Even a 12-1 team has holes. If we are to become a better football team, the holes need to be addressed in some fashion. I'm expecting a completely turnaround in our most troublesome area, as we will need some absolutely insane acts for us to counteract the tremendous difference in the schedule strength.
After all, in case you hadn't heard, we were incredibly lucky last season to play the worst 11 teams in college football junior high prior to our nationally televised depantsing at the hands of Missouri. This season we should face a much more difficult schedule, and thus sink down back into the depths of the Big 12 North. It's science. If we are going to overcome the inevitable schedule-induced slide, we will need our weakest points last season to become strengths this season:
- Stephen Hoge, Scott Webb's replacement at kicker whom we will talk at length about Tuesday night, must fire each-and-every kickoff into the stands beyond the endzone and absolutely must drill a 70-yard field goal, at minimum, sometime this season.
- Alphonso Alonso Rojas, Kyle Tucker's replacement at punter whom we will talk at length about Wednesday night, must average 68.3 net yards a punt. And every one must be completely unreturnable and escape to the safety of the sideline inside the 5-yard line.
- Whoever ends up at punt returner, most likely Daymond Patterson whom we will talk at length about Thursday night, must return at least 8 punt returns for TDs. At least.
- Our new pass rushing specialists (D.J. Marshall, Jake Laptad, Jeff Wheeler and Max Onyengbule), whom we will discuss at length on Friday night, better have a pair of sacks a piece per contest. I want the QB to have his facemask permanently attatched to the ground. For serious.
All of that is necessary for us to even hope to compete against this year's schedule. Compared to last year's schedule, which was laden with junior high teams (it was allowed because Lew Perkins paid off the NCAA. I'm just spitting facts here, people), this year's slate of actual, live NCAA schools figures to make it impossible for us to go to a bowl. I mean, I guess they could always make up some other bowl and give it to some dog food manucaturer, and award it to the worst-and-most-overmatched-teams-because-of-weak-schedules-the-previous-season (us and the Rainbow Warriors of the wonderful state of Hawai'i would be shoo-ins, as the fact that they play football on an island allowed them to schedule Pop Warner teams; ah, the benefits of playing in a non-BCS conference...), but that isn't likely. So, why don't we just give up on the season? I mean, we certainly aren't going to do anything about it. We were practically gifted our 12-1 season last year because we were twice as old as some of our opponents, and when we actually have to face actual men with actual facial hair, we are certainly to crumble in our over-pompous boots*.
But seriously, the four areas I listed above all need to improve off of last season. The first three are containing entirely different personnel, which could be worse or better than last season's players, but Group #4 is basically the same trio plus a true freshman in DJ Marshall, who very likely will redshirt, so that is the issue that is most pressing at the moment. We will spend all week, in one of our two football-segments on the week, discussing how we will improve upon the largest deficiencies in last season's otherwise near-perfect execution.
* This isn't just a metaphor; our schedule was so absolutely juvenile last season, that our players became accustomed to being able to wear cowboy boots as opposed to the more traditional football cleats.