Well, down goes another UCF connection, as we learned on Sunday that Interim HC Mickey Joseph fired Nebraska and Scott Frost’s DC.
First, let me go a bit “ugh” with this. Part of me just wonders what on earth we are going to accomplish doing this. As Alberts said, we fired Frost for the kids to give them hope and renew some energy into a very young season. But at some point you are getting rid of all of the guys they pledged to play for. You’re also cutting the nuts off guys like Fisher, Dawson, and Ruud and putting them in a no win situation with their coaching. For me, there’s only so much you can change in the season to get this corrected and respectable. So it’s a little tough for me to get there. Lastly, guys that are on some peoples short lists are really going to pay attention to how Alberts handles things, and it’s not going great in some areas…
Last thing on this. I said in my preseason preview that the defense absolutely was going to take a step back this year. Chinanders unit was the only one that improved every year from 2018 to 2021 while here. Not the offensive staff that was going to make the B1G adjust to them, not special teams, the Blackshirts. For everyone who said “we were close” in 2021, the entire reason that happened was because of our defense. It was pretty lights out considering the positions our offense put them in. So I struggle with firing him based on this season.
But what the heck were we supposed to do? I mentioned we were going to take a step back, but this is basically running a marathon in reverse. While the 2021 team was helped by covid seniors, they were guys that helped us be who wanted on defense. But once some of those guys left it was just awful. I hate to reference it, but we mentioned how awful our line was going to be, and if we take out Domann you lose 4 of your 5 starters in the secondary.
On top of that, our lack of depth at DL makes it so we have to run certain fronts. And how new we are in the secondary make it so we have to run certain coverages. It just wasn’t working. And if you want to see what i’m talking about with that, check out my Georgia Southern review about gap fitting:
There were so many alignment mistakes that seemingly happened for our defense from the time Chinander was here, we just didn’t have the dudes to make up for it except for maybe 2021. You have to align correctly, and at some point you have to take something away from the offense. We can’t stop them throwing on us, and we are letting non-running teams like Oklahoma and Georgia Southern rush for 10 yards per carry on us.
There is also some tension between new staff and old. Look, we all saw what happened in 2017 when they made Riley hire Diaco, it just didn’t mesh. Now there’s an entire offense hired butting heads with the defense. Did Chinander even want to be here anymore after that? Besides staying for the kids, he’s not going to look good through the year. And i’m sure things finally came to a head on Saturday night and Sunday watching film with the new head coach.
I’m sure Joseph was asking why we were a bend but don’t break defense with a two high shell even while the opponent is in the redzone but we don’t just break we shatter into 1,000 pieces. We just weren’t aggressive and had our players in some tough spots from time to time.
So allow us to do what Alberts talked about during the Frost firing, moving ahead and looking forward. What is Bill Busch going to bring us? Busch comes from a bit of what I love to do and what I thought Chinander would do a bit more of. Take some risks, blitz some more, more one high and more man to man on the edge while trying to create some havoc rushing the passer and disrupting rushing lanes. I mean really what do we have to lose? This is an audition for Joseph and Busch to show the new coach or other teams what they are capable of. Our offense can keep up with “normal” teams (not Oklahoma, Michigan, etc.). Go try to create some havoc behind the line of scrimmage, no reason to sit in a 2 high and give up 50 points a game.
Speaking of an audition… we have moved Kenny Wilhite from director of high school relations to an analyst role within the staff. Dan Dillon will take over Wilhite’s spot from his Assistant Director of Player Personnel spot he was in.
If any of you read my stuff on the other message board, Wilhite is up there with Verduzco and Duval for me in terms of what I think about them. I don’t blame Joseph for promoting him and giving him a chance as Wilhite has wanted to get into a coaching role for a bit, he just was part of the problem when it came to our in-state recruiting. So not sure I like it as much. But as I said on twitter, that coaching bench is getting thin in a hurry.
Join us tomorrow when we go over an Oklahoma recap. Friday we will have our Toilet Readings as we had a massive gambling day (hopefully you are following the picks on Friday’s).