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Then and Now
by Drew Formentini,posted Feb 14 2011 7:50AM
Following UD’s embarrassing 68-34 loss against Cincinnati in late November, the strong contingent of UD supporters who made the trip to U.S. Bank Arena and I were dumbfounded.
Dumbfounded at the reality that a team could shoot 23.3% and 16.7% in the first and second halves respectively. Accrue more turnovers (16) than field goals made (12). And watch only two Flyers make more than one field goal (Juwan Staten and Josh Benson).
After the game, I thought the most logical type of question for UD Coach Brian Gregory was one focusing around his team’s anemic offense and what he and his staff planned to change or tweak moving forward.
Upon asking the question, Coach Gregory seemed stunned and responded negatively claiming his team “supposedly” had better offensive players this year.
I was equally as stunned at the response.
Here we are over two months later having lost six of our last ten, all in conference play, with the same sputtering, predictable and inconsistent play that was so clearly exposed against by Bearcats months ago.
So, I decided to ask the same question of Coach Gregory after the recent 75-63 loss at UD Arena to Temple. Remember, the Owls were without arguably their most valuable player Lavoy Allen (averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds), who was named to the preseason Atlantic-10 first team as well as the all-defensive team.
This time, Coach Gregory gave a different answer.
After admitting his team was not playing any better than earlier in the season, and that he wouldn’t have been able to predict the cold shooting of Paul Williams, Chris Johnson and Josh Parker, he made clear his formula for offensive success just wasn’t working.
It starts at the defensive end where compared to previous years teams, we have been have been awful. If anyone, Gregory included, thought we were going to be able to duplicate the style of defense we had played in years past considering the turnover on the perimeter and in the post, they were dreaming.
Since the defense has been so porous, additional pressure has been put on an offense that is reliant on being able to create off the dribble, throw it into the post if the penetration is blocked, and then find open jump shooters. The system created by Gregory and his staff is predicated on those three ingredients. And right now, those ingredients are on back order.
This leaves the Flyer Faithful juggling various questions: Is the overall offensive game plan to blame, and/or is it their lack of execution and consistent performance within it? How can a team without a post presence and expect to win? Just how divided is the locker room? Who's most to blame and where do we go from here?
Coach Gregory earlier last week voiced his frustrations with preseason expectations. After the Temple game, he said his team did not prepare for a Lavoy Allen-less Temple team who surprised UD playing four guard lineups putting his players in difficult situations.
The excuses and diversions from reality should have ended weeks ago.
Unfortunately they haven’t. Nor has the inconsistent play of the Flyers.