A Stroll Down Memory Lane With Mark D’Onofrio


Dear Mark D’Onofrio,
Hey there, buddy. I know it’s been a rough week for ya but I hope you at least enjoyed the team Thanksgiving meal in Memphis. Hope you were able to stuff yourself on turkey, ham, casseroles and more. It would have been the only time you stuffed someone this year.
But I don’t want to ding you, Mark. Let’s just relax and take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
Remember when you wrote that letter to Major begging for the job in 2016? Remember? Cuz I sure do:


Remember that? Some of those quotes are pure gold! Mind if I sprinkle them into this letter?
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“Most importantly our #1 key to victory every week will be to outplay the other teams defense.” – Mark D’Onofrio

Wait. Uhh, Mark. Mark? MARK! You realize the goal is to outplay the other team’s offense, right? Maybe that’s how this all went to hell. You were confused about the job responsibilities from the get-go.
Ok, back to us.
Remember last year after the bowl when I wrote you my first letter? Since we won’t be seeing each other, I thought I’d write another one since that’s your preferred method of contact (and because you deleted your twitter right after I broke the news that you were canned).
But boy, we’ve had some times, huh? Remember when you gave up 38 in the second half to Tulsa? Or a week later when you gave up 42 in the 2nd half to Memphis after we led 17-0 at the break? That’s 80 points in the second half in consecutive weeks!
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“Their is only ONE SCOREBOARD” – Mark D’Onofrio

Remember when you let Tulane go 8/15 on third down to beat us? TOOLANE!
And remember when Kliff Kingsbury started a true freshman in his first-ever game and he threw for 600 yards against your defense?
You know they fired Kliff Sunday, right?
Remember when Temple ran for 8 touchdowns? EIGHT! That’s a new school record for rush TDs given up by UH. And we played in a league for 20 years that featured a lot of wishbone, option, and triple option. And you still allowed the most! So congrats – that record will live for a while.
Did you know that the 8 rush-TD game still leads FBS? No team has given up more rushing touchdowns in a game. That’s 129 teams playing 12 or more games! That’s a lot of math just to say you’re the worst.
And remember when you gave up 400 yards rushing? I hope so cuz it happened 3 days ago.
UH was 121st in rush TDs allowed. The 8 teams that were worse than us – none of them won more than 4 games.
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“I take a lot of pride in all of my work.” – Mark D’Onofrio

Remember when we were 28th in rush defense after 4 games? Yeah, me too.
Oh and uhh … we finished 97th.
Remember when you gave up 35 or more 6 times this year? 45 or more 4 times? 52 or more 3 times? I remember. I mean … I thought I was mad when you gave up 40+ two games in a row last year. Boy, you showed me!
Remember the 9 halves this year when your defense gave up 20+? Remember the 5 halves where you gave up 28+? Remember the two halves you gave up 35+? Added to the two from last year and that’s 4 halves of 35+ points. Almost 10% of the time you gave up 35+ in a half, Mark. Do you remember? How could you forget?
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“I will be relentless in … becoming an EXPERT with the defensive package” – Mark D’Onofrio

Remember how we gave up 20.7 ppg in 2015? And 23.5 in 2016? And we played 3 top-10 teams! And remember how we gave up 23.8 ppg last year with you in charge? But I bet you remember that we gave up 34.4 this season.
I remember.
Is our talent really 2 touchdowns worse per game than 2015? Or is our scheme and our coaching two TDs worse?
Do you remember that the year before you got here, 2016, we were 30th in scoring defense? We’re 106 now. That’s 76 spots worse! (I did the math for you.)
Remember how we were 51st in pass defense that season? 24 months later, we’re last in the country (129th).
We were 13th in total defense in 2016. With you, we’ve dropped 111 spots.
And first downs allowed? We’ve gone from top-10 (9th) to dead-last in the country. How does that happen, Mark?
We were 19th in 3rd-down percentage in 2016 and thanks to you, we’ve only dropped 93 spots.
We went from 4th in the country in rush defense to 97th.
And UH was 14th in time of possession in 2016. Not because of our offense but because of our attacking defense. Now? Dead. Freaking. Last.
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“When people turn on our tape they will see a BAD ASS defense” – Mark D’Onofrio

In 2016, we averaged 66.6 snaps a game on defense. 866 plays for the season in 13 games. By the time we get finished with the upcoming bowl game, we’ll have about 240 more defensive snaps than two years ago.
Remember how we allowed 68 scores while only forcing 68 punts? Remember how teams scored 93% of the time they got in the red zone? Remember how you allowed scoring drives 39% of the time a team got the ball?
All of Cougar Nation remembers.
I guess what I’ll remember most is how you managed to get worse – waaaaaay worse – from your first game to your last. Our program went in reverse thanks to your defense. Major Applewhite is on the hot seat thanks to your defense. Bet you’re gonna carry that weight around.
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“I have a chip on my shoulder to do my part better than I ever have. This will be the characteristics of our defense!” – Mark D’Onofrio

Oh dear, D’Onofrio. Oh dear.
Best wishes,

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