With homecoming tomorrow, an incident with the Cincinnati police in the not-so-distant rearview mirror, and the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on the horizon, I thought it appropriate to provide five Friday HotTakes.
1. Kiel Is
Pretty Real Good.
First, Gunner Kiel is legit. I know he didn’t play against the world’s best defensive secondary last week, but I know quarterbacks. And he has all of the habits and mechanics to become a great quarterback. He has a very quick release, great footwork, a soft touch on the 15-20 yard routes, and the ability to throw the deep ball with relative ease. He did miss some targets against Toledo, but (in his defense) it was his first time playing football in a couple years. He had to shake the dust off the rotator cuff. The bottom line: I was very impressed with Kiel and think that he has a bright future in Clifton…and on Sundays.
2. The Defense Needs to Improve.
Second, the Bearcats defense needs a
little lot of work. They were up on Toledo quite a bit going into halftime, which caused Tuberville (because he’s a nice guy) to take his foot off the gas. As a consequence, I think the defensive unit stopped putting forth much effort. Before long, Toledo came back. This defensive unit has to figure out how to stop the run, and it needs to tighten up its secondary.
This offensive unit is going to put up big numbers; however, the defense has to figure out how to maintain the lead. This offensive unit can strike quickly, almost at will. The problem that will develop this year is that the defense will have difficulty catching its breath. The defensive coaches must work this group into marathon shape.
3. Special Teams Is Important.
Third, the special teams unit needs to be sharpened. It is one thing to shank a punt against the Toledo Rockets. It is an altogether different thing to shank a punt and provide a talented team like Ohio State with good field position.
4. Leadership Matters.
Fourth, the Bearcats need to raise their off-the-field standards. Hosey Williams is 23 years old and the starting running back for a team that could very well go undefeated. I’m not saying that they will go undefeated, but I am saying that it is clearly a possibility with this offense (and the schedule). With their caliber of talent on the offensive line and at the skill positions, the Bearcats could enter the national conversation real soon. The Bearcats, then, really need their older players (including guys like Williams) to step up and push everyone to make good decisions when they’re not wearing the uniform. Incidents like this week harm the program’s reputation. Coach Tuberville and company are trying to build a program that the city embraces. In order to accomplish that, they really need the team leadership to step up.
5. The Queen City Needs to Turn Out.
Fifth, the Bearcats community needs to show up on Saturday. They’re expecting 40,000 for the game against Miami. I’m hopeful that they draw that kind of a crowd. I was a little disappointed by the number of fans that showed up for the Toledo game. I sat on the Bearcats sideline and stared at a lot of empty seats across the field. It made me miss Nippert. In order for the program to continue to grow, the fans are going to have to get behind the team and fund it.
That’s all for now; go Bearcats.