Season in Review Part I: Biggest Dissappointments
This has always been one of the tougher pieces to write because you hate picking on the players. So in this case, I will factor in some other facets of the program. Here are the Biggest Disappointments of the 2010 season.
1. Game Management. I know I am considered a Spaz hater and major critic, but I think even his biggest supporters would admit the Spaz's in game management and use of timeouts is troubling. We had multiple games where we had timeouts and clock before the half and elected to burn time. We wasted way too much time on some possessions only to settle for a field goal (Clemson). We failed to use time outs in close game (Duke) to preserve time in case the opponent scored and we needed to answer. It was just mind numbing. Don't get me started on ever going for it or using a surprise play on special teams. That sort of thinking doesn't fall into the "we know what we are" mindset. I am sure Spaz can rationalize his management. If you think your team is limited, you want to do whatever you can to protect them. I would argue that a limited team that has trouble scoring needs to maximize their chances. Settling for a field goal or taking a knee wastes valuable scoring opportunities. No one really presses Spaz to explain his game management so I don't expect things to change in 2011. I hope that with a maturing team and a maturing QB he can use every opportunity we have.
2. Offensive Line U. We never looked like a unit that had four returning starters. We never looked like a unit that had two NFL draft picks. Part of the problem arose from training camp when we shuffled players around. Part of the problem was inconsistency from certain players. When the scheduled softened up and we moved Richman back to guard and Spinney to Center, things finally clicked. I even think we looked better with Cleary at RT. But then many of the same old problems arose against Nevada. BC had problems with speed and assignments. I will acknowledge that our one dimensional offense didn't help the OLine. Since the opposing Defenses didn't respect our ability to pass, our Line was often left to block seven or eight unrushing guys. But that doesn't excuse the general inconsistency. We have talent. We have a tradition. Was it the scheme? Was it the coaching? We'll find out in 2011.
3. The passing offense. I was going to complain about our failure to use the Tight Ends in the passing game, but what's the point? How can you gripe about one position, when you only had 180 completions on the entire season? We were only good for 13 completions a game. This is in 2010 when all the rules enable passing. This is in an era when teams play uptempo and the very pace of play enables extra snaps that should naturally feature a pass attempt or two. We were so flawed at one of the basic offensive concepts that we only completed 180 passes in a 13 game season. If you want to look on the bright side, it was a three completion improvement over 2009! Some will say our passing numbers with Crane/Davis were also bad. But 2008's offense was better and Crane and Davis also produced positive rushing yards. At the end of the day, we were terrible at throwing the ball in two years under Tranq. We used five different starters at QB and never developed even a few fundamental plays. Thankfully it should get better next year.