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Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:17 am
by Eyes of Old Main
I'm very happy to be where we are right now. This team may have the most heart of any Terrier team I've ever seen in the 25 years I've followed the program. That being said, I do have issues with playcalling on both sides of the ball.

I'll give the DC a pass since it's his first season and that always comes with some growing pains, but the OC needs to step up. When the middle is not there you can't pound it into being there. You have to open it up by going outside or throwing. We have guys all over the field giving it everything they have and we keep running plays that don't give them the best chance to succeed. Maybe the rest of the league has caught up with our offense and it's time for another reinvention. I'm not an expert and I can't say for sure what is needed, but the effort and desire of the players isn't the problem. I'm not trying to be overly negative, but many times in the past we have had dynamic offenses with less talent than we have now. It's been five years and it's like our OC still thinks he has Eric Breitenstein suited up.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:28 am
by Eric Deutsch
Ruckus wrote:8-1. Everyone is beside themselves because it isn’t pretty; not “Wofford football”; never seen an Ayers team like this etc.
You’re exactly right....because there has not been but 1 Ayers team that has been 8-1 or better (2003). And even that team didn’t have the expectations and wear the bullseye like this team has since week 1. So you’re right...this IS uncharted territory for us. As indicated by the incessant handwringing, negative whining, sky is falling mantra of this board for the last 2 months.
Shut up and enjoy it for gosh sakes.
WE ARE 8 AND FREAKING 1. LET’S BE HAPPY!!!!! Because it doesn’t happen very often.

As a part of that 2003 team, I can safely say that we weren't exactly an offensive juggernaut either back then. Our team was actually very similar to the team this year. Very strong bend but don't break defense and an offense that can take over a game when not making mistakes. One difference is our point totals were inflated by the defense and special teams scoring more so that made life easier for everyone. It was rarely the offense putting a team down, just about every SoCon game that year was a slugfest that our defense gave us the opportunity to win. There was not nearly as much parity between the teams back then either. Back then there were 3 teams in the SoCon worth talking about - App State, Georgia Southern, and Furman. We beat those 2 of them with a margin under a touchdown(Furman game was 7-6).

We had a huge class of seniors that year. We had Matt Nelson, arguably the greatest defensive players ever at Wofford and he was surrounded by guys who's names are all over the record books. We had a chip installed on our shoulder still from the end of 2001(there was speech that could basically be titled "Never again") and exponentially grew in size after the 2002 playoff snub. We had no expectations except those we placed on ourselves. This year's team came into the season with huge expectations because they've been there before.

You know what I think when I look at this team? They've got the talent and the ability to go further than we did. A lot of the things that are frustrating to watch are mistakes we've all made. The problem is that a lot of these mistakes(penalties) are bigger swings than they could be. 54 yard catch nullified today, a personal foul that keeps a drive alive that goes for 17 plays, an unlucky fumble recovery vs. Samford, etc. I promise you the coaches and players are more frustrated with those than any of you are.

That being said, being frustrated as a fan is understandable and so is venting about it. Calling for the retirement/ouster of coaches of an 8-1 team because the wins aren't blowouts is ridiculous. We have something at Wofford that most schools would dream of in successful coach continuity and succession. Coach Ayers and Lang have been here since before the dark ages, Nash has been here as a coach since 2003, over half of the coaching staff are former players you've been cheering for over the past decade+(it's been awhile since Coach Lang suited up, before some of the rest of them were even born). The coaching profession is a giant wild carousel ride that usually involves getting on and praying to land on a good job or any job every few years(at best) at most other schools.

Bottom line is this team is doing great work on the only statistic that counts at the end of the day, the wins and losses. 8-1! They ARE playing Wofford football and they're the living embodiment of this speech right now.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:39 am
by crabbyterrier
Injuries in Chatt game? I saw Datvious go out and not return. He was walking around on sideline. Maybe saving him for next week? Jerasaty? He limped off. Who else?


Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:29 am
by 19TERRIER19
Thanks for that Post Eric. I appreciate you sharing about that special 2003 season and team. Provides some great perspective.

Just a couple random things I noticed in the game....

As Law pointed out, I saw several suspect spots during the game. There was a 3rd down Chatt Gained in the second half that the official waved the first down markers on as if they had made the first down, and they were 2 yards short.....please tell me I’m not alone in seeing that.....

Secondly....the spot on the 4th down Chatt went for anc made by the slimmest of Margins was never measured. But according to marker and ball placement were right on the measurement.

Several of our spots on offense appeared to be a yard or so short when placed down.....I’m serious.....many runs appeared to be duck hooked by a yard or so......

I know I’m preaching to the choir when discussing officials. But I feel that the SoCon could use a review of officials and look to upgrade. I know these are men, doing a job, and I hate to criticize, but there are just some inept times that do not seem to be impartial or of merit.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:19 am
by Ruckus
Horrible spots all day. I agree and saw same thing. We were all talking about it.
Injuries: Datavious is the big concern but Domo Lemon went out as did Preister. Miles was gassed. Didn’t see Jeresaty. TS says Horton will be out with mono until at least the second round of the playoffs. I don’t know if that would include a bye if we get it a seed.
On another note, I didn’t realize Pace, Demmel and Jacob-Duffy are seniors. Not having grad programs hurt us in guys staying for their 5th year.
BTW - our coaches have not forgotten how to coach. It’s not like they woke up one morning forgetting what to do. We do what we do. Like it or not, this is how we are built. Let’s trust them a little more. I think after 3 decades they have earned that. And they have given us 8 wins so far this season to prove it.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:04 am
by lawdog
It was a war out there yesterday. There were some real licks passing both ways, some you could hear before you saw. And we do not back down.

Eric, thanks for your astute observations from the trenches.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:35 am
by WoCo65
I was at the game yesterday and thankfully left after Wofford's 4th down stand at 3:44 left. If I'd stayed, I would have been in one of those Ambulances headed to Spartanburg Regional! Reading about the game this morning here and on SHJ, I come across this quote from Watson re: the 2nd OT INT:

[quote]I’ve gotten in trouble in the past for trying to return it,” Watson said. “So I thought I would just go out of bounds. But the whole sideline was yelling at me to score. I just couldn’t quite get going fast enough again to make it all the way/quote]

EXCUSE ME.....WHAT!?!?!? Gotten in trouble for returning an INT? You're in double OT fighting for a Championship and you "thought you'd go out of bounds"?? How does he get this impression? HOW does he not KNOW if he scores the game is OVER??? That reminds me of the Kick Off flub we had at Norther Iowa.


Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:31 am
by lawdog
Ruckus wrote:I didn’t realize Pace, Demmel and Jacob-Duffy are seniors. Not having grad programs hurt us in guys staying for their 5th year.

Wow, also did not realize this about Demmel and Jacon-Duffy. It would be great if they played another year ... two of our best OL's ever, and they could provide great leadership as well. Next year is another chance for a special year.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:39 am
by Eric Deutsch
WoCo65 wrote:EXCUSE ME.....WHAT!?!?!? Gotten in trouble for returning an INT? You're in double OT fighting for a Championship and you "thought you'd go out of bounds"?? How does he get this impression? HOW does he not KNOW if he scores the game is OVER??? That reminds me of the Kick Off flub we had at Norther Iowa.


It was a mental gaff made because defenses are drilled to not take chances with the ball on a turnover. For fumble drills they practice securing the ball on the ground more so than scoop & score because creating a turnover is huge, missing one can be backbreaking. For interceptions it holds true as well. Secure the turnover and avoid fumbling at all costs. Especially guys who don't do returns often and don't practice securing the ball while running and haven't since high school.

The most important thing he did that play was make the interception and secure the ball. He didn't win the game for us but gave us an opportunity to do so.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:40 am
by Terrier13
Not knowing about returning the pick for a TD to win the game reminds me of when some NFL players didn't realize the game could end in a tie after OT. You've got to know the rules of the game and that's on both the player and the coaching staff.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:45 am
by lawdog
BTW, Clemons had a great game yesterday ... in fact, has had a fine season.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:47 am
by youngterrier
Let me be more specific in my criticism of the coaching, because it's specifically on playcalling.

We had a change in offensive philosophy around 2013/2014 (probably as a result of us laying an egg in the second half of 2012 in terms of scoring points). There was a Shanesy article about at the time. More wideouts, more passes, etc.

I don't object to that change in philosophy. At times we execute that philosophy really well. But the thing is, we're still an option team and option teams, more than other teams, are at their most effective when they call plays on a schedule. It's great that we have an intermediate passing game. That could be the difference between us winning and losing in some of these games, having to convert on third and 7 or so. But the problem is, we don't use it effectively. More often we see dumb trick plays (double reverse flea flicker screen) that are just on paper bad ideas (that specific play is going to be limited always) or endzone bombs (admittedly, some of those passes may have been covered short and our QB was throwing it away). Further, if we're committing to go for it on 4th and 6, why pass it on third and six? regardless of the fourth down play call, I like our chances on a shorter attempt.

Option teams are successful because teams know what they are going to do (run the ball) but are unable to stop it. Your average run-of-the-mill offense benefits by not having that sort of certainty behind it. Execution matters in every offense, but arguably it's more important in an option offense because there's less uncertainty about the strategy (they know we're going to run, but whether or not they can stop us is up to us).

What we're seeing on offense this year (and I'd argue, last year) is a failure to execute, but even then I don't think it's necessarily that. We ran the ball great against every team except Chattanooga and the Citadel. Look at the stats and we're above 4ypc in most games. In an option offense, that should be enough to put up points consistently. Turnovers are certainly important, but we've not turned the ball over that much this year. Penalties are important too, but at the same time, we've had lots of three and outs against inferior competition that had nothing to do with penalties (sidenote: at some point, failing to execute falls on the coaches as well, but I digress).

So if option offenses are successful due to staying on schedule and executing well and our execution isn't too bad, logically it has to be due to not staying on schedule which is all playcalling. Our OC doesn't know if he wants to be an option offense or a spread like Western Carolina. We can't be both and if we try to be, we're neither.

The trendline in the last few years has been that our offense fails to score points consistently. Back in 2007-2011 we were a committed option team and could reliably score 30 points in a game. Right now, we're less than committed and we struggle to score 30 in regulation.

I recognize why saying WL should resign if we lost yesterday offends and annoys people (and I'll admit, I'm being hyperbolic because it's so frustrating to watch). As I've pointed out multiple times, the coaches are great at coaching fundamentals and haven't lost anything when it comes to coaching execution. Having said that, the way our offense has worked over the last 4-5 years, it seems the difference between us being good and elite has all to do with the little things like play-calling. And I'm not even one of the people who gets mad when we do a fullback dive for one yard (I joke that I can't wait until the 2nd and 9 play call).

So that's my opinion. I recognize it's unpopular and I don't reasonably expect WL will resign (heck, he's likely Ayer's predecessor and even if I'm annoyed with him 60% of the time he definitely deserves it), but it's going to be hard to convince me that the reason why games are more competitive than they should be isn't because of the way our offense is being managed.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:20 pm
by walliver
It bothers me that we don't run the option well. Furman is running an offense based somewhat on Fisher DeBerry's with good success. The Citadel has moved the ball well, and if they didn't routinely fumble in the red-zone would still be in the hunt this year. We seem to run a slow-motion read option play that only WCU and Samford are unable to stop. At times, it seems that we have completely given up on running the ball outside: No jet sweeps, quick pitches or end-reverses - plays we ran well just a few years ago.

Our pass protection is much much better than it was two-three years ago. Did the change in offensive line blocking somehow stop the triple option from working? We have too many good running backs for them to get a chance to go outside effectively.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:00 pm
by Eric Deutsch
The option plays from the gun are a bit slower hitting than those from under center. As such, the blocking becomes more zone-like rather than assignment based as it is when under center. The zone style blocking is similar to pass blocking so it makes sense you would see an improvement. The QBs making quick decisions also makes an OLine look even better.

I personally miss the old wingbone but this style of offense is more flexible and allows for longer reads and can be more forgiving to the QB. There's also a lot more you can do with formations to spread the defense. As an OL I was all about 3 yards and a cloud of dust. It's not as much fun to watch though as big plays and definitely suffers when it gets off schedule. Our passes were limited generally to playaction and rollouts/screens or a quick hitter because pass blocking was not our strength. Our DL made us decent because of how good they were and I'm sure that's still the case now but we were never world beating pass blockers.

Re: Chattanooga

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:12 pm
by Ruckus
We still aren’t, Eric.
I miss the old days of pure TO wingbone too. But the new spread option:gun stuff makes us more diversified and helps our passing game. The problem is we aren’t a pure option, drive blocking offense anymore but we aren’t a true zone blocking team either. We are betwixt and between 2 different schemes.