Sunday, August 31, 2008

crash clunk

That sound you heard was the hopes - not expectations, mind you, just the hopes - of 64,947 people dropping to the concrete floor of Scott Stadium. (Some of those hopes admittedly had a soft landing on the hill, where they rolled to the bottom and got lost in the bushes somewhere.) I'm not sure exactly when that happened. I've narrowed it down to either sometime in the middle of a certain 4th-and-1 play in the first quarter, or perhaps round about the time the offense made two trips into USC territory with the score still in reach (21-7, 24-7, etc.) and came out with zilch.

Al Groh said, and I quote directly, “It wouldn’t be right for me or anybody to say that anybody played well today.” That is as candid a statement as you'll ever see from Groh, and translated out of coachspeak it means, "Fuck, that shit was fucking shitty." But coaches don't swear in front of the media, except for Mike Gundy. Coaches swear at quarterbacks with a habit of fumbling away the ball inside their own territory. At least we finally got to find out who would be our starting quarterback. Unfortunately we didn't learn anything about who'll start next game. I think Lalich had an OK game, other than the two fumbles, but two fumbles tend to overshadow a lot in coach's minds, especially when 64,947 people are screaming JUST FALL ON THE DAMN BALL!

That's not to say I agree 100% with Groh's assessment, though. Oh, I think you can pretty much rule out the defense, and the quarterback, and the offensive line mostly, and the running backs mostly. I'd like to have a more thorough analysis, but 52 points does the work for me as far as the defense is concerned. But a couple players did well. Jimmy Howell's punting work was good. Only one bad punt, IMO. He's begging to get one blocked and soon, though, unless he gets rid of it quicker.

What I liked, though, was the wide receivers. Cary Koch and Jared Green had games worth mentioning, and each bailed out Lalich on one occasion (more on that in a separate post, so's not to make this one too rambly.) I said we'd need to have someone step up besides just Ogletree to give defenses something to think about, and I think Koch and Green succeeded there. Dontrelle Inman had a nice catch too, which you won't see on the scoresheet because he landed out of bounds. Although, if he had done a better job of getting open, maybe the catch would be on the scoresheet after all.

None of that is the real silver lining, though. The real silver lining is the giant donkey shit half the rest of the ACC took this week as well. Clemson got steamrolled, and coincidentally, open season on Tommy Bowden began at about 11 PM last night. Tech got hoist with their own petard by ECU, though I really think their defense was all set to lose that game even if that punt hadn't been blocked. UNC struggled to beat I-AA McNeese State, though in fairness McNeese is not a bad team, having reeled off 11 straight wins to start last season. Maryland had similar troubles with Delaware. NC State (a team that it is most unfortunate we do not play this year) gave the hell up somewhere in the third quarter and got completely shut out.

So I dunno. I'd like to think that maybe USC is just so good that we can't really judge on that game. But hell, man, are we a BCS-conference team or what? (Though after the ACC's performance this week, some may question that.) I don't think anyone really expected to win. I also don't think anyone expected to lose by 45. I hate it when everyone says we're gonna be a bad team and then they turn out right. Hopefully the team hasn't forgotten their bounce-back lessons from last year.

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