View Full Version : A time to refocus and play together again

01-04-2009, 09:03 AM
I found this quote on espn after the Cardinals won yesterday. "We now know what to make -- nothing -- of the Cardinals' slide from 7-3 to 9-7 over the final six games of the regular season. If anything, the slide invited ridicule that helped the Cardinals refocus.

"Everyone was kind of kicking us and we sucked it up and decided to get back to work," Pro Bowl special-teamer Sean Morey said. "Guys have committed themselves to this team in the postseason and it's important to this team. There is a lot of team chemistry here. Guys play for one another. When you do that, you play with purpose."

The Zags are not the only good sports team that has had this kind of a slide. It happens. When a team does experience this, the story of how they dig themselves back out is perhaps a bigger story then the slide down. The Zags' slide has been huge news, as it's probably the biggest slide ever by a Zag team. All the love that has always been dished out by sports analysts has suddenly turned negative and sour. We may be out of the top 25 this week, or just barely holding on. So what now? What are they going to do about it?

The first thing that must go are the egos. The guys need to stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the team. They need to start playing for each other again. The way they did at the beginning of the season. Refocus to me means to get back to work. And to work harder then ever before. We must improve our shooting, and especially free throw shooting. Making ft's is all about focus. And so is shooting.

01-04-2009, 09:21 AM
I agree that the guys need to get back to hustling more and thinking about themselves less. BZ pointed out in an earlier thread the need for a return to simplicity, and I think these things go hand in hand.

I hope that the team can get back to having fun and just playing ball. They are a tremendously talented group that has started to think too much and enjoy too little. If they can get away from this, it will in turn lead to more passing, fewer mistakes, and more hustle. I don't buy any of the comments on here that these guys aren't talented enough -- but I do think that the toughness and hustle we all agree have been missing will only show up when the guys are playing looser and enjoying basketball again.

They are lucky to have several opportunities left this season to prove how good they can be. Tennessee, Memphis, St. Mary's x 2...all big games for the Zags. I'm sure the seniors on this team have had plenty of time to mull over how they want to end their college careers. I'm hoping for good things, and I'm optimistic we'll see them :)

01-04-2009, 09:45 AM
Good post Zagfan24. I agree about having fun. It's been some time since I've seen the old Zag dunk fests that we used to see. How long has it been since either Pargo, Micah, Ira or Josh has really thrown one down? I miss seeing that smile of Steven Gray when he knows he's on from the outside. Loosen up guys!!!

01-04-2009, 09:57 AM
About teamwork, intensity, and playing harder. Great teams and athletes are able to repress their failures and through guided imagery bring themselves back, according to sports psychologists.

All that said, I have a couple of concerns. Some folks say that the Zags should give 100%. I think if they had given 75% against PSU and Utah we would be 10-2 right now.

I am skeptical that apathy is the entire story. Lethargy is part of it, and lethargy doesn't always reflect apathy. If I understand the flex system correctly, is it not based on an effective post presence? We don't seem to have that, so nobody goes for our rare attempts to force the ball inside. This leaves our outside guys better covered and our shooting percentage drops due to having fewer open looks.

I am hoping that Mark Few has adopted some of the offense from Memphis last year who had some of the same issues. Perhaps the era of the flex is gone now. Heraclitus once said the world is in flux. The world of NCAA is no longer in flex apparently.

The real question for the Zags, aside from the obvoius need to play harder, is can they play smarter?! Can the coach provide an offensive strategy which can accommodate the lack of a post presence? And can we compensate for our lack of a big boy in the middle with a defense that gives the Zags baskets in transition. The days of a dominating big guy are done, at least for 2009. And if we keep using tactics which depend on posting up, I think we are going to continue to struggle.

I am as frustrated as any Zag fan. But a UConn fan recently sent me an e mail of condolence. He indicated that the Zags are a very strong team, and that they would be back in March, as usual. I am not sure he is right. But I hope he is. Besides, we fans are not the ones who determine the outcome. That is up to the players. God love and the Coach. I think I am going to start looking for my rosary.


01-04-2009, 10:25 AM
Sili: A good new year's resolution? Find our rosaries and begin to use them again.....:D

01-04-2009, 10:41 AM
A fun movie in its time. :)

I hope Few takes the team back to the basics of October/November, then go through the process of adding sets and options again. It should come easier and sink in better the second time around.

That, and plenty of rosaries.

01-04-2009, 11:18 AM

01-05-2009, 01:15 AM
Well, but the corollary breaks down a little when you consider that the Cardinals mathematically clinched the NFC West 43 minutes into Week 1 and thus had nothing to play for until January.