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Biggest game and/or rivalry

Obviously I can't prove it but in many of those disasters the past 20 years we had players phoning it in. Bo had his share of issues and more than his share of blowouts but I wouldn't call his coaching poor. Once again I can't prove it but some of it had to be mental as with few exceptions we would fold like a cheap suit at the first sign of adversity.
What you're saying is generally true, but the games with Pelini that most frustrated me were those where it was clear that he had no answers schematically for what the other team was doing, and it was doubly frustrating because he clearly was an excellent DC. Let me give you one potent example of when it was scheme more than personnel or players' attitude that was the problem.

Do you remember Melvin Gordon running for approximately 16.8 miles against us in 2014? Many (most?) of those longer runs were a simple zone-blocking scheme where he attacked the perimeter, forced the LB/Safety to commit to a hole, then ran to the other side of the hole, and then it was a long, painful jog to the endzone as nobody touched him, and nobody could catch up to him. It wasn't a complicated concept, but Wisconsin's offensive coaches either scouted well or stumbled upon the goldmine of figuring out that they could put Nate Gerry into conflict as a Safety--who had to both cover a TE coming out for a pass and contain the perimeter against the run--and they rode that simple concept to what felt like 12,000 yards of rushing in that one game.

Nate Gerry plays on Sundays now, and he now plays a hybrid LB/Safety position, which was basically what we needed that day, so we can't pretend that he wasn't talented enough. Go back and watch the film, and the camera angles often showed the frustration and pain in his eyes as he was repeatedly doing his best, but he could never be right. That's what happens when the coaches aren't able to make adjustments, and a player has to just sit out there all day and embarrass himself, repeatedly. Like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football while Lucy's holding it, he knew what was going to happen, he tried his best, and the Nebraska coaching staff allowed Wisconsin to make him look like a fool, over and over again. Knowing that he's doing what he's told, that it's not working, and that everybody watching the game probably assumes that it's his fault, wouldn't most people give up eventually?

The same happened in 2017 against Ohio State and Minnesota. Offenses that were putting our defenders in a conflict where any choice would be wrong have had a hey-day with Nebraska over the past decade+ because we haven't made the adjustments to change the calculus. As long as Gordon does what he was supposed to do, and Gerry does what he was supposed to do, Gordon was always going to win that matchup,... so the coaches need to change the matchup. Shift a D-lineman into the C-gap or blitz a LB or do something, but all you do is destroy your defense's soul if you continue to put them in situations where they cannot win and expect the other team to somehow screw up things on their side.

Do you want another painful example of coaching ineptitude? Go back and watch the 2012 B1G Championship Game. Based on how radically they changed their schemes coming into that game, I am convinced that Wisconsin thought that they were going to get pummeled if they didn't make wholesale adjustments. A coach who is confident in his base schemes and personnel doesn't suddenly unveil the Amoeba-Front defense as the foundation for stopping your high-powered opponent's offense in a championship game. Bielema and his staff were desperate, and they didn't think that they'd win if they didn't change things up dramatically. They also probably assumed (correctly) that if they threw some unexpected curveballs at the Nebraska coaching staff, they'd run around in circles like chickens that got popped in the head.

That Amoeba Front--Wisconsin's version had 2 D-linemen who were stationary at the DE positions while 5 other defenders swarmed in and out until the snap of the ball--looked so cool and effective that I decided to try it as a coach a couple times: we got drilled even worse than we would have without it. Why? Because all you have to do as an offensive coach is attack the 2 DEs that you know are there and assume that someone else is going to show up for each individual run fit to either side because ... that's what every effective defense has to do. If they don't, they'll be right sometimes, but approximately half the time you'll be off to the races. The Nebraska staff never figured that out until sometime after the game was over, and somebody else apparently explained it to them. That's NOT the fault of the players. That's poor coaching. Or maybe the caliber of coaching at the junior high and JV levels in rural South Dakota is just far more superior than I ever suspected.

And how about our defense that day? Do you remember Wisconsin running approximately 500 Jet Sweep plays for approximately 48,000 yards? Baker Steinkuhler was injured and didn't play that day, so we moved Cameron Meredith inside from DE (where he was already under-sized) to play DT against the largest, most hammer-and-anvil like offense in the United States of America in the year 2011. Sure, that should work, right? They ran the Jet Sweep not only so that it was setting up that same sort of Pick-the-Hole scenario on the perimeter (against the same Safety position coached to do the same technique as Gerry), they also had the whole O-line doing outside-zone blocking in one direction while the RB who was lined up behind the QB would run a counter to the Jet (and the O-line) in the opposite direction; it kept working ... again ... and again ... and again ... and you get the picture. Why? We didn't make any adjustments, and our LBs and Safeties were in situations where they couldn't choose the right response because the RB could always go where they weren't.

When you're getting trounced the way that we were that day, maybe that's the time at halftime to change things up instead of hoping that Wisconsin would stop pounding the same nail with their same very effective hammer? It's as though the whole staff decided to just bend over and get it over with, nice and hard. Why? It was a lack of leadership. In that situation--even at the high school level, even at the junior high level, even at the smallest schools with the most inexperienced staffs--I have NEVER seen an entire staff that was devoid of ideas for ways to change things up, at least at the margins, to try to shore things up. Was our staff so dunce-like that they couldn't figure out any way to do anything different? Or were the people at the top so stubborn that they couldn't admit that their schemes weren't working, and they couldn't allow their assistants to make changes? I'll bet you a month's salary that there was at least one guy on the Nebraska staff that day who had answers for how to make some relatively simple adjustments that probably would have worked, but a) he was scared to speak up, or b) he was over-ruled. That's what bad coaching looks like.
 
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cthusker

You talken to me?
5 Year Member
I agree but as @cthusker stated, it falls back on the coaches for allowing it in the 1st place. Now, if the players had any pride they would have pushed themselves and each other to be better. They didn't. We now have coaches that are teaching and helping them learn to do that very thing. Oops, guess that falls on coaching, as well. No matter what though, the players do deserve some of the blame. :thumbsup:

...and the last few years have been a cluster...
It's a complete and total culture change under Frost. Something that's been desperately needed for a long time. Frost has said repeatedly the "PLAYERS" are now taking charge and holding teammates accountable for not doing the right things. We're already seen a bunch of players leave because some didn't want to buy into what's required to win championships. Others simply weren't going to be starters and also moved on.

The program required a complete make over top to bottom including S&C. Frost had so many issues to address last season I'm surprised they won 4 games to be honest. It was evident imo there was a loser attitude on the team by which losing simply wasn't a big deal. All that needed changing and I'm pretty sure we're about 90% of the way there.

I have ZERO doubt Frost will return Nebraska to being a Top 10-15 team most seasons. We're going to compete for many BIG CC over the next 10 to 20 years. All the teams in the BIG are aware of what's happening at Nebraska imo. This is going to be a fun ride..............
 
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HuskerNash

Recruit
2 Year Member
I haven't missed your point at all. See below for the point I was hoping you would make.



All the money, fans, facilities, history, etc. mean nothing without good coaching.

Thank you HuskerNash. I enjoyed our discussion "cuz that's what makes this board fun. :D
I have enjoyed it to and apologies if I came off a bit brash but I stayed up late last night only to see my Nashville Predators lose their series with Dallas.
 

HuskerNash

Recruit
2 Year Member
What you're saying is generally true, but the games with Pelini that most frustrated me were those where it was clear that he had no answers schematically for what the other team was doing, and it was doubly frustrating because he clearly was an excellent DC. Let me give you one potent example of when it was scheme more than personnel or players' attitude that was the problem.

Do you remember Melvin Gordon running for approximately 16.8 miles against us in 2014? Many (most?) of those longer runs were a simple zone-blocking scheme where he attacked the perimeter, forced the LB/Safety to commit to a hole, then ran to the other side of the hole, and then it was a long, painful jog to the endzone as nobody touched him, and nobody could catch up to him. It wasn't a complicated concept, but Wisconsin's offensive coaches either scouted well or stumbled upon the goldmine of figuring out that they could put Nate Gerry into conflict as a Safety--who had to both cover a TE coming out for a pass and contain the perimeter against the run--and they rode that simple concept to what felt like 12,000 yards of rushing in that one game.

Nate Gerry plays on Sundays now, and he now plays a hybrid LB/Safety position, which was basically what we needed that day, so we can't pretend that he wasn't talented enough. Go back and watch the film, and the camera angles often showed the frustration and pain in his eyes as he was repeatedly doing his best, but he could never be right. That's what happens when the coaches aren't able to make adjustments, and a player has to just sit out there all day and embarrass himself, repeatedly. Like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football while Lucy's holding it, he knew what was going to happen, he tried his best, and the Nebraska coaching staff allowed Wisconsin to make him look like a fool, over and over again. Knowing that he's doing what he's told, that it's not working, and that everybody watching the game probably assumes that it's his fault, wouldn't most people give up eventually?

The same happened in 2017 against Ohio State and Minnesota. Offenses that were putting our defenders in a conflict where any choice would be wrong have had a hey-day with Nebraska over the past decade+ because we haven't made the adjustments to change the calculus. As long as Gordon does what he was supposed to do, and Gerry does what he was supposed to do, Gordon was always going to win that matchup,... so the coaches need to change the matchup. Shift a D-lineman into the C-gap or blitz a LB or do something, but all you do is destroy your defense's soul if you continue to put them in situations where they cannot win and expect the other team to somehow screw up things on their side.

Do you want another painful example of coaching ineptitude? Go back and watch the 2011 B1G Championship Game. Based on how radically they changed their schemes coming into that game, I am convinced that Wisconsin thought that they were going to get pummeled if they didn't make wholesale adjustments. A coach who is confident in his base schemes and personnel doesn't suddenly unveil the Amoeba-Front defense as the foundation for stopping your high-powered opponent's offense in a championship game. Bielema and his staff were desperate, and they didn't think that they'd win if they didn't change things up dramatically. They also probably assumed (correctly) that if they threw some unexpected curveballs at the Nebraska coaching staff, they'd run around in circles like chickens that got popped in the head.

That Amoeba Front--Wisconsin's version had 2 D-linemen who were stationary at the DE positions while 5 other defenders swarmed in and out until the snap of the ball--looked so cool and effective that I decided to try it as a coach a couple times: we got drilled even worse than we would have without it. Why? Because all you have to do as an offensive coach is attack the 2 DEs that you know are there and assume that someone else is going to show up for each individual run fit to either side because ... that's what every effective defense has to do. If they don't, they'll be right sometimes, but approximately half the time you'll be off to the races. The Nebraska staff never figured that out until sometime after the game was over, and somebody else apparently explained it to them. That's NOT the fault of the players. That's poor coaching. Or maybe the caliber of coaching at the junior high and JV levels in rural South Dakota is just far more superior than I ever suspected.

And how about our defense that day? Do you remember Wisconsin running approximately 500 Jet Sweep plays for approximately 48,000 yards? Baker Steinkuhler was injured and didn't play that day, so we moved Cameron Meredith inside from DE (where he was already under-sized) to play DT against the largest, most hammer-and-anvil like offense in the United States of America in the year 2011. Sure, that should work, right? They ran the Jet Sweep not only so that it was setting up that same sort of Pick-the-Hole scenario on the perimeter (against the same Safety position coached to do the same technique as Gerry), they also had the whole O-line doing outside-zone blocking in one direction while the RB who was lined up behind the QB would run a counter to the Jet (and the O-line) in the opposite direction; it kept working ... again ... and again ... and again ... and you get the picture. Why? We didn't make any adjustments, and our LBs and Safeties were in situations where they couldn't choose the right response because the RB could always go where they weren't.

When you're getting trounced the way that we were that day, maybe that's the time at halftime to change things up instead of hoping that Wisconsin would stop pounding the same nail with their same very effective hammer? It's as though the whole staff decided to just bend over and get it over with, nice and hard. Why? It was a lack of leadership. In that situation--even at the high school level, even at the junior high level, even at the smallest schools with the most inexperienced staffs--I have NEVER seen an entire staff that was devoid of ideas for ways to change things up, at least at the margins, to try to shore things up. Was our staff so dunce-like that they couldn't figure out any way to do anything different? Or were the people at the top so stubborn that they couldn't admit that their schemes weren't working, and they couldn't allow their assistants to make changes? I'll bet you a month's salary that there was at least one guy on the Nebraska staff that day who had answers for how to make some relatively simple adjustments that probably would have worked, but a) he was scared to speak up, or b) he was over-ruled. That's what bad coaching looks like.
Great post and obviously from AD's (some say Chancellor) on down it's been a cluster you know what for too many years.
 

NUinID

Scout Team
2 Year Member
What you're saying is generally true, but the games with Pelini that most frustrated me were those where it was clear that he had no answers schematically for what the other team was doing, and it was doubly frustrating because he clearly was an excellent DC. Let me give you one potent example of when it was scheme more than personnel or players' attitude that was the problem.

Do you remember Melvin Gordon running for approximately 16.8 miles against us in 2014? Many (most?) of those longer runs were a simple zone-blocking scheme where he attacked the perimeter, forced the LB/Safety to commit to a hole, then ran to the other side of the hole, and then it was a long, painful jog to the endzone as nobody touched him, and nobody could catch up to him. It wasn't a complicated concept, but Wisconsin's offensive coaches either scouted well or stumbled upon the goldmine of figuring out that they could put Nate Gerry into conflict as a Safety--who had to both cover a TE coming out for a pass and contain the perimeter against the run--and they rode that simple concept to what felt like 12,000 yards of rushing in that one game.

Nate Gerry plays on Sundays now, and he now plays a hybrid LB/Safety position, which was basically what we needed that day, so we can't pretend that he wasn't talented enough. Go back and watch the film, and the camera angles often showed the frustration and pain in his eyes as he was repeatedly doing his best, but he could never be right. That's what happens when the coaches aren't able to make adjustments, and a player has to just sit out there all day and embarrass himself, repeatedly. Like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football while Lucy's holding it, he knew what was going to happen, he tried his best, and the Nebraska coaching staff allowed Wisconsin to make him look like a fool, over and over again. Knowing that he's doing what he's told, that it's not working, and that everybody watching the game probably assumes that it's his fault, wouldn't most people give up eventually?

The same happened in 2017 against Ohio State and Minnesota. Offenses that were putting our defenders in a conflict where any choice would be wrong have had a hey-day with Nebraska over the past decade+ because we haven't made the adjustments to change the calculus. As long as Gordon does what he was supposed to do, and Gerry does what he was supposed to do, Gordon was always going to win that matchup,... so the coaches need to change the matchup. Shift a D-lineman into the C-gap or blitz a LB or do something, but all you do is destroy your defense's soul if you continue to put them in situations where they cannot win and expect the other team to somehow screw up things on their side.

Do you want another painful example of coaching ineptitude? Go back and watch the 2011 B1G Championship Game. Based on how radically they changed their schemes coming into that game, I am convinced that Wisconsin thought that they were going to get pummeled if they didn't make wholesale adjustments. A coach who is confident in his base schemes and personnel doesn't suddenly unveil the Amoeba-Front defense as the foundation for stopping your high-powered opponent's offense in a championship game. Bielema and his staff were desperate, and they didn't think that they'd win if they didn't change things up dramatically. They also probably assumed (correctly) that if they threw some unexpected curveballs at the Nebraska coaching staff, they'd run around in circles like chickens that got popped in the head.

That Amoeba Front--Wisconsin's version had 2 D-linemen who were stationary at the DE positions while 5 other defenders swarmed in and out until the snap of the ball--looked so cool and effective that I decided to try it as a coach a couple times: we got drilled even worse than we would have without it. Why? Because all you have to do as an offensive coach is attack the 2 DEs that you know are there and assume that someone else is going to show up for each individual run fit to either side because ... that's what every effective defense has to do. If they don't, they'll be right sometimes, but approximately half the time you'll be off to the races. The Nebraska staff never figured that out until sometime after the game was over, and somebody else apparently explained it to them. That's NOT the fault of the players. That's poor coaching. Or maybe the caliber of coaching at the junior high and JV levels in rural South Dakota is just far more superior than I ever suspected.

And how about our defense that day? Do you remember Wisconsin running approximately 500 Jet Sweep plays for approximately 48,000 yards? Baker Steinkuhler was injured and didn't play that day, so we moved Cameron Meredith inside from DE (where he was already under-sized) to play DT against the largest, most hammer-and-anvil like offense in the United States of America in the year 2011. Sure, that should work, right? They ran the Jet Sweep not only so that it was setting up that same sort of Pick-the-Hole scenario on the perimeter (against the same Safety position coached to do the same technique as Gerry), they also had the whole O-line doing outside-zone blocking in one direction while the RB who was lined up behind the QB would run a counter to the Jet (and the O-line) in the opposite direction; it kept working ... again ... and again ... and again ... and you get the picture. Why? We didn't make any adjustments, and our LBs and Safeties were in situations where they couldn't choose the right response because the RB could always go where they weren't.

When you're getting trounced the way that we were that day, maybe that's the time at halftime to change things up instead of hoping that Wisconsin would stop pounding the same nail with their same very effective hammer? It's as though the whole staff decided to just bend over and get it over with, nice and hard. Why? It was a lack of leadership. In that situation--even at the high school level, even at the junior high level, even at the smallest schools with the most inexperienced staffs--I have NEVER seen an entire staff that was devoid of ideas for ways to change things up, at least at the margins, to try to shore things up. Was our staff so dunce-like that they couldn't figure out any way to do anything different? Or were the people at the top so stubborn that they couldn't admit that their schemes weren't working, and they couldn't allow their assistants to make changes? I'll bet you a month's salary that there was at least one guy on the Nebraska staff that day who had answers for how to make some relatively simple adjustments that probably would have worked, but a) he was scared to speak up, or b) he was over-ruled. That's what bad coaching looks like.
It wasn't stupidity on the part of the Nebraska staff under Pelini. It was pure stubbornness. Pelini didn't listen to anyone. His run fits were too precise. He didn't want to become vulnerable to the big pass play. If you notice in neither of your Wisconsin examples, Wisconsin did not have a great day throwing the ball. :rolleyes:

Don't you remember, Wisconsin had a pretty good day passing against Nebraska during the game in season. They game that we won and Wisconsin had like 55 yards rushing. The game Steinkuhler played in. Why wouldn't it work again with our team playing on fumes.

Truth be told I actually thought we would lose that game in 2012. Whisky was getting all of its guys back healthy and we limped into the game battered and bruised. I just didn't think it would be that bad.
 
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It wasn't stupidity on the part of the Nebraska staff under Pelini. It was pure stubbornness. Pelini didn't listen to anyone.
I agree, but isn't there a point when extreme stubbornness and stupidity are impossible to tell apart?

Truth be told I actually thought we would lose that game in 2012. Whisky was getting all of its guys back healthy and we limped into the game battered and bruised. I just didn't think it would be that bad.
I had a lot of misgivings also, but apparently not as many as Bielema and his staff. No coach who expects his team to match up well and win would come into that game with such radically different and gimmicky schemes. Until that game, the Amoeba-Front was universally thought of as a gimmick to be used when desperate. Using it throughout that game was the defensive equivalent of deciding to on-side kick and fake punt every time.
 

cthusker

You talken to me?
5 Year Member
Folks wondering what's been wrong with the program? I'd say Frost sums it up nicely......

Frost can tell the difference in players’ physical compositions now that they’ve been working with strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval.

“We were starting from absolute ground zero,” Frost said.


» Frost said “99 percent” of the Husker team has bought in, so effort and commitment are there. Now NU needs to become a tougher team to compete in the Big Ten. Frost said gold-standard Husker programs used to be tougher than all of its foes.

“We’ve got some guys who are like that,” Frost said. “But others need to learn how to be that competitive, that tough and that physical all of the time.”
 

Pops

I have squandered my resistance
10 Year Member
Sam McKewon points out that that since 2015 the Huskers are 1-15 against Iowa, Wisconsin, NW and Ohio St, all four games are in Lincoln this year..........one would think the crowd will take that very personal.....GBR
if only the crowd could play
 

Huskerthom

All Legend
5 Year Member
For better or worse, I think that Nebraska's admin has generally been more patient with the coaching staff following multiple blowouts with the exception of Solich being fired. As a general rule there are teams who simply won't put up with being bludgeoned more than once in a blue moon without making a coaching change, and I think that I can name most of them: any SEC team, Texas, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Florida State, Clemson, and Miami. (Who did I miss?) With the exception of almost all of the SEC teams, those would probably be the teams that most fans would rank as the blue-blood programs over the past 50 years. Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin, all of the PAC-12 besides USC, all of the ACC besides Clemson, Miami, and FSU, et al., seem to expect to get publicly de-pantsed and spanked at least 3-4 times per every five years. I think that this was why the B1G West fans thought that Nebraska's fans were being whiny and unrealistic; they're used to bending over and taking it, and saying, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" Iowa even gives Ferentz a bonus for winning 8 games, even if they get humiliated in 5 other games.

Osborne got spanked occasionally, too, and there were open calls for making changes--they wanted him to fire some assistants--after getting trounced 3x and de-pantsed 2x at the end of the '90 season. We looked better in '91, but still got embarrassed by Miami in the Orange Bowl. We looked much better in '92, but still got embarrassed by FSU in the Orange Bowl. It took the '94 Orange Bowl to fully convince Nebraska fans that, yes, Osborne did know what he was doing, and we were possibly on the verge of greatness. Then again it only took one spanking by Arizona State in '96 for the fans to want to run Frost out of town while looking for their heart medication.

What I want is as much of the following as I can get:
  1. to consistently beat the teams with less talent;
  2. to be proud of the effort as we go down swinging when we lose;
  3. to show signs of steadily moving in the right direction.
No more whippings is part of both #2 and #3, but I think that for even the most ardent Riley supporters among us, there was absolutely no way that we wanted to keep Riley after both losing to Northern Illinois and getting boat-raced by a horrible Minnesota team. I personally don't know a single Husker fan who still wanted Riley after the Minnesota game. I know several who were actually worried that he might pull off upsets of Penn State and Iowa, make a bowl, and hang on to his job for another year.
Our worst losses under Osborne were 3 games 30 + to Oklahoma. 1 in the 70s 1 in the 80s and 1 in 1990.

Frank had a 49 point loss in 2001, 2 30+ point losses in 2002 and a 29 point loss in 2003. basically he matched TOs worst losses in 27 years in 2 years. So I think they were plenty patient with him.
 
Our worst losses under Osborne were 3 games 30 + to Oklahoma. 1 in the 70s 1 in the 80s and 1 in 1990.

Frank had a 49 point loss in 2001, 2 30+ point losses in 2002 and a 29 point loss in 2003. basically he matched TOs worst losses in 27 years in 2 years. So I think they were plenty patient with him.
Agree with all of the above, but in fairness the two Miami blowouts could have had a lot worse score ('88 and '92 Orange Bowls), and really should have been worse. It also seemed like Bobby Bowden pumped the brakes a bit in the '93 Orange Bowl. Solich was never going to get that kind of courtesy, especially from Big 12 coaches.
 

cthusker

You talken to me?
5 Year Member
Agree with all of the above, but in fairness the two Miami blowouts could have had a lot worse score ('88 and '92 Orange Bowls), and really should have been worse. It also seemed like Bobby Bowden pumped the brakes a bit in the '93 Orange Bowl. Solich was never going to get that kind of courtesy, especially from Big 12 coaches.
Public perception (wrong or right) took a drastic hit after getting blown out by CU and Miami, back to back. It's been mostly a downward spiral for Nebraska football the past 20 years imo. Death by a thousands cuts combined with some egregious losses to teams that haven't ever been on same level as Nebraska. Bo brought back some respectability but just couldn't get over the hump. Had he won both those B12 CCG things might look a lot different today. Didnt happen and the results speak for themselves!

If it weren't for hiring Frost I believe Nebraska was headed for even worse times. Those that doubt SF's ability to bring the program full circle just don't know enough about him imo. All the things that our fans value about Nebraska football are being installed now. It's only a matter of time before we're cranking out 9+ wins every season..... it's coming!
 
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coherbie

Starter
15 Year Member
Our worst losses under Osborne were 3 games 30 + to Oklahoma. 1 in the 70s 1 in the 80s and 1 in 1990.

Frank had a 49 point loss in 2001, 2 30+ point losses in 2002 and a 29 point loss in 2003. basically he matched TOs worst losses in 27 years in 2 years. So I think they were plenty patient with him.
which game was that? :Confused:
 
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