Greg Davis suffered two major losses over the off-season. He lost a big-time quarterback and most importantly, he lost one of the most dependable and talented receivers he's ever had at his disposal in Jordan Shipley. Greg Davis is greiving and grieving hard. I'm with him.
Most people are familiar with the Kübler-Ross model of grief following significant loss. The stages in their succession are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. After watching the first few games of the season, maybe even first few plays, I could only conclude that Davis is stuck in the first stage: denial. He seems to still think that Jordan Shipley is out there. Time after time I would watch a play fail and think, perhaps if that pass went to Jordan Shipley he could have evaded the tackler and gone upfield for a good chunk of yards. I honestly think that's what Greg Davis expects to happen, because, in his mind, Jordan Shipley is still out there. All of us who have already made our way to acceptance (or at least anger), realize that the plays that we are using have a fundamental flaw in that we don't have the personnel to make them effective.
Here's what needs to happen during the two weeks leading up to our date with destiny in Lincoln. Something needs to shock Davis into coming out of his delusion and force him into the next stage: anger. Now, I don't know what an angry Greg Davis looks like, and I really have no idea what an offense coordinated by an angry Greg Davis looks like, but I can only hope that it would be more effective than an offense run by a Davis in denial. Perhaps, he will take out his anger on the Nebraska defense. Maybe for once we'll see him attack the weakness of the defense like we saw in the 2008 RRSO after Ryan Reynolds went out. Wouldn't that be glorious? However, I think the best thing for this team in the long run is for Davis to eventually make it all the way to acceptance so that he can start designing plays that effectively utilize the offensive personnel that we have at the time. If two disappointing losses were enough (God, please let it be true) to mobilize Davis' psyche from the first stage to the second, and we do end up pounding Nebraska's defense out of some gloriously crafted offense fueled by Davis' wrath, then I feel pretty confident that we can bargain and even depress our way through Iowa State and Baylor on the strength of our defense. We can only hope that Davis moves through these two stages, that aren't likely to create much of an effective offense, in time for Kansas State. We'll need to put some points on the board to win this one and that will only come from Davis moving to the last stage.
Acceptance, sweet acceptance. I long to see what manner of offense Davis can put together once he finally acknowledges Shipley's absence and starts to design plays around the players we do have in reality. I bet it will look a whole lot better than what we have now, and it's development could be exciting to watch.