Lessons From The First College Games of 2015Erick Streelman
Hey Guys, This is going to be a relatively short message. I’m not going to go over any X’s and O’s or break down any defenses. I just have to point out what I think is an incredibly important college football lessons from tonight’s games.
I, like most of you I’m sure, was pumped for the start of the college football season. I was really excited for two games tonight…Michigan vs Utah and TCU vs Minnesota. Incidentally, I had to be at school tonight to monitor our first girls’ soccer game, so I didn’t catch either game in its entirety. By the time I sat down with my bowl of chicken and mushroom pasta and turned on ESPN, Michigan was down 24-10.
Some of you may have watched the whole game and could give a much more informed account of the failings of Michigan’s offense tonight. But, for whatever reason, they struggled on offense for most of the night.
But when I sat down and watched Michigan play on their last two drives, I saw efficiency, urgency, and execution. You know what else I saw? Success.
On their final drive of the night, Michigan QB Jake Rudock dropped back to pass 9 times in a row. The defense knew it was coming and they were not playing a prevent or umbrella coverage. He went 6 for 8 for 80 yards and Michigan’s second touchdown of the game. He gave them the opportunity to try on onside kick and possibly have a chance to drive for a winning score.
A little perplexed, I switched over to the Minnesota game and saw that they were down 20-10, obviously struggling offensively against a tough TCU defense. But, when they got the ball with just over 5 minutes left, down 23-10, they had a very similar drive to Michigan. QB Mitch Leidner dropped back to pass 6 times and they ran two zone plays to RB Rodney Smith. Leidner went 5 for 5 with a 6 yard scramble and Minnesota drove 86 yards for a TD in just over 2 minutes.
The similarities between these two games were unmistakeable. Neither team could do anything until the last drive of the game. But, when they had to score, they went 80+ yards in 2 minutes and put the ball in the zone. The same kids that shut them down for 55 minutes, couldn’t stop them at the end of the game.
This happens all the time. A team can’t move the ball all night and then they say to themselves, “Well, I guess we’ll just throw it down the field and play as fast as we can and see what happens.” They adopt an attacking mentality because they have to. They play with tempo and urgency and call pass play after pass play because they have to. Even though the defense knows it’s coming, they can’t stop it, partly because of rhythm and confidence and partly because they are exhausted from playing so fast.
Every time I see this, I ask myself, Why don’t we play like that all the time? Why don’t we play with the mentality that, if we don’t score this time, the game is over?
The short answer is that we are scared.
We have been conditioned to be conservative. We have been conditioned that we have to be balanced. We have been taught that the defense will just tee off on our QB if we throw it too much. We believe that we should try to keep it respectable and maybe we can win it in the 4th quarter.
Lies and exaggerations!
If we take one thing from the games tonight, we should learn that sometimes the only way we will have any measure of success is if we attack.
Play fast! Throw the ball! Attack the defense! Don’t sit back and wait for the 4th quarter to discover that you can move the ball if you just open it up. Put the pedal to the metal from the get go and see what happens!
I bet Michigan and Minnesota wish they would have.
Good luck tomorrow guys! Keep Chucking it!