Having listened to the negative spin put on Saturday’s game by Bo Mattingly and others and having re-watched it, I personally thought it was fun game with a lot of very encouraging things to note. Yes the running game needs work, but that work can be done.
While all the focus has been on the OL’s run blocking, the pass blocking was the best we have seen in years. Kelley and Storey had clean pockets to work with most of the game. And watching some of the plays in slo-mo there were indeed holes opened that the rbs flat out missed. No it was not Alabama, but for a team that could not block anyone for two seasons this was incredibly encouraging.
Other positives included:
Kick off teams were very good and Warren looked explosive.
Jones and Pettway answered the question of whether this team has play makers at WR. Both were spectacular and if this holds for the whole season then this team really does have a chance to at least be good. Jones’ speed is SEC quality and will play against any foe. Chase Harrell also looked like a promising receiver.
With Hudson Henry in the house is was nice to see Cantrell play a very good game. You knew the coaches wanted to show Henry that he will be used effectively at TE and Cantrell was solid. He could have a huge season. I thought it was going to be O’Grady, but Cantrell showed he can block, catch and run.
Storey and Pool of course came off the bench to excel and Greenlaw demonstrated how good he is when healthy. Not losing him for the season was a blessing. We actually have depth at LB!
For the first time in a while we appear to have a reliable placekicker. If true this eliminates one of the Achilles Heals that this team had the last two seasons. No more going for it in FG range because you don’t trust your kicker.
D’Vone McClure showed explosive speed at the nickle and was active all game. He came like a bullet to cause the fumble and was disruptive multiple times.
Frosh Isaiah Nichols and JUCO transfer Dorian Gerald looked like they belonged out there. Neither was big on the stat sheet, but they looked confident out there. The d-line is going to be interesting to watch as some of these guys gain confidence and the game slows down for them.
I really could go on, because I saw much to like for the first step in a team rebuilding marathon. Anyone expecting great things this season is setting themselves up for disappointment. But if you enjoy Razorback football, this team has a chance to be fun as they continue to get better. WPS.
No not Roll Tide Roll, but Relish The Rebuild. There will be ups and downs and like any rebuild it will have rocky moments - perhaps several of them - along the way and won’t be easy. That said, I’m going to enjoy watching this staff work their tails off as they recruit, develop, teach, etc.
I was most excited with the defense movement. They seemed much faster to me. Almost all the runs against us I saw were because the interior DL made a mistake or a DE or LB didn’t move to cover the gap correctly. That’s correctable. I saw a lot of young mistakes and we are going to have that. I’ll judge the offense more after the next two weeks, but I have to believe our head coach will make us more than capable on that side as the season goes on. I just think the defense can be exciting to watch this year if they correct things and stay healthy.
It’s like others have said on here, you can enjoy watching us learn or drive yourself crazy by repeating that our talent level isn’t where we all want it to be. We are not playing for championships this year. We just don’t have the overall talent and depth. So look at this team, players and coaches, on how they work to improve each week and hopefully how much they give in each game. Because that is what we all do every day of our life if we offer anything to this world.
I hated the defeated attitude of the team last year. I just hope we compete every week and we win the games we should win while stealing a couple from teams not as prepared as we will be. That would make a most amazing 7 win season for me.
(Would have sent this response in an earlier thread, but it had gotten to long and was not as current when I just got in from vacation.)
Any good teacher will tell you that when introducing new concepts, it is best to begin with some mastery of the basics before trying to master the more complicated variations (which usually rely on the basics). This season gives our coaching staff a wonderful opportunity to utilize the above, in that our first game was against an opponent where only the basics were needed. Hence the prior thread by others (many of whom appeared to be complaining) about the “vanilla” offense and defense of the first game. As the OP so well noted, there were many positive (and some correctable “misses”) in these basics’ utilization in the first game. This week the coaching staff and players have the opportunity to work on correcting some of the weaknesses in basic play and move on to a few of the more complicated concepts for a probable more challenging foe, with each successive week continuing to improve on the present and introduce additional variations of the basic system (just the way any good teaching system is supposed to work). As noted by the OP, let’s see the improvements in many areas from the prior year and enjoy the development as it unfolds. Could turn out to be a much better year than many of us expected, and (if we let it) the future looks promising at this point.
I wasn’t able to see much of the game Saturday. Recorded the replay that came on early Tues morning. Watched the first half last night. Overall, I was pleased even though I know the opponent was very weak. I don’t think we can draw any big conclusions from a win like that, but had we struggled to pull out a win of even 2-3 TD’s, I think that would have been reason for worry. At least we don’t have that.
I’m still thinking 5-6 wins depending on breaks & staying healthy. Perhaps as many as 7 wins if things really fall well or that we’re much better than I fear. To me this season is about building for the future. Showing enough promise that recruits will want to be part of our program. If we win no more than 4 games, that will concern me, but right now I think we’ll win more than 4. Not as confident as I’d like to be on that, but reasonably confident. I’m not going to judge this season just by the W-L total, though. I want to see how we look in each game. Can we play tough against the better SEC teams? If we haven’t been blown out by any opponent by the start of the 4th qtr, we have probably shown improvement.
I came away from the game thinking the same thing, Hursthawg. I felt real positive, then Drive Time came on about Clarksville (going to Conway) and Marcus, Randy, and Fitz were whining their fool heads off so I got prepared. Listening to them, you would think we lost the game.
I’m predicting we will rush 200 yards Saturday, maybe 250. This is an easy fix.
I think we will have a chance to win eight more games. We will be in the games, and, with a little luck, win a few of them.
The fact is he started right out focusing on the OL and running game after a 55-20 victory. He did not start out with Ty Storey, or the defensive turnovers or the great pass protection that kept Ty and Chad on their feet and gave them lots of time to find the open man.
There were multiple positive angles that could have lead off, but instead he went right to the negative.
This has nothing to do with liking or disliking Bo. Not a thing. Honestly I don’t listen for him. I listen for you, Mike and Clay.
Of course there is no requirement to be all sunshine and roses and if you are trying to appeal to the negative fans out there then that is the way to go. But I don’t think most fans are like that. The silent majority are supportive and after a victory enjoy what was good about the game instead of clutching their pearls over what was wrong that needs correcting.
Finally if you are not going to be upbeat when the new coach wins his first game in front of a great crowd and a sparkling new stadium upgrade when are you?
Disagree - accentuating a few positives while downplaying negatives is why we are where we are. Too many media members and fans bought the BS flowing out of the football complex in recent years even though it was clear there were significant problems in recruiting, evaluation, and development. Heck, there were still people at the end of last year that thought the coach should be retained even though he was responsible for one of the worst rosters in the league… how does that happen?!?
Less sunshine and more straight talk is needed from fans, media, administrators, etc.
i agree completely. My biggest question mark about this season was at quarterback and I just wanted us to find I guy that can be average enough to keep us on track this year. I think Ty Storey showed that he can be more than that.
A big difference I noticed in the first game of the CM era - our defenders looked like they actually wanted to tackle someone! Too many times over the course of the past 2 seasons I noticed Hog defensive players shy away from contact…
Bo just tells it like he sees it & what it was. He can be irritating at times but overall I kinda like to listen to his show. Is he perfect? No. Are we fans? No.
As for the game one could balance out the positives & the negatives. If we build on the positives & correct the negatives, we will see progress.
Bout all we can hope for now. I am optimistic this Coaching regime will recruit what’s needed & this football team & future teams will be exciting to watch.
I am one of the guilty ones that bought the sunshine and fought for it. I think many of us are scratching our head that supported the program and staff of CBB. I know this is weird but I think we are a better fanbase because of this. Why? I think we finally closed the door on the HDN to Petrino anger and division. I see fans that were Petrino fans that have finally embraced a different coach in CCM. I think we are healing those divisions now.