Peeps, it just wasn't our day yesterday. You can't turn the ball over 5 times and beat anyone, especially not the #14 team in the nation. Here's what I saw:
1 Major props to this unit. They played their living guts out. Coming into the game, SCar had 7 3-and-outs all season. We forced them into 7 3-and-outs yesterday. SCar didn't convert a 3rd down until the 4th Quarter. Other than creating a turnover, it's hard to ask much more from the D. That kind of defensive effort should win most games.
2. SCar's first TD was terrible technique and a blown coverage by Dee Arrington. He was giving 15 yards cushion, which should have been plenty inside the redzone. But instead of moving, he stands still until the SCar WR is by him. At that point, it's too late. Easy TD for Shaw. My question: Why was Kendrick Market not in the game there?
3. Nickoe Whitley needs to sit. I know I say it every week, but it's glaringly obvious. He's now at least 1.5 steps slow, post-injury. He takes terrible angles to the ball and is constantly out of position. And he doesn't even lay the lumber anymore. Frankly, there is nothing he does well anymore. Market and Arrrington are probably our two best options at safety right now. Losing Jay Hughes was an absolute killer.
4. Matt Wells got burned bad a couple of times yesterday. It happens, not overly concerned.
5. Chris Jones wasn't as active yesterday as he has been. Looks like he's had his number of snaps reduced, too. That isn't a good move. He's been an absolute beast on the DL for us. He also batted down the 3rd down pass by Shaw when we had SCar pinned deep inside their 10 in the first half.
6. Bernardrick McKinney is a beast. 'Nuff said.
7. Thought our tackling was much better yesterday. Didn't see nearly as many broken tackles or YAC. That's a positive moving forward.
8. I'm very concerned about the lack of turnovers forced. We haven't had one in an SEC game in a while now. We've GOT to make that happen to beat the best teams in this league.
9. We came out with a good plan on D and executed it well. The D got put in bad positions on the short field due to the turnovers. They essentially held SCar to 14 points on the day. The other 20 all came after TOs.
1. Evan Sobiesk is FREE!!!!! I'm still shocked we actually gave him the chance to kick. And he looked good. Hopefully we've found our kicker.
2. As much as I've ripped Devon Bell, and rightfully so, I need to give him props when he earned them. And boy, did he earn them yesterday. His punting was absolutely spectacular. He averaged nearly 48 yards per punt and had crazy hang time. Honestly, he may wind up being a better punter than Baker Swedenburg. And that's saying something.
3. Speaking of Baker, you gotta feel for him. You know he has to be wondering what he did to be riding pine behind Bell. Frankly, he deserves to punt until he either graduates or gets injured. Any punter that holds opponents to something insane like 5 return yards for the season should never be benched. I don't care if the guy behind him might really be better.
4. As usual, the return game wasn't a huge factor. Props to SCar's specialists for not giving Tubby any real chance to return one.
1. 5 turnovers will get you beaten every single time. That can't happen. Period.
2. Dak played by far his worst game yesterday. For the first time, he looked rattled and unsure of himself. I was very surprised by that, considering how poised he looked on the road at Auburn. His first INT wasn't all that bad. Morrow didn't try to fight for the ball and it became a tip drill. The next 2 were awful decisions. No excuses for them. And his fumble to open the second half was an absolute killer.
3. Jameon Lewis continues to be our go to, big play WR. He makes guys miss and has the kind of game breaking ability we've been missing.
4. Robert Johnson is starting to emerge as a solid #2 WR behind Jameon. He's physical and gets YAC.
5. De'Runnya Wilson needs to step it up. He might have the most potential of any WR on the team. His emergence would be a HUGE boost for the offense.
6. I'm very concerned about the drops and general lack of physical play by our WRs. That has to change.
7. Saw a little more of Josh Robinson yesterday. That's a good thing and needs to continue.
8. Perk is Perk. He's got to make the catch he dropped, because it was going to be a huge gain.
9. Our TEs and WRs have GOT to stop missing blocks, especially in the screen game. That's why we struggle to gain positive yards on the bubble screen, among other things.
10. Artimas Samuel is going to be a good TE before he leaves here, but there was no need to pull his redshirt. The pass he dropped yesterday hurt. MoJo already drops enough passes from the TE position.
11. Didn't see nearly enough of Nick Griffin in the FB role. We need to go back to that, because it works.
12. More no huddle offense, please. We're very good at it.
13. I'm a big fan of Jamaal Clayborn. He may be young, but he's composed out there. The moment isn't too big for him. Not only that, he's very physical and moves well for a guy that big. He needs to be getting a larger portion of Beckwith's snaps.
14. We handled Clowney about as well as we could've hoped. Clausell in particular did a good job one-on-one with him.
15. Pre-snap penalties. It's an every week rant.
1. We had a good game plan offensively, we just didn't execute. Our play calling continues to be "herky jerky," as Mullen likes to say. We'll have success running, then we'll get pass happy for a stretch. It's frustrating.
2. Our substitution patterns mystify me. JRob comes into the game and provides a spark offensively. On the next drive, Perk is back in the game. Market isn't in on the goal line, even though he's been our best S so far. Bell over Baker.
3. A lot of people are blaming Mullen for the fiasco at the end of the first half. The truth is that it is partly on Mullen and partly on the players. Dak absolutely can't take the sack. That's not a coaching issue, that's an execution issue. Then he compounded the problem by wasting the final timeout due to confusion about the play. Again, execution. What DOES fall on Mullen is the FG unit trying to run onto the field early. That can't happen. Period. Huge coaching blunder there.
4. The game turned on Dak's fumble on the first possession of the second half. We get the ball in great field position, are moving it, can tie up the game. Instead, fumble, quick SCar TD.....game over. We had SCar where we wanted them and let them off the hook.
5. I know it sounds like an excuse, but this is still a very young team. But we're a young, talented team as opposed to a young, untalented team. If we were the latter, I'd be much more upset. Right now it's those young guys making the mistakes. It's frustrating, but correctable. The learning curve of how to win in the SEC is absolutely brutal.
6. Just so you know where WMD stands: It's Bowl or Go for Mullen as far as I'm concerned. We can still finish 6-6, which is what many of us predicted preseason. I think we can get there. We haven't played a complete game yet, and it's GOT to happen at some point this season. I just find all the constant speculation and bickering pointless so early in the season.
7. The positive yesterday is we've made some crucial personnel changes. Hopefully that makes a difference through these last 4 games.
That's how WMD saw it, anyway. You know the drill by now.
In Mullen We Trust,