It begs the question.
Anyone looking at this team from afar can see that they have beaten two quality teams in Cal and Clemson, yet lost to two horrible teams in MIddle Tennessee and Virginia. They made those bad teams look great in doing so. It’s hard to explain how a team can ride this rollercoaster from week to week. You look at it and say, “Hey! How hard is it to come out and play hard. How can you think any game is going to be easy? How can you not learn from your mistakes?”
Here is where I’m the most confused. You look at a team and you usually have two choices:
1). Either they just aren’t that good and had one great game against a good opponent. That’s not our Terps. They are a good team with good players. They have explosive players on offense and what seems to be a very physical and large offensive line. They have some good players on defense, though the secondary is banged up. They beat 2 good teams. That was not lucky.
2). They are a very good team that just had one slip up mentally and lost a game. Not our Terps either. There is something wrong when you can’t learn from your mistakes and don’t “show up” twice in 5 weeks. So, this team has some major problems.
Which brings me back to coaching. Do you blame the Fridge for the team not playing well against bad teams? Ralph is very open with the media and has told them time and time again that he has continuously warned the team about trap games and such. Is it his fault when they don’t listen? Does it mean they’ve tuned him out?
I say no. I know it’s easier to get up for bigger games, but his motivation worked against Cal and against Clemson (2nd half). His overall record speaks for itself, whether he did it with his players or somebody else’s. At some point you have to put it on the players. Now we can start the age old argument that we’ve gone around and around with when it comes to the hoop team. You know, the “if he recruited better players, better leaders, blah blah blah.” But you have to look at the players we currently have and realize that it’s 22 guys on the field that aren’t coming together and playing with a sense of urgency and desire on a weekly basis. And most of these guys have gone to 2 bowl games, so it’s not like they stink.
What this team is missing, in my opinion, is a leader ON THE FIELD. They need a guy who won’t let these letdowns happen. We need a senior like Jeremy Navarre to step up and get the defense going. It’s easier for a team of 18-22 year olds to listen to him, than a 60 year old coach. They need someone on offense like Turner or one of the offensive linemen to take charge and get that line blocking and protecting. Get Turner calmed down and into a flow. We know how good he can be when he’s confident, but you can see the entire team fall apart when things start to go wrong (except Clemson).
So, while Ralph deserves some blame by being head coach (and he’ll take that blame), I think it’s up to the players to get themselves going at this point. They have a good team, they have proven that. They are 4-2 with a week off to get themselves going. I’m sure they’ll be up for the Wake Forest game in two weeks and I’m sure they’ll come out and play well. I bet they win that game. It’s a big one. I guess the only good news is that there are no more “cupcakes” on the schedule for us to take lightly.
This could still be a good season if they can just find some leaders on the field to get the job done.