Over the past two weeks, much has been made about Brink, Swogger, scheme, philosophy, coaching and what have you. All of those questions and issues are important–for next year.

Where this year is concerned, a look at our previous posts laid the roadmap pretty darn well for this season. In short, we knew that defense was a concern–particularly as it related to the defensive backfield and our overall lack of depth.

At the same time, we also knew that our offense was going to be a juggernaut. The question was simple, “will our defense mature enough through the cupcakes to enable us to make a run at a good to great season?”

Indeed, we knew then that the way that the schedule set up was PERFECT for us to end this weekend 6-0 and then roll out to CAL and SC and then see what happened the rest of the way. In most of our minds, that 6-0 or 5-1 start led to 7-4 at the worst, with 8-3 or 9-2 being a strong if not likely possibility.

So what happened?

Well, if any of us were told that we would NOT develop defensively, then we would have all said that this was a 7-4 or 6-5 team. If any of us told us that we would be depleted defensively because of injuries and that Jason Hill would be out for more than one game, well I think that most of us would have said that we’re in trouble–especially if the D didn’t progress.

So, the bottom line in all of this is that we will NOT win this year if our offense is not healthy. So, when I read that Hill is questionable for this game, it came to mind that it was really time to fully realize that we will get BOMBED this weekend.

With that in mind, there are three questions that remain for THIS season:

1) When do we get healthy again offensively?
2) What is the psyche of the team when we do finally get healthy? (e.g. have we given up before we even get a chance to really begin?)
3) Who will lead us to a ressurgence next season?

If we get Hill and Derting back for CAL/SC, then it would NOT be surprising to see us win 2 of the last 3–assuming that we haven’t folded the tent by then. That would leave us at 5-6 which certainly isn’t good–but it gives us something to build on for next year.

In the meantime, this is the last chance for Brink to show himself. UCLA will give up yards on the ground this week–or they will pinch so bad that the outside will be there. Will he capatilize, or will he implode? (my sense is answered in the next two lines)

CAL will then give us a chance to see how Swoggs does through ASU. How he does will answer the question of our psyche headed down the stretch.

If both fail, expect to see Rogers against Oregon in a three way platoon that will lead straight into a loss to the evil Huskies and a solid and resounding 3-8.

In the meantime, pray for Hill’s quad to heal. For that is the one and only clear path to answers about the future and the faint hope that this season may still be salvaged–whether it be for this season’s sake or beyond

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