Well, the positive is that we have a much needed ‘W’ in the books going into the game at Utah this weekend, and boy did we ever need it. All hope is not lost, Beaver fans, but the Beavs need to have been working hard this week to get ready for Utah. Even though the defense looked markedly better against Hawaii, they are nowhere near where they were the beginning of last year. There is still a lot of work to be done if the Beavs are going to be able to compete with the teams in the Pac 12 this season. We need to take a hard look at the fact that our score against Hawaii was nearly the same as the USC-Hawaii score from the week prior, and USC just lost in the Coliseum to WSU last weekend. No disrespect to Washington State, because in my opinion their defense did better than any other team in the Pac last year against the Ducks and obviously are just as good, if not better, this year, but the point is, if USC can put up nearly as many pts. against Hawaii away as we did at home, and then can turn around the next week to get beat by WSU, we need to get our act together and fast or that’s going to be us.
I don’t want to sound negative after our much needed win because our passing game overall is looking phenomenal with all the receivers we have catching the ball right now (shout out to Mullaney, Cummings and Hatfield and some Aloha spirit to Storm Woods as well, who, thank God, can run AND catch since the O-Line can’t seem to create any holes for him). I was glad to see Cody Vaz get in the game and it was also nice to Sean Mannion (despite what I may or may not have yelled during the game) given the fact that his pass completion average this season is hovering over 79%. Pretty dang good, sports fans, but let’s hope that he got that interception-thing out of his system this game because from where I was sitting, that looked more like a pass to the guys in the green (no, not our colors), and if UH can capitalize on mistakes like that, the big boys in our conference sure as heck can and will do the same.
Yes, we held Hawaii to 185 total yards until their last drive of the game. We also kept them in the lower 200’s overall which is good, but we can’t ignore the fact that the Rainbow Warriors helped us out significantly as many of their receivers did not seem to be able to catch a lot of the balls that even remotely entered their air space. Thank you, Rainbow Warriors, for that Aloha spirit.
Our offense is looking good with the exception of our Offensive Line who can’t seem to make a hole for a running back if their life depended on it. It reminds me of Quizz’ last year and I am starting to already feel the same level of frustration. A rushing total of 57 yrds.–really? I will continue to plug Terron Ward week after week here until he (hopefully) gets more playing time as that guy can create his own holes up the middle. We will be in some major trouble the second we face a good pass defense if we cannot get our running game going. We have two great backs in Woods and Ward and someone, anyone, a volunteer from the stands, whoever, needs to block for them. Enger being hurt and out for a couple of games also does not help our cause and we are really just looking, hoping, and yes, praying, for a few good men to step up.
Speaking of a few good mean stepping up, it was good to see Crichton, Doctor and Reynolds back this game, although I have not seen any of them play to the level that they were playing last year yet, and I’m unclear why.
Doctor now out possibly for the rest of the season is another potentially huge setback as he is our leading tackler, however I am impressed with the work of Caleb Saulo, who had five tackles covering for Doctor against UH after his injury. Jabral Johnson has also been doing a great job covering for DJ Alexander and is averaging 7 tackles in the first two games, but we really need DJ’s leadership back soon, particularly with Michael out. Thank goodness we have a very pleasant surprise on defense this season in Mana Rosa, who was playing against some former high school teammates this last weekend. He has showed up big time our first two games and I am really impressed with what I’ve seen from him thus far. Stay tuned for more highlights from him throughout the season.
Utah is no joke and usually better than their record reflects. They are a good football team and we have watched wins disappear before our very eyes in that stadium before. We need to come ready. We seriously have more collective talent on our team than I think I have ever seen, and we need to start playing at the level that we are capable of; until that happens, however, you can all just call me Nervous.