Panic or Patience?
I’m not one to rush to judgement.
I don’t buy into the overreaction theater that plagues sports fans everywhere. When people say 0-2 NFL teams are done, I laugh. Having said that, this is college football. Overreaction theater is a part of every fan base. Go ask those people in Alabama calling for Nick Saban’s head.
Sometimes when you consume a team, you have your blinders on. It makes it feel like the sky is falling when it really isn’t. Or vise versa, you’re justifying every horrible mistake.
Three B1G teams sit at 1-2 with the season a quarter of the way done. Let’s play a little game called, “Panic or Patience.”
I hate to put this tag on the Boilers because I do think they have a lot of things going in the right direction. They have been solid up front, their run game is capable of leading the offense and they actually get off the ball pretty well on the defensive line. So what’s the problem? Austin Appleby is obviously one of them. His decision-making has hindered the offense from maximizing its potential. He’s already had two games that have prevented the Boilers from making a second-half comeback. That, however, wasn’t the only reason Purdue was trounced on Saturday. You can’t have 20 (!) missed tackles against a team like Virginia Tech and expect to stay on the field. As much as I believe Darrell Hazell’s plan is slowly unfolding, performances like that won’t earn him more time in West Lafayette.
You know, just in case there was anybody riding this thing out. If player arrests and coach suspensions weren’t enough to make you turn away, what you saw on the field Saturday was. You have to feel bad for the guys that are trying to right the ship in New Jersey. The Scarlet Knights have major issues defensively, as seen by their inability to contain Washington State. Their 91st-ranked unit might not have Darius Hamilton at full strength for a while, and there’s no sign of when or if Leonte Carroo will return to rejuvenate the offense before its too late. All signs point to Rutgers missing out on a bowl for just the second time in 11 years.
I know, I know, I know. Bring back Bo. Bring back Tom. Bring back Bob. Anybody but Mike Riley. No, in all seriousness, this team is dangerously close from being 3-0 with wins against two quality teams. I understand that doesn’t change the fact that Nebraska is 1-2 for the second time since 1960. But this was not a nine-win team to begin with, so as long as you understood that, you shouldn’t be panicking right now. The Michael Rose-Ivey injury will hurt, as will Vincent Valentine’s. But the reality is, the Blackshirts are going to have to rely on containing the run and getting turnovers to be effective. The offense has actually looked pretty solid outside of the first half against Miami. If De’Mornay Pierson-El returns soon, there will be better times ahead in Lincoln.