After the Cincy loss, Greg Robinson gave a brief, impromptu press conference in the stadium tunnel before disappearing into the locker room. We haven't heard a peep since. Supposedly he'll be doing an exit press conference of some sort tomorrow. Greg will have plenty of time once he's gone to try and set the record straight about what happened on his watch but in the meantime, the local media is writing their own epilogues.
First up, Bud Poliquin, who gives us the dirty statistical truth of 2008:
There was the cave-in against Akron, the meltdown against Penn State, the collapse against Pittsburgh and the fade against West Virginia. There were those losses to South Florida, Rutgers and Connecticut by a total of 74 points. And in the name of symmetry, there was the 30-10 defeat at Northwestern to begin the season and the 30-10 failure at Cincinnati to end it, bookend setbacks that spoke to the evolution, or lack thereof, of this squad in this season.
Along the way, Andrew Robinson and Delone Carter, the quarterback and running back who'd been billed as rocks and whose images had been slapped on the cover of the team's media guide, strangely disappeared. This, even as the Orange offense showed up in Cincinnati ranked No. 114 in all of Division I-A. The defense? Rated 102nd despite the presence of the remarkable Arthur Jones, it wasn't much better upon its Nippert arrival.
Fech. In a story about how SU can emulate Brian Kelly in how to build a program into a winner in three years, Dave Rahme outlines all of the "unfortunates" of the GRE:
"Four years of the same thing," said senior tailback Curtis Brinkley, who gained 1,164 yards in an admirable individual effort this season. "It was unfortunate."
It was unfortunate that Robinson failed to come in with an offensive plan that played to the strengths of the Carrier Dome. It was unfortunate that he tried to transform his offensive line into athletic, zone blockers overnight - a transition Kelly said takes three years to complete. It was unfortunate that he was greeted by a thin group of wide receivers when he arrived and had his most productive pass catchers leave early, get dismissed from school or quit the team. Mostly, though, it was unfortunate that he never developed a quarterback capable of doing what junior Tony Pike did Saturday for Cincinnati, completing 28 of 44 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns.
Oh and, here's one of my favorite passages:
Despite the 100 percent [that Arthur Jones gave] and Robinson's credentials as a defensive guru, the 2008 defense joined his 2006 and 2007 units as three of the five worst in school history, allowing 414.5 yards per game. It allowed a school-record 27 touchdown passes.
That is insane. How is that even possible? It seems...un-possible. But there it is...
Speaking of Art Jones, there's a rather strange quote at the end of the Dave Rahme article by him:
"I couldn't tell you what went wrong this season," Jones said. "Only God knows."
Actually, it doesn't take an omnipotent being to see what went wrong this season or any of the last four seasons, Art. We hired the wrong guy. Let's not do it again.