Column: Injury bug ruins repeat chances
Written by: Eric Jackson
These days it’s tough being a Blazer football fan. It’s even tougher to be a Blazer quarterback.
Cayden Cochran again had a perplexed look on his face after Saturday’s loss – the same defeated expression he’s worn the last five weeks.
He stood there on his ginger right ankle solemnly holding himself upright with the help of two crutches.
Not quite the ideal Senior Night.
The unpredictable injury bug stung the Blazers early on and ultimately led to the demise of their season.
VSU couldn’t avoid the bug two seasons in a row.
Coming off a stellar junior season, Cochran’s senior season was highlighted by more irritating plays than joyful ones.
Not only was he forced to compete injured, but a banged-up receiving core didn’t help his chances to defend a national championship title.
He gives kudos to his offensive line for their effort this season – however there is no denying it was difficult to replace last season’s blockade with five inexperienced guys.
Cochran did mention that the play-calling played a part as well. Possibly he favored former quarterback coach Robby Brown’s direction over first-year coach Adam Froman’s.
Who knows? But the obvious is clear.
VSU’s defense looked nothing like the ‘Black Swarm’ of the championship season.
The Blazers are giving up 47 points a game since losing to West Alabama a month ago.
VSU suffered its third-straight loss this past Saturday, and another one this week will be the icing on the cake.
It is a bitter tasting cake, served with slices of dissatisfaction and frustration.
Coach David Dean admitted the upside of missing the playoffs is gaining the opportunity to get a head start on the recruiting trail.
Now it’s time for the coaching staff to go back to the drawing board with an imperative task of figuring out how to replace key players as they failed to do well last season in the midst of a short offseason.
The Blazers really missed that dominant o-line and defensive playmakers like Matt Pierce, Tyler Josey, and Ryan Smith more than I think they expected to this season.
And more firepower is lost now with 14 senior starters moving on.
If the right adjustments aren’t made beginning this winter, Blazer fans can expect another long season next fall.