Do you want the good news or the bad news?
For the sake of this article, i'll give you the good news first. Practice this week is going to be intense. Sumlin has a lot of stuff to get on his team about and I have the feeling that as a result of this week of practice we will come out a much hungrier team who's not going to take anything for granted. Other good news is that we were missing important folks like center Mike Matthews, and MLB Jordan Mastrogiovanni. We'll get them back and we will improve.
Also, can't fail to give props to David Bailiff. He always seems to have his team prepared and playing at a competitive level.
Now onto the bad news. This was a sloppy game. And I'm not just talking about the field (which I'll cover), but every single facet of the game was sloppy. Make no mistake: If we play like this against Arkansas, we will lose. I doubt we will do so, but man. We played pretty poorly. Let's try and break it down.
I can very much see why Kenny won the starting gig over Kyle. He takes care of the ball and his short/intermediate game is almost flawless when he's really on. He can take the team down the field incredibly easily. That being said, Kenny had a few balls that were thrown behind his WRs and he's still struggling mightily with the long ball. I really dont know if that can be fixed this year...and the cynical part of me says that we will need that long ball to win against the likes of Auburn and Alabama, but I guess we'll see. His 39 yard run was pretty nifty though huh.
WRs dropped a ton of balls. I mean a ton of catchable balls. To the point where we easily left 10 points on the field because of dropped balls. That has to be fixed. Two positives are that Josh Reynolds (aside from the drops) is a future star, and Ed Pope plays with a mean streak.
RBs did well. Not sure what the philosophy is in rotating them because it seems like Brandon and Tra got into grooves at certain times and it might have been in our best interest to feed them a bit, but hey, we're a 1 back spread O. It is what it is.
We missed Mike Matthews. If the offense seemed out of sync, that's why. OL played well, but man we missed Mike.
Tackling is still an issue. We have guys dead to rights and we cant seem to wrap up, or we simply try to put a shoulder into them thinking we can bully them into falling over. That's just not the case. I don't know how we get better at it, but we have to get better at it soon.
I thought the DL played fairly well. Myles Garrett did Myles Garrett things. The kid has the potential to be the best defender to ever don the maroon and white--and I don't think that's just hyperbole.
I thought the LBs did pretty well (tackling aside). I thought we filled gaps well. We're young, and we are lacking a true playmaker at that level...sure hope we land one this year (ahem Malik).
Secondary struggled at times. Victor Davis got burned badly on a double move, which led to us seeing a lot more of Nick Harvey, which led to me lighting a candle in hopes that Devante Harris heals soon. We only gave up 10 and really locked down when they were in the red zone but on the whole, the defense just had kind of a meh sort of night.
Two things: 1) Kudos to the field crew for doing their best. This was not a problem of their creation and 2) This was unacceptable and by far the single biggest failure of the Kyle Field renovation thus far. I know it rained, but was was not at all acceptable. I'm hoping that three weeks are long enough for the grass to take root because if the field is going to be like this all year long, we need to find a new place to play.
Also, speaking of the field BRING THE DAMN CANNON BACK ASAP. IT NEEDS TO BE BACK AT KYLE.
I mean...we won. We won big. We'll be a top 6 team on Monday with Georgia losing to South Carolina. We had a full house and a great roster of recruits on the sideline there to see a big win. Lots of areas to improve in and lots for the coaches to do this week.
We have one more "tune up" game to iron out the kinks. Here's hoping we put together a better showing next weekend.