You have to hand it to our coaches. They know how to break a player. After questioning Jamal Charles both publicly and privately, they've now gotten him to take the majority of the blame for our inability to design a running game that suits him. Bravo.
'The holes have always been there, Jamal!'
Once Charles had been beaten down, delivery of the message became very important. It couldn't be trusted with just anyone. Kirk Bohls? Oh hell no. Chip Brown? Dude outgrew Koolaid. So they passed it off to the always reliable Suzanne Halliburton of the Statesman.
'Let Bill proof it before it goes to press.'
The article recycles all the previous complaints about Charles. Always looking for the big play. Doesn't hit the hole hard. Goes east-west too much.
Still, coaches, as they've been doing all season, privately kept telling him to quit approaching each carry as a big-play-or-bust opportunity.
Charles listened, but the message didn't take until a friend chastised him for "hitting the holes too soft."
"I was trying to bounce outside and run east-west too much," Charles said this week. "Now, I'm running hard to the hole, the line is blocking great and we're making big plays."
And after he stopped trying so hard, the big plays started flowing.
He conveniently stopped trying so hard at the exact moment that we put the zone read in against Nebraska. Truly amazing.
And running east-west or looking for the big play is not always a bad thing. You want your runner to be instinctive Look no further than his 86 yard td run against Nebraska. Nebraska blitzed, and Charles ran around it instead of just taking a loss. No other back on our roster could have done that.
Charles is fine. You just need to put him in position to make plays, and he'll make them.