Let’s Talk Hail State
Hail State faced another tough loss Saturday night, and it hurt. This loss really took the air out of the Bulldog nation as they watched Dan Mullen walking across the field at Davis Wade stadium with another victory. Unfortunately that win was against the Bulldogs. Yes, this loss will sting for a while and will take some time to get over it, but time is something we don’t have because Auburn is coming to town in four days. Yep, The Bulldogs are headed into the toughest part of the schedule, while already sitting 0-2 in conference play. It’s been ten years since the Bulldogs started a season 0-2 in conference play, all the way back when Sylvester Croom was the coach and that should make you stop and think about where we are today. So with that being said; LETS TALK HAIL STATE; the GOOD the BAD and the UGLY (Florida).
There was some good this week, and it was all about the defense and those big boys up front. For those who missed the game it is important understand that our defense was on the field like, (forever) in this game and held their own all night. I was very impressed with how State controlled the line of scrimmage for four quarters and continued to give the offense an opportunity to win. Unfortunately, that would not be the case but the defensive line should hold their head high, because they fought in the trenches all night.
In addition to the good line play, I would also like to give some credit to the defensive backs. Outside of one trick play that was a blown coverage, the backfield did a good job limiting the passing game of Florida and also reducing yardage at the second level.
As we all know the good is usually followed by the bad!
Moving On to the BAD!!
Last week I discussed how the linebackers play against Kentucky, was sub-par to say the least and this week was no different. There were moments in the game when there was no closer to the ball carrier and upon contact no intensity. This is not common of this group. I have a hard time understanding this when last year this same group of line backers were lights out the entire season. I know this group is better than this and it is time they start showing everyone just what they can do.
I’ll tell you what’s really bad, and that is the run game. No, it is not that we can’t run the ball nor, that our opponents stop the run, but rather that we just don’t run like we should. Here is a few numbers for all those non-believers out there. In the last two games Mississippi State has handed the ball off to a running back 24 times, exactly 12 times in each game. The count goes 13 runs for Kylin Hill and 11 runs for Aeris Williams. In those 24 carries, the two backs gained 108 yards on the ground, averaging 4.5 yards a carry. That is not a bad average in the SEC and this was just over the past two games. In that same two game period, Fitzgerald has run the ball a total of 36 times and has gained 52 yards with an average of 1.4 yards per carry. This shows how opposing defenses are focusing on Fitzgerald more than two of the best running backs in the SEC. It might be time for the backs to take the majority of the carries for a while with everyone keying of Fitz.
I hate to say it, but the dropped pass in the third quarter was pretty ugly. However, Mitchell has made several great catches already this season and he will make several more in the games to come. (PUT IT BEHIND YOU AND MOVE ON)
How about this; Mississippi State has not scored a touchdown in six straight quarters? WHAT!!! It is time to put an end to this offensive nonsense. As I recall this is the same team that ran all over Alabama last season, the same team that started the season 3-2 last season, and the same team that finished 9-4 last season. It is time for the coaching staff to form a game plan around the strengths of this team and execute our offense the way it was designed to operate, which is to punish defenses on the ground first and through the air second.
In closing, I would like to remind everyone that the schedule is set up in such a way that Mississippi State can still have one hell of a season, if they can get their act together. Everyone needs to get behind this team, and the coach’s, for the rest of the season, and stop trying to coach from home. The Bulldogs need a united front from the fans this weekend with everyone wearing maroon. “Rocking a cowbell”
This week we face an Auburn team that has a few issues of their own. Auburn only offensive attack is through the air, so I hope our defense is ready to pressure their quarterback because they will be throwing the ball a lot. A win here against the number eight team in the country could get the Bulldogs back, along with a much needed bye week before we head down to LSU to face those Tigers.
A win this week against Auburn and followed up with a win against LSU with both being ranked in the top ten would turn this season around and the SEC upside down. From what I have seen Mississippi State can beat both of these teams on both sides of the ball.