Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fire Rocky Hager

First, let's look at the American League Angels.

Angels 2, Kansas City 1
Angels 2, Kansas City 1

I've been kinda expecting this type of production from the Angels' offense. I'm sorry, but they clearly aren't the second-best offense in the AL, and they've been scoring runs at a historic pace for reasons which completely defy modern baseball reasoning. Regression has been due for quite some time, and it's coming at the expense of the Angels' lead in the West.

And yet, it's still Kansas City. It's gotta suck to be a Royals fan. Two days in a row, the Royals have the lead entering the 8th inning and both games, they end up losing 2-1. It's not as if the Angels didn't try to let them win...they just sucked less. Sorta. LA managed to win on Friday despite being outhit 11-3, something I don't think I've ever seen before.

Luckily, starting pitching has been substantially improved over the last few weeks, despite the tepid offense. Lackey was great tonight, going 9 innings and giving up just a single run in the first before settling down and earning a no decision. Win/loss records for pitchers are unbelievably dumb.

What has been failing, however, has been baserunning. I swear, more Angel baserunners have been thrown out in the last week than, seemingly, the entire month of June. This needs to stop. Chone Figgins leads the league in caught stealing, something which should adequately describe how often he should be trying to rip off bags.

But the Angels have won two games. How about some college football?

Northeastern 0, Boston College 54

Look, my expectations for NU football are pretty low. My baseline requested level of performance for almost any team is .500, but for Husky football, all I want is something fun to watch on Saturdays.

What do I get?

Well, let's start off with our "new" and "improved" "spread offense." This, apparently, is our idea of a "spread:"
  • First down: Throw a short pass behind the line of scrimmage for no gain.
  • Second down: Attempt a double reverse for a loss.
  • Third down: Try a QB run for 2 yards.
  • Fourth down: Punt the ball no more than 15 yards and then allow the opposition to return the punt at least 50 yards or for a touchdown, whichever is closer.
This is not "fun" football. This is a disgrace. Let me point out that we lost our starting quarterback, Alex Dulski, on a quarterback run on third effing down with the game already out of reach. This is the type of play call that gets NFL coaches fired immediately. Luckily for Northeastern head coach Rocky Hager, he has the ultimate in job security. Nobody else wants this job.

Now, let's take a look at defense. The best description of our defense is "guess defense." Nobody, and I mean nobody, looks like they have any idea what they're doing out there. Players watch receivers cross routes and, instead of dropping into zone, stutter around trying to figure out what to do. Meanwhile, the opposing quarterback is completing a 30 yard pass. Bear in mind, this is with a new, supposedly "head coach material" defensive coordinator. You've got. To be. Kidding.

Special teams was its own brand of bad. Punter Ron Conway couldn't figure out how to kick a football more than 20 yards for most the game. Of course, he did tie a Northeastern record by kicking 12 punts on the day. Now that's a record I'd want in my trophy case. The punt return teams couldn't figure out where to put the wedge on the first two returns, and once they fixed that, dropped the ball on the next two. Somebody get that man some stickum!

With all this said, it's become patently obvious that the head coach needs to be fired. Every season, I expect at least a moderately competitive opening game, and every year, the opposition drops 21 points in the first quarter and the team looks done 10 minutes in. It's unacceptable. You'd think that the team would get fired up for at least the first quarter when playing real programs like BC, Northwestern, and Virginia Tech. But you'd be wrong. The team has no leadership, and that's a problem that only gets fixed with coaching changes.

I mean, they called a run play when stuck at their own one and down 38-0! They punted on 4th and 1 when down by well over 20 points! For the love of god, throw the ball more than 5 yards and at least lose with some dignity.

How can Rocky fix the team in time to make this season interesting?
  • Strike the QB run from the playbook. I would rather see our quarterbacks nailed to the ground than sent on insane 2 yard runs and sustaining injuries.
  • Run an actual spread offense. Note that this requires throwing the ball at least 20 yards down field at least once a game.
  • Run a vanilla zone defense until the team learns how to handle man coverage.
  • Throw the ball down field.
  • Bench the punter until he successfully launches two punts for at least 40 yards.
This is my last season of Northeastern football. Just once, I'd like to look at that ESPN ticker and see N'Eastern in yellow.

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