Last week was not too kind to Cincinnati. The Bearcats were supposed to show us that they had made defensive improvements in their marquee nonconference game at Tennessee.
Instead, it was the same old story and they lost 45-23. Coach Butch Jones said earlier this week the sense of urgency had been increased around the program because of the loss.
"Every mistake is glaring when you play a very good opponent," Jones said. "We need to continue to develop, and I think we took a step back fundamentally. I thought we had a great week of preparation. It’s taking the individual and the drills to the field and executing -- especially when you’re tired or winded. It’s that mental focus and conditioning that we talk about.”
While the most glaring area of deficiency was the secondary, Jones was disappointed in several other areas. One of the biggest was the failure to pressure the quarterback. Tyler Bray threw the ball 41 times, but Cincinnati had three hits on him. The Bearcats had several missed tackles as well that led to some pretty big plays.
Still, Jones said this was no time to push the panic button.
“It’s very young in the season. Everyone around here wants to push that big, red button that says ‘panic,’" Jones said. "There is no panic here. I think it’s continuing to develop. We have to get some things cleared up. I expect us to be a much more mature team on defense, much more physical football team. We have some players who played a lot of football here. That’s where I was disappointed -- we lacked the maturity to overcome and persevere on a number of things."
They may not get much of a fight Saturday from Akron, but keep this in mind -- they only get five days to prepare for a Thursday night game next week against NC State. So the Bearcats are going to have to learn about themselves and fast.