I’m just devastated by this loss… I mean, I couldn’t be at a lower point in my life. I haven’t slept since. I daydream about us stopping the 2 point conversion, or the kickoff not going out-of-bounds (which in my opinion were the 2 BIGGEST plays of the game). BUT, I want to pump up and revigorate some of us who are so crushed by what happened this past weekend.
Jeez – look at what we’ve let Minnesota do to us. I can pinpoint some of you out there, who till two weeks ago very being optimistic about a USC-Purdue national championship showdown. And now you’re talking about selling your season tickets off, or moving to Canada, or watching golf instead (yeah I’m exaggerating)… We have to keep the faith guys - we have to keep the faith. A lot of things happened in that game, a lot of momentum swings, and we were cautiously optimistic till the end. Our defense, which was just so freaking tired, eventually gave (not that they did that good a job of containing the rush in the beginning, but Minnesota knew what they could exploit, and they did it really damned well)
We HAVE TO STOP DWELLING ON THIS LOSS… Its like a bad breakup – we just have to rip the bandaid and keep moving. There’s a lot of anger amongst us, a lot of us are going “why me”, and “why wasn’t I born a trojan” and whatever else. But we have to let this one go, and look ahead to Notre Dame.
Can you stop for a minute, and put yourself in Tiller’s shoes? Or even Spack’s? What do you think they’re feeling? Do you think they wanted to lose their Big-10 opener? Do you think they’d appreciate the fact their fans are calling for their heads, or that we’ve given up hope on them? Is that what they want at this point in time? Is that what we want? Can you imagine what would’ve happened if we’d stopped them on that 4th down? What if that kickoff hadn’t gone out-of-bounds? One play either which way, and this game would’ve been ours! We’d be celebrating our win, instead of thinking about sacking Tiller or Spack or Chaney. And, for those of you who think we were playing conservative, or that we’re ok with being 2nd or 3rd best in the big 10, PLEASE – do you realize how a gutsy a call that was on 4th down, when we went long with Davis? I mean, who saw that coming?? That was just sheer genius on Chaney’s part and brilliant execution by BK and Davis. Every time we lose one, most of what I see are comments from people talking about how we don’t recruit as well, or why Chaney’s a fat-ass… If this is the best we got, then we need to know how to play them to the best of their abilities. I don’t want to be a part of the (2003–04) Laker team, I want to be a part of the (03–05) Pistons team – no Kobes, no Shaqs, just a buncha guys who really know how to play with each other really well. Teamwork with excellent leadership.
There were no losers in this game. I know, I’d rather take a ‘W’ too, but this was just too damned close. And don’t forget we were playing them on their home turf, and we came pretty damned close to beating a really good Minnesota team. There was a reason Tiller looked the way he did after the game, and why Mason hugged Tiller. This physically hurt the entire team.
We need to support our team now. We need to rally behind them in every which way, and communicate that we respect them as heroes who went down fighting. And that we want them to go out there and fight again on Saturday. So, please, lets try to turn this around.
Here’s what I want to see on Saturday against ND…
Offense : I want to see the ND defense get confused and I want to see them dazed. I want to hit them with something offensively that they’ve never seen before. Weis might’ve been an awesome O-coordinator for the Pats, but lets welcome him to some Big-10 bball on grass. Lets hit’em with something like what KO and the Boilers hit the Badgers with a couple of years ago in Madison.
- Pump-fakes : The ND secondary isn’t all that great. We should be able to get away with some jukes, a pump-fake, and going deep. We didn’t do enough of that on Saturday. Involve Hare, the stork, and Keller early. They’re are our big guns. On short ranges, and some crossing patterns we can count on Bryant, Jones and Davis.
- Reverses : Where was Ray Williams on Saturday? He’s quick, and we pulled of a real awesome reverse against Akron a few weeks ago. I want to see him get involved in a reverse.
- Swing pass : The swing pass worked really well for Minnesota. And we have a phenomenal receiver in Brandon Jones (who was also under-utilized on Saturday). He needs to be a bigger part of the game plan if we want to win.
- Screen pass : Again, I think Brandon Jones or Kory Sheets would be just awesome here. Let the offensive line give a little bit, we’ll let the ND defense think they’re gaining on us, and then we’ll hit our RB with a screen pass. (now that I think about it, frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen us run a screen – have you?)
- Run, BK, Run!! I wonder why we didn’t call any QB draws against Minnesota? There were too many shotgun formations, and option plays that went nowhere on Saturday. Let BK run his natural game – he can run, why not pull that card every now and then with a spread field? We cannot still be concerned about BK not protecting the ball.
Defense : This ND offense is going to be all about passing this Saturday.
- Blitz blitz blitz : Blitz hard and blitz early. Remind Quinn of his first ever collegiate start. This is a huge risk against ND because their receiving corps is a lot better this year than it was last year, but if we can manage to ruffle some feathers early, we’ll have the edge. We really need to have Spencer and Edwards step up and have some black and gold rubbed on ND’s tees.
- Samardzija and Fasano : Don’t let these guys get off the line. They can be huge threats. We need to stuff these guys at the line (at the risk of being called for defensive holding), but we can’t let these guys get off the line. Period.
- Darius Walker : Have someone like George Hall spy on this guy throughout. Granted this is not going to take care of all our concerns with Walker, but atleast we’ll know how to counter some of their formations as the game goes on. And I know ND is gonna wanna throw some screen plays at us.
- Buck up the secondary : If I know Weis correctly, he is gonna wanna throw deep. Kyle Smith came through REALLY big for us on Saturday, but in my opinion, our secondary needs a lot of work. I think we need to worry more about the pass than about the run this coming Saturday. ND is no Minnesota when it comes to the running game.
So, why do I want to move on – why do I still want to keep the faith? Do you remember the 31–3 loss we suffered at Michigan a couple of years ago? You realized what we’d done back then? We’d folded. We looked like helpless gazelles being chased by leopards. That game went no where and was one of the most frustraing losses. KO looked helpless and Tiller and Chaney looked like they’d lost the game before it’d even started. But that is NOT what I saw against Minnesota on Saturday. This team didn’t quit. They were outplayed, but they kept fighting. I know this team has what it takes. I can feel it.
PS: You need to realize that this is quite a bit therapeutic for me, because I’m mostly talking to myself as I’m typing this.