NT Football 2010 Spring: New Offense? I Don’t Want to Be a Downer ….

… but I don’t know how much Canales will boost our production.

 A couple of quick warnings before you read this : I am not taking into account potential gains we get from growth by Kid Dodge or just general offensive growth under the system in place. I also don’t know if delegating will allow us to concentrate on little things like protecting the ball etc. I mostly based my horrible assessment on the fact that I couldn’t remember USF being anything special on offense. I knew they had a good defense and were ranked as high as no. 2 back during that crazy upset-heavy season. I also don’t know if Canales was stifled or something and has a genius offensive mind that was bound and gagged by the crazy-ass at USF.

1. He hasn’t had amazing success. And by amazing success I mean like his teams move the ball somewhat but they aren’t anything special. In fact, the dude got fired in Arizona because the offense was inept:

In an attempt to address the Wildcats’ problems on offense, Stoops initiated a modest off-season shakeup, replacing coordinator Mike Canales with Sonny Dykes, one of the architects of Texas Tech’s high-octane passing attack the last two seasons.

Crap. Now, again, giving the dude the benefit of the doubt, he could have been a scapegoat. This guy doesn’t think so, and he went to NT so he has loads of cred.* He had three mediocre years at Arizona before taking over USF and continuing the streak. Ugh. This does not portend good things.

*Not verified. 

2.  We weren’t that awful on offense. Especially when you compare us to USF. Wait a sec. I know I am kind of using circular logic or whatever it’s called. Hear me out: We are not that horrible on offense. We struggle in short yardage and have trouble being consistent. Those are the flaws of a young team. Execution is one of those oft-quoted little things that make a team a winning team.  Consistency is also.

Think about it.

On every play there is somewhere to go with the ball. Sometimes that place is out of bounds. Sometimes that is for a quick three yard scramble, or a quick dump off to the RB. Watch a veteran QB. Other than Favre types, they pretty much know where to go with the ball at all times. Making the smart plays means less frustrating situations. Less third-and-longs. Less turnovers-because-the-QB-was-holding-the-ball-too-long, and so on. They call those dudes Game Managers (horrible name, I know.) They don’t mess things up. Maybe they don’t win games, but they also don’t lose them. A lot of times you can only get to that level by experience.

So, you know how Lance Dunbar was tearing it up? Remember how JJ and Carey were taking those quick -3 yard passes and racing up the sideline?

You do? Okay.

Those are our chain movers, unfortunately. Lance got a ton of his yardage on three or four big runs, in most games. The most frequent whine after games was why didn’t we give it to LD more? I am sure PapaDodge has insufficient answers to these questions.  Here is my answer: The defense did not respect the deep ball. Probably for a lot of reasons. The obvious one is that Kid Dodge didn’t make ’em. Maybe he doesn’t have the arm strength. Maybe he doesn’t have the time to look deep. Maybe he doesn’t have the full playbook available to him. Maybe he doesn’t have the awareness to know he actually can look through all his progressions. I don’t know.

So how does that equal big screens and big draws? Well, when they are packing it near the line of scrimmage, all it takes is a good block/missed tackle and then– if you have speed like LD– you are off.

That wasn’t the only thing though. I mean, the other team knew that they could get beat on those things. Still, they weren’t scheming elaborately for us. Lots of times they were in their base coverages/run defenses. You know, the ones we practice on.

Anyway, my point is that we were pretty decent for a young squad. We made plays. Now, combine that with some more experience in the same (now similar) offense, and you have improvement.

This is of course, assuming that PapaDodge is a decent coach.

Which brings me back to Mike C. Where does he come in? Well, I am wondering how much impact he really is going to make. Like I’ve said before, no matter who Dodge brings in, and what responsibilities he gives him, this offense will always be a Dodge baby. It is what he hangs his hat on. Methinks this was a please-the-boss type move. A move that could mess it all up.

Here is what I hope doesn’t happen: Mike C, gets all “gotta prove myself”-y and decides to put his signature on the offense. When things don’t go that awesomely (just going off his past production here folks) Dodge who is feeling “gotta save my job”-y decides to make some ‘helpful suggestions.’

The sort-of-power-struggle creates a crappy situation for the offense, and then we stink it up. Again.

3. He signed on to be our coordinator. For cheap. I know that we aren’t hot shit. I also know that Ohio has Frank Solich. That June Jones once was banished to Hawaii. That big time coaches sometimes find themselves at small time schools. I know. It seems like this guy is going backwards, though. That concerns me. I could see if he was coming in to be our head coach. It just don’t pass the smell test for me, guys. An automatic bid conference to the worst FBS Conference? Really? For small money? Hurm.

I am sure he has his reasons. Maybe he took the first job available after Leavitt went crazy. Who knows. I’d still rather have an up-an-comer though. Kind of like this dude. But, RV probably wanted experience to soothe the fans and maybe to cool his own warming seat.

Of course, I hope that we score 40 a game while putting up 500 yards of total offense a half.

GMG