October 28, 2009

Failure to Communicate

Following Missouri's 41-7 loss to Texas on Saturday night, Tiger defensive players seemed to be having flashbacks. Suddenly, it was not October 24, 2009, but it was once again 2008 outside the Tiger locker room.

"What went on defensively was we're in one coverage and we've got one guy on the wrong page," Sean Weatherspoon said. "We've got to make sure that everybody knows the call and we didn't do a great job of communicating."

Communication seemed to be the buzzword. It was what the Tigers said after the long pass plays against Illinois last year. It was repeated after two long bombs against Oklahoma State. It was mentioned again on the fourth down game-winner by Kansas. But what does it mean?

"It pretty much means that guys aren't looking at the sideline when coaches are giving the calls," Weatherspoon explained on Monday. "Or not effectively communicating with everybody what the call is. That's pretty much it."

On both offense and defense, the Tiger coaches send plays in with hand signals from the sideline. Each player is supposed to get that call from the sideline.

"When a call comes in from the sideline, it should go from my corner to the other corner," Kevin Rutland said. "With my call being the call side, there should be nine guys between that the call goes through. On certain plays, on a couple plays, that kind of cost us and it didn't take place."

In many sports, one man can fail to do his job and it can be covered up. In football, especially on defense, that is rarely the case.

"Exactly," Rutland said. "I mean, it's a small error, but it can cost you a game."

The Tigers had better hope it doesn't cost them any more. The margin for error is gone.

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