The View From Section 241 | The Boneyard

The View From Section 241

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Why did it take me until Monday morning to write this? Frankly, because I've never been more disgusted with a game since starting to follow this team when it moved to the Rent, and I just couldn't make myself bother to write this. I'll try now. First of all, for the players to come out as flat and lethargic as they did for the start of that game was beyond inexcusable, This was a huge, winnable, late season game. With players that knew how to play harder as the season wore on. And we sleptwalked through the first quarter. Inexcusable for the players not to be ready from the opening kickoff. Then, on top of that, for a big, winnable, late season game, the crowd lethargy was unbelievable and depressing. Tons of empty seats (I am guessing we will set a record this year, on the low end, for average attendance) and no juice in the building at all. If we don't care more than this for a game in late November with BCS implications, is the point of thinking we can generate the support to play big boy football.

Generally, we sleptwalked through the first ten or twelve minutes. We then totally outplayed them for the next 25 minutes or so, got back in the game and would have taken the lead if there was any execution whatsoever on throwing and catching the ball. Not making tough plays but just executing on easily makeable plays. And then Reyes commits a dumb penalty, the D gives up a long drive punctuated by Gary Wilburn unable to make a play on a fly route down the right sideline that he had covered all the way. And a loss we couldn't afford. And didn't need to have.

Offense, defense and special teams. The three kickers all did their jobs, Nick Williams had another solid day returning kicks, and yet nonetheless special teams play didn't win the game for it but lost it for us. You can't play the way we play this year and allow the opening kickoff to be returned for a TD, putting you in an immediate whole. And the lack of effort on that play by us was just palpable. Other than Dwayne Gratz, no one turned and chased once the returner went by them. hard to be shocked by this thought -- covering kickoffs has been an issue all year, and, as I've said all year, we don't seem to focus on getting big guys down to break up a wedge. And then the penalty on Reyes, where I thought he had a chance to make a play on the kick but .... AArgh.

On defense, Blidi didn't start, and didn't play every series, but he played most of them. Eventually, that lead Byron Jones moving back to Safety which, I think, left Tymeer Brown in at one Safety and pushed Jerome Junior to the bench in our base D (although he still played plenty). Incredibly, even with Blidi back, we still made room for Gary Wilburn to be on the field in extra DB packages, and he still failed to make what I think was the key play in the game (which would have ended the drive that put LV up 11 after the Reyes penalty). The D really played well at times, shutting the run down again, but gave up not 1 or 2 but 3 long drives, against the run of play. Were they hurt by the O not staying on the field? Yes, they were. Put this was not a potent LV offense and we needed to dominate them all game. We returned 9 defensive starters this year, nine, from a team that won a Big East championship with Defense and all we've turned those nine starters into is a below average Big East D. Disgusting. And by the way -- I was fine with blitzing less and trying to take advantage of the true frosh QB with more DBs, and that worked well at times, but our front four needed to do much more than they did for us to win that game.

On offense, the play was awful. JM started horribly, as has been his pattern, but played three quarters of a game that was more than good enough to win. He was failed by the OL's penalties and, more so, the drops by his receivers. Kash Moore. I. Moore. Nick Williams. Lyle McCombs. Just a pitiful display of attempting to catch relatively easy passes. The way I saw it, LV came out saying you can beat us any way you can except by giving McCombs the ball. After figuring that out, we determined we'd have to throw more, but that play action would have receivers running free. It did. And we just couldn't execute. Add in McCumming leaving 7 on the table by underthrowing a wide open Ryan Griffin, McCombs tripping on a great play call that sould have been a 7 yard TD run, and I find it hard to believe that Deleone didn't have his best play calling game by far. He put people in position to make easy plays for big gains. They didn't make them. Yes, John Delahunt was missed (and who he thought he was fooling by lining up Corey Manning wide, as if everyone in the building didn't know he was going in motion to the middle and throwing a block I don't know) but it as a well called game offensively. Just not a well executed one.

As for coaching, with P as with Edsall, players win and lose games. Coaches are responsible for everything, and after the season is over that can be discussed, but they can't make plays. They can only put players in position to make plays. While P doesn't say it like Edsall did, we lost Saturday simply because of a failure to execute. The clock management at the end of each half was beyond atrocious, again (frankly, the way we saved too much time by calling the time out immediately with a minute left in the first half was dumber than anything), and I wish my coach would know who gets the ball to start the second half when he gets interviewed at halftime, but that's quibbling. Saturday's loss was about the players. And I would guaranty you that they know that.

So what do we have for Saturday? Well, we still have a game with a great deal of meaning. It's Senior Day. It's Rutgers, who is playing for a share of the conference championship. And we can still extend our season, as beating Rugers will lead to an easily winnable game against a Zach Collaros-less Cincy for bowl eligibility. Will we play a bowl at 6-6? Frankly, I was unwilling to look at it coming off the loss Saturday. If we win this Saturday, I'll figure it out. But the bottom line is it's still a huge game. If for no other reason than this year's seniors have lost three maddening games to Rutgers, each worse than the one before it, and should be dead set on not ending their careers without having beaten the Knights. But will this team care? Will they come out focused? I have no confidence, I do know, however, that the crowd is unlikely to show up or give a damn. Because they didn't Satuday for a much more important game.

That's all. I'll be tailgating Saturday, and in my seats to see the seniors honored, and ready to get into the game because I want to beat RU that badly that the season to me would be saved by doing so whether we beat Cincy or not. And I'll see the other 138 of you that feel the same way in the stands before the seniors get honored. All the whining about the conference realignment, and we are failing miserably as a fan base in doing what we can do to influence it. Oh well -- easier just to complain I guess.
 
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Pinstripe bowl or bust my friend. I agree 100%. I haven't felt like I did on Saturday afternoon and evening and into Sunday, in a long long time around football. Only one thing to do, and that's come back next Saturday and play, and that's a great thing about this sport. There's always the next game.

As for the fan commentary, I was there to see the opening kick, and stayed until the bitter end on Saturday when a Louisville DL demonstrated perfect form in catching a ball away from the pads with two hands, and then tucking into the elbow and runnign the length of the field.

Two weeks ago, in a competitive game, on a beautiful day, fans packed it up, and stayed until he final whistle, and cheered.

I don't expect 40,000 people to be the same way I (or you) are about uconn football - yet. I don't blame a single person that invested their money on Saturday for a gameday of college football, for going back out on that unseasonable warm afternoon and firing up the grills when we were down 28-10 and palying like complete garbage.

Play well, play competitively, and win games, and fans will come, and they will stay.
 
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I don't know what was more depressing......being at the game Saturday or reading this.
 

CTMike

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I'll be tailgating Saturday, and in my seats to see the seniors honored, and ready to get into the game because I want to beat RU that badly that the season to me would be saved by doing so whether we beat Cincy or not.
Amen, brutha.
 
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Great post, Biz. I agree with just about everything.

I really want to emphasize that I agree that Deleone had his best day calling plays (outside some 3rd and short plays). Drops killed us.

I said a number of times watching the game that I think Wagner was our MVP of the day.
 
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Good post BL! These are the games where the true fans come out that's for sure!! After seeing DJ lead us to the ot win against Pitt I vowed I'll be in my seat till clock hits 0:00 for EACH and EVERY home game!!
 
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I wrote elsewhere that I have let everything negative about this game go, and I have, so I want to add some positive things here.

I think the biggest reason I was so upset after this game, is because our players were failing at things they were all capable of doing, and we've all seen them do before. That just hurts to watch. Hurts. Can't imagine how those guys felt out there.

But I hope they get happy quick, because Rutgers, and win over Rutgers. Hell yeah. Talk about a one week season. Just don't get fat on turkey.

The only explanation I can have for what happened though, is that these guys wanted it so badly, that they were pushing themselves beyond thier limits. trying to stretch things. Very hard thing to do, balance what you're capable of doing, with pushing the envelope to amke something happen on the field. Got to know your abilities, and then use them to the best you can.

Much like a Johnny McEntee run on the road in West Virginia, that ended up in a huge game changing moment when he pushed beyond his limits, momentum changing moements that we don't have playmakers enough to get back. McEntee learned from that moment, he's gone to the ground, he's run effectively when he needs to since.

I think every route runner on this team has learned that you need to catch the damn ball first before you can make something else happen.

It's sounds dumb and obvious, but whatever, it makes sense to me, becuase in truth, I cannot recall a football game since the Skip Holtz days when a passing offense was generating as much big play potential and chunks of yardage than what we had on Saturday.

I think our passing game plan became central from the beginning, Louisville's strenght is run defense, and they were going to stop our run, so it was put in position, intentionally or not became irrelevant after going down 14-0, but our passing game was put in position to be central to this game plan, and we ran the plays well, we simply didn't do the basics.

Another very hard learning experience for a team. We are not a physically superior offensive team. We need every play we can make to keep momentum, and the passing game doesn't work if you don't complete the pass. Not the circus catches. the high percentage throws and catches.

I really, really, really want to beat Rutgers.
 
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Just sharing an opinion, there are four posters in this forum that I consider must reads. BL, Nelson, Palatine, and Carl Spackler.
 
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Very frustrating game to watch as all of you have indicated... Hard to think that at 6-6 a bowl would want a team that has struggled so mightily...but I guess that's why there are so many bowl games...
 
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I agree roughing the kicker penalty was not Reyes' best moment, but can't fault the aggressiveness and effort exerted in going after it. For a second I thought he got a piece of the ball. Louisville still had 80 or so yards to go after the flag; very disappointing D couldn't regroup to get another stop.
 
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I agree roughing the kicker penalty was not Reyes' best moment, but can't fault the aggressiveness and effort exerted in going after it. For a second I thought he got a piece of the ball. Louisville still had 80 or so yards to go after the flag; very disappointing D couldn't regroup to get another stop.

Reyes was trying to make a play. he made a huge mistake, but he made it trying to make a play. I'm more at a loss as to how Gary Wilburn was still on the field to be burned on man coverage later in the drive. I have nothing against the young man, and I respect his efforts and keeping his nose clean for five years, but I don't know why it isn't clear that he's being asked to do more than he is capable of when he's trying to cover a WR in the slot man to man.
 
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I haven't mustered the courage to watch the game on DVR yet, but did Reyes get a piece of the punter? Or did the punter flop?
 

Waquoit

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The only explanation I can have for what happened though, is that these guys wanted it so badly, that they were pushing themselves beyond thier limits. trying to stretch things.

This is sarcasm, right? Right?
 

Waquoit

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Reyes was trying to make a play. he made a huge mistake, but he made it trying to make a play. I'm more at a loss as to how Gary Wilburn was still on the field to be burned on man coverage later in the drive. I have nothing against the young man, and I respect his efforts and keeping his nose clean for five years, but I don't know why it isn't clear that he's being asked to do more than he is capable of when he's trying to cover a WR in the slot man to man.

The "trying to make a play line" is lame. Because he made a play alright, the game killing play. And why kill a guy you admit is trying when the other CB was pretty much just going through the motions all game.
 
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I was killing the decision to have Gary Wilburn on the field covering someone man to man. I am no more killing him by saying that than I'm killing myself by saying I couldn't do it either or killing JM by saying he's a below average QB.

Reyes thought he could get the kick, almost got the kick, and didn't. He made a bad play. The rest of the defense had about 82 yards and 12 plays to bale him out of his mistake. No one stepped up and did so.
 
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If Kendall's teammates put forth the effort he did trying to get that punt, there would have been a few less drops and missed tackles. I've got no problem w/him taking a chance when other team is punting out of their own end zone. It's a horrible penalty if other team is at its own 20 or beyond. Not so much inside the 20.
 
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That was not the time to go for the punt block. We were going to get the ball in great field position with plenty of time and a 14-10 score.
 
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I find it hard to believe that Deleone didn't have his best play calling game by far. He put people in position to make easy plays for big gains. They didn't make them.

BL totally agree that we did have guys open everywhere all day and even with the drops we had 250 yds passing and no INTs Ithink. These guys are going to have a vertical passing game no matter what it takes - even a JUCO TE and 2 transfers for WR.

I did think about all of the guys that we lost. Frey MeMe Gennerett Kurecza. I know kids leave all the time, but man it would take the pressure off.
 
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I haven't mustered the courage to watch the game on DVR yet, but did Reyes get a piece of the punter? Or did the punter flop?
Reyes dove across and just missed touching the ball --as he went by, the kickers kicking foot was coming down and just dinged off his helmet. So close.
 
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BL, post is dead on as always, I wanted to come back after the game and watch the replay on dvr but just couldn't because I was so down on everything about the game. It seems as though every opposing team knows exactly when we put in Wilburn or Agbor and go right at them with a nice long loft pass. I know everything is not JMacs fault and he does have some nice throws with WR And TE drops but I just keep asking myself how far behind can Nebrich be to just give us some kind of spark offensively. Something has to be done on specials as well as we continue to get manhandled trying to get to the returner. Are our speed athlete guys just too weak or just bad tacklers?
 
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BL, post is dead on as always, I wanted to come back after the game and watch the replay on dvr but just couldn't because I was so down on everything about the game. It seems as though every opposing team knows exactly when we put in Wilburn or Agbor and go right at them with a nice long loft pass. I know everything is not JMacs fault and he does have some nice throws with WR And TE drops but I just keep asking myself how far behind can Nebrich be to just give us some kind of spark offensively. Something has to be done on specials as well as we continue to get manhandled trying to get to the returner. Are our speed athlete guys just too weak or just bad tacklers?

As to your last question, my view is that we just don't put our wedgebusters in the middle and attack like most teams do. Look at the four guys surrounding Christen next week. Ruben Frank is one, but where is Trevardo? Where is Jerome Williams? Where was Marcus CAmpbell before he left.
 
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I'm not so sure about the wedge busting thing BL. The rules changed for 2011, no 4 man or more blocking wedges anymore. I think the rule reads similar to the new NFL rule such that you can't have more than 2 guys shoulder to shoulder blocking ahead of the kick. That pretty much eliminted the role of wedge buster from the kick coverage units as of this year. A safety thing, and piece of useless trivia, Edsall was part of the rules committe that brought the change for 2011

I think a lot of coaches and players are still trying to figure out how to do it without the wedge - both ways, blocking and coverages.
 
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3 Main Things

1. Reyes tried to make a play and just missed. I have no problem with that.
2. We all have seen Taylor Mack play last year and the kid has SKILLS. is he riding the bench for? seriously. that's pathetic.
3. Anyone who doesn't play 110% against RU should be sat immediately, even if it means our scout team is playing. It's Rutgers, the Wesleyan of the BE (inside legal joke here).
 

ConnHuskBask

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I have to believe the team will be ready to play this Saturday. That being said, I would have never thought they would have came out with nothing against Louisville this past week.

As a UConn player you can:

1) Go out at home with a win
2) Preserve Bowl Eligibility
3) Finally beat Rutgers, something that I don't believe anyone in this group has done
4) Not let Rutgers clinch a BE Title at the Rent

If you can't be pumped up as a football player, coach or die hard fan (Boneyard type) I don't know what to tell you. Sure, the casual fan may not be into it, but I just hope the players come out and play hard and the team and crowd feed off one another.
 
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All the whining about the conference realignment, and we are failing miserably as a fan base in doing what we can do to influence it. Oh well -- easier just to complain I guess.
Not sure what you are smoking to think the fans can influence ANYTHING, but pass it over.
 
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