Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Here are the opinions du jour.
n Almost all athletes practice “selective amnesia.”
But is it always the right idea?
Aren’t there times when something bad happens or something goes wrong that an athlete needs to remember? Can’t there be a mistake, an error or even a feeling which would benefit the athlete if he stored it in his memory?
I believe so.
Which brings us to Marshall University’s crushing 52-14 defeat at the hands of Cincinnati on Saturday night in Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
No sooner did the game end, than some Marshall players were already putting the game behind them and doing their best to move on to the next opponent.
But what is learned from that behavior?
“I’d say it’s finding things to learn from,” said Alex Mollette, MU’s starting left guard. “Whether we win or lose, we always find things to learn from. There were a lot of things from Saturday that we could learn from.”
The old practice of coaches burning game films is gone. There’s too much that can be learned from even the worst loss.
Just ask Isaiah Green.
Marshall’s sophomore quarterback had a very forgettable 11-of-29 passing performance for 131 yards and zero touchdowns.
Yet, he’s not erasing it from his memory.
“Obviously, we don’t want to harp on the last game,.” said Green, “but there were plenty of things that we need to watch from that game and learn from. So, later on down the road, it can help us.
“Even though it didn’t happen the way we wanted it to happen on Saturday, we watched and learned from it and later down the road we may come back to some of those same things and they’d be perfected.”
Sometimes it is good to remember mistakes to keep yourself from committing them again.
“That’s not just in football,” said Green, “that’s in life, period. You learn from every loss and every mistake. You’ve got to learn something from it and take something from it.”
A smart athlete never stops learning.
Even during a lopsided loss.
n So, why did Marshall lose by 38 points?
One very large contributing factor was Marshall’s scheme in the secondary was exposed. Also, the Herd didn’t utilize Xavier Gaines as the “X-Factor” like it had in the previous two games.
MU likes to utilize the safeties in its rushing defense, which routinely puts the cornerbacks on “islands” in one-on-one coverage. As a result, Marshall’s safeties don’t always defend the pass as well as other schools’ safeties.
So, instead of coming out and establishing its running attack, as Marshall expected, the Bearcats came out throwing. Cincinnati’s first three scores – and four of the five – came on touchdown passes.
The Herd held UC to 4.5 yards per carry on the ground, but the Bearcats scorched Marshall’s secondary.
As for the “X-Factor,” it appears MU’s coaches may have out-thought themselves.
n The results were even worse than expected.
Everyone suspected the American Athletic Conference was a lot better than Conference USA, but now it is confirmed. C-USA went 0-6 versus AAC opponents this season.
What’s worse, both schools who were predicted to win the divisions – Marshall in the East and North Texas in the West – got hammered by AAC foes last Saturday.