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Report Card and Thoughts: Ohio

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This is now *5* losses by seven or less points this season (and their last three losses have been by just a total of seven points) Naaman Roosevelt and the other seniors deserved better than this season. Temple was the only conference team to soundly beat UB this year and Pitt was the only other team that clearly beat us.

The good news is that pragmatic fans will no longer have to endure the endless speculation about what has to happen for an 8-4, a 7-5, a 6-6 UB team to make a Bowl. The bad news is that the only two threats at receiver we have will never play a wholly meaningful game for UB again.

This teams problem with in game focus has crippled us all year long. Imparting focus on players starts with the coaching staff and is reinforced by player leadership. Some players were reportedly using Cell Phones on the sideline during a game! Where the hell was the leadership from the coaches or players on this? If I were Coach Gill I would find out who was using their rollover minutes sit them for the next game *no exceptions* and it was not a completely unrealistic idea I give out the number so the other teams fans could call and heckle them while they ride pine.

I got a chance to watch the replay of the game finally. Yes, there were cell phones on the sideline. It eased my mind slightly, just slightly, that those who were using their cell phones were player that werent dressed for the game. But I still feel that if your a player that has or will suit up for this team, you should be paying attention to the game because you just might learn something. You never know when your going to be suited up for a game and your number is called. -- Thanks to brjacr for reviewing the tape and posting over at ubfan.com
If the Players can't bother to follow the game while they are on the sideline how in the hell can you expect them make big plays. All year long UB games have been decided by one bone headed play after another. Up until this last week I just thought we were snake bitten, but the breakdown of discipline on this team (on and off the field) is troubling. Kudos to Gill for suspending Maynard for a quarter now he needs to make sure the rest of the team is focused during the game.

I did not hold out much hope for a bowl even if UB went 6-6 but it would have been a nice finish to the season, a strong build up towards next year and a respectable final mark considering some of the injuries this team has had to endure.

Quarterbacks: (B-)

I was going to punitively bomb the QB's with an F because Maynard managed to get himself suspended for a quarter but in truth I think the dropped passes the QB's had to suffer was enough punishment.

Jerry Davis looked better than I though he would. Its a lot to find out shortly before a game, an important and nationally televised game, that you're getting the start and the kid handled himself just fine.

Maynard also played aquatically, at times he looked great and at times he looked a little suspect but on the whole he played well enough to win and you can't ask too much more of him than that. He is not Drew Willy, he cant will this team to a win but he is getting closer every week.

He needs to spend the off season working on his touch and his reads. Right now his passing arm has just one speed, bullet, sometimes something a little softer (nerf bullet?) would be appropriate. Coach Gill also has to get him a seeing eye dog to find his tight ends, Jessie rack is slowly disappearing from this offense and he is a great target.

Maynard's running and his judgement on the dive options has improved greatly this is an aspect of his game that, I hope, will be used far more effectively next season.

Running Backs: (B)

Mario Henry looked good this is kind of what I had hoped he would be all season. He was getting the ball in full stride, hitting the holes fast and getting nice chunks of yards almost whenever he touched the ball, and 3.6 yards per carry from Gill was respectable but even though they were pulling in 4.6 yards per carry this was a night we needed our relievers.

I am a bit troubled at the durability that Nduka has lacked this season, I truly hope his ankle injury is just one of those nagging things that will go away over the off season and not a sign that he just gets hurt too easily.

Wide Outs: (Grading Individually)

It could have been so much more but there were way, way to many drops and in a game when Maynard seems to have his two minute drill down the performance was very underwhelming. Some did way worse than others so rather than beat up on the group I am going to grade the standouts (good and bad) individually.

Roosevelt: (A)

What else can you say, while the result of the game is less than he deserved it was not his fault and the last catch he had was a demonstration of how fortunate we have been to have a guy who leaves it all on the field for these past years. Anyone pro scouts who had a doubt about the caliber of receiver Roosevelt is needs to watch this past game!

Hamlin: (B+)

A good night with a few uncharacteristic drops, and a couple that came at really bad times. Still he did what he had to do most of the time had an outstanding catch for a first down on the last drive (he knew exactly where the marker was and got the ball there) I really hope he gets his shot on Sundays every team should have a guy like Hamlin on their roster (nice clean routs, amazing hands, and a dogged determination to get to the first down).

Jackson/Rack: (C+)

Jackson's 60 yards and the number of times Rack go himself open were not enough to make up for the drops and the so-so route running.

Rivers: (F)

Rivers is a great talent but he needs to work on his hands and perhaps his mental game in the off season. Right now even with Roosevelt and Hamlin leaving he is still perhaps only our #3 or #4 guy next season unless he gets more dependable.

Offensive Line: (C+)

Two Sacks given up, but 4.6 yards per carry and enough protection to give the QB's 300+ yards on the night (despite perhaps a half dozen huge drops). This unit has really come together through injury this year and should come back next season all the better because of it. I was going to give the unit B but West managed to get himself ejected

Offensive Coaching: (B)

Again I was tempted to drop an F on them for the players lack of focus and execution but through the season I have fallen into the habit of grading play calling and clock management so I am going to stick to that.

The offensive play calling is what it had to be to win this game, it was boneheaded penalties, bad drops, and turnovers that cost us this game.

Defensive Line: (C)

The numbers belie the fact that Ohio drove on us perhaps more than they have managed to drive on anyone all year. Giving up 400 yards of offense to the Bob Cats? 270 in the Air? In their past five games nobody has been worse against the Cats in the air and a lot of that is owed to a lack of pressure.

Linebackers: (B-)

They seemed to tackle better than in weeks past but as part of the pass rush, when used, they were still pretty bad. On the long option run in the 3rd(?) the breakdown on the outside was terrible, that outside backer has to know the corner is his responsibility

Defensive Backs: (C+)

Mid way through the second quarter they seemed to get their act together but by then UB was too far behind. Speaking of Behind how in the hell did McCrae get that wide open? I was really hoping that the defensive backfield would anchor this defense in 2009 but it has been a unit that has not had a solid corps show up any one week.

Coaching: (B)

Like the offensive unit the calls made, for the most part, were good but the execution was lacking.

Special Teams: (B)

Fardon looked better punting, maybe the week off lit a fire under him. And outside of one 30 yard kickoff return by Garrett the return teams coverage was respectable. AJ never got a chance to tie the game but seeing Weller crank out kicks from 45+ like it was practice made me more than a little envious.