It just keeps happening, and they can’t help it.
The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelinas cannot seem to find any offensive rhythm in the first half of football games that would show that the high expectations going into this season were anything but hype.
Following a 44-38 loss to Midwestern State on Saturday, Javelina Head Coach Bo Atterberry found himself on the losing side of two straight conference games for the first time in more than three seasons and chalked it up to lack of focus and poor execution on the little things.
Well they’re not so little.
Truth is, the Javelina offense has had its problems moving the football since last fall, including moments during a playoff loss to Northwest Missouri State last November, in game which they led the whole way only to see their offense stall when they had a chance to send Mel Tjeerdsma and his Bearcats home.
In the last two outings, the Javelinas have absorbed double-digit deficits and have valiantly fought their way back only to see a rally fall short
Quarterback Nate Poppell gets pressured far too often for a unit with tons of scoring threats such as Robert Armstrong and Jonathan Woodson and a deep corps of talented running backs.
Without solid play on the offensive line, the Javelinas will need to get used to watching their quarterback get slammed out of the game every week, especially since running a slow spread offense tires the line and it looks as if the defense knows what to expect.
Poppell gets into a rhythm and when he sets his feet he is as accurate as any quarterback out there, so let’s not call for backup Daniel Ramirez since the protection is sub-par for any quarterback at the helm.
Plus, Atterberry has made it clear who his quarterback is, playing Ramirez only when Poppell can’t go.
This sort of gives you an idea how the last two weeks have gone – Poppel starts, Ramirez has to come in when he can’t go.
But, the key to success is that you must protect Poppell. Period.
Success has been had when the Hogs air it out. Armstrong catches everything. He leads the team with seven touchdowns in four games. However, this is always when the Hogs seem out of the game and it’s desperation time.
Success comes when the offense operates out of a run-and-gun type offense out of the no-huddle or quick snap option. When they do that, they look great.
I enjoy the time of possession stat and the “ball-control talk” as much as anyone else, but you have no time to lose when down 20 points.
AMK can score, but they need to be turned loose on the defense and get on the board early.
The defense, the secondary in particular, has looked like a liability.
However, the defense has forced turnovers and gotten stops to keep the Hogs in the game, for a while, at least.
When you give teams a short field and you can’t move the football early you can’t play clock while trailing in the fourth.
Your punter has a big leg but he can’t win the field position battle alone.
Protect Poppell, like Atterberry said, it’s the simple things
Hog Nation is third from the bottom in the Lone Star Conference and a title looks out of reach.
Fortunately, as cliche as it comes off, it really is a long season and Coach Bo has risen to the occasion.
You can call me crazy, but in spite of what has been presented, I don’t see 2011 being any different.
The playoffs are still attainable.
By: Mark Molina