- Wake did about as well as expected, but not in the places we may have thought. So most people, myself included, figured anywhere from 5-7 to 7-5 (the former of which would have been REALLY disappointing). However, I’d have thought for sure that Army and BC at home would have been wins, and @Duke and @Indiana would have been long shots. But what we did is what we did, and ti’s hard for me to get mad nconsidering some of the things I’m also going to talk about.
- Losing Kendall Hinton REALLY hurt our season. “Thanks, Captain Obvious!” I hear you all thinking, or saying out loud, or preparing to type in the comment section, or prepainng to tweet at me. But really, I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways. I’m not going to throw John under the bus in the sense that no man is a one man team, but Kendall was instrumental to our early success, and there’s a reason he had earned the starting job. Furthermore, I have a hard time thinking we’d have lost more games with Kendall at QB. John Wolford did an admirable job stepping up and fighting through injury and he has nothing but my respect and gratitude, but grit doesn’t always win games.
- This defense, guys. Our defense this season was probably the best we’ve had since Dean Hood was here. Mike Elko is a tremendous DC, and this defensive unit is beastly. We’re going to miss the seniors we’re losing, but I think the rotations make it clear that the younger guys currently lower on the depth chart will probably fill in rather admirably.
- We have a lot of playmakers. Cade Carney, Cortez Lewis, Tabari Hines, Alex Bachman, and many other guys on the offensive side of the ball showed a lot of playmaking ability, and on the defensive side of the ball, Jessie Bates is probably our most dynamic secondary playmaker since Alphonso Smith. We’re not Clemson, but the cupboard is not bare.
- Turnovers made and broke our season in almost equal measures. Without turnovers, we wouldn’t have beaten UVA or Indiana and possibly others.. Without them, we also probably wouldn’t have lost to Army or BC. Still, I personally would rather have those takeaways and the bad turnovers than nothing one way or the other. It’s easier to cut down on bad plays than it is to create good ones with ability that isn’t there.
- I go back and forth on my feelings about the playcalling. On the one hand, we were at times infuriatingly predictable. On the other, though, the times that we did air it out a lot more, Army in particular, it didn’t end so well. That said though, there’s definitely a happy medium that I pray we can get to moving forward. I will say I got a touch of amusement out of people complaining about predictability and then lambasting the times we went for trick plays. I mean I get it, I’m slightly guilty myself, I just find it funny.
- The O-Line was mercurial, but mercurial is definitely a step up. There were rough nights, to be sure, but there were also flashes of good and even very good play from the big fellas up front. That’s a good sign. Offensive line is arguably the toughest part of a team to build up, but I think we’re getting there.
- This season managed to meet my expectations and still be disappointing. If you had said to my past self, “Will you take 6-6, bowl eligible, right now?” in the beginning of the season I almost certainly would’ve taken it with very little hesitation. Still, it’s infuriating that the team who had two road wins against P5 foes and gave Louisville a fight could lose to Army and BC at home and struggle with UVA.
- We might be disappointed, but you’d best believe this bowl bid means something to these players. We might make jokes or frustrated comments about Shreveport, Toilet Bowls, etc. but I can’t imagine how good it feels for these guys to get ANYWHERE in the postseason, and I hope they have an absolute blast wherever they go. They’ve earned it.
- I still believe in Dave Clawson. Between his track record, the bowl eligibility despite being down our starting QB, continually improving recruiting, and empirical improvements we’ve seen on the field, I’m still all in for Coach Clawson. I sort of get souring on him a little bit maybe, or certainly being frustrated, but I still see more growth and upward trajectory than I have in years, and I hope you guys do too. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve earned our support, albeit perhaps with mildly quirked eyebrows.
Agree? Disagree? Want to discuss? Leave comments! Thanks for following me through this regular season. I love and appreciate you guys.
On to a bowl. Go Deacs.