RB Jeremy Smith decides which of eight available gaps to run through on a play Saturday.
Unfortunately I missed almost the entire game Saturday due to being at a wedding. That being the case, there's really no way to grade each unit on the team individually, so this week I'm doing a more abbreviated version of the report card. Do we really need to get into the technical details of the OSU game anyway? When you're down 56-7 at halftime, there's only so much that can be said about the play on the field without becoming redundant.
Offense - D-
We had an outstanding, time consuming, 80 yard drive to open the game, so there's one positive. However, this was a game where you could pin the severity of the loss almost as much on the offense as you could the defense. This wasn't a winnable game for us, but it certainly didn't need to be over as quickly as it was. Four turnovers in a game is bad. Four turnovers in a half is reprehensible, especially when you know your defense is playing helplessly against one of the most powerful offenses in the country. I do think some of the turnover issues may be due to the pressure the offense is feeling; it's hard not force things when you know you have to score a touchdown on every drive. Still, some of it is also due to poor decision making, and in the case of Tony Pierson, just not holding onto the ball.
The offense did rack up 478 yards, but given the circumstances of the second half, that's not really anything to brag about. The offense just had too many turnovers and quick punts in the first half. Without those, Gundy would have had to wait until at least the third quarter to pull his starters.
Defense - F
Have I mentioned that the defense is bad?
Coaching - F
As anyone who participated in the recap thread yesterday knows, I'm not on the "fire Shealy today" bandwagon. You cannot intelligently judge a coach in full based on five games, no matter how definitive those five games appear to be. Even if we did give him the boot, anyone we would replace him with in the middle of the season is going to be position coach promotion with no experience as a DC. That doesn't help the team. Neither will any other sort of arbitrary, reactionary move designed purely to appease a bloodthirsty fanbase.
However, please don't mistake this for defending the work of Vic Shealy, or any of his assistants. I don't believe for a second that we have the makings of a respectable defense, but it's also pretty clear that we aren't getting all we can out of what talent we do have. Almost every team we've played so far has had their best offensive game of the season against us. That means our defense is less effective than a lot of Sun Belt, Conference USA, and 1-AA teams. Regardless of injuries and poor defensive recruiting, we should still be getting more out of these guys than that.
Again, I wasn't able to listen to most of the game, but I would assume our defensive problems boiled down to what they've been all year: no pass rush, incompetent pass coverage, and bad tackling/pursuit. Some of this is instinct, but the coaching staff needs to make some changes to get these guys feeling more comfortable, and get the most out of what we have. What changes? I don't know, but I'm not being paid hundreds of thousands to coach football.
It's probably worth noting that the offensive coaching hasn't been great the last two weeks, either. I wasn't happy with the second half tempo or playcalling against Texas Tech, and I can't help but feel like we could have done a little better than we did in the first half against Okie State.
Overall - F
There isn't much else to say, is there?