Clark: “It’s on us as coaches” to solve defensive woes

Samuel Anthony, Digital Content Manager

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Robert Morris allowed a whopping 699 yards this past weekend in their second conference match-up of the season against the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils.

It was their worst defensive performance of the season, but also the third time in five games this season in which RMU has allowed over 500 yards of offense to their opponent.

The Colonials currently rank last in almost every major defensive category in the Northeast Conference. Most notably ranking last in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and opponent third-down conversion.

In past weeks, RMU head coach Bernard Clark discussed the need for the team to improve tackling. He built upon that this week emphasizing gap integrity but also made it clear that this burden falls upon the coaches and not the players.

“When we lose a game, it’s on the coaches,” said Clark “We gotta figure out what’s going on as coaches, we gotta put our guys in better positions. I think it has a lot to do with our gap integrity, putting our guys in the right position, letting them know what gaps they have. But it’s also tackling.”

CCSU dominated RMU offensively as the Blue Devils averaged 11.1 yards per play, 8.7 yards per rush and 17.9 yards per pass completion. The Blue Devils were only forced to punt once in the entire game.

Robert Morris was in a position to tie up the game last week after a goal-line fumble by the Blue Devils gave the Colonials the football with a 42-35 deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, Robert Morris was unable to take advantage and the defense was unable to make any big stops as the Blue Devils would jump out to a 56-35 victory.

“The three things we preach more than anything else: we want to start fast, we want to be physical and we want to finish. And we’re just not finishing,” said Clark. “What it boils down to is teams are making more plays than we are at the end when they’re needed.”

This Saturday, the Colonials are heading to downtown Pittsburgh for the Steel City Showdown against the Duquesne Dukes. The Dukes are coming off a 21-20 defeat at the hands of the Bryant Bulldogs as both teams go into Saturday still looking for their first conference win.

 

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