Why did we lose this game, and by such a wide margin? Here are the culprits as I see them, in order of importance.
1. Mental Errors – I can sum this one up with six little words. Personal Fouls. Kick coverage. Dropped Passes.
2. QB play - When receivers weren't dropping passes, Rasheed was overthrowing them. I counted at least 3 wide-open receivers we missed badly. The seam down the middle was ours for the taking, and we didn't take it.
3. Wisconsin's D-line - They owned us on running plays, period.
4. Secondary coverage – Soft? Can you say Marshmallow topping?
5. Play calling on first down – By the end of the first quarter, I considered it obvious we were not going to be successful running straight ahead on first down, yet we continued to try Avon between the tackles. I'm sorry, but I have never adhered to the, "Keep ‘em honest" theory. If something isn't working, quit doing it and try something else. We had our best success on the ground when we stretched them horizontally with the option, it should have been used more.
There were, however, high spots.
1. Henderson – Miquelle is the real deal, folks.
2. Run stoppers – Yeah, I know they rammed in down our throat in short yardage, but I still saw a lot of improvement in the play, especially considering they were facing what may be the biggest line they will see all year, and one of the biggest in college football. WVU held them to 156 yards on 45 totes, a 3.5 average. That is pretty darn respectable.
3. Rasheed's feet – Okay, he could have (and will have) a better day throwing, but we got a chance to see what kind of problems Marshall can give a defense with his running, given the time to mature in this offense, he will be awesome.
4. No quit. Yes, we've all said it now, but I think it speaks volumes about the mental toughness of this team, and it will pay dividends down the road.
1. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like we aren't running this high speed offense at high speed. I would have like to see us keep those big guys up front for Wisconsin moving, maybe wear them down a little. Who knows, maybe I've just gotten use to the difference now.
2. I know Avon had a hard task last Saturday, but I have to say I have yet to see the real fire in his eyes I expected to see this year. He seems tentative in hitting his holes. Of course, over 1200 pounds of hostile defensive linemen would make me a little tentative as well.
3. Quincy had 1 carry. Is he injured? In the doghouse? What's the deal?
4. No Embick. Coach Rod said we would see him play, what happened?
Losing is never fun, and there were a lot of things offense, defense, and coaches need to improve if we are to beat Cincinnati this week.