Every game day, I have this routine that I go through. I eat a certain breakfast. I have to read the paper in a particular order. I have different outfits for games whether they be home or away, conference or non-conference, football or basketball. Now, before anyone dismisses me as a pathetic, superstitious loser, let me state for the record that I realize that absolutely none of this has any bearing on whether the team wins or loses. The reason I do it is because I am a Ute fan. It is something to which I have dedicated myself. I want the teams to be successful, and moreover, I want to feel like I'm doing my part. Unfortunately, I can't be on the field making tackles or batting down balls. I can't be out there reading blitzes or pulling along the offensive line and ear-holing a linebacker. Basically, as a fan, all I can do is give my money to the Crimson Club, attend every game even when the opposition sucks,(I'm not there to see the opposition) and go through my stupid little routine.
Now, if I'm doing the little things on my end, I think I have the right to have certain expectations of the teams as well. Frankly, I don't feel that my expectations of the athletics program are unreasonable. I don't expect to be undefeated every year. I don't expect national championships in every sport year in and year out. The only thing that I expect is for the coaches and players to want to win as badly as I want them to.
On Saturday night, they didn't.
It's easy to assign blame to the players. The offense didn't execute for squat, and the defense dug the team into a hole in the first few minutes. But to be honest, I can't in good conscience assign blame to a group of young men sent out to execute a flawed game plan by an unprepared coaching staff.
I'm not so totally upset that the game plan was flawed. That happens all the time. You never know how the other team is going to respond to what you throw at them. The thing is the coaching staff needed to make adjustments, and they never happened - well, actually, the defense made some good adjustments, but the offensive scheme was plenty inept to screw them too.
Why did Tommy Lee feel that come Hell or High Water, we were going to run the ball up the middle, and were going to keep trying until we got it right? Not only were we stopped dead in our tracks by an 8 or 9 man front every time, the blitzing safeties and linebackers forced three of our four turnovers. Our offensive linemen were forced to hold because 3 men were breaking through the line and ready to tee off on Darnell. When teams stack 8 men in the box, that leaves man on man coverage on the wideouts. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but don't we have two wideouts with 4.4 or better speed. They should be able to bury a DB man on man. Why not throw deep. Why not try a pitch or sweep to give the O-Line more time to develop a hole. I simply don't understand why the coaches had to be so Freakin' stubborn and stick with the original game plan.
Furthermore, why are the coaches trying to transform Darnell into a drop back passer? Let the man do his thing and win games. I know the concern that if he scrambles he'll get hurt, but I don't see Tee Martin getting hurt. I don't see Joe Hamilton getting hurt, or Quincy Carter, or Antwan Randle El, or. . .well you get the picture. Last year, Donovan McNabb, Michael Bishop, Dante Culpepper, Akele Smith, were among the top QB's in the country. I think they scrambled occasionally, and didn't get hurt. Take the leash off. If the coaches are going to insist on having a pocket passer, then put in Crowshaw, and make Darnell a receiver. It would be nice to have a receiver who won't short arm balls, or break off routes prematurely to avoid getting hit.
I'd like to express these feelings to the coaching staff, but every time I do, be it at a Crimson Club luncheon or the Call in show, I, and every other critical person, is dismissed as someone who doesn't know anything about football. Now, I may have never played a down of college football, but I have played and coached organized football. Football is one of my passions. I really enjoy studying strategies, and designing plays. I know what works, and how to force the opposition into bad mismatches. Granted, I may not be the foremost authority on game planning, but I'm not an idiot, and I have enough common sense to know that if something isn't working, you try something else rather than pushing ahead with an ineffective game plan. It's this type of arrogance and stubbornness that makes me wonder why I go through all I go through for the good of the team.
Now, after all that, I'm coming right out and saying that I'll be at the game on Saturday. It's my understanding that Arceneaux and Anderson are doubtful for Saturday, I say good. Even if they're ready to go, hold them out anyway. Let them have an extra week to get ready for Air Force. (Besides, if we can't beat Louisiana-Monroe with Crowshaw and Bacon, our problems go well beyond poor coaching.) I'll be at Rice-Eccles whatever the situation. I'm going to yell my butt off, and I'll be dressed in the proper outfit. If we lose the rest of the games this year, I'll be back next year doing the exact same things. Quite frankly, poor coaching and the continual lack of discipline and execution that have plagued the Utes throughout the ninties are not enough to ever change one simple fact. . .I am a UTAH Man, and Will Be Til I Die!
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