Two weeks ago, Indiana University of Pennsylvania quarterback Bo Napoleon played a terrible game. He threw five interceptions, tried to do too much and contributed to IUP being beaten to a pulp 47-20 at the hands of Bloomburg.
Going into the game against Slippery Rock this week, I didn't expect for the IUP coaches to put the ball in Napoleon's hands much. I picked IUP to win on IUP-TV, but I picked them to win by just plain luck. That was my analysis. IUP will win by luck.
After the game Saturday, I was proven right. The IUP coaches did not put the game in Napoleon's hands. He only threw the ball 15 times and amassed a mere 79 yards. Very modest numbers to say the least. As a matter of fact, they shuttered to the thought that Napoleon would have to use his arm to beat Slippery Rock. So much so that IUP Head Coach Lou Tepper even admitted it after the game. Something else I didnt expect after the game was the fact the IUP won - and won by more than luck.
IUP put the game into its defense's hands and handled The Rock 17-0.
Now a 17-0 win isnt the most impressive thing in the world, but the fact that it was done by essentially not trusting your starting quarteback makes it kind of impressive.
According to Tepper, when IUP went up 10-0 in the fourth quarter after a Craig Burgess field goal, the already conservative gameplan became even more conservative. Almost to the point the Crimson Hawks looked like uber Republicans.
"We just didn't want to screw up on offense," Tepper said. "We couldn't afford a turnover. We didn't want to put our game in a position to hurt us."
Although I was somewhat impressed with how IUP won. I still find something wrong with the way the team won.
Let's be honest, Slippery Rock's undefeated record was a little misleading. It was not indicative how that team really is. The Rock is not that good.
IUP will play much tougher opponents the rest of the way, including Edinboro this week on the road no less. Not to mention California University of Pennsylvania also on the road.
How can this team expect to continue to win against stiffer competition if they openly do not have confidence in its starting quarterback?
Napoleon is young and can use all the confidence instilled in him as possible especially after the way he played against Bloomsburg, but why would the head coach openly say to the media that he and the rest of the staff didn't want Napoleon to hurt them by doing what he is supposed to do - throwing the football.
Not having confidence behind closed doors is one thing. Not having confidence in him during the game with the play selection is another thing. But to tell the media that you didn't want your quarterback to blow a two-possession lead is very counter productive. in my humble opinion.
I understand that injuries are the only reason why Napoleon is playing, but thats even more reason to instill confidence in him. Becasue after him, IUP has an even less experienced quarterback in Jared Buck who the team didn't even want to take snap this season.
IUP can beat teams like Slippery Rock without trusting its quarterback, but when it goes to Cal U and Edinboro, it will require that IUP put some faith in Napoleon or IUP will suffer the same mediocre season it had a year ago.
In the event that mediocre season happens, the winds of change will be upon us.