football

Northwestern State Post-Mortem

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Adominantperformanceisnotabadwaytostarttheseason.It'sbeena
longtimesinceI'vefeltsocomfortableaboutsomethinggoodhappening,ornot
somethingbad,whenTexasTech'sdefenseisonthefield.Youcan'tlooktoo
muchintothevictoryforseasonindications,butthisteamhandledaninferior
opponentappropriately.TexasStatewillbeamuchstifferchallenge.
OFFENSE
Ifanything,theoffensewasmethodicalandconsistent.Ididn'treallyhaveany
complaintsontheplaycallingandthedepthoftheRedRaiders'widereceiver
corpsprovidesaplethoraofhungryalternatives.Myonenitpickmightbeseeing
moreinsidezoneversusastringofstretchplays,butwithoutseeingaTV
replay,it'stoughtosayifI'm100percentaccurateinthatassessment.
Quarterback
Ithoughtthebiggestthingthatkeptthisfrombeinga42-3gameathalftimewastheplayof
SethDoege.Thiswasfarfromthebestperformanceofhiscareer.Doegewas
over,under,behindandinfrontonalotofthrowsrelyingonthewide
receiverstobailhimoutonsomecompletions.Alateoutthrowto
BradleyMarquezwillresultinsixpointstheotherwayagainstQuandreDiggs,NigelMaloneor
BrodrickBrownafterthethirdattempt.Ontheotherhand,
MichaelBrewerlookedassmoothasbutter.I'mnotcampaigningforaquarterback
controversyoranythinglikethat,butBrewerplayedwell.
RunningBack
Ididn'tthinktherunningbacksgradedoutveryhighinthisgame.Therewere
numerouscaseswheretheoffensivelinehadthreetofiveyardpushsetupfor
aneightto12yardgainandTechgotexactlythreetofiveyardsontheplay.
TheRedRaiders'appearedtobegettingalittlehappywiththecirclebuttonon
thecontrollerimplementingrandom,inefficientspinmovesthatallowedpursuit
tocatchuptotheplay.IwouldhavepreferredtoseeEricStephensandKennyWilliamspresscreasesearlierandbemoreaggressiveaboutgettingupthe
field.Onapositive,itwasgreattoseeStephensbackonthefieldandhe'll
getbetterashegetsmorereps.Williamsalsoshowedflashesofwhyhewas
highlyrecruitedwhenhewasabletogetaheadofsteam.
WideReceiver
InhelpingablogcolleagueonaTechseasonpreview,IhadMarquezrankedas
Tech'shighestNFLprospectatreceiverontheroster.Istillfirmlybelieve
thatafterthisgame,andifDarrinMooreandJavonBelldon'tgetbackonthe
field,theMarqueztrainwillrollrightalongwithoutthem.MarquezmadeDoege
lookmuchbetterthanheplayedandhadacoupleofpossiblehomerunplaysthat
didn'tfindhim.MarquezhasfootballspeedandwasmyoffensiveMVP.
JaceAmaroshouldhavesnaggedtheballthatDoegethrewbehindhim,butit's
theotherthingshebringstothetablethatimpactthegamejustasmuchashis
frame.IlikethatNealBrownismovinghimalloverthefield.TheRedRaiders'
hitchscreensshowedthepotentialtotransformfromthekeep-them-honestnature
toseriousthreatwhichdefenseswillhavetroubleemulatingwiththeirscout
teampersonnel.
ItwasnicetoseeMarcusKennardbeingeffectiveasaredzonethreat.Overall,
theunitcaughtabouteverythingandhadnotroublegettingseparation.
OffensiveLine
Ingeneral,IthoughttheyperformedbetterthanhowTech'squarterbackand
runningbacksmadethemlook.ChrisThomsenappearstohaveabetterhandleon
teachingzoneblockingschemes.TheRedRaidershadsomeguysrollingfolksinto
dungbeetleballsnearthegoallineandshortyardagesituations,whichwas
nicetoseeagainstanovermatchedopponent.Iattributemuchofthistothe
leaner,moremobilepersonnelthatarebeingusedontheinsidewith
Le'RavenClark,AlfredoMoralesandBeauCarpenter.DevericGallingtonwasmuchbetter
withhissnaps,butalsoseemedlikethemostinconsistentinhisblocking
duties.Betterplayherewouldhaveresultedinlargechunksofrealestate.The
passblockingwasanon-issueotherthanacoupleofplays.
DEFENSE
QuitethedebutforArtKaufmanandcompany.Itwasn'tjustthefinalstatline
thatimpressed,butthemannerinwhichtheygotthere.Tech'sdefensewas
aggressive,multiple,disciplinedanddisplayednearflawlesstackling.Ididn't
pickupononebustedassignmentthroughoutthegame,whichisabouttheonly
waypossibletolimitateamto84yardsoftotaloffense.Phenomenalacrossthe
boardandthelevelofconfidenceandenthusiasmamongtheplayerswasvisible
fromthestands.TheRedRaiders'three-manfrontnickelpackageonthirdand
longwaslethallyeffective.
DefensiveLine
KerryHyderwasdominantand
DelvonSimmonshelpedfacilitatebycoveringspace
inthemiddle.WhileHyderrackedupthestats,InotedSimmonsonseveralforce
plays.DennellWesleyand
LeonMackeydidn'tshowmuchofadropoff.
Thebiggerwhat-a-difference-a-year-makesfactorwasatdefensiveend.Tech
playededucatedanddisciplined,whichistheprimaryfactorinwhyanathlete
playingquarterbackdidn'tconsistentlyscramblefor14yardson3rdand12
situations.Whiletheydidn'trackupsacknumbers,theymaintainedrushing
lanesandwereafactorincollapsingpocketversusleavinggapingrunninglanes
intheprocess.Thiswascriticalasitoptimizedtheteam'sinsidepressure
withHyderandSimmonseachscoringasack.TheRedRaiders'abilitytodefend
optionplaysandthezonereadlookedlikenightanddayfromwhattheyfielded
lastyear.
Linebacker
Iwasn'treallysurprisedbyHyder'splayandyouwouldexpectthattypeof
effortagainstanFCSopponentfromyourthree-technique.However,theguy
dressedupintheSamEguavoencostumewasmydefensiveMVP.It'smucheasierto
operateasalinebackerwhenyou'regettingdominantdefensivelineplayin
frontofyou,butEguavoen'sdecisive,correctreadsandspeedtogapsclosed
anydamage-inflictingdaylightinahurry.WillSmithandTerranceBullittwere
largelyeffectiveaswell,butdidn'thavetodomuchheavyliftinginthis
contest.They'llbetestedthisweekagainstTexasState'soptionattack.
DefensiveBack
Liketheotherpositions,thisunitplayedcrazygoodacrosstheboard.
CorneliusDouglasandEugeneNebohwereflawlessincoverageanddisplayedgreat
eyediscipline.CodyDavisand
D.J.Johnsonweremakingmuchquickerreadsand
takingittotheoffenseversusbeingcatchtacklers.NorthwesternStatedidn't
havethepersonneltotestthisgroupandtheywerethekindofteamthatmakes
youappreciatehavingaphysicalguylikeDavisinthelineup.Withtheway
DavisandJohnsonweregettingtotheline,Isuspectahealthydoseof
playactionfromtheBobcatsthisweek,whichwillprovideabettermetricfor
conferenceplay.
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