The 5 Wide Morning After Thoughts-Northwestern State

  1. Overall, I really do not have the words to articulate how bad this loss was. You have to give NWS a lot of credit. They walked into our house and kicked up squarely in our hind parts and made us take it. Their fans showed up and traveled well, and we played the worst game effort and execution wise I have seen us play in a long time, and I mean a LONG time. The bowl loss to Harding in 2013 was probably the worst amount of effort I have seen us put up. This team looked like they were NOT excited to be playing for a conference championship and an 8-3 and to finish it up at home. You saw many of the players on the sidelines furious at the penalties that their teammates were committing, and you have to say that is a good thing, but shows not everyone is on the same page. If you want to talk about everything where the wheels just came off, this was a game to illustrate that. The penalties were just completely atrocious and I have no idea what some of these guys were thinking. Again, it goes to execution and decisions.
  2. Offense-Did nothing, and I mean nothing. Eric Rodriguez was pulled in the late third quarter to let Ja’iave Magalei have his chance, and all things considered, I think he did pretty well. That to say, our offensive line was dominated yet again. This is the third straight game where they got whipped on the line. Yes, they are young, but you have to give your quarterback a chance. You might see the Quarterback competition open back up to finish the season, but only because Eric Rodriguez has not been able to fully recover from his ankle injury. He has not been practicing at full time, and Magalei is healthy again. If Rodriguez is fully healthy, he is going to be your guy, but it might be best to open it back up and see if a change to Magalei is your best chance to finish 7-4 with a 2nd place finish in year one. The playcalling was solid too. This was one was not on the coaches, but on the poor execution of the offense. Penalties killed many good offensive drives.
  3. Defense-The Blue Gang got shredded for the second straight game and its that simple. NWS effectively ran the ball and had some big plays in the passing game where they got behind the Lion defenders. The tackling was subpar and again, too many foolish penalties. Add that up and you get a game where our defense was by in large, dominated again, and much like their offensive line opponents, got beat up front pretty badly. The unit only gave up 376 total yards, but the penalties were just absolute killers.
  4. Special teams-Our kickers and punters did a terrific job, and Mitchell McGarry once again delivered in the face of incessant pressure. Aiden Martin was solid on kickoffs despite the wind, and Emmanuel Adagbon did his job when called for. A brilliant call on a fake punt was called back because of, you guessed it. A foolish penalty. The coverage teams kept NWS from doing much of anything on a returns, but when you play as poorly regarding execution as you did last night, well you don’t need to worry about that. Two roughing the kicker penalties were just absolute back breakers and at that point, the cause was almost lost.
  5. Going Forward-Just two weeks ago, the outlook was very bright for this team. Win out, and you were outright Southland Conference Champions in year one. Then the loss to Incarnate Word was tough, but it was one where you could still win out and have an 8-3 record and a share of the conference title. Now, the best you can hope for is what you got last year, 7-4 overall and second place in the conference. Not terrible, but when you look at all the things that happened this year and the coulda woulda shoulda moments, it adds up. One thing I will say is this. Our attendance this year has been PITIFUL, and that is on the fans. 3,800 fans in a stadium that holds 13,500 on a BEAUTIFUL cloudless early fall day with PERFECT temperatures, all with a team that can win a big game and go forward to clinch a share of the conference in YEAR ONE?! The student body is MIA, many of the fans are MIA. What is the deal here. Are we Division I fans or not? This whole move to Division I means everyone should be ALL IN, and just like yesterday, about the half the team was all in, and the rest, at least judging by their body language, looked like they were just going through the motions. As an alum, it was tough to watch. We HAVE TO DO BETTER. Fans, players, students, alums. EVERYONE. ALL IN. If you don’t want to make a commitment of any kind, you are not Division I Material.

Roar Back Here.....

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