Inside My Head

(insert witty tagline here so people will think I’m cool)

Are They Really Getting Better?

Posted by Kevin on November 30, 2006

Sylvester Croom inherited a football program in shambles. The talent depth was laughable, we had a loser’s mentality, and to top it off we were under NCAA sanctions. For the three years prior to Croom’s arrival, State ranked last, or near last, in every meaningful category. I’ll argue that while the defensive stats don’t look so bad, it’s because opponents scored so many points on short fields and big plays.

How much time do you give a coach to make improvements with the worst program in the league? I was willing to give him two full years, but I wanted to at least see signs of improvement along the way. I’ll give Croom this much credit; although we didn’t win many ballgames in those first two years, the players seemed to care about football again. That was a good sign of improvement and in year three I expected to see the Bulldogs compete for a bowl game.

Year three of the Croom era brought yet another 3-win season. The offense didn’t score a single point until the 3rd game, which it lost to Tulane of all people. No SEC school should lose a football game to Tulane. Kinda like Mississippi State shouldn’t lose in football to I-AA Maine, but I digress.

I think we did improve this year from the past two years even though the record and conference statistics don’t show it. The offense had chance after chance against South Carolina. Tulane never should have happened. We played #4 West Virginia tough for three quarters. We did outplay Georgia and Kentucky, but found a way to lose both games late. We even outplayed Arkansas, but giving up 360-something return yards in the kicking game will kill you every time. And we should have won the Egg Bowl.

I’ll give Carolia their win, but reverse a few plays in the Tulane, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Ole Miss games and State is 8-4 instead of 3-9. Yeah, yeah. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. They’re still 3-9. I’m just saying I believe the team is improving. We fought hard in these games where teams of the past handful of years would have caved as soon as the first play didn’t go well.

So, even though I absolutely hate his West Coast offense, I’m giving Croom a thumbs up for year three, but I expect a bowl birth in year 4; not just to compete for one. If we don’t get 6 wins next year then I’ll go into my rant about hiring a young, aggressive coaching staff.

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One Response to “Are They Really Getting Better?”

  1. J said

    Players win football games, not coaches. Bringing quality players to Starkville has got to be one of the toughest sells in college football recruiting. The place is so stark. If anybody can do it, Croom can.

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