I told you so. I was against hiring Will Muschamp. Hated the idea. Thought he was our third choice at best and I was heavily influenced by his failure as a head coach at Florida. I was also against hiring Kurt Roper. Why would you hire the offensive coordinator from the same tenure, even if he was only there for one year? Flush that entire experience, start over.
That said, I sat back and watched Muschamp work. He recruited hard, he said all the right things, and that made it easier to accept the fact that he was South Carolina’s head coach. I did a little research on Roper and found out that, lo and behold, he’s actually not a bumbling idiot. He led some pretty good offenses at Ole Miss and Duke. I decided to wait and see.
So here we are. Half the season is over, we’re 2-4, and we have arguably the worst offense in the country. We have played average to bad defenses every week and are putting up a measly 14 points per game. The offense has been pathetic, pitiful, and depressing. So you know what I’m going to do about it?
Wait and see.
Sure, I’m going to complain about specific play calls and boneheaded coaching decisions such as not throwing to the sticks on 3rd and 4 or continuing to run our 180-pound tailback between the tackles when our offensive line can barely tie their shoes much less block SEC defensive linemen.
But I’m also going to remember along with that incompetent offensive line that ¾ of our offensive two-deep are underclassmen, we have a true freshman and a walk-on competing for the starting QB job, we have kids still learning a new system, we don’t have a feature running back (yet), and on top of that have been dealing with injuries to our two best offensive players. If you already have your mind made up about the coaching staff you’ll cry “excuses!”, but the reality is the previous staff left no experienced talent on the offensive side of the football. That’s not an excuse, that’s a fact.
Whether our offensive woes are the coaches or the players is a chicken or egg debate right now. I’m not smart enough to know the answer, and as smart as you are, you’re not either. So together let’s agree to keep on bitching about the offense, but let’s also agree there is plenty of blame to go around.
Right now, six games into the season, I’m going to refrain for saying “I told you so”. I’ll save that for a time when I’m actually right about it.
Speak, Roper, speak. Full disclosure, I haven’t watched any postgame press conferences and very few coach’s interviews since the new staff came in. But I’m puzzled about why Muschamp is not allowing Roper in front of a microphone at least occasionally. I have no opinion one way or the other on his not letting freshmen speak to the media, but I would certainly like to hear from the guy running the offense. Sure, you’d get a fair share of coachspeak I’m sure, but I would like to believe he’d be asked about specific plays or game situations where he could supply some perspective on his decisions. Until then, Muschamp is just feeding the beast that Roper is that bumbling idiot I mentioned before.
Blame game. You want somebody to blame for this situation, how about Ray Tanner? I still personally feel like the football coaching search was botched. Maybe Tom Herman was never coming here, but why was Justin Fuente seemingly not even on our radar? He’s doing a heck of a job at Virginia Tech now.
I love Ray Tanner. He seems like a genuinely good guy. He brought us the greatest athletic moments in our school history. But what exactly qualified him to be our athletic director? Winning a couple of national titles in baseball and because “he wanted to” shouldn’t have meant he got the job uncontested.
Maybe he will turn out to be a great AD, but if not we are screwed, and that’s my big fear. How do you remove a sacred cow like Ray Tanner from a position like that? It’s very similar to making Todd Ellis our play-by-play man. That was an awful decision that now cannot be undone unless he’s caught on camera kicking a basket full of puppies.
Carousel. I’ve advocated for both Perry Orth and Brandon McIlwain this season, changing my opinion on an almost weekly basis. The reason I continue to change my opinion is I keep hoping the guy on the sideline is going to be a little better than the guy on the field, and it just hasn’t happened so far.
At this point, if we want a chance to win any of our remaining games I think we have to stick with Orth. McIlwain has shown zero ability to throw the football, and his running skills have been much effective than we all expected them to be. As bad as Orth can be at times, he still has the ability to move the team through the air. I still have high hopes for McIlwain. Hell, let’s have some perspective, he’s still only six games into his career.
Meanwhile, there are still those of you in the Jake Bentley camp. I’ll be shocked – SHOCKED – if he doesn’t redshirt. But Muschamp stated after Georgia that every position including QB was up for grabs. If there’s a time to give Bentley his chance, it would be after an off week and against a team like UMass. But he would have to be pretty damn good in practice to throw out that redshirt year.
Good news, bad news. The good news is the defense only gave up 21 points, and two of those touchdowns came on drives of 28 and 39 yards after an interception and a bad punt. The bad news is we gave up 328 yards rushing and let Georgia hold the ball for 10 more minutes than we did.
Even with the bad news, it’s hard not to praise the improvements the defense has made since last year. We’re causing turnovers, creating pressure and are even in the top 5 in the SEC in tackles for loss. At the beginning of the year the defensive backfield looked like a huge weakness, and they are arguably the best unit on the entire team.
Uni watch. Count me among the minority, but I think I like the white helmets and garnet jersey and pants the most of all our uniform combinations. We’re garnet, let’s go garnet.
Next. An open date, thank God. Then we welcome in a pretty bad UMass team in a game where we HAVE to have an encouraging performance and score more than two touchdowns. Hopefully this off week will help us figure a few things out.