Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Need of a Bye Bye Bye - Post Smackin' 4 Chief!

Well, this will be quick post. Not much has gone well or right for the Chief over the past three weeks, dating back to that lousy home loss to Ohio State. Let me be clear, we should be 9-0 heading into this bye week. Instead, we find ourselves at 6-3 after three straight weeks of under-performance.

What I've seen and read over the past month hasn't been good. Most of the issues right now are on offense (not getting the rushing attack going) and in special teams. We have the worst punt-return game in the league. And, after watching two botched field-goal attempts yesterday in Happy Valley, our kicking game has turned into a liability instead of an asset. Kicking game is killing us right now in every facet. We probably need to hire a special teams coach. Wait, we have one. Ugh! Not getting any points before halftime against Penn State cost us the game in Happy Valley.

Let me also be clear. These issue are totally correctable, and not signs of a complete breakdown. Our defense remains one of the best in the BIG-10 if not the nation. We have more talent on both sides of the ball than most teams we have faced this year. With playmakers and schemes, it comes down to execution instead of excuses. Basically, what I'm saying is that our issues come down to fundamentals and the little things we should be working on in practice each and every day: snaps, holds, blocks, reads, catches, tackles, and playing mistake-free football.

When I look at the tape and into the final stats, we should be 9-0 at this point in the season. Case in point, Penn State fame final numbers:

1) Chief had more first downs than Penn State (16-14)
2) Chief out-rushed Penn State (192 to 111)
3) Chief had more total yards than Penn State (286 to 209)
4) Chief had more time of possession (33 to 27).

For the season, Chief is 26th in the nation in total rushing and 15th in the nation in total rush defense, giving up just 2.7 YPC. In terms of scoring defense, it's hard to complain since we're also 15th in the nation at a tick over 17 ppg (only 18 TD's allowed in 9 games). On offense, we're #23 in the nation with total scoring at 26 PPG on 400 total yards, on average.

So, where does he go from here? Chief needs to get back to basics with more discipline and better execution if we expect to beat Michigan, Wisky, and Minnesota. Starting 6-0 with the soft schedule and home-cooking, we need to get to 8 wins in my opinion for this to be a successful season. Anything less would mean losing 5 or 6 of our last conference games, and trouble for Zooker. That means one of those two wins will have to come against Michigan and/or SCONI. Of course, with 2 of the last 3 at home, we also have the schedule to get to 9 wins and a better bowl game. Going 6-6 this year might be it for Ron. But, first things first. Let's do this. Get the hell out of our own way on offense and play like a champion once again.

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