Friday, October 06, 2006

There Is No Truth to the Rumor that the Victim's Face Sailed Wide Left

It's Friday, and slow, and for the seven or so people not actually related to us by blood who care to read this blog, there's no better time to traffic in wild, unsubstantiated rumor. From the redoubtable Eagle in Atlanta, the following tidbit:

"This is what we know: Ryan Ohliger has been suspended indefinitely from the team.
"This is pure rumor: he supposedly got heckled at a local bar and sparked a fight which ended with him kicking a BC student in the face. Now the full details will never get out, but it looks like one fan finally forced TOB to do what thousands of fans have been calling for – putting Ohliger on the bench."

In the face? Shocking that he got that kind of height on the follow-through. The college game in general hardly overflows with good-bordering-on-automatic kickers (you wouldn't see the entire Grammatica family, pets included, holding down NFL jobs if it were), but one would at least expect one's kicker to be more or less reliable on PATs, which have been the albatross around Ohliger's neck this season. His performance in the Clemson/BYU/NC State triathlon these past weeks seems to indicate increasingly diminishing returns.

Topping out at medium range in the field goal department is one thing (as is being a contributing factor in crucial losses); this is simply unacceptable. The coaching staff's lack of perception in diagnosing the problem (and no, a sports psychologist is not going to help in any meaningful way, unless he can put it through the uprights from 40-plus), sadly, is not confined to Ohliger. The UNC loss-we-had-no-business-losing is another example; O'Brien's inability or unwillingness to yank an ineffective and possibly gun-shy Porter until the fourth quarter is just another in the growing file of too little, too late from the coach.

Face facts, the ACC is nothing near a power conference this year. While that might have initially improved BC's preseason chances of cake-walking through the schedule and getting a bid to a bowl not named after something found in your garage (car part, lawn implement, old couch, etc.), it was folly, in hindsight, to think that the annual Loss That Should Never Have Been would be absent this year.

Ultimately, Ohliger only bears responsiblity for those things he can control...namely, PATs. The staff, however, bears more than that. There is nothing to be said for continuing to use a machine with a broken part to it, as sooner or later it will cause the machine to fail at the most inappropriate moment. The best course of action is to find the replacement, and go about the business of the season. Sure, it may not be pretty at first, or even at last. But it is, at least, an acknowledgement of the problem.

Now, can any of you kick?
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