Offensive Line, Defensive Secondary, Positional Coaching, and Sports Psychology

I believe I am off suicide watch this morning. There I was at NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base doing my weekend drill, and I said to myself, “Hey, awesome! The Coog game is there the same weekend, and it’s in the evening after drill. I can go!”

I drive from San Antonio for all the home games. I go to many of the away games. There are multiple things occurring with this team right now that are creating a perfect storm. I refuse to speculate on Herman’s, or other coaches’ focus related to job prospects, so let’s look at facts or what we can see, not rumors.

An offensive line that has been one of the weakest parts of the team this year, was missing two starters and had a true Freshman and RS Freshman as replacements on the left side. They were getting their lunch eaten. They were being abused that whole game. All of our running plays inside and outside were getting blown up. This was a concern from game 1 and has remained a concern to today. Injuries are catching up with us. I’ll get to the coaching aspect/playcalling in a sec…

The defensive secondary lost three players, two of whom are in the NFL and one that should have been. The current players have not played even near the level that we need them. I can see why Coach Herman said that B Wilson moving to offense was not an option. One DB in particular is consistently picked on and has consistently underperformed. The poor DB play in conjunction with a modest drop in the LB corp has resulted in aerial abuse and missed assignments.

Now on to coaching. There is no doubt in my mind that unlike last year’s team, or “that team” as Coach Herman likes to call them, these players are not improving week-to-week. That falls squarely on the coaches’ shoulders. The secondary has regressed. We praised Warehime last year for coaching his OLine guys up, but he has failed to repeat that success this year. Applewhite is taking a lot of heat for playcalling, but it doesn’t matter what call you make if we can’t even get the most modest of pushes on OLine. That jet sweep by Ward last year was unstoppable - defenses didn’t have an answer for it. This year it is consistently being blown up before it develops.

Beyond these factors, injuries and the mental part of the game is absolutely killing us. With injuries, there is an excuse, but with mental breakdowns, there isn’t. Mental breakdowns in decision-making like fielding a kickoff when it is clearly going to go out of bounds, or getting penalties at the worst possible times, or ball security. These are coachable, and the coaches are slipping.

Lastly, after going 18-1 to start off, we have gone 1-2 in the last three and we were mere inches away from possibly going 0-3. This team is not the same, but I don’t think it is as simple as saying the coaches are distracted, or injuries, or the play calling. There are a lot of things combining together to create the crap-fest we had to witness Saturday.

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Disagree or not; but since that fight between bowser and number 8, things have not been the same with our team.

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Since I work in sport psychology I guess I was anticipating a more defined comment regarding the field. As is I agree with your analysis. Going back to sport psychology, in team sports in particular, when a coach or coaches lose their focus then team play suffers. I don’t know why but it appears that after the OU game and with the onset of the Big 12 fiasco that Coach Herman lost a bit of his focus. The Navy loss seems (to me at least) to have pushed him further over the edge.

This is a guy who is not used to losing and between Navy and the Big 12 the losses have his head spinning. Really successful coaches know how to take a loss and move on. If I am right here then Herman has a big step to take on his journey to becoming an elite head coach. If he can do this, if his ego can take a hit - or two - and bounce back, even with all the other challenges you note, then Herman and UH can salvage this season. We can only wait and hope.

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Sorry. I was referring to the mental state of the team and coaching staff, not the professional diagnosis.However, I appreciate you weighing in on the subject from a professional standpoint.

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