27.Oct.2013 Stanford Post Game
I’m going to keep it short, but I wanted to note that was a typical Riley game, in that, on the big stage, they had every opportunity to win, yet came up short. As usual, it was Riley himself costing the team. He was calling a great came early on, and then those 4th downs got him. They weren’t even second guesses on my part. I wrote “take the points” and “why go for it?” before the plays. It’s impossible to know if playing those downs correctly would have mattered, but I do know it wasn’t smart football. It was gutsy football…but not smart football. There’s a time and place for risk, and when you’re winning the game and playing dominating D, that isn’t the time. Riley was trying to push things and become a maverick to show he’s still aggressive and relevant. Problem is it’s not his natural tendency, so he doesn’t know when to do it, and when he does it’s forced.
That game should have been a win. It just required smarter coaching decisions and a little more execution (Mannion missing the easy TD to Cooks). The offense was clearly nervous early on. Mannion played alright, but he’s definitely not a Heisman candidate, and we know now he was benefiting from the light competition. The game answered some questions.
Overall, that was a strong kick in the nuts. Fans have been stoked twice this year, opening day and Saturday, and both times they got a steel-toed in the sack. This will repeat over and over, as it is Riley’s wont. Big hat, no cattle.