Why is it that when a team gets their butts handed to them in a football game, their fans want to pinpoint the exact moment or the exact person that cost them the game?
In the case of Vandy's 49-14 loss last night, it apparently all boils down to the moment Jared Funk took the field.
Greg M. even blasted me for saying I loved the idea. Well, I do love the IDEA. I love that somebody in our coaching brain trust was planning for the game and said, "Hey, we're having trouble scoring. Larry Smith can't even get a freaking pass out of his hand before he's on his back. Maybe that's because he doesn't have time but maybe it's also because he's not reacting quickly enough. Jared Funk's been moving the ball in practice. So let's let him play the third series of the game."
When you score once out of every 30 drives or whatever, and you go three-and-out on 25 of them, it's not like you're throwing away a sure touchdown by substituting your quarterback for one drive in the first half. Fans have been wondering for the past two seasons why Larry hasn't gotten a breather here and there and a chance to settle himself down.
So we plan to do that. And yes, I love the IDEA of doing it and planning for it. In fact, when I saw Funk enter the game, I wondered if perhaps Larry hadn't performed so well precisely because he knew he'd have two series before he came out. And Caldwell practically said as much after game.
Now would I have ACTUALLY pulled Larry after the Dores opened the game with two touchdowns? Probably not. But if you tell Funk you're going to play him regardless of Larry's performance but then you wait for Larry to screw up before you make the substitution then you're sending the wrong signal to both guys.
And it wasn't Jared's fault that Barden couldn't catch the ball.
Bottom line, we didn't lose the game because Jared replaced Larry on the third series. If Larry had taken us to two more scores, we'd have lost that game 63-28. Petrino called off the hogs early in the fourth quarter.
It's like last year's Georgia Tech game. We put up a surprising number of points early, which only served to jump-start the other team's offensive machine. We weren't going to outscore the Razorbacks in a million years.
We used every bullet in our holster on those first two drives, while getting lots of help from Arkansas in the form of poor tackling and stupid penalties.
We were outmanned and we were going to lose that game. But the reason things went downhill so fast? (1) Our coaching staff failed to make adjustments on offense. (2) We lack game-ready SEC linemen on both sides of the ball — we couldn't get past their mammoth offensive line to pressure Mallett, and we couldn't stave off their mammoth defensive line to protect Larry. We were outweighed by 30 or 40 pounds on either side of the ball.
Sure, we lost by 35 points because Jared Funk played one series in the first quarter. If that makes you feel better about having the inferior team, then go ahead and believe that.