04.Dec.2009 Trampled Roses: The Aftermath
Things don’t seem as gloomy this morning. It’s funny what a good night sleep and a little sunlight can do (ah, thank you Santa Barbara).
Just a few thoughts the morning after:
1. The better team won–I know some of my comments sounded like sour grapes. I really strive to be objective in this blog, and the bottom line is that the Beavers were close but not good enough. We saw this same pattern against USC and Cincy, the other two elite teams the Beavers played.
2. I wish Duck fans were more classy and gracious in victory. I’m on the record as admiring the image and program they’ve created. On a personal level, I don’t act or dress flamboyantly and such, but it’s an ingenious idea/image that demands a lot of attention. It’s brilliant marketing; that’s the bottom line. I want to pat them on their feathers, but they make it difficult. I’ll take the high road, though. Gotta set an example, right? Congrats Ducks.
3. Under the circumstances, the Beavers played the best game you could have expected. Not so much on this blog, but on other forums I hear fans talking about refs, injuries, etc. First of all, the refs had an outstanding game. We get on them when they’re terrible, which is 99% of the time, but last night they were spot on. I don’t have a problem with a single call. In fact, I think they missed a few Beaver blocks in the back (on kick returns) if anything. As far as injuries…yes, Clark went out, but I’m not sure that had any effect. He’s not exactly good in run support and nobody got beat deep after he left the game. The middle linebacker, Bubba III (can’t spell his name), was playing well and the Ducks run game seemed to pick up when he left the game. Thing is, and this was me simply being unobservant, I have no idea if he came back in the game or who took his spot (assume Kristick moved to MLB and Pankey/Roberson were outside?). Just didn’t really look for that. Bottom line is that you recruit good backups for this exact reason.
4. The play of the game was in the 4th quarter. The defense had the Ducks 4th and 16 and gave up 14 on a straight ahead handoff to James. Remember in an earlier post when I said the Beavers would likely have to stop the Ducks not only on 3rd down but on 4th downs as well since Chip Kelly is an uber-aggressive mad scientist? Well, the game was decided on one of those 4th downs.
5. I didn’t really care about the Rose Bowl. Honestly, last night was my Rose Bowl. Sure it would have been nice to get to the game, but mostly because it would symbolize arrival as a program and validate last year’s demons. But as far as beating Ohio State, I couldn’t really give a shit.
6. This team grew on me. After the losses to Cincy and Arizona, I was positive the Beavers would miss a bowl game. With so many graduations and young players across the board, this ride was all gravy. Right? Can you really say you expected a Rose Bowl run? The downside is that it became a drug. With each win the stakes were raised, the high stronger, and last night when the drug ran out it was essentially withdrawal.
7. Recruiting. I don’t care what people say, having highly regarded/desirable athletes does matter. You can debate the level that they matter, but they matter. Good guys who play well as a team can get you this far. But the Beavers seem to be taking two steps up and one back on an infiniately long staircase. To make headway you have to do it on the recruiting trail.
8. Beaver fans have no ammo. Ducks will be all over us for years. That’s the worst thing about this. Personally, I don’t read forums where Ducks hang out, but every once and a while I bump into them on a Beaver forum. Everyone says those Duck fans are the exceptions, even hated by fellow Ducks. Who knows. All I know is that there’s no ammo. Not that I care about talking trash, but it would be nice to have at least a couple bullets in the gun if needed.
That’s about all I have to say today.