Post Game Report | Bwahlberg
This may have been one of the worst games I’ve seen in quite some time. The Griz were coming off a frustrating loss, in a situation where a win was vital for momentum into the bye, and knew what errors cost them last week. Yet still… the same things come up for this team that absolutely bury any chance they had to be in this game and they got their asses kicked all day long.
I’m sure this board is going to blow up with hot takes left and right so I wanted to get this out early. There’s still plenty of season left and I still believe that this team can get things together and make a run. I think the talent is there but A LOT needs to change fast from top to bottom with this team. Keep in mind Griz fans that in 2015 the Griz were 4-4, went on a 3 game winning streak, and made the playoffs. Do I think it’ll happen this year? At this moment, watching this game wind down my initial thought is no… but with a week off and time to refocus I remain hopeful that things can be corrected.
There’s a long ways for this team to go to get there. I’m hoping the players and coaching staff can take these two weeks to get things on the right track.
From today’s game some more broad observations:
1. Turnovers and ball security got even worse this week. This is so odd to see from a Hauck-run team. The Grizzlies this year have seemed to compound their turnover issues too as teams have made big money off Grizzly turnovers. Some are tough, Sneed’s pick he was rushed but probably should have thrown away or gone to the check-down, forces a high pass and an easy pick. Crow not the usual return man but poor ball security when wrapped up and loses it. Bingham gets a handoff, presumably something he’s not overall used to, never secures it. Toure gets the ball ripped right out of his hands. These errors, much like last week, just killed the team today and against a far better team than PSU it wound up not even being close.
2. Furthermore on turnovers, while the defense was put in tough spots that unit was also unable to make any meaningful stop to get the Griz the ball back with minimal damage on a turnover. This is the other side of the coin that also needs to be improved. The defense for a 2nd week in a row could not stop the opposing team from scoring after a turnover. Even when UND had 98 yards to go. I can understand the argument that the offense shouldn’t put the defense in these positions… and they shouldn’t, but it’s the nature of this game. The defense was unable to make stops when needed most and it allowed the turnovers to break the Grizzlies backs. Here’s a further example, Montana blocked a punt and forced 2 turnovers themselves. The first pick they had was essentially the end of the half, but the other pick and the blocked punt lead to ZERO points for Montana – and one even had the Griz starting in the UND red zone. UND was able to minimize the effect of their mistakes, while the Griz compounded their own.
3. Two weeks in a row with a rough showing for Sneed. He got hit A LOT today again but showed ongoing concerning traits with overthrows and rushed throws. His footwork and athleticism is superior to any other QB on this team but those mid/deep shots need to be more consistent. He’s shown some instances of rushing throws too and that showed a little bit more today, maybe the most observable was the failed 4th down attempt at mid-field in the 2nd. Humphrey comes in and looks ok with a better deep ball for sure, so where does this go from here?
4. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Hauck-coached team that’s been so riddled with errors. I’ve seen some suggestion that this is because of the “Stitt kids” on the team but I’m not buying that BS answer. These are football players and many of whom were touted recruits and would have been considered top-tier FCS recruits anyways. They’ve been in this system for the whole year so far and know what is expected of them. We’ve seen some good things come about from these players responding to the changes in staff, but it’s clearly got a long ways to go. I didn’t expect a flawless or even a good season with the removal of these errors… but I didn’t think we’d see this many in such a short window.
5. More drops. I believe this was said last week that when the QB isn’t having his best show, his WRs/TEs/RBs need to help him out. There were more drops at needed moments today that were drive-killing again. And while there were some really tough to catch passes thrown there was some instances where would-be receiving targets had passes hitting them in the hands and they just couldn’t pull it in.
6. This defense has be totally gassed. The defense had their 3rd consecutive game where they were on the field for 38:00+. It’s a mix of missed tackles, getting tired, and the inability to make stops early to flip momentum back to the Griz. And add in some DBs/CBs apparently falling down or slipping, which lead to wide-open targets. When UND scored to make it 21-0, from a 3rd and 17 (or so) that felt the straw that broke the camel’s back. Not sure how a WR would have been let through the coverage like he was, if it was a design/play call issue or an execution error.
UND needs some props too, they came prepared, played physical, and beat the hell out of the Griz. Their running game is devastating and stacked with great athletes. Their QB looked far better than even I expected him to be. Their defense was great with dialing up pressure. That’s a good team that beat a (currently) bad team as they should have.
Backs to the wall from here on out. Griz need to rest up, clean up a lot of issues, and get focused for a must-win game against UCD in two weeks. I’ll be there supporting this team as they’re going to need the fans to help them out in every way. I’ll say this, while we’re all frustrated, please don’t give up on these guys. They’ve worked all year for this season and these guys know damn well that this isn’t the way they wanted it to go (so far) either.