Okay, so, after watching Georgia Tech pretty much have their way with us on our home field, I have a lot more questions than answers. And because I don't feel like putting myself through the pain of reading what any of the overdramatic sportswriters have to say, I'm going to provide my own heartbroken analysis of the pain. I mean game.
1. Who the #$^%*& is our starting quarterback? I know DJ came out with the team initially, but Sharpley was in before the half was over, and Clausen came out in the 4th, so really, what are we left with for the Penn State game? I don't know if playing all three QB's was in Charlie's game plan originally, but it seems to me if you have one QB, you should maybe stick with him a little bit longer than a quarter and a half. I honestly don't know what went on behind those decisions, and frankly it didn't help our team any. It certainly didn't seem to throw off Georgia Tech's defense.
OK, I know DJ didn't exactly play his best game. Fumbling the football once is bad enough, but people tend to forgive you as long as you make up for it later...which, clearly, didn't happen.
But for as much trouble as we got into with DJ at the helm, I don't think you can exactly say that Sharpley or Clausen would have saved the day as the starter, either. Our major offensive problem for the day wasn't any of the quarterbacks. Even with Brady Quinn in there, would we have fared much better? Obviously with Quinn there would've been a sense of leadership, consistency, and experience that the three QB's we have now lack--but that isn't necessarily their fault. But even Brady couldn't have stopped the major problem with our offense yesterday. Which brings me to my next point...
2. Offensive line--WTF???????
We have plenty of good running backs, they just didn't have any holes to run through. You have to give credit to Georgia Tech's defense for making hell for our team, but at the same time...offensive line, WTF????
5th-year center John Sullivan also has no excuse for snapping the ball way too effing high multiple times throughout the game. I guess you could argue that he's gotten in the habit of snapping the ball to Brady, who hovers somewhere around 6'2", and Jones and Sharpley are--what? Closer to 5'11"? But even that's no excuse.
But really, O-line. Tech's defense got more sacks on our QB's yesterday than some teams get in a season. Sharpley got sacked, what, seven times in two quarters? No, less than that. Like a quarter and a half, maybe. Is there some new rule in college football where you're not allowed to throw the ball away??? Because nobody did that, and while none of them got intercepted the entire game, none of them got decent yardage or a touchdown, either.
I have to say, though, play of the game: Sharpley effing drops the football and maintains enough composure to pick it up, throw off some defender and complete what is almost a first-down/touchdown pass to John Carlson (who, if he hadn't been tripped up by that effing defender, would've made it all the way to the endzone).
Is it sad that, at least from where I was sitting, that was the best play of the game?
Anyway...I'm not saying our O-line was the greatest ever last year (our running game wasn't exactly superb, even with Walker, and Quinn still got sacked at least twice a game), but if they'd played half as well as last year's line it would've been an improvement. If they'd been able to open up some holes, one of our--what is it, five?--talented running backs might've been able to pick up some significant yardage. Maybe our QB's wouldn't have been under constant pressure and would've been able to complete a pass worth more than seven yards. Maybe there wouldn't have been five kabillion sacks and we actually would've found the endzone (or, at the very least, the other side of the forty-yard line).
Even our punter didn't have time to breathe before getting the ball into the air.
You could say Georgia Tech had our number, but I don't think even that's true. With three different offensive systems/QB styles to worry about, I don't think Georgia Tech could possibly have known what was coming on every play. It seemed more like their defensive coordinator decided to stop losing sleep over it and said, "Screw it. Let's just throw a blitz on every play and see how those fuckers handle it."
To which I say: good point.
At any rate, the last worry I have about our offense doesn't concern the players. I think he's aware, but all the same...
3. Charlie Weis--WTF?????????????????
Personally, I think the whole 3-QB thing isn't really working out for anybody. Just...pick one. I don't care how talented they're all looking right now, just pick one and stick with it and everybody else can deal with it.
That way, the one QB will be able to look his offense in the eye and say, "I'm your leader, you're going to follow me through thick and thin even if I throw an interception on every play, because damn it, I'm your leader." And that way we'll have, A) One offensive system to worry about, B) one effing style of quarterback to rally the team around, C) more time to discuss BALL CONTROL with our QB's, RB's and special teams, and, D) a chance to get the team relaxed and into a rhythm with our offense instead of changing it up all the time, MID-GAME.
With what we have now, there's just...no consistency.
I never thought I'd say this, but really...just...just start Sharpley. I think he runs the style of offense Brady ran, and the team in general seems more familiar with it, and I think Charlie himself is more comfortable with it. Jones is really my favorite, but...he's more of an option quarterback, and I just don't see our offense pulling off the option successfully. (Also I effing hate the option. Screw that.) I think Jones does a good read and a good run, but...I just don't think it's going to work for us. Plus if all else fails, Jones could make a helluva wide receiver (a la Arnaz Battle). Providing our QB's ever get any time to throw, that is. And yeah, OK, Jimmy's our little prickly-headed superstar, but he needs to take a year on the bench to get over himself. (OK, really, in case you don't know this about me, I just don't like Jimmy Clausen. I think he's talented and he throws the ball pretty, but he needs an attitude adjustment. Somebody stick a pin in that overinflated head, PLEASE.)
I don't think there's much more to say about that.
And as for the defense...
I just...I just don't know. Georgia Tech had good field position pretty much the entire game, and our D managed to at least keep them out of the endzone until the end of the second half, but GT still scored pretty much every time they got their hands on the ball (although kudos for the blocked FG, that was pretty sweet). Georgia Tech punted, what, three times the entire game? And they had zero turnovers.
I mean, basically, the best thing that happened for our team yesterday was Michigan losing to Appalachian State (HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!).
But now that this pain and anguish is over with...I can only hope for better things vs. Penn State. I think our team is capable of playing much better than they did yesterday. (OK, any team is capable of playing better than we did yesterday.) It sucks that our opening schedule is so brutal, but all the same...Penn State is overrated, and Charlie Weis is talented on the road. (We hope.)
Plus I think what people don't realize is that yesterday was jinxed from the get-go. Coach Weis hosted the pep rally on Friday night, and the band failed to play the Victory Clog during its morning practice. (The last time we did this was before the Michigan game last year. Always a bad idea.)
And I am not spending seventeen hours on a bus next weekend just to see our team lose.
GO IRISH BEAT LIONS!