While I was gone, the South got crazier than normal: UL-Monroe ran a two-quarterback formation, and John L. Smith let his tongue slip even more than normal. Here are some SBN links for you on this lovely windy Tuesday. Here are some SBN links for you on this lovely windy Tuesday. Consider it a Tuesday evening live thread of sorts.
1. SBN.com: Dawn of the directional: UL Monroe football, where upsets are the business model. SBN's Steven Godfrey is the best at these embed pieces, and since it's impossible to dislike ULM (unless you're a ULaLa fan), you should make reading this a priority.
"I have been somewhat cavalier in terms of the way we approach this, because I think I had to be that for the attitudinal change. If I wasn't that way, and that agressive, I don't know if we'd ever have a buy in," Berry said after Thursday's practice.
Cavalier has largely been defined by agression. The Warhawks routinely go for it on fourth down in the Baylor game. By the end they'll have converted 10 of 14 fourth down conversions in only three games, and only Southern Cal (with an extra game) has attempted more. They purposely don't settle for field goals, scoring an average of five touchdowns a game through three weeks of play. Browning has 37 plays of 10 or more yards, 10 of 20 or more and four of 30 or more. Yet the Warhawks are also fourth in the nation in time of possession, averaging 35:19 a game despite running the offense least likely to revert to ball control. And they're also fun (hence America's casual viewing love affair). Browning lines up with fellow quarterback Cody Wells on more than one play, perfectly executing a two-quarterback option formation that's as infuriating to Baylor's defense as it is just damn PlayStation cool to watch.
In the loss to Baylor, ULM outscores their opponent in the fourth quarter for the third straight game and outgains Art Briles' own vaunted quick-strike attack, 560 yards to 549, and in three fewer plays. Throughout the week Berry never once mentions playing anything other than ULM's brand of offense. There's no talk of running the clock, keeping the ball or trying to do anything other than score more points than the Bears can. When you mention a potential need to hold the ball against a more talented and very similar offense, Berry doesn't take offense, but simply shrugs. He won't concede a game by changing his attack due to your conceived talent disparity.
"Yeah, we're not gonna do anything different. We feel we can hang with these guys. Games like these are about who can score last, and we think we can," he says with a half smile.
He ends up being totally right. Down 40-35 after squandering an early 21-7 lead, ULM has converted for a first down on a 41-yard pass from Browning to receiver Colby Harper and is gearing up to drive the field with six minutes left in the ball game. But junior running back Jyruss Edwards, over 100 yards rushing on the night and counting, fumbles away possession. In the the war of quick strikes, Baylor scores again and ULM can only scramble to cut the final deficit to five. The offense committed mistakes, but was fundamentally capable of winning the game.
2. Arkansas Expats: Little Rock Touchdown Club Week 6: What You Didn't Hear From Coach John L. Smith. Apparently he said other things, too, instead of just calling Arkansas "Alabama" and leaving.
"I take responsibility for that." Smith said of the collapse of the program thus far. "I'm also going to take responsibility for what we do in the future." Smith acknowledged the fact that expectations have not been met and both the fans and players deserved better. Smith also noted a difference in the overall feel of the team during and after the game. "They were as positive as I've seen all year...they believed we were going to win until the very end." He also touched on something that all fans need to keep in mind.
"I'm asking you as fans, dont give up on those players, dont give up on us." Smith practically pleaded. No matter who's in charge, keep supporting these guys. Regarding Arkansas' next coach Smith stated that although he "cant predict the future" the next coach would have a full recruiting board to work with, a board he hoped would be full of commits. Coach went on to declare this freshman class the best group Arkansas has recruited since he's been there. If you ask coach Smith, the future looks bright, with or without him.