I honestly thought that this game would be the trap game on the schedule before the season started, so I was not "surprised" by the loss. What really upset me was the "Execution" excuses by J. FIsher in the post-game. He did claim a little half-hearted credit that we "need to coach 'em better", but I think that he should be held accountable for his glaring errors as Head Coach. Here's a list of what I saw as major coaching blunders that I hope Fisher learns from, and does not allow to happen again.
1. If I saw this as a trap game, why didn't JF? All week we heard glowing talking points. This is the biggest "GENERAL" head coaching error...we did not come into this game mentally prepared to be challenged. Since this was the biggest trap game on the schedule, this should have been the game where JF invokes Lou Holtz and begins building up NC State to be a juggernaut, Glennon as the next coming of Peyton Manning, and vocal commentary on how we will lose if we don't bring our "A" game for 60 minutes. I heard hubris and cockiness from Fisher, as if he, too had been listening to Jeff Cameron podcasts and other glowing punditry.
2. Mercy. Call it "conservative", "playing not to lose", "doing what it takes", or any other description of it, but our attitude on offense is one of MERCY. LSU fans had this same criticism...that on offense when we have the lead, Fisher takes the foot off the gas. We're even praising players for sliding instead of scoring late in the game. Fisher needs to give up play-calling entirely if this is the plan. The problem with this is 3-fold... In addition to lowering our scoring output and not covering the spread for the boosters who love FSU, we tend to fall into plays that are "standard" and the opposing offense knows them very well. There is a reason why the second half was so poor on offense... NCST knew 80% of the plays we were running before we ran them. Combine that with EJ's poor execution when we DID call something different, and there is nothing to keep the opposing D off balance. Grow some balls and attack on offense, Jimbo!
3. EJ's Performance. D. Craig may be the technical QB Coach, but Fisher is the QB Developer, and he has loaded his thoroughbred down with tons of expectations. EJ plays timid, and incurs wrath instead of positive reinforcement. Instead of trying to make EJ into a QB he is not, he needs to let him free-lance. He seemed more dynamic as a freshman and sophomore as Ponder's backup than as the starter.. just in attitude alone.
4. Time Management. Wasting 2 time outs in as many weeks on challenges, as well as the offense wasting timeouts in the second half is troubling. Perhaps this is immaturity, but if we had had all of our timeouts we could have had more time at the end of the game to at least have a chance at a winning FG.
5. Pace of play. This goes back to the "MERCY" problem, but there does not seem to be a sense of urgency on offense, almost as if we're trying to "save" our defense. Even with a defense like ours, assuming 20 points is enough is simply moronic. Two weeks in a row we had under 70 plays in the game. That slow pace is doing nothing other than allowing opposing defenses more time to line up and prepare when even just playing faster would be an advantage for better athletes... It is hamstringing us.
These are my top 5 "General" Head Coaching issues that hurt us on Saturday.... Just a few "specific" issues:
1. not understanding the rule about a completed catch lost a time-out we could have used.
2. bad call and execution resulting in 15 yard loss....and...
3. not kicking the field goal anyway.
4. overworking CT4
5. no bubble screens against the constant blitz
I'm sure there are many others that have been bugging you..... list them here!