A couple of disclaimers/apologies before starting. First, sorry I'm late getting this up, but some unexpected company dropped by just as I was starting and stayed a couple of hours. Second, I haven't read any of the other threads, so if I'm redundant, I'm sorry! So with that, let's get started... If I was a real journalist, I'd have a subtitle for each of these reviews, but I'm not so I don't. However, I was tempted to give this entry one...something along the lines of "Cock-Blocked!" But I thought better of it. There's already enough cheese on here, I guess. Anyway, this game was one where we were just good enough, better than the past two games, to get our hopes up just a bit, but still bad enough to dash those wishful thoughts before all was said and done. We'll get into things a little more in depth in a minute, but at least the effort looked to be much better. That, and maybe that alone, was why we were able to be in it with a chance to tie late? It is a positive step, but that's as much of an accolade as I'm willing to give. My stance on moral victories is a matter of record! Best case scenario at this point is that it can be one positive factor to carry forward. One game, however, doesn't necessarily make a habit broken. Alright, let's talk some specifics... *Broken record here, but right now the OL is a hot mess as far as I'm concerned. I feel like I was teased when I'd see us make a little progress early on and how we could put together a good run performance. But lately, we don't do much good. Couldn't run it consistently at all again today (maybe it was Davis overcoming ) and pass pro was bad for the most part as well. Injuries certainly don't help outside of some youngster getting more meaningful reps. Sadly, USCe looked to be able to generate pressure with primarily their front four. You may as well be 3 scores down getting off the bus when you arrive with that disadvantage. On one rush that they did blitz, the LG for us, who had the blitzing LB head up, doubled with the C on their 1-technique and let the LB run through untouched. This just can't happen. Repeating again, but as your OL goes, so goes your O (Nuss doesn't help either BTW). *Sorry to see Zaire get injured. I like that he wants to play and lead. But I have to say that after watching him these past few games, it is clear to me why he is a grad transfer. He's probably a better passer than I see, but the OL and our RECs don't help much. I've been waiting to see his run threat emerge, and he did have one nice run, but he's closer to a pulling guard's speed when he runs laterally than he is to Lamar Jackson's. Not really displeased with Franks. He made a few nice throws, was victimized by some drops, and suffered as did Zaire from poor pass pro. Interesting note on one of his plays that speaks to our O schemes and planning...on the play he was called for Grounding as he was about to be sacked, the play formation was trips right flex and clearly it was a one-man play to the flex. Trouble was, the Cocks were in 2 deep man under and the go-route was well-covered by the CB and the safety reading and flying off the hash. That play was dead before the snap. An experienced QB would have seen that pre-snap and checked off. The problem I have is that I don't recall Franks ever going to an audible. If he can't do it, that's one thing, but if they don't try it with him, it not only keeps his growth stunted, but winds up in too many wasted plays as well. But I'm not surprised. *I've harped quite a bit on our DEs getting lost inside on rushes and run plays and losing contain, but the Cocks got good fundamental and technical play from their guys. If you remember the play action boot early on, when Zaire rolled away from the play fake right, the DE to that side was on him and rushed to make sure he wouldn't be outflanked. He kept contain and I believe Zaire wound up running parallel to the LOS out of bounds. That's how it should be played. *These penalties are driving me insane. Most all are on the offensive side of the ball and are mostly procedures and today included two illegal substitutions. When you're already bad offensively, this issue only compounds things. I hoped it would be a point of emphasis once "Mim Jacelwain" (I like the new guy's utilization!) was gone, since attention to detail wasn't a strong suit. I sit unrequited, unfortunately. *Coaching point on why we struggle defensively...Not that I'm picking on VoJo (my pet name), who usually has a good motor and isn't afraid to put a lick on you, but here at game 9 in his second year, he still cannot scrape parallel and too often gets shallow in pursuit and winds up never touching his target, much less containing him. To be fair, most of our LBs have this same problem, but this is a fundamental requirement for the position. Why it has not been corrected is beyond me, but we get hurt by it every game, along with several slow reads/reactions. This has got to change in a hurry even though it's gone on for a while. *Lord knows I'm a fan of Brandon Powell, but he never should have been back there to muff another punt after his last one. This kind of crap coaching is inexcusable and has led to the demise of our once sufficient at worst Special Teams' play. At least Eddy didn't open his own store again today! *Defensively, we had some good moments. Finally got some more turnovers, though CJ negated his with the fumble. But Chauncey played better. We had some good plays from the front 7. Zuniga did some good things with the rush and there was a Conliffe sighting today. VoJo and Reece made some plays. VoJo got a "Snot Bubble" sticker for his helmet when he rung up the Cock receiver, which is a dying part of the game these days it seems. But the bad outweighed the good, as they gashed us running the ball and their QB, who looked more HS than college today to me, hit some throws that hurt us. Their TE was hard to handle as well. Once again, I stand in the pulpit with my long-running sermon on consistency, or the lack thereof. The non belief is strong. *It's really a moot point, but Moral Stephens almost f'd up the big completion. Thompson, who was standing alone and waving his arms, was the intended target. Thank goodness he held on. Sadly, my first thought after the play was "I hope we don't have to settle for a FG!" Luckily, we didn't. *Even though we generated some takeaways, our own giveaways negated the advantage we hoped those would bring. This group just can't put it together. A lot, if not all of this I believe, is a direct manifestation of the past HC's developed culture. Waiting for a positive change where this is concerned. *How about Randy throwing in some blitzes today? A couple with the safety, no less. I like it, just wish we'd have done more of it earlier! Maybe next week our chances against UAB will improve? Again, the effort was much better, but that alone, as we saw again today, isn't enough. As long as we have so many plays on either side of the ball where multiple groups have a break down or screw up, we're not going to be successful. On to the next test. Go Gators!