. . . in no particular order.
>I tried to warn you guys that this CSU game was going to be a difficult challenge for this particular Razorback team (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=20174&p=142461&hilit=csu#p142461). I know it’s not what you wanted to hear, or believe; it isn’t what I want to believe, either. But that doesn’t change what is. It’s not that CSU is “that good”. It’s that we’re - well - we’re not either, and road games early in a new regime are often not very successful. All the warning signs were there, for anyone who looked objectively.
>The truth is that though I’d, of course, rather have won the game . . . the loss doesn’t really upset me as much as it usually would. Why? Because I never expected too much from this year’s team. After all, this is, essentially, last year’s team without some of the senior leaders we had on that squad. We’re playing with new QB’s and a short deck in the OL So we were never going to do too much anyhow. 6 wins was the ceiling for this team, but I never considered that number of wins as my “expectation”. I went in saying 4 or 5 - maybe 6 (if all broke right) - and i still feel that way.
>Remember that B. Petrino’s first season was only 5 wins. We looked terrible in winning the first two games that year - we were really fortunate to win either of them. And we didn’t look much better for a while. Then, in the last half of the year, we started being more competitive, even though we were out-manned in many of the games. That’s all I’m hoping to see this year - an increased understanding by the players of what it is that Morris and company are trying to do on offense and defense, hard effort, and competitiveness. If, by the end of the year, I can see improvement from this early stage, I will deem that satisfactory.
>I know everyone is tired of losing and desperately wants to celebrate wins and be competitive with the rest of the SEC. I feel the same way. But it is absurd and unrealistic to have expected too much from this group this year, with the personnel we had coming back, and understanding that any time you change both the offensive and defensive scheme, there is a learning curve that is not trivial and cannot be avoided.
>I really, really hope that Morris uses the rest of this season as an extended Spring practice . . . an on-the-field laboratory to play any and everyone against live competition and learn who he can depend on over the next couple of years. If we win 2 or 5 games, it matters little to me. What does matter is that we improve, find out who are dependable players are, and get everyone fully indoctrinated with the playbook for next season. I’d hope to see more of the freshmen QB’s, for one example. I’m of the opinion that our starting QB next season will be neither Storey nor Kelly. It will be one of the 3 freshmen on the team now - or a QB coming in with this upcoming recruiting class. So play all of the freshmen in live situations now, and see who steps forward.
>I am not down on this coaching staff. At least, not at this time. I’ll give them all of this year and toward the end of next year before I even really start to evaluate them as on the field coaches. Right now, we are seeing what happens when a new coaching staff inherits mediocre talent (relative to the conference they are in) and installs a totally different offensive and defensive scheme. These kinds of results are predictable in year 1.
>My continued hope is that this staff can recruit at a high level and bring in talent suited for their program. This 2019 class will be the first indicator of that, and the 2020 class will be THE key class. How well they recruit and coach up those two classes will ultimately tell the tale. I still feel good about that.
>It will be hard for most to do, but I plan to approach the rest of the season with a “I don’t expect anything but good effort and improvement” mentality, without focusing too much on wins and losses. Perhaps that mindset can make what is sure to be a string of losses less painful. Now, that’s THIS season - not a permanent change. I still want - badly - to win big. And I’m still foolish or naive enough to think it can be done here. But it won’t happen this year, and I’m not going to beat my head on the concrete expecting it to.