06.Nov.2010 Post-game Thoughts
Eek, I called this game a glorified scrimmage. I was trying to think why I was fooled into thinking that. All I could come up with is that I wanted it to be a glorified scrimmage, and figured maybe I could force my will on the team.
So much for parapsychology.
Someone made a good point in the comment section. Paraphrasing here, but they basically said UCLA has a lot of athletes, and when they come fired up to play they'll beat walk-ons. It's an astute observation; that's exactly what happened. We were "out-athleted." When I saw UCLA jacked up in pre-game, I knew the game would be more difficult than I figured.
On to the game…
There were so many problems with performance tonight, but they all revert to one issue: poor recruiting. I might start a new feature called "worst walk-on of the week" (I like the alliteration) or "Pankey vs _____" where we insert players in college football who are worse than Keith Pankey. Justin Kahut, maybe? Look, I'm sure these guys work really hard, and that's great and all if they're building confidence and character, but as I fan I frankly don't give a shit if Mike Remmers gets a chance in life. I want to see fast 4+ star athletes flying around, making plays, and winning games. The Horatio Alger stuff is for that walk-on and his family to revel in, not me. As Dennis Leary said, "Life is hard, get a helmet."
There were specific coaching problems. For example, Riley still doesn't understand clock management. It's simple, and works like this: call timeouts when there are 2 minutes left and the other team has the ball. There. That's it. The reason you do this is because (a) the opponent is not going to rush to the line of scrimmage to get off a play and (b) if you get the ball back, your QB will rush to the line of scrimmage to get off a play.
But, it's pointless to harp on coaching foibles when the guy is locked up for a decade.
There was a point where I wanted the Beavers to lose. I think it was late in the 3rd quarter, when I realized they weren't playing smart, efficient football, when their conditioning looked poor, when I imagined the Ducks steamrolling them. I just figured it's better to lose this game and expose the sheep in wolf's clothing. Now we don't have to hear deranged fans talk about how the defense is great for shutting down Brock Mansion of the Cal squad that almost lost to Washington State. Now it's all out in the open. The Beavs have won with smoke and mirrors–kick returns and low turnovers. While great, those are not the kind of things you can rely on every game.
Ryan Katz continues to make the same poor decisions. He hasn't improved his decision making since game one. I've been biting my tongue and being patient since I know the rule that "Riley's offense is complex and takes a year to learn blah blah." You can blame the offensive line–on many plays it was obviously their fault. But the o-line is much better in pass blocking (than run blocking) and when he had time he just couldn't make the throw. It's now all on him. He's the QB, he's the man, and he continues to make bad decisions. Example: on a 3rd & 4 he had a WR cutting short across the middle, looked at him, and threw a ten yard incompletion. So yeah, be the hero with that canon of yours, big guy. We're all impressed in the same way we're impressed with high trucks with big wheels. Anyway, I'm really starting to sour on this guy. I love heady football. I've never been in love with big arms, height, speed, etc. Give me intelligence and savvy from the QB spot. Give me a Honda at the QB position, not a tricked out Hummer.
It's time to start thinking about next year, when the personnel should improve. But I'm already frustrated because I know it will take the staff five games before they realize who the players are, or they'll fall in love with a Mike "Horatio Alger" Remmers II, or they'll…ugh, not even worth it.
As far as the rest of this season: I think WSU and Stanford will be wins. We'll squeak into some crappy ninth tier bowl, Beaver fans will be joyous about the extra weeks of practice, everyone will say "next year is the year!", and when that time comes we'll all be a year older and little balder saying the same things about the next year. To be a Beaver fan…