griz-nau-92813There’s really nothing positive to take away from this loss. The Griz for the 3rd time in their first 4 games opened the game giving up a long opening drive and things got worse from there. Colter with the Bobcat Beat probably spoke for what most of the impartial coaches, media members, and those that vote in the rankings thought:

Colter Nuanez ‏@Bobcat_Beat 33m
After watching how truly bad UND defense is today and now watching Montana against a real team, looks more and more like Griz are overrated

My thoughts as I watched this game:

– The game essentially ended on the blundered 4th and goal call. When you’re on the road and it’s that early in the game you take the points. The Griz would have been down 14-6 getting the ball to start the 3rd and who knows, it might’ve been a whole different ball game. I believe that whoever made that call (to go for it) made a huge mistake. If there was a single moment that sealed the game it was that one.

– Then shortly after that given the chance to muster some sort of points after the Tripp interception the Griz call a deep pass when they had 2 time outs and 15 seconds, only needing to move the ball upfield 10 yards to be in Worst’s range. Instead we go deep ball and then some cluster of a slow developing play that turns into a half-assed hail mary that gets batted down. Again, coaching blunder in my opinion, and that cost another change at 3 points. Griz could have been down 21-6 and starting with the ball in the 2nd half with a chance to get it to 21-13 (or 14) and it’s a whole different ball game. Lots of “what ifs” of course.

– Tackling today on defense was bad. Like… 2012 bad. I’m no expert but I don’t think that hitting guys with your shoulder and head down or arms folded in is the best way to stop NAU. Lots of plays where Bauman or even the WRs would bounce off a few of these “knock down” attempt tackles and get more yardage.

– I can’t help but wonder the loss of Hermanson and what that did for the defense. His position is the “QB” of the defense. There were A LOT of plays where the defense looked confused, guys running around to get in place, NAU players wide open (like Bauman repeatedly, how do you ever leave him uncovered?)

– For supposedly being the best O-line in the conference our guys up front were embarrassed tonight. Lots of sacks, tons of pressure and knockdowns – and usually just rushing 4. Multiple plays were some of our supposedly best linemen like Poole and Kistler whiffing guys or missing their assignment and giving NAU a free shot to Jordy. Multiple false starts, holding penalties, and even a chop-block call. Many times the penalties were drive-killers early on.

– Play calling made no sense. Deep route after deep route. Meanwhile JJ is getting pummeled while our O-line is getting manhandled and they’re still calling long and drawn out deeper routes. No quick routes, no screens. We quickly scrapped the run game. I dunno..

– Bad ball control, three very costly fumbles, one stopped a promising drive the other two were turned into points right away on scoop and scores.

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Well props to NAU, they outplayed the Griz in every facet of the game. Bauman once again made the Griz his b*tch in this game and Kyren Poe played fairly well. The NAU defense is legit, lots of people that weren’t wearing maroon glasses called a result like this after watching NAU’s defense. It’ll be interesting to see if the Jacks can duplicate this magic on the road next week (I bet not).

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Beyond that though I’ve got to get this off of my chest. There’s some additional factors at play here that have me frustrated. I’m typing this up just as the game clock is winding out here. This team is full of great football players and incredibly smart kids. They’re passionate as all hell and they’ve been talking this whole season as if the past is forgotten and all has been corrected. We saw tonight some issues remain, on the field, off the field, with the players, and with the staff. The Griz go into this game without their second leading tackler because he got drunk and out of control (where were his teammates/friends to keep him from getting into that kind of trouble? I don’t believe he was totally alone.) That’s common damn sense, be smart when you’re drinking, this team should know that. Speaking of common sense maybe one of our team captains should show better respect to the team rules and not be found downtown the night after a game as well. These kind of actions while not overly horrible add up. They affect the team on the field and off it as well. I had wondered about this point, the whole united theme is a great one, it’s a good rally cry. But how well tested is it now after a loss like this and some off-field blunders as well.

I feel like I say this every year but the response we see from the Griz will define this season. Before call camp if you told me the Griz would be 3-1 after their first four games I’d be pretty darn happy. And I still am, this loss has me frustrated right now but that will pass. We all knew the Big Sky was going to be the toughest it’s maybe ever been and we’re seeing that already from the top ranks of the conference. This team needs to re-group and come into the PSU game pissed and focused on the win.

Safe travels home Griz and Griz Nation. Lets pack the house for homecoming because the Griz need the fans all there and ready to cheer them back into the win column.

Go Griz!

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