Looking back at the first half of the season, it has been kind of hard on first year head coach Mark Stoops. While the schedule was not the most favorable for the new ball coach, there are positives to be taken away. The attitude and feeling around the program has been something that has been missing for the last three years. While we as fans know that this is not the product we want to see, we know that it is a process and once Stoops gets his guys in we will be a force. All of the positions that we thought would severely struggle have done surprisingly well. However, the positions that we thought would be better have struggled to remain decent. Looking back at the six games there are things that we can take from each game.
While we have exited the murderers row portion of the season we look ahead to the much softer portion of our SEC schedule. On this side there are games that we can look at and confidently say that we have a real chance at winning this game. We look at how we played Louisville and South Carolina and have to think that we will be able to win some more games. There are some teams that have severely underachieved up to this point that we could capitalize on. One thing that’ll have to change is the play at quarterback. When we get our practice notes all we hear is that the quarterbacks look good and are completing balls. While it is easy to put the blame on them it is hard to complete a pass if the receivers aren’t catching the balls. While it has not been as big of an issue that it was in seasons past, this should not be a problem at the college level.
Enough with the obvious negative talk that everyone else has already harped on. The defensive side of the ball has been a very pleasant surprise. The defensive ends have lived up to the hype, but it is those around them that have proved Stoops as a coach. While Williamson is solid, the rest of the defense had a huge question mark. With that being said I think that it is safe to say that at times our defense has struggled, but it is doing much better than anyone could have expected. We see remains of our last year’s defense, but that is to be expected. Nate Willis has come up huge so far in the season. While he has not made any super awesome Top Ten plays, he has remained fairly consistent which is the most important thing when it comes to being a defensive back.
While the first games have been rough at times we saw moments of promise that have gotten us through to the second half of the season. Do I even dare say that our bowl chances are still alive? While this may not be a realistic goal it is something that the players can work towards and use as motivation. Hey, who knows, crazier things have happened, we will just have to wait and see what the second half has in store for us.
Beat Mississippi State