Warriors line up to take the blame for poor start
Bet you didn't know Greg McMackin and Ron Lee are "me" people.
"Blame me," both insist.
McMackin: "I assume full responsibility for what's called on this football team. Don't get on Ron."
Lee: "I should get it all. It's not Mack, I'm calling the plays, and I should be criticized."
A nice reverse on the blame game.
Unfortunately, there's more than enough to go around for the Warriors this season.
The head coach apologized at his news conference yesterday for a "surly attitude." Actually, McMackin conveyed the proper proportions of dismay and doggedness, and answered every question.
"I'm a fighter, and I'm going to fight like a mother," he concluded.
Of course, it's one thing to accept blame and another to repair things. First of all, can it be fixed? Is the raw material there? Heart? Confidence in each other?
McMackin said this team is far from giving up, even though it looked like it did to some in the Oregon State debacle.
A bye has never come at a better time, as the Warriors quarterbacks, running backs and offensive linemen continue to crowd the trainers' room.
As for Lee, running the Saint Louis School offense doesn't bring this kind of pressure - especially since the Crusaders won and won and won until a lot of people got sick of it.
In his nine years at UH as receivers coach, Lee didn't call the plays, so June Jones took the heat when things didn't go right.
Now, however, the Warriors are struggling to rebuild what was the most productive attack in the nation the past two years. Things are getting a little warm for the new offensive coordinator.
The critics are especially irked by three running plays in a row that failed to generate a first down. What they don't understand is that it's not the play-calling as much as the players. Last year's offense didn't even need a script at times, they were so good - just run around until someone gets open and make a big play, schoolyard style. And a turnover or a sack here and there didn't matter.
"Last year was a miracle. I've never been on any team when you turn the ball over three times or more on the road (and win)," McMackin said.
The 2008 Warriors aren't that kind of team. They can't afford mistakes, and they've made a lot.
These guys aren't ready to ad lib - they're having a hard enough time hanging onto the ball with a conservative approach.
Of course, it's not just the offense. Special teams will experience a major overhaul this week.
McMackin said he's dealt with slow starts before.
He talked about Texas Tech in 2002, a season that began with an embarrassing loss at Ohio State and ended with wins against Texas, Texas A&M and then Clemson in the Tangerine Bowl.
"I was here in 1999 when SC kicked our ass," McMackin said. "As a coach, it just ticks me off and I work all the harder."