03.Oct.2009 #28 to Ride the Bench & Other Thoughts
So the safety, #28, is finally going to ride the bench this weekend. Finally! Cam Collins has looked shaky in his limited playing time, but change was long overdue and maybe a move like this jumpstarts the defense. For all the talk of Riley finding hidden talent and developing it, he’s painfully loyal to players who are not talented, and that loyalty nullifies many of his positive traits. If we had benched #28 in the UNLV game when it was clear he was the weak link in the secondary, we maybe win vs Cincy (he did give up 14 points) or Arizona (he gave up 7 more). Last year we went through this same process when Riley got hooked on Keith Pankey, the player who took an angle on Toby Gerhart that not even his mother could love and 60 yards later the Beavers miss the Rose Bowl by 1 loss. Dwight Roberson was the obvious play to everyone but Riley. When Roberson began seeing the field more, the Beavers went on a tear. For whatever reason, Riley and Banker believed that Pankey was better in pass coverage than Roberson. Clearly this, too, is wrong. What do they feel #28 does well? He’s terrible in coverage and his tackling in run support is average at best.
So does this change parlay into a win in Tempe? I don’t think so. The thing is, the mental make up of the team is not right. I’m did not sense urgency in last weekend’s post-game quotes, nor did I sense any killer instinct in this week’s pre-game quotes. Paraphrasing, there has been a lot of “we’re not panicking”, “last year we started 2-3 and things were fine” etc. What is most disconcerting is that some of these sentiments were coming from the senior leadership. I understand what they’re trying to do, but if underclassman see a senior saying not to panic because we start 2-3 every year, then it almost makes the loses seem acceptable, common place, etc, and this curbs a younger guys natural passion. Wake up Beavers. It’s time to panic.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see some fire and passion from this team?