Lack of consistency, mistakes hurt OU football in losses

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

Good football teams can turn mistakes quickly into points. The Ottawa University football team has seen that the past two games against ranked opponents.

The Braves have been riddled with inconsistent play in all three phases in those losses. Personal foul penalties, special teams mistakes, missed blocking assignments and poor tackling have all come back to haunt Ottawa.

Ottawa University junior defensive lineman Aaron Schoemann (96) forces Avila quarterback Kyle DeOrio to throw the ball away to avoid a sack.

Two straight games now, defensive personal foul penalties, have hurt Ottawa and kept drives alive. Ottawa finished with more than 100 penalty yards in the home-opening 38-14 loss to No. 21 Avila Saturday at Adventhealth Field.

Ottawa University freshman running back Derrick Curtis (14) looks to make a cut up the field against the Avila defense.

Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said the defensive personnel foul penalties have been costly the past two games. Avila took advantage of those penalties late in the first half.

“Both of the defensive penalties led to touchdowns,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said. “That is the difference at halftime. Both times, we had them on their heels.”

Ottawa’s offense has yet to get untracked in three games. The Braves offensive line play was suspect against Avila. The Ottawa quarterbacks were always on the run and backs had nowhere to go.

“On some of the early pressures, we had guys coming through free,” Kessinger said. “Some of the protections we have are seven-man protections. They are not bringing more than we have to block. The blocking scheme is set up for the 43 front. The quarterback did not get to the top of their drop on a three-step and they are all ready having to step forward because we are getting a horn bender.”

The running game was grounded the whole game with just a net 54 yards.

“We have one of the best backs in the league we can’t get uncorked because the middle of our line is not getting the job done,” Kessinger said. “One of the things you have to do offensive football is stay ahead of the chains. We were well behind on some of those.”

The game got away from the Braves in the final portions of the first half. Avila snapped a 7-7 tie with two touchdowns in a five-minute span late in the second quarter.

“The aggravating thing about this game, it was so tight,” Kessinger said. “Even though, we were down by two scores in the first half, it was an evenly played game. That is when little things like a low snap gets a blocked punt…three penalties. All those things make a difference. When you are in tight games, [little] things make the difference.”

Kessinger said the Braves will find the answers to their problems.

“You have to dig deeper into the well,” he said. “That is going to be a theme for us. Create good habits and dig a little deeper and find that water or spring. Get some consistency going for us.

“Our kids, for the most part, they fought really hard. We have to figure out what mistakes we are making and get those fixed.”