- Thompson: WOW…frickin..WOW. On a day in which the Herd D woke up and hit Southern Miss like the windstorm that destroyed the tent at our tailgate, it is sort of hard to pick out the best hits of the day. No matter how you categorize them, Gary was a man possessed on Friday.When it was announced that he had made the switch to DE, I questioned whether he had the size to play the position.Mr. Thompson this Herdfan has no more questions about the position switch.WOW…frickin…WOW.
- Jarquez:from my seats, I didn’t understand why Jaquez dove into the endzone after his interception/fumble recovery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luyaPf7kDzk I ASSumed that he was just concerned about getting into the endzone.Then I realized that I had seen this before:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIvD8vgbND0 Jarquez is having a great year.Poor Nick Mullens…on the plus side the WWE is always looking for someone to take a beating from their stars.Thanks to Jarquez, Mullens has a demo tape that he can pass onto the WWE.
- Bee: are you kidding me? After his dominant start against ODU, I was expecting a Sophomore Slump last Friday, and then a leveling out as a solid contributor. Bee would have none of that. He backed up his play against ODU with another dominant performance. When the FG was blocked, I looked up at the replay to see who got it .Another great game.
- Offense: Litton is making progress.Reaves is making the most of his time as a true WR. It was good to see Rockhead and Watson back on the field, but I would have liked to have seen Pitman on the field more. I think he earned that.
- Attendance Issue Kickoff: Chuck’s column on Tuesday hit on one of the ten things I outlined on the plane back to CO (http://www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/chuck-landon-mcmanus-ratliff-and-all-things-marshall/article_b19b0ff7-04f3-5801-ae16-9aab7909a908.html ) I probably spent an hour thinking through how I felt about being called out by Hamrick when I flew in from 2 time zones away. I came to the conclusion that Hamrick’s comments have nothing to do with me, but the constant message of needing 30k was distracting at best. My thoughts also focused on three facts:a) aging diehard fan base; b) fans show up for Purdue, not for our weak conference opponents; and c) loss of corporations in the Tri-State. In addition to losing the executives from Ashland Oil and other companies, I think an even bigger impact is the age of the Truly Faithful. Those who weathered the storm and made it to every game going back to the 1971 season, are getting to an age where making it to the Joan is difficult. These are our most honored fans; they are also a group that the Administration has been able to rely on. No matter how weak the schedule is or how bad the weather is, those fans will show up if they are physically able. The reality is that not all of those people can make it to the Joan anymore. The Athletic Department has a challenge in figuring out how to get a new generation of Herdfans to have the Truly Faithful’s passion and dedication.By getting rid of the Thunderclap and the posting of social media at the game are probably good steps towards getting the next great generation of Herdfans engaged.I agree with Chuck that simply throwing out a 30k number isn’t going to get it done. In fairness to the Athletic Department, I think they realized that they were annoying the loyal fans when they sent out the “Thank You For Coming to the Joan” e-mail yesterday:(http://pacmail.em.marketinghq.net/functions/message_view.html?mid=978876&mlid=4693&siteid=2008000266&uid=a2b82df318&hq_e=el&hq_m=978876&hq_l=1&hq_v=a2b82df318)
- Maybe I Am the Answer to Attendance: well not me, but people like me.To sell anything you need a good product and a good price.We have a Championship team that is 5-1, so I think the product is there.For the economy of the Tri-State, I think the ticket prices maybe a little on the high side, but you have to balance that against the program making it into black on the books. At the risk of offending many of my friends, the answer maybe to get people like me who live outside of the Tri-State to make it in for every game.There are Herdfans in the Eastern Time Zone who could make it to every game.I know people who live in Charlotte who go to “Game Watching Parties,” who could travel into Huntington 6 times a year.Believe me it is easy to justify not traveling to Huntington for every game. I doubt that anything that I write is going to hit a cord with those fans, but then I am just a Herdfan with a blog. I think the Athletic Department needs to work with the Alumni Association and the area Hotels to put together packages that entice those who care enough to go to a “Game Watching Party,” to drive or fly into the games. I realize that the easy rebuttal to my proposal is that “we already have a homecoming, and you are proposing that we do that for every game???” Hell yes that is what I am proposing.There are people like me who have airline miles from business travel.There are people within driving distance. If Hamrick wants 30k for every game, then people like me are the ones he should be figuring out how to get them into town. If Hamrick can do that, then people will quit acting like me flying in from Colorado is a big deal.I’ve always wanted to be considered normal. Come on Mike, help me out!!!!
- Scheduling: at the risk of beating a dead horse, scheduling matters.I don’t think it is a coincidence that the one game that Hamrick hit his 30k goal was Purdue.They are the only team on the Home schedule that is exciting.In the new paradigm of the Power 5 vs the Group of 5, playing lower Group of 5 conference foes (e.g. MAC and Sun Belt) really doesn’t make sense. Fans are excited about those games. More importantly, there is only 1 bowl game left that places a Group of 5 team against a quality Power 5 team. To invigorate Herdfans to get to the Joan, I think we need to start scheduling AAC and MW teams.While I doubt Boise would do a 1-1 with us, I think we could get Air Force, Colorado State, or UConn. While those aren’t Power 5, they are games that I think Herdfans would find more interesting than MAC (with the exception of OU) or Sun Belt teams.
- Motivation for Those Not Showing Up on Gameday: while our fans don’t seem to appreciate Doc enough to show up at the Joan, I’m sure that a lower level Power 5 school would. Heck, I just named my puppy after Doc.I don’t want to lose Doc to another school because he doesn’t believe that his work is fully appreciated based on the fan turn out.
- A Couple Things Some “Fans” Missed: I liked the move of the D and the O benches closer to the 50 yard line. While it may have been done for a multitude of reasons, I like the result of having the team closer together.Another thing that you had to be there to see was the cell phone lighter tribute in the 4th quarter.It was so cool that the Eerdiots copied us on Saturday. In case you missed the Eerdiots following us, here is a video of it:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1v0jB3OswM
- Southern Miss was So Cute: they really thought they were back. Personally, I was glad that they were competitive again, at least for a couple of minutes. When we joined C-USA, I thought it was a huge deal that we were playing USM, ECU and Houston. Thenthe Yellow Eagles went into a death spiral.I was a little apprehensive on the flight from Maine. I too thought that they were back.Silly me…it was just so cute when the reality hit their HC’s face.Maybe next year Yellow Eagles…maybe next year.
This season has gone fast. This season is also been a big head scratcher for me on attendance and fan reactions to close wins. We had a great win on Friday, I probably should focus more of my ten things on appreciating the contributions of all the players, but the Attendance issue has been the focus of most of my travel time thoughts. Anyway, as the collage shows, I started out my day on Friday helping my buddy empty the waste system of the RV. I then jammed as much of my favorite Huntington experiences into two days as I could. Keeping in mind, I started off my game day like Cousin Eddie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9sY6iH9Ojg), here are the Ten Things I Think I Know After Southern Miss:
Thundering in MD