Rich Rodriguez mentioned a few weeks ago that he doesn’t take losing well. This past Saturday was the first time that the folks at Jacksonville State saw that in person.
So what did it look like after the Gamecocks fell to 3-1 with a lopsided loss at Tulsa?
“As far as after the game, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him like that a day in my life,” said tight end Sean Brown. “You see him on the sideline, trying to correct people and yelling at people all the way across the field. He’s going to be like that every day because he’s a good coach, and that’s what good coaches do.”
After Saturday’s game, though, it was different.
“He was kind of in a mood where he didn’t want to talk,” Brown said. “We had our little meeting after the game, and it might have lasted one or two minutes, and that was it, really.”
Rodriguez describes his mood as “miserable” after any loss. Saturday was no different.
“Nobody wants to talk to me, nobody should talk to me,” Rodriguez said. “My family will, they know me, and my two little puppies, they could care less. All they want is a treat. Other than that, I’m not very good on the bus or the plane ride home. Some people take it better than others. I’ve never learned to take it good. Ever. And I don’t anticipate that I ever will.”
Once Sunday rolled around, it was time to learn from the miserable evening. Rodriguez said the usual routine is for the entire coaching staff to watch the special teams tape together while the offensive and defensive staffs split up to watch their own group. This time, though, Rodriguez had the entire staff watch the whole game together. It took more than four hours.
“It was more corrective in nature than it was critical in nature,” Rodriguez said.
The simple version of what happened, at least Rodriguez’s simple version, was “poorly coached, poorly played, poorly executed.”
Now it’s time to fix things that went wrong.
“We got a lot of work to do, starting with coaches,” Rodriguez said. “We got to figure out, more, what our guys can and can’t do. We got to do a better job of putting them in a position to make plays. We got to do a better job of adjusting. I got a really good staff, they’re very conscientious. I didn’t tell them anything they didn’t already know.”
Rodriguez said the tendency for deeper evaluation generally follows a loss. One key area of evaluation comes at the quarterback position. Jacksonville State played three quarterbacks in the 54-17 loss to Tulsa. Redshirt freshman Aaron McLaughlin got the start, senior Zion Webb was next up and true freshman Te’Sean Smoot finished the game. Webb was not the starter for the first time in four games, largely because he was banged up and did not practice much last week.
None of the quarterbacks did anything spectacular, but Webb and Smoot both scored on touchdown runs. Webb left the game with an injury but will start this week at Nicholls if he practices during the week.
Considering his youth and athletic ability, the 6-foot, 170-pound Smoot could be the most intriguing of the bunch.
“We need to see more of him,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously, he’s still learning, as all of them are. We like him. First play, he turned the wrong way and then he scrambled and made a couple yards out of it. He missed one, he’d be the first to tell you it was a wide-open touchdown and he just missed it. We got to get him more reps in practice. He’s not ready to be a starter, this week, but we evaluate everything each week. We’ll keep repping all three guys.”
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