Don't for a second mistake this post as a save Greg Robinson post. The sooner he and Daryl Gross are gone, the sooner we can get back to being a respectable college football program again.
But in reality, I think we're actually much closer to it than many folks think. The loss at West Virginia on Saturday was more of the typical frustration that has come with the Robinson Era. Actually it was something different entirely. Unlike most of Robinson's 33 losses, it wasn't decided until late in the contest. In fact, had the Orange found a way to tackle Noel Devine, instead of letting him race 92 yards for a touchdown, we might be talking about a win.
And truly as we were facing the 1st and ten at the 11 trailing only 10-6 with about 6 minutes left, I was wondering if it was actually possible for this team to get to 6-6 and maybe goto a bowl game. Ok, maybe that was irrational. But the fact is that this team, particularly offensively is starting to do good things and the schedule from here on out isn't that overly scary. (Although the USF spread could be a real problem for this defense).
Ultimately, much of this team is youthful, and there continues to be signs that the youth will eventually develop into something positive.
Mainly, I'm excited about this group of wide receivers. I've always thought that Donte Davis might develop into the best one and he had a very nice game. It has been nice to see Lavar Lobdell make some very nice catches in the last few weeks, and Marcus Sales looks the part of a potential big-time receiver. Meanwhile, Van Chew had another fine catch, and Chaz Cervino and Da'Mon Merkerson got into the action as well.
Also, I like the development of the offensive line. I think that with three sophomores up there, we could have some solid cohesiveness for awhile. It's no doubt that they block best for Curtis Brinkley right now. Because he is our best running back. And he will be missed in the future. But I have faith that among Delone Carter, Averin Collier, Mike Jones, and Antwon Bailey we will find some quality carries over the next three or four years.
Meanwhile, the defense has shown plenty of athletes of late. Most impressive to me has been the play of the outside linebackers. Both are again sophomores (notice the trend) and have been increasingly been getting better. Mike Mele was absolutely abused in the season opener at Northwestern, but has his best game versus Pittsburgh. This week Derrell Smith, who has been getting noticeably better weekly, had a fine performance with 8 tackles, including 3.5 for loss.
I have confidence in the secondary getting better in time as the youth continues to mature. Mike Holmes has been inconsistent as he has adapted to being the top cover corner this year. But he was extremely solid on Saturday and I am confident he will get better. Meanwhile, guys in the secondary like Nico Scott, Dorian Graham, Kevyn Scott and Randy McKinnon have all shown promise this year and have plenty of eligibility left.
The bottomline is we were the better team on Saturday. Yet, we lost the game. Some (as my next door neighbor pointed out) might say it's because we haven't learned how to win yet. That might be true. And it might simply be because Greg Robinson makes horrible decisions.
Still, I think these players can help the new coach turn it around fairly quickly. We are not as bad as many think we are. We are closer to turning it around than most give Greg Robinson credit for. But the only thing that is certain is that Robinson isn't the guy to let try to turn it around.