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Contractually mandated post game analysis

My analysis of this game can be summed up in one sentence:


More after the jump

That's it. If we don't keep fumbling, we win this game by at least four touchdowns. I can live with the first interception. We got aggressive and it didn't work out, costing us a touchdown. Fine. But to not take a knee just before Taylor's fumble is ridiculous. Your opponent has no timeouts. You have just handed them 10 points. You are going to get the ball to start the half. TAKE A KNEE.

What is it going to take at this point? Are we simply going to have to take a knee every time we receive a kickoff? On punts should we have all 11 guys run to the sideline so no one can field a punt only to fumble it? The biggest backbreaker is that despite five turnovers, we were still leading and in scoring position when Elliott fumbled late. If you can see you're getting it secure the ball and go to the ground. If we score there, even a field goal, it makes a huge difference in the end game.

What is frustrating is that we wasted a great game by our defense. Once again, our dumbass turnovers put them in an awful position all day and they responded by holding Northwestern to field goals. This gave us a chance, only to have us turn the ball right back over. No wonder they couldn't get the stop at the end. They were exhausted.

I can't break this game down into positives and negatives at the moment. I am too angry. The offense moved the ball when it wasn't fumbling it away. The defense was excellent when backed into a corner, but we once again shot ourselves in the foot. These are correctable mistakes that are not being corrected. That is all you can really say about that. We're 1-4, but we have only ourselves to blame for not being 5-0. We now have three games lost by stupid turnovers and another decided because we couldn't make a stop when we needed to. I say the NIU loss was a "stupid turnover" loss because the four huge mistakes on punts directly led to their time of possession dominance even if we only gave up 7 points on them.

I don't know if I should feel encouraged or disappointed so far. We have certainly performed better than people expected. Most were expecting us to get blown out in every game, and in all four losses we have had a chance to win in the final possession. In the long run, this looks like a step forward, but in the short term it certainly sucks.

Then there is coach Hope's decision to spike it on 1st and goal. I have mixed feelings on it. Yes, it would have been nice to have the extra play, but I can see reserving the time out in case of a sack. It is a safety net we ended up not needing, so it is hard to say. We shouldn't have been in that position in the first place.

I don't know what we need to do to stop special teams mistakes. I am in favor of drastic measures here. I would sacrifice the field position and not even bother to have a returner deep now. You can't fumble it if no one is there to fumble it.

I am just going to walk away from this one. There is still plenty to take away from the rest of this season. Each game must be taken one at a time. As long as we see improvement each week we should be encouraged. Yes, a bowl is pretty far-fetched at this point, but right now our goal is simple: we just need to win a game. I don't care how it happens, we need a win. Despite six turnovers today, we were still five yards away from that win. Our next step is to bridge those five yards.


The GBI forums are exploding right now, calling for Danny Hope's head. I am sorry, but that is ridiculous at this point. Danny Hope is not on the field fumbling. Danny Hope is not throwing interceptions. Danny Hope did not commit dumb penalties last week. What it has come down to in every single game so far is execution. Yes, there have been some bad calls by the coaching staff, but every coaching staff makes bad calls in every game. I have called hope on some of these dumb decisions, like the timeout last week and failing to take a knee before the half this week. To blame Hopeas the sole reason for being 1-4 is ridiculous. Shoot, many expected us to be 1-4 with a few blowouts. We've performed above expectations, yet we should fire the coach? What?

Recruiting is improving. The players are improving. The attitude around the program is improving. With patience, this effort will pay off with wins in the future. I am not going to give up on a coaching staff that has us just one step away in nearly every game. We all thought this was going to take a year or two. As far as I have seen, we're about a year ahead of schedule and there is no reason next year cannot be a bowl year. We just need to keep working. Just relax, people!