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the hangover, week 8

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How Soon Is Now?

How can you say I go about things the wrong way?
How can you say I go about things the wrong way?
Ed Zurga

This week's hangover is brought to you by Frisch riesling, Ezra Craig bourbon, and some kind of antihistamine that it turns out is nasal spray and not bitters.  Oops.

Well, i expected we'd cover, and we did.  Handily. But more than that, we began to develop something of an offensive identity.  Johnny McCrary went the distance in the loss, and while he looked like a freshman QB, he also did some nice things.  When he threw the ball away on 3rd down, it didn't go for a pick-6 and he didn't take sacks. The running game was only sporadically effective (I only counted three first-half runs for 5 or more yards) but Steven Scheu and the other tight ends stood up to become primary targets. It's probably our most effective passing performance of the season.  So I'm going to mostly let the staff off the hook this week - let's overlook the fact that it took until the 8th game to develop a unified offensive philosophy behind a single QB and just focus on the fact it happened at all.  Defensively, we got off the field on 3rd down more than we have lately, which is nice. Sure, we gave up 24 points, and a lot of our efforts on both side of the ball were assisted by Mizzou's fourteen penalties, but I'm trying to be Mr. Brightside this week.

The SEC network continues to give us the dregs.  Just ask "Andre" Williamson or all those folks who were at the Charleston Southern game "last week". But if you expect anything but short shrift from the SEC, you must be new here, and that includes on things like dubious fumbles and pick plays and what not.  We're just never going to get those to go our way; we should count our good fortune that the Tigers tripled us up in penalties.

The announcers really hated the punt at the end of the game.  From our own end zone.  On 4th and 32. I mean, I'm not sure whether we had a single play of 32 yards from scrimmage all day (it would have been in the second half when I stopped charting) but when it's just a question of where you're going to give the ball back to the other team - I can't get too burned up about it.  Would I like to play a full 60 minutes and never give up? Obviously. But unless you have Nick Saban adding a second or the Stanford Band out on the field, you're probably not making up a 10 point deficit in a minute off a 4th and 32 play in a season where you're already 2-5 and mathematically eliminated from the SEC East race with five games to go.  I say to hell with it.  Maybe not the healthiest attitude, but my primary coping strategy for this season is "drink more and care less" so I'm not going to strangle a coach over it.

If you want a bright spot, have this one: we have a quarterback at last.  He's young and he's green, but he's finished two consecutive first halves with scoring drives when our habit had been to give up points at the half rather than score them. We have an offensive solution that goes beyond just running the damn ball every time. We just need to be more aggressive on 4th and 1 type situations - we used to go for those, and we used to get them - and pace the earlier remarks of Mason, we need more than one touch for Sims and Sherfield and we need not to telegraph them when they happen.

Four games left.  Three at home, and on paper, after today, you have to think all three could be winnable.  After the start to this season, taking three of our last four and finishing 5-7 would be a hell of a comeback and give us reason to feel better about 2015.  And if we beat both UF and UT...I think all will be forgiven. I sure as hell will, anyway.  In the meantime, this is the part where we just say "they did better than last week, right?"  And they did.  And based on this season, that's good enough for me this week.