As I previously stated, I am going to break down why 2010 will make us all feel better about the football program in general.
So, here are my first four points of discussion. I am picking these particular four as "couldn't be worse" because we did so horribly in these areas I feel we can only improve - I mean, it couldn't be worse, right?
1) turnover ratio
3) Personal Fouls
4) no gimmick uniforms
Now - I know you want to hear about some deeper level stuff, and we will get there. But to begin with, without Joe Cox mixed in with Bobo, I don't see how we can't improve in the turnover arena. Also, knowing our two 'fo sho' "we run this state" RBs are set and have experience, their ball handling should improve as well. Even if we ended up with the same W-L ledger in 2010 as 2009, which I don't believe we will, I don't think it will feel anywhere nearly as awful. We started a 5th year Senior with a flu (or did he, we never really got that straight) and treated him like he was Stafford. He wasn't. What was frustrating was as bad as his looks were, was also the fact Coach Bobo kept asking him to do that. With a Freshman QB at the helm and what I believe to be less pressure (more on this in a further post) on CMR to worry about the defense, I believe CMR can do what he does best - work with a youngster and maybe get more involved in play calling. With our two running backs and some absolutely stellar TE's, there is no reason to think we won't dramatically improve in the turnover arena.
Tackling. When you get down to it, if you can block and tackle better than your opponent, your play book doesn't have to be that great. And our tackling was beyond pathetic last year. The addition of CTG as hands on coach um up guy - I believe our fundamentals on tackling will improve, which will help all things D regardless of scheme. More on the 3-4 and the secondary later, but if we simply swarm to the ball, hit and wrap up, it would be an improvement. It's an obviously needed one, so I expect improvement. And this, combined with the lower INT numbers, will help prevent the insanity of shootouts with South Carolina and Arkansas we saw last year.
Personal Fouls. This is another known unpleasant issue, and it has gotten so out of hand I don't know it from his words, but I deeply feel it in my gut that CMR will institute some of the strictest punishments we have witnessed for on field stupidity. We were at one point the second to last ranked team in penalties last year and you could put $100 a game a PF was coming at some point. Sure, I agree with T Kyle, it's an emotional game and scoring a TD at a critical moment is an emotional point. But listen all things. place, people Bulldog Nation: We know we are going to be looked at, we know it's coming, we know we get no slack, so be a little more professional, celebrate when the clock says 0 and we have a W. I fully expect much improvement in this area.
Gimmicks. Weird one for me to mention, huh? I fully expect ZERO gimmicks this year. No running on the field, no black hats, no weird motivational stunts. The addition of three amazing Defensive Coaches will allow CMR to get away from the wacky and focus on - well, focusing. We have the talent, there is no need to try any more stunts. I think the writing is on the wall on this one and CMR is going to return to the cold, steely eyed surgeon we know him to be. If we see a stunt or a uniform change - the world will unleash on CMR and I think he knows that pretty clearly now. You don't need a black hat to get motivated when playing Florida. Playing them is enough.
Although I have some more positive thoughts ahead - I simply feel improving in these basic areas buys us at least one more win than last year, but certainly not more loses, and at the least, maybe we won't feel like our stomachs are being ripped out from the crazy we continually witnessed last year.