The perception is that we are not a good football team because we are 1-3.
The reality was that national writers were labeling us as the best 0-2 team in the country. The reality is that being 0-2 did not alter anyone's perception that the team was on the rise. Improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 against good teams will do that. The reality also is that if you fail to make improvements from Weeks 2 to 3 and 3 to 4, or actually get worse, the perception is going to change. That's all reality.
What is also a reality is that this team has gone downhill since HCDM meekly punted on 4th and 2 from the USC 49. See Link! At that point, it was 28-16. We punted to one of the most talented offenses in college football. Due to the inevitable touchback, we netted 29 f-ing yards. And that was roughly 1/3 the length of the ensuing run by Robert "Why am I not in the NFL?" Woods on the very next play. Moments later, 35-16.
If you read Gregg Easterbrook over at ESPN, you'll see his constant theme that coaches that meekly punt in the NFL rarely win and often end up losing their jobs. Ironically, they punt because it is the safe thing to do, rather than the smart thing to do. If you punt, it's the players fault if the opponent scores. If you don't punt, it's YOUR fault if the opponent scores. So you shift blame onto the players when you play it safe.
The problem is that, even if you fail on 4th down, you send a message to your team. And football is a very emotional game.
Think about the message that HCDM sent to our team against USC. I don't believe the offense can pick up 2 yards. I don't want to risk our defense having to prevent USC from going only 50 yards to score. Not surprisingly, the team responded with a defensive failure. The offense put some more points up against the prevent, but it was never a game again.
And then Stony Brook. And then Minnesota.
if HCDM wants us to believe in the players, maybe he should do it first. Stop coaching ineffective NFL-style and start coaching the college game the way it is not played--with courage. Play to win.