The View from the East Side

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Oct 292006
 
Authors: Nick Hubel

One point. In a game where it didn’t really feel like the Rams were ever that far out of control, it came down to being unable to find one point in either the kicking or the running game. Yet again, offense through the air was outstanding. Yet again, the defense looked pretty good throughout most of the game. And yet again, we walked away without a victory.

So as not to focus on all things depressing, here are some more positive thoughts on the game. These come straight from the best seat in the house, the east side bleachers of Hughes Stadium.

Fans:

While most students decided to show up to the game dressed as a Ram fan (or is it a member of the “Green Machine” now?), others decided that they just couldn’t get enough of dressing up like a pirate. Anyway, at one point during the game I watched as one of the members of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I don’t know, we’ll say it was Donatello) was being escorted out of the stadium with a cop on either side. Which led me to wonder: In the pantheon of “Things you don’t want to be dressed up as in a jail cell”, where does spandex Donatello fall? I decided it was somewhere ahead of Little Miss Muffet, but a distant second to any one of the Village People.

The Cheerleaders/Dance Team:

They seemed a little rusty to me. Early in the game they were trying to get the “Go Rams” chant going where the West says “Go” and the East says “Rams” but they were holding their signs up at the exact same time and it came out “Grams”.

Also, I know that they have absolutely no control over when they perform, but is there any way that we could get the dance team to do their routine sometime other than between the third and fourth quarters? It is a critical point in the game when fans interests may be waning and players may be tiring. There is no excuse not to schedule something that will fire everyone up for the fourth.

Fum was perfect. That got the ax, so the Braveheart thing on the big screen would work. If we just want to save that for big stops, then just play some “Thunderstruck” with a montage of big hits on the jumbotron. Please, anything would be better than being forced to listen to “Sexyback” while everyone ignores the dance team.

It’s like the university’s brass is saying “Ha, not only do you not get to have the tradition that everybody wanted, but we are going to make this time in the game so unbearable in comparison you will be begging to get to the fourth quarter to watch the running game blow it!”

Ohaeri:

He looked pretty good in the first half. He was able to make guys in the backfield miss, could spin out of tackles downfield, and did a good job of falling forward for the extra two yards (sometimes the only two yards).

Although the stats do not back this up, having him in there is a tremendous improvement. That is, until we stopped running the ball. Sometime in the back half of the second quarter we decided to revert back to what we have been doing all season: throwing the ball every time and using the bubble screen as our running game.

That was all well and good until we were up by two in the fourth with about five to play and needed to kill the clock on the ground. We couldn’t get the running game going again after they took an offensive coordinator mandated two quarter break, and we ended up giving New Mexico the ball with 3:15 on the clock. Frustrating, to say the least.

Hanie:

He looked good, completing over 60 percent of his passes and throwing for two scores. He just can’t be expected to win with such a one sided offense. If we are going to use the short passing game as a running game, then we need more short passes in the playbook than just the bubble screen.

Hit Walker on a quick hitch and let him dance around a corner. Let Sperry run up the seam and hit him after he gets past the linebackers. Swing it out to Ohaeri, who has enough quickness to pick up something moderate. I don’t know, try something to keep the linebackers honest and doing something other than dropping into coverage every play.

Morton:

That one-hander in the endzone is the best catch I have ever seen live. He finished with seven catches, 94 yards, and two scores, but if he keeps making plays like that one I may reconsider my stance on trying to establish a running game. Unbelievable concentration and skill to haul that one in. Our receivers (Morton, Walker, and Sperry) combined with the accuracy of Hanie are single-handedly (no pun intended) keeping us in a distant contention for a bowl.

With league leading BYU next week, the challenge of getting back on track and ending this three game skid could be a difficult one. Still, we only need to win two of the next four to be bowl eligible in this screwed up bowl system. So Ram fans, raise your glass to mediocrity, we just might make it.

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