I have to believe this is a slump, rather than a wholesale dearth of skill. The team is bigly (a Trumpism) talented. From my seat, I have witnessed lack of player focus, coaches poor play calling (down right crappy), and unfortunately what seems to be player lack of heart.
To be honest, we did have holes to fill this year, O-Line, D-Line, LB.. Plus we have had injuries.. But, from looking at the team preseason, and listening to the coaches talk, I doubted it would have even have come to this.
But come on, The LB corps are talented, D-Ends are monsters, The O-Linemen should be draft choices next and the year after, receivers can catch, and LJ Scott, London, Josiah Price can run… We have talent.
The issue is not with the QBs. Clearly not. They racked up huge yardage with both QBs last week. 424 total yards, and Lewerke was the leading rusher on the team. The issues lie at the coaching level (O & D play calling), and the level of focus of the players on the field. The coaches we can fix or fire, I am more concerned with the players (kids) focus.
The Spartans have 3 choices at this point – 1) Come out and eek by a win, by playing to their opponents level, 2) Crush the Terps as we expected them to do in August and July, 3) make it a 5th straight loss. I choose door number 2….
With 6 games left, and without any improvements, I see 2 wins, 2 looses, and 2 maybes. But, if the team can regroup and can focus on their roles & responsibilities (via coaching), maybe we would go 3 -3 or possibly 4 -3 to close out the year.
FYI – The Rose bowl prediction is long gone now…
Focus / confidence is a funny thing with teams. Focus and the related concentration are KEY elements. And it is up to the Coaches, and Dantonio is the best, to ensure that they come out with the appropriate level of focus. Success breeds success, and if they can fight for small victories play by play, they can regain the needed confidence, but they need the initial focus first.
From one of my old text books:
“You have to be totally and completely absorbed with what you are doing in the moment, play by play. However, if you have been struggling lately performance-wise, then you are more vulnerable to allowing your focus to drift back to the past, remembering those bad performances or instances of choking. When you do this, you end up generating physical and mental tension inside. This tension will make it that much more difficult to stay loose and concentrate on the right stuff in this upcoming performance. This situation then gets worsened by a natural worry that the slump or losing streak will continue.”
Suffice it to say, they have the talent, but I expect the coaching staff to do all it can, play by play to get the players (kids) ready for success and the Terps in College Park.
We can’t have 5 in a row… that will kill the season and make Oct. 29 infinitely more painful…
Sparty On !!!