- Players are seeking redemption: of course they don't word it that way, but listen to them during the interviews. The wheel fell off the Big Green Truck last year. They know it. They clearly worked hard during the offseason. The coaches did a good job of focusing them on being a team and not a bunch of individuals. Even the players who have taken up temporary residence in Hodges Hall 2017 (aka Western Regional) are seeking redemption. Some players aren't in the mood for seeking redemption, and that contributes to the attrition. While I was disappointed to hear that Gant left the team, I think it was best for him and the team itself. He was one of the two players who I mentioned as having obvious negative attitudes in my last blog. I had also seen Gant's negative attitude at the private practice in which he basically refused to realign as the coach instructed him. I don't recall having HERD anything negative about that kid. I wish him the best and hope that he finds a place either on the field or in life where he can look back with pride on his time at MU. For the others, I hope they all keep fighting for redemption now.
- Morehouse: I suspect that Keith Morehouse would disagree with my characterization of him seeking redemption, but after watching him sulk on the sidelines the last couple of years and seeing the decreasing coverage of the Herd on WSAZ when I am in town, I think it is accurate. For those of you who may not watch WSAZ, since the station lost the contract (which I think was a mistake), the coverage from WSAZ hasn't been what I would expect from the only TV station in town . I'm not sure how Keith got hired to call the game on Saturday, but I am glad he did. I kept thinking about how great it would have been if Sonny was broadcasting with him. Well maybe he was...
- Doc: it has been hard to watch Doc (the Head Coach, not the Cocker Spaniel) since the wheels fell off last year. I've felt sorry for him. It must be pretty hard to fall from three straight ten win seasons to 3-9. Most of last year, I though Doc looked whipped on the sideline and in interviews. It was great seeing him back to being fired up and engaged on Saturday. I think he is seeing the improvement in the attitude and performance of HIS program.
- Brady: while it may sound silly to talk about redemption for the man who burst out with 248 yards and a 75 yard TD, but remember he transferred here: http://caneswatch.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2016/01/04/miami-hurricanes-wr-tyre-brady-to-transfer Much like some of our recent attrition, Mr. Brady needed someplace that was a better fit for him. Sometime a different venue is just the ticket. Like Mr. Kelly before him, the Herd seems the perfect place for Mr Brady to seek his personal redemption.
- Davis: when I think of Davis in 2016, I think about a player who was a good short yardage back, without much burst, who got penalized for celebrating in the end zone during the FAU game. Applying my redemption theme, as a junior he has incredible burst and vision. I can't believe that he took a third kickoff to the house (albeit called back). I'm glad he is back to being the starting RB this week. I just hope it doesn't take away from his returns.
- Litton: he surprised me. Not with his 350 yards 2TD game. He surprised me by staying positive when things weren't going well. Some people go to college to grow up, maybe that is what we are watching. I hope so. Football wise, I thought his throws were much better than in the Miami game. His running is non-existent. There was one play in the first half where the right side was wide open, but Litton handed it off for a loss. He could have picked up at least 4 yards IMO. That being said, man I am glad to be talking about this kid's play on the field and not other topics.
- Herd Equipment: for the horrible fade numbers that they put on the jerseys in 2014, Herd Equipment has redeemed itself with those awesome unis on Saturday.
- Defense: the D showed up on Saturday and IMO redeemed itself to some degree over the level that it played at last year. Please note that the following players were the ones that I noticed while watching the game at a game watching party; I am sure that I am going to miss some key contributors. Anyway, I thought that Dopson did a good job in the trenches: in the first game I focused on Bee and didn't pay much attention to Dopson. I also thought that Hernadez, Gant and Drayton had good games.
- ESPN App and HerdVision: I think they are going to need to seek redemption in the future, if I understand the roll out. To be honest, I'm not sure that I understand what we are trying to accomplish here. At first, I thought the announcement sounded like we were getting ahead of everyone like we did when Dshoe put us on the map. I thought we were trying to get ahead of the curve. Then I started thinking about all the great things that Dshoe accomplished and the exposure that we got during the 1990s by being on the package that sports bars and fans could purchase (sorry, I don't have time this week to look up the exact branding). Anyway, Dshoe got us exposure. It doesn't look like the vision behind HerdVision is going to get us exposure. It looks a lot like CSTV to me. Don't get me wrong, I think it is great that we out of towners can get more games, but that is just Herdfans watching the Herd. The difference between that model and what Dshoe did back in the 90s is that Dan got us exposure. Over the weekend, I bought Apple TV and downloaded the App for ESPN. It works great. It would also be great for non-Herd football fans to be able to click over to the Herd when they see some big scores, just like they did in the 90s at the sports bars. If the goal is to make a nickle off of every Herdfan, then Herdvision and the CUSA.tv product will work. If the goal is to get back to having a national presence again, we need to get on ESPN.
- WKU: the biggest redemption that I want to see will be the Herd pounding WKU on the field. I watched part of their game against Illinois. If the Herd keeps fighting for redemption and stays focused, we can beat them this year. I can't wait for that game. Both for the game itself, and to achieve the personal redemption that I seek. I wasn't the best fan during that calamity last year. Go Herd!!!
Throughout the game on Saturday, I kept thinking about "redemption" of the players, a certain sportscaster, Doc and even myself. Going into the game on Saturday, I didn't know what to expect. I spent a good part of game day running around trying to get my Apple TV set up to watch the game. Then I had to get everything set up for our friends who came over to watch the game. I was actually pretty nervous that the Herd was going to roll over and quit like they did last year. As with many of my blogs, I am going to try a theme in this one. I hope it works:
Thundering in MD