Sunday, October 15, 2006

Defense-less


I cannot remember ever watching a Bulldog game quite like yesterday's at Bulldog stadium. Not only did Hawaii completely outplay us in every possible way, but they did it in humiliating fashion. Fresno State had no answer for Hawaii's spread/run and shoot offense. Colt Brennan threw for 409 yards and five touchdowns as he was able to sit back and throw the ball to whomever he pleased. The Bulldogs were not able to pressure Brennan and when they did he eluded it with ease. To make matters worse for the Dogs the only offensive weapon that hadn't faultered all season did in the first quarter as Dwayne Wright fumbled two times leading to two touchdowns for the Rainbows.

What exactly went wrong for Fresno State yesterday? Well in one word: Everything. Our defense was the absolute worst I have ever seen in a Bulldog team. The defense put no pressure on Brennan, did not tackle, did not cover, and could not stop the run. It is becoming apparent that even Marcus McCauley is affected by the horrendous play of our defense. McCauley is often trying to make up for what the other db's and safeties don't have in coverage skills and is getting beat on deep passes because of it. The goals for this game were as follows:

1) Keep the ball and grind the clock: Failed
2) Win the turnover battle: Failed
3) Pressure Brennan into throwing the ball before he is ready to, leading to mistakes: Failed

I am sure there were plenty more goals for the Bulldogs in this game but I believe they did not achieve any of them. However, from a Bulldog fans standpoint many left the stadium in a much better mood than one might have expected. We were able to see Sean Norton play for the first time this season and he played exactly how we hoped he would. Norton finished 14-24 with 225 yards and three touchdowns in two and a half quarters of play. He threw one interception but he will learn not to make that type of throw in a game with more experience. Norton is very mobile and makes accurate throws on the run. He had ten incompletions but four of those were dropped balls that should have been caught by his receivers. At the same time Lonyae Miller came in and ran the ball very efficently. We hve a good strong nucleus of players on offense and if we can continue to get these young guys some playing time our offense is going to get back to the well oiled machine it was when David Carr was around. With Pascoe, Norton, Miller, Crawley, Ciccone, West (this guy is going to be amazing), and Moore returning next season I have to say our offense has a chance to be outstanding. If our offensive coordinator can figure out how to get Norton out of the pocket on roll outs and such he then becomes a dangerous weapon in more ways than one. However, all of this is a moot point if the defense does not figure out what they are doing.

One of the the major problems on defense seems to be this team just does not adjust to anything. If the offense for the opposite team is running plays between eight and ten yards on the average why are your corners off the receivers ten yards? Why do you not bring the corners up and bump the receiver off of the line? You are allowed five yards to "chuck" the receiver so why not do it? Not only can that ruin the route the receiver was going to run but it absolutely screws up the timing of the play as well. Another problem was one I mentioned this past week: The Bulldogs do not hit anymore. Yesterday was one missed tackle after another. I wil be the first to admit I might have errored in judgement on Jefferson as he was burned on the second touchdown Hawaii scored. I don't know if he is a bad cover man because he was there to make the tackle, he just didn't make it. Our Linebackers also seem to be in the complete wrong spot on every single play. Hawaii was throwing on us as if we had five men on defense instead of eleven. So if Hawaii was killing us with the pass and we weren't stopping them why did we not blitz? Why did we not try and change something on defense? We never brought anyone aside the normal four every down. Last week Nevada forced Hawaii into making bad decisions by blitzing Brennan often, a key reason why Nevada had a chance to tie that game with two minutes left. In the end it just might be time to say goodbye to Dan Brown. Our defense has never been anything to write home about and a change here might benefit the team next season.

As Bulldog fans what should we take from this game? Well for one that will depend on tomorrow and who Pat Hill decides to start against LSU. To me this decision should be easy because Norton directed four scoring drives in six attempts and had one drive end on a dropped pass by Fernandez. Brandstater directed a scoring drive on the first possession and did finish 4 for 5 for 79 yards but 75 of those yards came on one play. His other completions were all high and the receivers made very good catches to keep the plays going. I don't believe Brandstater came out because he tweaked his knee, he just doesn't have what it takes to get the job done. In the first quarter when he was sacked on second down he held on to the ball for six seconds. In college football you have a three-four second window to throw the ball. You need to get rid of the ball as soon as you possibly can and Brandstater just has not been able to do so. LSU will absolutely murder Brandstater in the backfield if he holds on to the ball for that long. I will walk away from this loss thinking that if we can fix our defense over the next six games and maybe bridge this season into next season then we will have a decent team for years to come. Our offense will become a scoring machine if Hill can figure out he needs a coordinator that likes to open it up. Look how well throwing the ball downfield to Pascoe worked yesterday. Pascoe had two catches of over 20 yards and Moore also made a great catch and run for a touchdown to start the second half. It was nice to have a quarterback who hits his receivers in the chest with the ball. I feel bad for Tom because of the reception Nortn received when he entered the game but it was time for a change. That is going to be the theme the rest of the season: What else can we change to make things work? The unfortunate thing is I just don't believe we have enough spare parts to put this team back together this season.

6 comments:

formerdog said...

..."What else can we do to make things work?"...

FIRE Pat Hill NOW...he WON'T change!

This is the MOST embarrassing home loss in FSU history!

Hey Pat Hill lovers... Q: What did PH learn from his embarrassment last week? Obviously NOTHING. He choose to stay with Brandstater (who sucks), but like I said over the past week, THE OFFENSIVE PLAY CALLING is the BIGGEST problem here (of many problems).

Here's the facts: (These stats are ONLY the 1st half , because c'mon, who really cares. at halftime - it was ALREADY a blow out! 42-17)

Brandstater stats vs. Hawaii (1st half):

1st down rush attempts: 5 of 6 (83%)
1st down pass attempts: 1 of 6 (16%)...what a joke!

2nd down rush attempts: 3 of 5 (60%)
2nd down pass attempts: 2 of 5 (40%) closer, but still too many rush attempts.

Now here's Norton's 1st half stats:

1st down rush attempts: 3 of 11 (27%)
1st down pass attempts: 8 of 11 (72%).. This is what I have been PREACHING all week long... MORE PASSING on 1st down!!!!

2nd down rush attempts: 3 of 7 (42%)
2nd down pass attempts: 4 of 7 (57%)...this is what our offensive stats SHOULD be.

CLEARLY, Norton IS better than Brandstater.

CLEARLY, Pat Hill DOESN'T and WON'T change.

CLEARLY, FSU coaches didn't change squat going into this game and the ENTIRE coaching staff is to blame.

I am not excusing the PATHETIC performance on BOTH sides of the ball, but 68 points? What a joke!

The ONLY reason we were able to get 37 points is because Hawaii was playing their ENTIRE backups... and we STILL couldn't stop them.

It was 61 - 23 at the start of the 4th quarter. This represents how much of a ASS kicking FSU received today.

If any Pat Hill lovers STILL want to make excuses for this guy...bring it on.

Get a clue and a sack and STOP defending this guy's ridiculous control of the team. He needs to FIRE some key coaches and assess the nuclear devestation that HE has allowed here at FSU.

FSU has lost ANY and ALL national respect that (he)PH brought to this program over the past ten years. It was ALL for NOTHING in national recognition now.

So what, we now have better facilities and better recruiting in the past ten years under Hill? We are STILL way behind ANY PAC-10 school in facilities and recruiting. And Hill says we DESERVE to be in the top 25 every year? - Yeah right.

Pat Hill lovers answer this statement.....

At least Sweeney knew when it was time to give the reigns to someone else. Pat Hill WILL NEVER change his stupid and unachievable goals. He didn't change squat after last week's embarassment against Utah St. and now it is even WORSE against Hawaii.

I can't wait to hear all you PH jock sniffers response to next week's NATIONAL television impolsion against LSU. Prediction:

LSU: 84 - FSU: 20

Anonymous said...

McCauley has gotten beat every game this year. He is over rated. Don't make excuses for him such as he is trying to cover for everyone else. I sat next to his dad in three of the past home games and even his own dad admitted that he is nowhere playing at the level he should be playing. He sounds very disappointed in his sons performance as well as the coaches abilities to develop our players. Many of the players parents feel that these so called coaches such as Brown and Stewart should be fired along with Hill. Down here in Southern Calif., we have High school defenses that can play better football!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. Quit making McCauley out to be something special. I've tivod every game and he is nothing special. And the same applies to #51 Andrews. Those two are at best average. Don't sugar coat it. They are not as good as many people make them out to be. Watch the replay of the games and rewind the big plays of our opponents. They would be sitting on the bench at every pac 10 team and that includes Stanford

Anonymous said...

The D-Coordinator needs to go. The defense can't tackle. They hardly ever blitz. Hawaii's QB had all day to throw.

evolution2.0 said...

Interesting, I was looking back at a comment I made right after the Nevada game:

"Our defense on the other hand, I thought looked pretty bad. We were lucky that Nevada's quaterback struggled the whole first half with exception of the last drive. A couple of those drives were clearly stopped by the Nevada QB's inaccuracy.

Our vaunted defensive line look confused all night. We only pressured the QB one time and it was a game ending sack (matter of fact, take Clutts out of this discussion, crucial fumble recovery and a sack, that guy's an animal). The running game opened up some giant holes in the middle where our two huge guys reside. And the D-line looked tired the whole second half. Maybe there is a reason why we keep losing O-Coordinators and the D-Coordinator has been around so long. If we are going to win consistantly against the big names (much less dominate Nevada as we should with the talent we now have), we need a much better defensive scheme and our guys need to be way better conditioned.

Bright spots: Jenkins and Jefferson. Jenkins made one hell of a play on a touchdown saving pass defense. And I don't even know how many balls the big named Nevada receiver (covered the majority of the game by McCauley) caught, one maybe and it really didn't matter because it was on a drive after the game was pretty much sealed. Also the linebackers looked pretty good, banged up as they were. Last year Nevada ran up and down the field on us. This year the same holes were there, but the damage wasn't nearly as bad. Credit improved linebacker play.

Safety play was about average. Probably to be expected. They are going to have to improve a lot before Oregon, though, I am afraid. Too many people running open and getting behind out center-fielders. Again, good thing the Nevada QB rythm was off the whole first half. Oregon looks as good on Offense as last year and they waltzed up and down the field on a secondary that I think was much superior to this year's. I don't even want to think about LSU, it was the "long pass after long pass" highlight show on ESPN, granted the team they played was horrible, but yikes none-the-less."

Can it be, that our secondary has gotten worse? Or maybe Nevada just didn't exploit the advantage.

Humm...

Hate to say it but, LSU: 84 - FSU: 20 maybe, but we'll be lucky to 7.

Yay for "formerdog", he got just what he needed for another
"FIRE PAT HILL" post. Funny.

Anybody think we'll win again the year?

-evolve

Anonymous said...

My brother just received a call from his wife in Hawaii. A lcoal call in radio station just received a call from a Hawaii fan asking the Warrior fans not to get overly excited about th e win vs.FSU. The caller stated they were ONLY playing Fresno ST. and that they were playing one of the worst defenses in all of college football. Talk about a slap in the Bulldogs face!!