Sometime before the Pandemic, I stopped looking at advanced statistics as often, or as closely. For a long while there, I could quote the stuff at you and there was a time when it was truly refreshing to see numbers support some conclusions and suppositions. The gist of the numbers revolution was that you could analyze a game without having really watched it. It helped you “see” a team without watching all 60 minutes every week. This is useful when there are 100+ football programs and you want a quick way to compare and contrast.
I found, and I do not mean to hype myself here, was that I had a solid idea of what my favorite little team was week-in, and week-out. Following the extra stats and the conversations around them pulled me away from well, watching football and enjoying the game. There is a balance required. If you watch this team every week, you probably have a good idea of what it is as well. Changing that is another matter entirely.
We can describe there terrible offense all day — and some days we have — and outside of suggesting they find better players I do not know what else there is to do here. I mean, it is not all Jace Ruder’s fault. This, for example, is just a drop.
This, however, is all his fault.
The Nick Saban school of coaching is not about scheme or ideas, as was recently profiled in the Ol’ Miss/Bama pregame hype piece, but about process. Saban believes in coaching and preparing his teams in the right way, in his staff preparing and communicating in the right way, and that produces results. I do not know that we have an overriding PROCESS that permeates the program in such a way that we pay attention to the details. Seth Littrell still has time to turn this around but he is already on national Hot Seat Lists and that doesn’t wash off so easily. When his time here is done, we will note the good, but also the bad.
This season we have seen poor attention to detail. Having to remind your starting QB that the ball needs to be thrown in-bounds is a symptom of a larger failing. (If I knew exactly how to correct that, I would be paid the $1MM to implement it. ) This is a difficult, stressful gig, but no one twisted anyone’s arm to put them into it.
North Texas can win with a Littrell-coached team but there needs to be some more evaluation of the program at present. The Process is failing somewhere and needs to be improved and refined. I asked Littrell, more or less, at media days how he changed the way he evaluates his coaches after having changed so many in such a short time 1. His answer was fairly boilerplate and that is largely because I am not a very amazing interviewer. “We just have to get better” works in a generic way, but a clear, precise plan is hopefully communicated to the AD.
It cannot always be that the coordinator sucked.
The schedule does not look like it contains a lot of wins for this program right now. Missouri is talented, Marshall is talented, if shaky. Liberty boasts a possible NFL-er that destroyed UAB at their new stadium. Rice and USM are bad but they got the better of North Texas in recent years so there is no telling. UTEP is not-good but they are winning — 4-1 as of this writing. FIU is probably the most dysfunctional team left. UTSA is a rival, but they boast a coherency that is lacking in Denton right now. Does not look good.
Bodie Reeder, Clint Bowen, Troy Reffett — two one-year-wonders in that group ↩