It was a black and white day today, one of plusses and minuses, the total of which ended up with the Skins being in the negative again. What started out as a domination by our beloved boys in Burgundy and Gold ended up in a tragedy of stalled offense and a porous defense. What our team is starting to show is that for some reason, dare we whisper motivational, their heart seems to wither away and die on the vine during some point in the game. While not wanting to call for the coaches heads, this column does call for the coaches to get together and figure out what they are doing wrong, what adjustments need to be made, and how they can quit getting out adjusted by the opponents.
Two different halves – the first, with Patrick Ramsey lighting up the Bucs cover 2 defense with strike after strike. He delivered balls consistently on target and without indecision. The receivers found soft spots in the zone and caught the balls without fail. The second half was a stuttering, stumbling shadow of the first with the Skins not being able to put together much in the way of consistency either in passing or in receivers getting open. It seems that Monte Kifflin is a better adjustment maker than either Spurrier or Edwards appear to be. The Hog Nose of the game goes to McCants for his spectacular catches and scoring our one touchdown. Not repeating the awesome protection with two backs in the second drive with Ramsey in a shotgun formation, was an error on Spurrier's part. Every time the backs picked up a blitzer (not a defensive lineman mind you – that was a huge miscalculation), Ramsey threw golden lightning. When Spurrier adjusted away from what was working, Ramsey got thrown down thunderously.
What looked to start out as a balanced attack between Betts and Trung working to keep Tampa from attacking Ramsey came to a sudden end as Trung went down with a sprained ankle. It seemed as if the coaching staff didn’t realize that they could keep the attack up with just one back, so they allowed Tampa to continue to blitz without much of an attempt to stay with the run after the first quarter and a half. Betts gets our Hog Nose, once again for his toughness and playing through a stinger he suffered soon after Trung went down for the first time. Both backs came back, but unfortunately Trung went down again and the load, or what was left of it, switched to Betts. Spurrier does not seem to see what the Bucs could see in their back – a receiver of quality. Using Morton and his speed have seemed to escape the coaches, and one might question why.
While the offense controlled the first half, the defense sparkled. When the offense sputtered in the second half, the defensive scheme failed altogether. George Edwards’ inability to adjust or to think outside the box and blitz or quit going to a soft zone in response to any attack is showing to be a huge weakness. The players are where they need to be according to the scheme. The scheme itself is what is failing. Getting beaten on the same play three different times for touchdowns and the same half back swing pass is simply inexcusable. Time after time the tight ends and running backs were roaming the field with no coverage because the scheme called for the linebackers to play the middle – not to man cover the backs coming out of the backfield. It is time for George Edwards to go back to school and learn more than the standard defenses for situations that call for non-standard solutions. A vanilla offense with the simplest of plays that allow for high accuracy, should have been countered and wasn’t. The players did well enough under those circumstances. Bad Show George.
Once again, the light of our lives. They give us hope, and yet we didn’t even make it close enough for them today. John Hall comes through with two big field goals, and Morton seems to get closer and closer to the break point. The coverage units seem to be adjusting (read this part George) and getting improvement in their schemes, both in blocking and coverage. Barker did a decent job with two punts for an average of 42.6 yards. He did have one well kicked ball right before half to pin the Bucs inside the 5, but a penalty occurred against the Bucs that moved the Skins into position to kick Hall’s 51 yd FG. The Hog Nose – to the entire special teams unit for showing that they can, and have, improved. Kind of nice to see this part of the team not killing us for once.