Review: Wofford

During the game, SportSouth played a clip of The Citadel Regimental Band playing at the 2010 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

It was easily the highlight of the telecast for The Citadel.

Sam Wyche struggled trying to come up with a positive for the Bulldogs.  At one point, he noted that The Citadel had cut its turnovers in half from the week before.  When the best thing that can be said about your offense is that it didn’t commit nine turnovers in consecutive weeks, your offense has issues.

(Wyche also struggled with calling Kevin Higgins by his right name, at least twice referring to “Mike Higgins” before sheepishly correcting himself.  I think Wyche is a solid announcer, so I wouldn’t hold it against him.  Calling a game like that one can be difficult.)

The Citadel has been shut out in consecutive games for the first time in a decade.  In case you were wondering, the last time the Bulldogs were shut out three times in a row was 1953, when The Citadel actually suffered four straight shutout losses.  I would say that if the Bulldogs can’t put a crooked number on the board against Elon on Homecoming, it’s going to get ugly, but the fact is that it’s already ugly.

Not only have the Bulldogs been shut out twice in succession, in neither game did The Citadel snap the ball in the opponent’s “red zone”.  The closest the Bulldogs have come to the opposing end zone in the last two games?  In the Georgia Southern game, The Citadel reached the GSU 23-yard line before fumbling.  Against Wofford, the deepest penetration was the Terrier 38-yard line, which is where The Citadel was when the game ended.

I didn’t understand why the Bulldogs did not make an effort to run more plays at the game’s end, to be honest.  Why not at least try to score?  What did they have to lose?  I was disappointed in that.

I was disappointed in a lot of things…

From Jeff Hartsell’s notes column on the game:

The Bulldogs also put freshman Ben Dupree in at quarterback for the first time since the season opener against Chowan. Dupree, who had been playing at slotback, ran nine times for a net of three yards.

“Just trying to get something to jump-start the offense,” Higgins said. “In practice, when Ben’s in there, he usually breaks one or two for 50-plus yards. He did some things, but also put the ball on the ground, too.”

I’ve got to ask…if he has been breaking “one or two for 50-plus yards” in practice, why wasn’t he put in the game at quarterback in other games?  Is there any particular reason a potential big-play threat wouldn’t have been useful against Georgia Southern, or Chattanooga, or Western Carolina?

The quarterback rotation in the game against Wofford was curious.  Matt Thompson started, was replaced by Dupree, who was replaced by Thompson, who gave way to Sam Martin.

This might not be exactly right, so I apologize if I’m off by a play or two, but I think the rotation went like this:  Thompson for two series (six plays), followed by Dupree for three series (fifteen plays), followed by Thompson for seven series (twenty-five plays), followed by Martin for two series (sixteen plays).

The Citadel managed only 143 yards of total offense.  About half of that came during the last two series of the contest; Martin was in the game for both.  That’s not to say he was necessarily playing better than the other two quarterbacks (after all, Wofford wasn’t playing many of its starters by that time), but the team did move the ball a little bit when he was in the game.

The defense turned in a respectable performance.  It did allow two long scoring drives, but otherwise held up its end of the bargain.  It has to be tough to constantly defend on your side of the field.  Wofford’s average starting position on its offensive possessions was its own 44-yard line (although that’s better than last week, when GSU’s average drive started on The Citadel’s 40-yard line).

Eric Clanton and Tolu Akindele were noticeably active (Akindele forced two fumbles). Rod Harland led the team with ten tackles.

Everyone knew this wasn’t going to be the easiest of seasons, not with the transition to the triple option offense.  I think what is most frustrating, though, is that Bulldog fans really haven’t seen that much of the triple option in action.

Instead, they’ve seen constant problems with the exchanges between the quarterback and the center, and the quarterback and the fullback.  It’s as if the play never develops, and the result is the quarterback being tackled for a three-yard loss, or a fumble, or both.

In addition, when The Citadel attempts a pass it is more often than not a “cover your eyes” situation.

On to Elon.  It’s Homecoming.  My advice to alums returning for their reunions: concentrate on the tailgating.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 674 other followers

%d bloggers like this: