After the game, this was my one overriding thought. "Dammit, Phil!"
It is frustrating. It really is. This was a game I predicted SMU to win before the season started. This is a game SMU was favored in. ECU is not a good football team. Building on the success in previous weeks is a concept that has plagued SMU for years and years.
"Help me help you!"
This has to be the thought going through Copeland and Turner's mind right now. They don't want to fire the coach; I don't want to fire the coach. But, c'mon. Bennett has to win the winnable games. He has to beat the teams SMU should be able to beat. Teams like, well, frankly, ECU. And teams like Tulane.
Forget what the message boarders say, Bennett is going to keep his job if he can improve his record. Hell, with a win over TCU, if he equals his 2004 record, he probably stays. But improving on 2004's record just got a lot tougher. SMU is going to be favored in just one more game this year-Rice. And Bennett has never beaten an option team.
What I want to know is, where was the offense from last week? This was not that offense. Against UAB, Romo lined up under center a lot. That didn't happen this week. Not that there is any magic to being under center but it shows that there was something different. It at least appeared as if Romo was more comfortable with dropping back. And the running game was effective, except for the turnovers. Why sticking with what works is a foreign concept for this coaching staff, I will never know. Romo was bad. There is no other word for it.
The defense gave up one bad play. Hell, I don't even think it was that bad considering I considered it a miracle Travis Williams didn't score. Other than that 80 yard play, I thought the defense was good in a 2003 Dallas Cowboys sort of way-they only got one turnover. Look at the ECU scoring drives: 97 yards, 34 yards, 21 yards, 13 yards. Another case of the offense letting the defense down.
Hey! We didn't have a single special teams fuckup as far as I can recall.
Oh, and I was really disappointed in the crowd today.
Now for some housekeeping. There seems to be some talk on the message board that SMU must be better because it turned the ball over five times and was still in the game. No. This is a sign that ECU is a bad football team. And SMU can't beat a bad football team. Which means is a bad football team. SMU had one sustained drive and only netted a fieldgoal. The two touchdowns came because of a great interception that gave SMU the ball inside the 10 and a terrible punt that gave SMU the ball inside the 30. I'd give you some better stats but the box score on ESPN is all screwed up (I doubt Jamey Harper threw the ball six times).
Another thing, as I mentioned before, this season about improvement and Bennett will be judged on that and that alone. Anybody thinking that the world is over if SMU doesn't go to a bowl game hasn't been a fan of SMU too long. If SMU loses its next two and then wins its next two, that is enough. If the offense finally comes together that is enough. I don't think either of those things are going to happen by the way, but the point is, everybody needs to relax. I know "relax is not a hot sports opinion, but no one game really matters; it is the totals at the end of the season. More precisely, the totals after the Rice game.
Finally, I will leave you with this: Skip Holtz, ECU head coach, was considered and rejected for the SMU head coaching job. Just think about that.