Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Defense will determine outcome of Hillsdale football season

In the game of football, it's the offense that makes the headlines and gets the most attention. The offense scores the lion's share of points is often picked apart by the critics if it can't generate enough of them. Hillsdale College has an offense generating eye-popping stats and beginning to move the ball with ease and grace against the clubs it's faced so far this year. Unfortunately, as cliché as it has become a top-notch defense is what it takes to truly become a championship level team. Well, a ton-notch defense and a top-notch offense. Against St. Joe's it seemed all there, but over the last pair of games it appears that how that defensive piece goes will be the determining factor in how the rest of this season goes.

Hillsdale's loss to Northwood wasn't even an hour old when emails began to roll in, some with a noticeable amount of panic.

The dream season march to the playoffs, was all but a fleeting hope slowly sliding through their fingers. The numbers 7-4 started to pop up and I could already sense a level of disappointment.

At that point on Saturday, I too was disappointed. I was disappointed we didn't win the ballgame, especially after such another great offensive output. I was disappointed that over the last two weeks Hillsdale has given up 75 points and I was disappointed that I had failed to fully understand how big the impact of graduating Tom Korte would be to the Charger defense as well.

It must be clear that I don't put this loss on the defense alone. In any 2 point defeat you can go back in hind-sight and identify a number of key breakdowns in all aspects of the game that could have changed the outcome.

My disappointment quickly faded for a number of reasons:
  1.  Hillsdale played in the middle of my daughter's 7th birthday party and that was a beautiful day at our house. When your kids get old enough and the party just runs itself and you can sit in a launch chair most of the day, you are overcome with joy and relief.
  2. The Maize and Blue treated me to one of their finest performances in years by beating Notre Dame. A year ago they treated me to one of their historical worsts as I was pounded by rain while sitting in Notre Dame Stadium
  3. The Packers made Jay Cutler look like a chump and beat the Moaners of the Midway.
Most importantly, I remembered what is so great about the game of football: every day is an opportunity to get better.

The Charger defense had a lights out performance against St. Joe's but for whatever reason has struggled the last weeks. I am sure any member of that unit will tell you to a man that they are not happy with either week either. They've shown some flashes of greatness like that huge 3rd down sack David Bakker had against Tech. All it is going to take is some consistency and continually getting better. We've got some great pieces and some key elements need to get healthy. I guarantee nobody is working harder than defensive coordinator Craig Blanchard, trying to get all of the pieces working together.

It is a really long season and all that matters is the next Saturday. In 5 days, the Chargers get to perform again. There are 7 more Saturdays after that.

Don't panic Charger fans! A great season can still materialize. I think we'll find out Northwood is a lot than most expected when this thing is said and done. Hopefully around 11:00 o'clock Saturday night, we'll have watched a Charger team that has renewed all of our hope for the truly special season these guys are all working so hard for.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for your words today. I hope your daughter had a great birthday party, and I hope our Chargers can cause a few turnovers in the game Saturday against Indianapolis.

Anonymous said...

Great Post Andy: Hope always springs eternal with you and Chargerblue.

I couldn't agree more with your comments. Our Dbacks need to work on improving their coverage technique and the Dline needs to improve on their pass rush. We need to have this happen by Saturday in order to keep the hope alive and I think this will happen because our guys have that type of mentality. They all know what needs to be done.

The O is putting up 37 a game, more than emough to win games and they will continue to improve too!

Bumps in the road are expected on long journeys... the key is avoiding the BIG ones to keep from getting a flat tire. I think we just learned which bumps we need to avoid and what we need to do to get around them.

Go Chargers!

Anonymous said...

do not blame d line the db's have been burnt... TOAST.....

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