I know, as a fan, we have a tendency to see the best potential of our team. We tend to see missed opportunities and not simple lack of abilities as the reason we lose games and sometimes that is correct. But we also as fans have to be able to step back and see the big picture so here goes: We are, currently a below average team in the SEC. maybe not on the national scale, where we might be considered average, but in the our hearts we know that we have major limitations that will prevent us from competing in our home conference. Now, the good news. The Dawgs showed some life today and flashes of excellence that lead us to hope that the future may hold a return to the top of the SEC.
First of all Kudos to the team for responding in the second half, to come back from a 14 point deficit and tie it shows guts and builds team identity and toughness. Yes, we lost, but comebacks are possible, this team will believe that now. They will know that they can at least give themselves a shot at winning. I am disappointed in the loss but we lost to a better team, and as my friend from New York would say 'It is what it is.". Losing a tough game, after coming back is a still a loss, but this team needs an identity, gut check moments are good for that and in that regard I give them credit. I can not tear down a team that obviously gave it's all on the field and I feel like they did that this week, mistakes and all.
Now my complaints. First and foremost, and I am trying to allow my disappointment to die down a little so as to not come across as an angry, irrational fan, what the %$^#@ type of play calling was it on the next to last final drive? Bobo really let us down here, and that is the kindest I can be. 3rd and 4, Dawgs have momentum and we call a pass play with EVERYONE going long, no hot route, no dump for Murray. Yes he has to develop a clock in his head and know about how long he has back there, he demonstrated that several times today, but give your young quarterback a chance! Leave him a short route to check off to, we needed 4 yards! That play effectively killed the drive, shifted momentum and in my opinion contributed greatly to the loss. That decision is squarely on Mike Bobo and I hope more people call him to the mat on that one. Bobo has been doing this too long for things like this to happen, I have long held his judgement to be suspect.
After getting the ball rammed down our throats last week, we did much better today on stopping the run but the Hogs are more of a passing team and they showed it today, we didn't just get beat on several occasions, we were embarrassed by horribly missed assignments. Oh, well, we just keep telling ourselves it will improve as we learn the system, and I'm sure it will. It is however hard to swallow that watching an Arkansas receiver basically standing in the middle of the field with no one within 20 yards of him as Mallet lobs a TD strike to him. Overall the defense looked much more motivated and certain of itself, that's a trend that hopefully will continue throughout the year. I called out Rambo for his lack of effort last week, let me also say this week that he definitely stepped it up a notch and look mobile and hostile out there.
Murray continues to look impressive, he made some mistakes today but we all knew that was inevitable. He made many more impressive passes than mistakes and I am heartened by his development. The coaches have obviously decided to open up the play book more for him and he responded admirably. Our receiving corps also had a nice day, they caught most of what was reachable. Kudos as well to Durham on a good day with a couple of great catches. Ealey also played with much more heart today, nice to see him show up. Once, again, note to coaching staff, Ealey in not a power back, lining him up in the I formation does not change that.