It takes a “capable” coach to guide a team to a 22-point fourth quarter lead. It takes a better coach to know what to do with that lead. Rich Ellerson is a “capable” coach, but he still lacks the very necessary intangible of killer instinct.
Homecoming may have been “just one game,” but one game can swing a season. Had the coach not throttled the offense back and won the game by 30 points or more, the Mustangs would have likely moved up in the polls, or at least been assured of hanging onto fourth place. Instead, they now sit ninth going into a game against a Division 1-A opponent on the road, and have virtually lost any hope of hosting a playoff game for the first time since moving to Division 1-AA play. Rich Ellerson has consistently shown a dangerous habit of becoming overly reliant upon an often over-extended defense by hamstringing a potentially dazzling offense via a grossly oversimplified playbook which, for all I have ever seen called in a game, must contain no more than a dozen plays.
Luckily for Mustang Nation, his teams have consistently had so much talent on defense that they can usually win in spite of this. But on Homecoming, they could not. The loss was an embarrassment to every member of the Cal Poly family. A better game scheme could have easily prevented it. Ellerson may be “capable,” but I fear he is not capable of bringing Cal Poly a national title.