Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Western Carolina Catamounts 2010 Review

2010 Record: 2-9 (1-7), Tied 8th Southern
2010 Postseason: None
2010 Schedule/Results: @ NC State, L 48-7, Tusculum, L 54-30, @ Gardner-Webb, W 28-14, Chattanooga, L 27-21, @ Citadel, W 24-13, Samford, L 38-7, @ Wofford, L 45-14, Appalachian State, L 37-14, @ Furman, L 31-17, Georgia Southern, L 28-6, @ Elon, L 45-14


     When you wnat to know how bad it got in 2010 for the Catamounts, all you have to do is realise that they lost at home to Tusculum. Let me clarify that statement...they lost at home to Tusculum by over 3 TDs. That should never happen at WCU, but id did, and the season went right into the tank to follow. Western's two wins came against teams with losing records. They gave up 27 or more points 9 times in 11 games. They were held to under 20 points 7 times, including in the final 6 games of the season, all losses. Things weren't bad, they were abysmal.
     QB play was, predictably, very poor. Zac Brindise started 10 games, and he only managed to pass for 1405 yards and 7 TDs against his 9 picks. Brandon Petchloff played a bit, and he looked like a 4th grader out there, completing only 36.1% of his passes, while tossing 7 picks. Time to hit the reset button, as there are no viable options on the current roster to hlep turn the ship around.
     Michael Johnson was the leading rusher, but even that was nothing exciting, as he only managed to rush for 545 yards, or 49.5 yards per game over 11 weeks. Nate Harris chimed in a bit as well, but he didn't have much luck himself, as he was stunted at 326 yards, or just 29 yards per game.
     Deja Alexander, Jacoby Mitchell, and Josh cockrell were servicable at the receiver slots, but they suffered at the hands of bad QB play, and only Mitchell put togeter an entire 11 game schedule for the Cats. Alexander was the leader over 9 games, as he put together a line of  32-524-2. Mitchell was the scoring leader with 5 TDs, as he caught 39 passes for 441 yards. Cockrell came in third on the team with a line of 31-352-1. Marquel Pittman added 3 TDs.
     Defensively, Western was an absolute trainwreck from hell. The Cats gave up 443.1 yards per game every week last fall. 203 of that came on the ground, with another 239 coming through the air. Opposing offenses basically had their way with the Cats in every way.
     The Cats did get some production out of several players when it came to tackles, but it was all busy work as teams were spreading the ball all over the field. Mitchell Bell averaged 8.2 tackles per game in the secondary to lead the team and finish 6th in the conference. Rock Williams was right behind him at 7.33 per game. Angelo Brown, Ricky Schwarz, and Torez Jones all finished above 5 tackles per game on the season.
     The Catamounts were very productive in making plays behind the line, but it was follow up plays that failed them, as they were never able to keep teams pinned back. CJ Johnson and Charles Johnson, both senior D Linemen, led the team with 12 and 13 TFLs respectively. Roland Johnson finished with 12, Schwarz finished with 11, and two more players,  Trey Selby and Rock Williams, both missed out on double figures with 9 each. There was no pressure placed on opposing QBs however, as nobody finished with more than 5 sacks.
      The secondary was victimized just about every week, and the team leader in passes defended was actually on the line, as Charles Johnson finshed with 6. Only Torez Jones finished at 5 or above, as he had 5 on the nose. There was little support for Jones in actual pass coverage, as nobody else came close. Jones did lead the SoCon in picks with 7 on the season, but again, support was lacking as nobody else stepped up to make some plays in the secondary.
     The kicking game was also in disarray, as Blake Bostic only hit 4 of 8 FGs all season long. 4 made in 11 games is nothing short of a disgrace for any kicker in any league. Blake Cain also fell short of the 40 yard mark average at punter, making the special teams unit a basic failure for 2010, not unlike most of the rest of the team.


It's been a long time since Western Carolina has been a relevent football program. Western was last a major threat in the early 80's, and has never gotten back to the level of play that they had been at all of those years ago. The catamounts fall short in every area, as they don't have the talent, the heart, or the ability that the stronger half of this conference possesses. A major house cleaning may be needed in the athletic department to set them back on track, but it's going to take a very long while to fix the massive problem that is this football team.

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