The Quarter-Season Report

Hard to believe, but with the third game now in the books, the 2010 football regularseason is 1/4th done. I’m hoping that the season is actually only 3/14ths over, if you take my meaning, butits nice to still have that as a reasonable aspiration this far into the year.

Its hard tolook at the season thus far and find many nits to pick. Carolina sits at 3-0 and has risen from the deep ranks of ‘others receivingvotes’ to as high as 12th in the polls. Georgia appears out of the picture,Tennessee looks hapless, Florida looks vulnerable, Kentucky isstarting strong, but their schedu. . . wait, I fell asleep there for a second, and Vandyalready has their one allotted annual SEC win. Oh, and C.T.U. is unranked, havinglost the only realgame they’ve played thus far.

Garcia isn’t about to set any records, but the big goose egg in the loss columnthus farsquelches any latent QB controversy. The Defense looks solid, other than some trash points surrenderedto the Paladinsand Mustard Buzzards. Gurley, Moore, and Jeffrey all look like legitimate threats. Special Teams look vastly improved.

And there’s this kid from Duncan, SC that you may have heard about . . .

But still, question marks remain.

A big issue still on the table is OL depth. We started the year with three tackles, and are now (at least temporarily)down to two. We started with three guards, and we may also be down to two. We have one center. Other than these seven, we are left with practice players and true freshmen.

We also have questions at Spur and Safety thatmight be ignored for the time being. However, anytype of injury or suspension at those positions willbe amajor obstacle. If you don’t believeme, just review Coach Johnson’s comments from earlier in the year when he said we couldn’t call nickelcoverage for part of the USM contest because of lack of personnel.

But bigger than all of these (relatively) routine matters is the biggest threat of all to the 2010 campaign:

Distractions.

To review the off-the-field issues thus far:until scant moments prior to the USM game, we had upwards of twelve players in NCAAeligibilitylimbo. Then, in the week prior to the Georgia contest the NCAA notified the higher-ups that we were formally under investigation. Shortly after the Georgia contest, we learned that our All-SEC-type tight end was dismissed from the team. And then, in the hours leading up to the Furman contest, a starting OL returned home for a death in his family.And THEN after the game, our nickel backer learned that his brother had been shot.

Andthis week, Kenny McKinley, the school’s all-time leading receiver and close friend to many of the team’s upperclassmen,took his own life.

Whew. Its been a busy three weeks. And frustrating. And bizarre. And perplexing. And sad.

Given all of these distractions, its understandable if our players and our coaching staff are finding it difficult to focus on the upcoming Auburn game.

I knowI am.

So the quarter season report? Good thus far, but with looming distractions that threaten to turn a promising year into an average one.

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