I hate to say it but tonights game was a huge gut check and we looked absolutely beat most of the 2nd half! Players did not look like they wanted to be out there... I really dont know how Coach Neal makes it through the next 13+ games! His guys look like they quit...
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I don't think its that they checked out for the season as they do appear to be focused. I do think it has more to do with a lack of confidence or confidence in ones ability that are spurring these issues. That Nevada game lost them this hame as well and the players looked nervous throughout the game. Constantly looking over there shoulders and when the runs happened they lost composure and looked like here we go again.
Not sure anything outside of winning will cure that though.
•"The secret is to have eight great players and four others who will cheer like crazy." --Jerry Tarkanian
You guys hit the nail on the head about the teams confidence. Other than maybe Williams, their confidence is absolutely shot. And unfortunately, that's a direct cause of the head coach.
Neal is a smart guy and an excellent recruiter. Listening to him, it sounds like he knows basketball X's and O's very well, and understands the nuances of positioning, defensive schemes, etc... So why is he struggling so much?
My opinion - He's just an emotional coach. He wears his feelings on his sleeves and he's quick to react to things. When a player screws up, they immediately worry about being pulled or criticized. Just watch the face of someone like Logwood. Emotional coaching can do wonders for a team on a hot streak. Players can play loose and enjoy themselves and they can sink shots from half court with ease. But when the losing starts, it can spiral away from them in the same manner. Suddenly every shot feels heavy, and you start thinking about what play the coach called and exactly where you need to stand or pass the ball... Not WHY the play was called or the idea behind it. That's where we are.
The biggest difference between Alford and Neal (and the reason why we were successful under one and not the other) isn't their game knowledge, or their tempo philosophies or anything like that. It's their demeanor. Alford never crossed his arms on the sideline. If a player missed 10 shots in a row, but hustled their butt off and played tough D, they never worried about what the coach would do to them (Hell PMac shot less than 30% for an entire year and still go 30+ minutes a game - because he was a lock down defender and played his butt off for loose balls and screens etc...). Alford exuded confidence on the sideline, and the team sucked that up. When things are going well, Neal is smiling, laughing, and high-fiving his players, and they are throwing alley-oops that make us look like world-beaters. When things are going rough, he looks worried and nervous, and our guys either defer to EB to jack up an ill advised shot 4 seconds into the shot clock, or pass around until someone takes a desperate heave with 4 seconds left.
It's not really something Neal can change without changing who he is as a person, and it's not even really fair for us to expect it of him. But I don't think it's a quality that can equate to long-term success. At least not at UNM. We need someone like Bob Davie or Alford or Bliss or Rocky. An all business, slightly boring, no frills coach. The Pit and the characters we have in our fan base can provide the emotion. Emotional coaches like Fraschilla or Neal simply don't really workout here.
Just my opinion. Go lobos!
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fans need to support the players 100% when players are introduced stand and go crazy for each one.. when a sub comes in how about a standing ovation for the player. All this is not their fault... they are Lobos !! I still believe >wolf1960
I wish the fans would stop booing. I know the boos are mostly directed at Coach Neal, but the players might not know that. The players don't deserve to be booed.
I watched an emotional coach named Bruce Pearl the other day. He seemed to give only positive emotion to his team applauding effort and directed everything negative to the refs. Really exuded that he was part of the team vs Neal's brooding to attacking demeanor on his own players. Just an observation.
"its all coach's fault " is not unintelligent at all.
it is the 100 percent truth.
This is all on the coach, period. He is in charge. He is responsible for everything they do and do not do.
This is the result of the atmosphere of the program he has established. Players don't do what he says, don't get it to the right people, don't put out effort. It is the atmosphere of the organization he is in charge of. That goes back at least to the 2nd season with the first exposure of the issue being the defense being literally laughably bad playing man to man the second year, and him not demanding then the work and discipline required. 2.5 year pattern of underperfomance and collapsing seasons , not just games. If it's not on the coach, then these players are significantly overrated , and since the coach is charge of recruiting them, its still on him.
I agree with all of this except your last point! Stormin Norman was as flashy as it gets and nobody has topped the success and the electricity that was present during that time IMO.
Your Neal assessment is spot on. I just feel he is super negative with the team. But not in a Bobby Knight kick you ass sort of way. Just in a negative "screw this" way. I think he would excel as a coach at a program with little to know history. I think he can coach. He just can't coach here. too much pressure.
I can certainly say that a lot has probably changed since then, though. Are kids more emotionally fragile these days? Debatable. Is the eye of the media (and the fans) much more invasive these days? I'd say so. Maybe that doesn't have anything to do with why a flashy or emotional coach would be less successful today then they were before, but I think it might.
All I can really go off of is what I see this year and the last few under Neal. Our team is talented, and when the guys play loose and 'happy', we score 100 points with alley oops and behind the back passes. We look GOOD sometimes. Like, NCAA top 25 good. But when we start to fumble for even a minute, our team, and most importantly - our coach, looks crushed. We look scared. Confused.
I liken it to Neal's press conferences. He's given some great ones. When things are going well, he gets excited. Makes jokes, talks about unfinished business and winning championships and joking about what crazy cowboy hats X is wearing, and we eat it up. You guys know what the press conferences are like when things are NOT going well. Alford, Bliss, Davie, Rocky... well, they aren't exactly entertaining press conferences one way or the other, but maybe that's for the better.
I wish Neal was successful here, cause it would be a ton of fun. Maybe like Stormin' Norman fun. The Pit would eat that crap up, and I would love every second of it. But in my 25 years of attending games, I haven't seen a reason to think that a high intensity/emotion coach is anything more than a trap.
But I'm open to being proved wrong!
Looks to me like Sam has moved to whipping person on this team. He may not be doing what we expected out of him and he was starting way too long, which is not his fault. Booing a player should not happen and it damn sure should not happen here. Of course, if no one in newspaper, on the radio or personally steps up our entitled folks will continue.
That really is a great observation.
We did hear some boos and some people directly calling out Neal. But we make it a point to applaud and cheer for every player as they come in or leave the game. Its beyond incomprehensible that our progam had fallen so far that "fans" lay the blame of the teams troubles on a player or two.
I am actually glad I can't make it to any more games. The booing of our players and coach, regardless of the situation, is reprehensible.
Yeah, I too was there during the PIT years, and yes, Norm had it going on until he didn't. Different era, younger fans who have since grown older, Pit got smaller and corporate. Nice to remember. We can still be formidable, but it starts with the team, the fans will back them up when they see effort and results. Oh yes, the fans are emotionally checked out too.
Last edited by xanthos93; 01-12-2017 at 12:24 PM.
Disagree as far as defense goes. There is a ton of switching. His substitution had been stuck, but lately has changed. It may not be what everyone wants, but I think it is the part of coaching that has changed the most. As to his offense you may have something.
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