  So after all of that why do I still put the ugly on the coaching staff?  Because of how ill prepared we were for this situation and then the game plan we executed in the game.

Should we have had a JUCO brought in to not only be a more viable option to back up Chase Litton but to also preserve the red shirts of all four of our freshman QBs.

Why was Morrell not better prepared?  Why did we not allow the kid to throw a lot more.  Sure he struggles but this was going to be hard game to hang in so why not throw it all at them.  Why were we punting on their side of the 50 near the end of the half down big?  Did we just go into this game with the mindset to just try and bleed clock to keep it from getting completely ugly?

So many more people deserved better.  The offense deserved better, the defense deserved better, and the fans deserved better. 

Go for broke.  If you're going to go down go down swinging.  Morrell proved he was tough.  He got smacked several times and he jumped right back up ready to go.  Hats off to him.

This isn't the first time this season we've had some head scratching game decisions.  Go back to the Akron game when we didn't go for it on fourth down and goal and instead kicked a field goal when we were down 20 and the defense was struggling.  

Why was Willie Johnson just now inserted on kick returns?  Sure it was the third games but wouldn't Morgan State had been the better game to get his feet wet?  Why when Tony Pittman was establishing a rhythm was he shut down for the night.

It just appeared the coaches decided to play this game to not give up a ton of points and get to Pitt.  The players didn't sign those LOIs to come to Marshall in order to just grit our teeth and get past the bad games and the fans didn't pack that stadium out to watch us just get through it either.

I'll go as far as to say maybe we something happened in practice that showed the coaches that we couldn't do much more than what we did.  If that's the case I go back to why we are in this situation in the first place to not have a quality backup on the roster.  We lost our two quality backups in Michael Birdsong and Gunnar Holcombe to transfer where they hoped to receive more playing time.  Not that the staff could have convinced either one of them to stay.  Their careers are nearly over and they wanted to play.  

Even if a JUCO was way out of the question Morrell isn't the first freshman to debut in big games but he sure was the one with the worst game plan and performance in recent memory.


All this said I still have faith in this coaching staff to get the ship righted.  We've started seasons 1-2 before and had them turn out to be pretty good seasons.  We have our starting QB back for the next game and Pitt is a perfect game to get the season turned around and get the momentum back on our side.  I predict that Doc, Legg, and Heater are going to give our guys the game plan they need to get us the win.  I was afraid that a bad loss to Louisville coupled with the Akron loss would break the spirits of our team but the fight I saw Saturday night tells me that when that ball kicks off this Saturday and Heinz Field this team will be ready to fight and ready to win.

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