It was as a painful a game to watch as I personally can remember dating back to my introduction to Pirate football in 1983. It wasn’t so much that a good Houston team beat East Carolina. It was a that good Houston team completely destroyed the Pirates and did so before half-time.
If it is possible for the 56-3 score to pale to something, for me it would be the lifeless effort given by the whole team. If there were players out there playing like it was their last game, I couldn’t find them. The sidelines looked even more lifeless with the coaches seemingly not sure what to do next. It was a sad, sad, day for this Pirate fan. If there were any moral victories against USC and Virginia Tech, they weren’t worth a whole lot to this team because Houston, as good as their offense is, has a defense that a decent team should be able to score on.
What really stood out, offensively, and has stood out since the Maryland game a year ago, really, is that good coaches seem to have figured out how to stop this offense. Do I think Dominique Davis all the sudden turned bad? Not a chance. Is he playing tentative and unsure? Absolutely. It appears to be systemic, though. Defensive coordinator after defensive coordinator seem to have to locked in on our deficiencies and are hammering them to the point that it looks absolutely simple to stop us. We don’t just look average, we look inept on offense.
I have more sympathy for the defensive players. They showed in the first three games that they are much – and I mean MUCH – more talented and improved. But, what they have made up for in talent and hard work, appears to have been lost in the fragile confidence that goes with a young defense. They needed the offense to be the offense that it was a year ago, not the one that is turning the ball over at a record-setting pace.
And, this is happening at a time when the program’s future is in the balance. The Big East is feeling pressure to add ECU and we are giving them the outs that they are seeking with us. Can’t win on the field. We have done nothing but lose over the 10 games. This is alarming and sad.
What is underlying this problem? Is it coaching? And if it is coaching, is it fundamental coaching or game day coaching or both? How is it that teams can watch film on us and shut down a prolific offense with 3 days to prepare, yet, we can’t seem to figure out an opponent at all? How is that we have no vertical passing game? How is it that marginal defenses like Houston can play press man coverage and shut our dink and dunk down? How is it that we can’t do the same with two veteran corners? It is a baffling regression of epic proportions. A real stumper.
This program needs answers and needs them fast. Ruff, Lincoln, Brian…somebody has to step up and fix this mess because too much is at stake. We can go on and on about how good the teams who have beaten us are, but if we don’t run the table from here on out, we can only surmise that we have follow off pace with CUSA and that cannot be accepted.
Thank God we have Memphis next.