You can’t be mad at the result. When the team is a four touchdown underdog, how can you be mad when your team loses? So why did I go to bed upset? At first I really couldn’t understand it. And I kept telling myself that I was worked up over nothing.
So I did what I always did. Google.
First search, is Tech a good, bad or average defense? Well, last year, they were above averaged. Ranked 30th in total defense; 18th in scoring defense. They were 67th in rushing defense; 15 in pass efficiency defense. That being said, they didn’t get a lot of sacks or tackles for loss. For 2006, they have three new starters in the secondary and new starters on both ends of the defensive line.
Look elsewhere brother, because the problem was SMU, not Tech.
Second search, when was the last time SMU coughed up an offensive performance like this? Well, pathetically, SMU coughed up two such pathetic performances last year. Against Marshall, SMU racked up a whopping 191 total yards; 10 for 25 passing attempts for 151 yards and 40 rushing yards on 34 attempts. The other was against Tulane, where SMU laid a complete offensive egg: 127 total yards; 8 for 18 passing for 64 yards; 31 rushing attempts for 63 yards.
Third search, where does SMU’s 2006 performance rank thus far? Eeee…. 187 yards gets you the 99th overall offense; 105th ranks passing offense, and 67th ranked rushing offense (really, it isn’t worse than that? Here’s the kicker, SMU finished last year at 77, so is that an improvement?); and tied for 103rd in scoring offense. The good news, guys, is that we rank ahead of next week’s opponent in rushing and total offense!!!
No, no, no. It isn’t in the numbers. It is something else. Ah, yes. I have seen this offense before. This is the uber-conservative; don’t trust the quarterback to do anything offense we used to see when Phillips was starting. That is what this is. Now, compare what we saw to what we were told:
The last four games last season showed the offense that I imagined when I came here to SMU - being able to be effective in the run and the pass. I hope that after being in this system for one year, Justin can continue to grow and learn from that. We potentially have a very good group of tight ends. This will give us the opportunity to do some things offensively that we hadn't been able to do in the past."
Bennett believes his new starting quarterback will use those lessons to solidify the position for the next four years. "He's not a guy who is going to kill you with his arm," Bennett says. "But he is a special quarterback. He makes everyone around him better."
Now, Burns said, the entire offense is in place.
"We've had a couple years to teach the offense, and the guys who have been here have had a couple of years to learn it," Burns said. "It's not such an overwhelming amount of new information for them now. They understand the offense better, and that really started to show toward the end of last year.
"Now that the guys understand everything better, we can do more things. We won't always be in four-receiver sets. We'll be able to do more two-back sets, or use multiple-tight end sets. The goal is to create problems for the defense, to give them more and more to worry about. It's not really that we're going to be doing anything different, scheme-wise. It's just that we'll be able to do a lot more of it. We want our quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly, because we have a lot of guys who can make plays, and we need to get the ball in their hands."
To be very clear, this is not about Willis. This is about Bennett and Burns. This is about what we were told we were getting versus what we got in Game One. I will sum it up thusly: Some time ago, Bennett started leaving Burns alone and letting him do his thing. I am not saying Bennett can’t coach and I am not saying Burns is some kind of offensive guru. Saturday night was an offensive gameplan where Bennett’s fingerprints appear to be all over it.
What? Are you afraid of losing by 80? This game was meaningless to SMU’s plans this year. Bennett may not want to trust a redshirt freshman to do lead this team, but he doesn’t have much of a choice. Let the kid throw a pick. Let him screw up. Better now than against North Texas.