Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Losing to Wisky

Wiskey always gets the better of me and on Saturday Wisky got the better of the Gophers and me.

Much has already been written about this game, and Jeff did a great job of recapping things from his perspective in the stands at Camp Randall. Clearly our Gophers played well enough to win... sometimes. And clearly they played poorly enough to lose... enough that they actually did lose.

I've decided that I'm not going to focus today on what the Gophers did poorly, how they gave the game away, how I felt there were a couple of coaching errors, how the offense sputtered through most of the second half, how Adam Weber took a sack in the endzone instead of throwing the ball away, etc.

I'm going to focus on some things that I was really happy to see on Saturday.

Fight... No matter what you think of this Gopher football team, I don't think you can dispute that this team constantly fights for their coach. When the Weber fumbled on the second play of the game I was thinking "here we go again." It didn't get any better when Wisconsin scored after they got the ball and then the offense went 3 & out on their next 2 possessions. They did muster a first down before the end of the Q, but quickly had to punt after that. But the defense got the ball back on Wisky's next possession and the offense wasted no time in getting the ball into the endzone to tie the game! Suddenly on their next possession the offense looked like what they were supposed to be this year, scoring 2 more touchdowns on just 5 offensive plays.

The second half was obviously a far different story as Wisconsin came out strong scoring on their first three possessions of the half, then followed that up with two safeties, while their defense held us to just 3 points. And back came the "here we go again" feelings.

But down by 11 points in the 4th the team didn't give up. And Adam Weber suddenly looked like the same guy who threw for 2 TD's in the first half as he marched the team downfield 60 yards in 11 plays and threw a (slightly off-target) bullet to Shady Salomon for the TD. Shady then punched it in for the 2-pt conversion, and holy crap... WE'RE BACK IN IT!

We know how the game ended, but the point is that the team never gave up, they kept battling even through an absolutey flurry of points from all angles by Wisconsin.

No Decker, No Problem... We were all concerned about Decker being gone, and in the podcast last week Jeff convinced me that Decker being out was increasing Wisconsin's point spread in this game by 7 points. Who on earth was going to step up and become Weber's favorite target?

Holy smokes did the freshman step up in this game. Your leading reciever: true freshman Brandon Green. Oh, by the way, your second and third leading recievers: Broderick Smith and Shady Salamon, also true frehsmen.

Weber... I said I wasn't going to talk about what I thought Weber didn't do well, so I won't. But what did he do well? In the games that I've seen Weber play I've never seen in check through his throwing options better than he did on Saturday at Camp Randall, and I would argue we've never seen him show such a balance of throwing to running. He's starting to become more efficient (I will not mention accuracy here) because he knows when to tuck and run and he knows when to check down his options. Weber hit 5 different recievers for at least 2 catches each in this game.

Bottom line: Adam Weber, despite some mistakes and inaccuracy, played like a leader and fought threw everything that was thrown at him on Saturday at Wisconsin. While I agree with Jeff that Weber shouldn't just be handed the starting position next fall, I believe that the good certainly far outweighs the bad when it comes to Adam Weber. At this point he does far more to help the Gophers than to hurt them.

Mixing it up... As I've mentioned, it was really good to see all of the freshman receivers get in the act, but we had a pretty good idea that this was going to have to happen with Decker out. What I was really impressed to see was how involved Shady Salamon got with the offense this week. As a RB I think that Eskridge is really good. He's fast, he's got good vision and he's only going to get better. But to me, Shady brings a slightly different dynamic. It seems that he hits holes harder, and he's got better hands catching the ball out of the backfield. Shady was an important part of the offense on Saturday and I thought it was really good to see.

Overall obviously this is a very tough loss. But let's be honest, a lot of people though this game was going to be a blowout in Wisconsin's favor after how the Gophers played last week against Michigan. They played a very tough game, agaisnt a very tough oppponent and they never gave up fighting. I think that the Gophers can hold their head high.

All that matters now is Iowa... and beating the living #$*@ out of the Hawkeyes!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll confirm that I do, without doubt or reservation, absolutely HATE Iowa.