After a tough loss, like the one suffered on Saturday, there are always people who make things seem so much worse than they are. So, for those people, I have decided to put together this fanpost to try and back you off of the cliff.
It has been said time and time again that this game should never have been scheduled, and it probably shouldn't have. But it was. We had to play the #1 team in the nation. I think that that's a point very often overlooked by some. We didn't just drop a game to Wake Forest or Duke. We're still on track to win our division and possibly the ACC, which were reasonable goals for this season. Let's not forget that 3 years ago, we were headed up by a cast of characters that included a head coach past his prime, West Georgia's current DC, and the man so lovingly known as "Chuck the Chest". Turnaround takes time. But most of you know that, so here's some reasons to be optimistic about the rest of this season. JUMP. Just not off the cliff.
A) Run Defense- We are currently only giving up 2.2 yards per carry. For a comparison (not in defensive talent, but in production so far), Alabama (widely thought of as the best D in the nation) is allowing 2.0 yards per carry against similar competition. Up front, I believe that we are as good as just about anyone out there.The rotation of interior linemen, our bookend Defensive Ends, and solid Linebacker play are all things that (barring injury) will stand the test of time. If you can take away the run and make opposing offenses one-dimensional it makes it hard for the other team to move the ball consistently.
2) Red Zone Defense- Our defense has been great overall, but they have been outstanding in the Red Zone. Opposing offenses are 2-7 (29%) scoring touchdowns in the Red Zone. One of these was coming off of an interception that had been returned to the 3 yard line, and was then punched in on a trick play. This aspect of our defense really stood out to me on Saturday. Bud had previously mentioned that OU is not historically good inside the Red Zone, but we had 2 goal line stands and were able to force 3 field goals. When the #1 team in the nation gets in the Red Zone 5 times (35 points possible) and only comes out with 16, I'd say that's a win for the defense any day of the week.
D) Time to recover from injuries- The injuries in the OU game were disheartening, but it is important to remember the schedule ahead. After this weekend at Clemson, FSU has a Bye week, then at Wake Forest, then at Duke. I'd bet my house we don't lose on the Bye week. Actually, the same can be said for Wake Forest and Duke. Wake and Duke are bad teams that we should easily be able to take care of without having to rush anyone back from injuries. There's time to recover before the schedule gets tough again, and while injuries are a tough thing to swallow, this may be one of the times where they do not hurt us as bad.
Astronaut) Special Teams- It is clear that we have one of, if not the best Special Teams units in the country. Hopkins has been perfect on the season, Shawn Powell averaged 50 yards a punt against OU, our return units have been good and I expect them to get better, and our coverage units have been almost perfect. Winning the battle for field position is extremely important and these units are playing their part.
All in all, I think we are still in good shape to fulfill reasonable goals for this season and I think that this past weekend's game gave us a good look as to where we are headed in the future. Being tied in the 4th quarter with the #1 team in the nation is no small feat, and we will not play anyone the caliber of the Sooners the rest of the season (depending on bowl). So stay positive, and keep Doak loud like it was on Saturday. There's no reason why it can't be that loud every saturday. We have a very good football team here, so take a step back and know that Jimbo & Co. have it under control.