Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Of course, you need to be pretty good to get to the point where luck can help you out.
The Hogs played just good enough at Vanderbilt to get lucky and win. Having your opponent miss a chip shot field goal that would’ve sent the game into overtime is just lucky. Take away the fumble and 95-yard touchdown return by Jerry Franklin and the Hogs get beat.
I expected another slow start for no other reason than the Hogs would put a lot of pressure on themselves (again) to “start fast.” Too bad I wasn’t disappointed.
We saw the same things on defense that we have been seeing early in games. Too anxious to hit. Poor reading and reacting. Running right out of their assignments to chase. Lots of whiff tackles.
Again, we saw that the opponent’s offense had plays planned for our tendencies on defense. Vandy’s TD pass on their first possession was a perfect example. The 40-yard throwback pass (just prior to Franklin’s fumble return) was another. It almost appears that the right formation and motion can trick the Hogs into playing a man/zone coverage combo. That type of coverage usually doesn’t work out so well.
Although no one else in the stadium or watching on TV was fooled, the Hogs special teams got fooled on the fake punt. Yard and a half to go, cover guys all on one side, short snap run to the other while the Razorback line apparently gave absolutely no thought of a fake or contain. Outside end casually walked right out of the play towards the center of the field.
Speed — playing hard and fast — doesn’t do a lot of good if you just get to the wrong place quicker.
The offense struggles in strange ways. Except for…wait for it…wait…luck. Tyler Wilson should’ve had two, if not four, interceptions. Underthrowing or throwing late on the long patterns is now the norm, not the exception. Garrick McGee was preaching to Wilson about this on the ESPN “Depth Chart” show.
No doubt Wilson is one tough dude. Unfortunately, it seems he needs to get popped a few times and get mad before he really starts to play. His reads and receiver choices early in the game were a bit questionable — another norm, not the exception — leading to him enjoying Coach Petrino screaming at him on the sidelines.
As for the offensive line, I stopped counting ‘look out!’ blocks early on, and took note that a few times guys came through untouched. This offensive line is still very inconsistent. Many times they just get physically beat.
If Wilson and the offensive line are going to continue to start games half-asleep, the offense is going to continue to sputter early.
While Vanderbilt did their best to physically beat up the Hogs, the challenge was more than accepted. We could, however, do without the silly personal fouls. Wade’s slamming the guy on the punt return was just a poor play all around. Being proud of leveling someone totally defenseless wasn’t very impressive, to say the least. Regarding personal fouls, a few weeks ago Coach Petrino said, “we’ve got that corrected.” Need to chase that horse down again.
Speaking of coaches…they need to take a hard look in the mirror. They’re not exactly ‘out-game-planning’ anyone right now.
This was a game the Hogs were lucky to win. While it’s great to only have one loss at this point in the season, this ‘really good team that spends so much time each game not being a really good team’ is beginning to wear on me.