Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Running Game Must Improve!

I am Andy Brown and this is my fourth season as play-by-play announcer for Chargers football on WCSR, Hillsdale. Andy Losik asked me to post my impressions of the games, and since I am a huge fan of the site, I am happy to do it.

As Bob (my broadcast partner) and I saw it, this was the earliest must win game in recent Hillsdale College Football history. After spending the winter with Chargers players wearing pink 4-7 shirts to the weightroom, denoting the three consecutive 4-7 seasons by Hillsdale College under Keith Otterbein, we both thought that Hillsdale would rise to the occasion at Indy. After all, Matt Kohn, the longtime Indy quarterback who was so tough on our defense for so long, was gone. In his place, a sophomore named Casey Gillin. Furthermore, Hillsdale actually beat Indy last season, in that classic four-overtime game in Hillsdale. If they were serious about getting better, then surely they wouldn't drop games against the handfull of teams that they actually beat last year. Finally, when you look at the schedule, and particularly at the middle, when Hillsdale plays Saginaw, Northwood, and Grand Valley on consecutive Saturdays, you realize that to have a better year, Hillsdale had to get off to a great start against the beatable teams at the front of the schedule. Unfortunately, it took being completely dominated in the first half for the Chargers to begin competing, and by that time it was too late.

10 for 7. That is the rushing output of the Chargers in the first half. 10 carries for 7 yards. It is impossible to put a positive spin on it. Indy controlled the time of possession, and put points on the board after chewing up big chunks of clock. It seemed that Phil Martin was hit as soon as he took the handoff most of the time. Our line got pushed around by DE Chris White and the rest of that Indy front five, which left the running game in shambles, and Aaron Scholl running for cover. The Chargers offense never seemed to be in synch, as Martin would either be met deep in the offensive backfield or Scholl would have to scramble around, searching for an open receiver until taken down by White or LB Bruce Renner. Barry Fagan and the offensive staff tried to establish the option game, which did set up a pretty touchdown pass to Bill Brown, but they still never really established a running game. It just seemed that the offensive line was on its heels much of the game, perhaps missing the leadership of Jake Welch.

Defensively, Hillsdale got some good individual efforts, particularly from Aaron Hoekje who had two sacks and two blocked extra points, and from Chad Gurica who was making plays all over the field. It seemed that other than Gurica, however, the secondary was a step or two behind the Indy receivers, who would have had better numbers had they not dropped several good passes from Gillin. Matt Britton did not play, and that certainly hurt the linebacking core, but the biggest problem I saw was the Charger's inability to get themselves off the field. The defense surrendered one third down conversion after another, allowing Indy to control the ball and wear us out. I was impressed by the young quarterback, Gillin's, ability to make plays to keep drives alive. I was disappointed by the Charger's inability to make key plays on third down and get the ball back to the offense.

Through it all, Hillsdale still had the ball with four minutes remaining down only 8. They have Hoekje's extra point blocks and Gurica's 95-yard kickoff return to open the second half to thank for even having a chance. However, the offense had no real momentum and never mounted a serious threat. Hillsdale better find a way to beat Findlay next week, a team that defeated Hillsdale at home one year ago, because the schedule doesn't get any easier.

The bright spots: Chad Gurica, Aaron Hoekje, and Mark Wade, the freshman linebacker who had 8 tackles and showed a good nose for the football.

Needs some work: The offensive line, the running game, Aaron Scholl's confidence.

Hopefully we will have the link up to listen to our broadcast next week. We play Findlay at 7:00 and will broadcast live at 6:45 on FM 92.1 and (hopefully) on

The opinions expressed above are just that, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of WCSR Radio. See you next week!

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