football

TCU Post-Mortem

Whileyouwouldhavepreferredwalkingawayinregulationwitha36-26win,I'm
havingahardtimerecallingamoreentertainingTexasTechvictory.TCUis
qualityfootballprogramwithlegitBig12talentandaroadwinbyanymargin
issomethingyoutakeunderanycircumstances.IwarnedthattheHornedFrogs
wouldbeplayingovertheirheadsandhadrecruitedsomeofthebestplayersin
thestateoverthelastcoupleofclasses--requiringthreeovertimestobeat
themwasnotasurprisetome.
TheresolveandcharactershownbytheRedRaiderstopulloutthewinwasa
qualityIdidn'tseeinlastyear'steam.
Iwasn'tlyingtoyouwhenIsaidthatTrevoneBoykinand
DevonteFieldsweretwoofthemoreimpressiveDFWhighschooltalentsI'veseenin
thelastdecade.It'sgoodtogetyourlicksinwhileyoucan.Theyaregoingto
behandfulforthenextthreeyearsandhavealltheearlymakingsofaBig12
contender.
OFFENSE
IwasattendingaweddinginCaliforniathisweekendandonlycaughtliveaction
ofthefirstandfourthquartersalongwiththeovertimes.Iwasn'tevenin
'cool'California,justBakersfieldortheMidlandoftheLeftCoast.In
retrospect,thatwasprobablythebestactiontocatch.
IreadalotofNealBrowncomplaintsfromthethirdquarterand,after
re-watchingthegame,Isurmisedthatitwaslargelystandardfootballfan
ignorance.
TCUhasoneofthetopfourdefensesintheBig12.Theprimaryreasonsare
becausetheypossesssolidtalentandcapablecoaching,muchlikeTech.Ifyour
expectationswerefortheRedRaiderstomudholethemforfourquarterson
offense,thenyou'resimplybeingunreasonable.Brownnotonlycalledagreat
game,butappropriatelyplannedaroundthephysicalmismatchesTCUwas
exploitingduringthecontesttogettouchdownsontheboard.
Tech'sabandonmentoftherungamewasagoodcallastheteamstruggled
blockingupfront.Ifanything,Brown'splaycallingwasabigfactorinthe
victoryandtheRedRaidersnotblowingthisgame.Shameonyou,ifguiltyof
knee-jerkthinkingotherwise.
Quarterback
IhaveanewfavoriteSethDoegegame.Hewilledhisteamtovictory
andanyhiccupwouldaffectedtheoutcome.Theoffensivelineblewnumerous
protectionassignmentsandcouldn'testablisharungame.Despitethat,Doege
onlythrew12incompletionson42attempswithseventouchdownsandno
turnovers.That'sunbelievablequarterbackplayandagoodsignheadinginto
anothergameinwhichTechwillneedasimilarperformance.ObviousMVP.
RunningBack
TheRedRaidershadtroubleupfrontgettinghatsonlinebackersandIthought
therunningbacksmadethemostoftheiropportunities.EricStephens
andSadaleFosterhadsomehugethirddownconversionoutofthe
wildcat.Thepredictionthat
KennyWilliamswouldhousealong
touchdowncametofruitionanditcouldn'thavecomeatabettertime.
WideReceiver
WhileTechcertainlyseemslessdynamicwithoutBradleyMarquez,
JaceAmaroorJavonBellonthesideline,theremainingcast
isn'tshortonbiggameexperience.You'reacommunistifitdidn'twarmyour
hearttoseeAlexTorresplaytheroleofhero.AustinZouzalikmadeplayswhenitcountedmost,while
EricWard,
DarrinMoore,JakeemGrantandTysonWilliamscarried
theweightearly.Theyweren'talwaysopen,butbattedbetterthan.500onjump
ballsandthat'swinningfootball.
OffensiveLine
Totheircredit,ChuckHunterandDevonteFieldsarereally
goodatfootball.DevericGallingtonstruggledwithHunterintherun
game,whichlimitedtheRedRaiders'optionsinthatcapacity.
BeauCarpenterhadamostlyforgetfulafternoonmissingassignmentsontwo
Fields'stuntsandstrugglingtogetonlinebackersintherungame.Carpenter
didhaveoneofthekeyblocksofthegameincheckingoutofafoldblockto
pickupablitzinglinebacker,whichallowedFostertoconvertacritical3rd
and7.Nextplay,Williams'housesitfrom47out.
Youdon'trackup318yardspassingwithoutsomeprettygoodprotectionfor
stretchesandtheywereabletostringenoughgoodplaystogetherforthewin.
However,theteam'splaybookwasseverelycrunchedwiththelackoftimeinthe
pocketandineffectivenessinrunblocking.Le'RavenClarkwasagain
themostconsistentandphysicalplayerinthegroup.LaAdrianWaddle
didanicejobagainstFieldsontheoutsideandTerryMcDanielwas
solidaswell.
DEFENSE
TheRedRaiderscameoutinathree-manfrontforthefirsttwodrivesandTCU
carvedthemuplikeaChristmasturkeyintherungame.ArtKaufman
abandonedthatpolicyandthingsimprovedwiththeteam'sfour-manbasefronts.
TechwasmostlyineffectivewiththeblitzandTCUs'yardsperplayseemedto
quadrupleinthosescenarios.TheRedRaidersdidforceacoupleofbadthrows,
butneverreallygothomeandtherisk-rewardratiowasn'tintheirfavor.
Tech'sstrategywaslargelytocontainBoykinandforcehimtothrowtheball.
Itworkedgreatuptothe4:00markofthefourthquarter,atwhichpointhewas
15-of-29for160yardswithatouchdownandtwointerceptions.Boykinwould
finishregulationandovertime11-of-18for172yardsandthreetouchdowns.
But,attheendoftheday,itwaswhathappenedbeforethatpointwhichkept
theRedRaidersintheballgame.Theyyieldedsomeyardagebetweenthe20's,
butgotkeystopstolimittheFrogstofieldgoalsandgivetheteamachance
towin.TechdidagoodjoboftakingawayJoshBoyceand
BrandonCarterforcingtheFrogstobeatthemwithSkyeDawson,whichthey
suretriedtodo.Lastseason,thereisnowaytheRedRaiderswinthisball
game.
DefensiveLine
Despitethebigoffensivenumbers,thedefensivelinewastheunitkeepingTech
inthegame.KerryHyderhadanotherdominantperformanceandservedas
theteam'sprimaryoptionforrundefense.DelvonSimmonshasrounded
intoaqualityplayerandputupanothersolidgame.DennellWesleyand
LeonMackeyprovidedsomenicereliefduty.DartwanBushhad
somekeyquarterbackpressurelateinthegamethatforcedfieldgoalsand
allowedvictory.JacksonRichardshasbecomeareallysolidrun
defenderandhe'llseethemostminutesagainstKansasStatethisweekatend.
PeteRobertsonand
BrandenJacksonweren'tnecessarilya
strengthoraweakspotanddidagoodjobwithcontainmentduties.Overall,
thisunitexecutedtheirgameplanbetterthananygroupondefense.
Linebackers
Thiswasnotahighlightgameforthisunit.Icanonlyrecallthreeorfour
goodrunfitsandtherestofthetimefoundthemoutofposition.Thegroup
lostleveragetolinemen,tookbadanglesandgotmauledbyblockers.Theywere
mostlyineffectiveblitzing,whichlefttheRedRaidershangingouttodryon
severalfirstdownconversions.
I'mataimpassebetween
WillSmithandBlakeDees.Smithhad
acoupleofniceplaysandshowedmorerange,butIexpectbothtostruggle
againstKansasState.Contrarytopopularbelief,BillSnyderisoneof
thebestoffensivemindsincollegefootballandhisCollinKlein
offenseputsmorestressonlinebackersthananyotherunitthisyearbesides
OregonandpossiblyGeorgiaTech.Techhastohaveoneofthesetwoguysplay
abovetheirheadsthisweekoritwillbealongdayinManhattan.
TerranceBullittfoughtadmirably,buthe'smismatchedwhenforcedto
playbetweenthetackles.Iassumewe'llseelessofTech'snickelpackageand
moreofSamEguavoen.
ZachWinbushwasMIAandI'mnotsureof
thereasonforhisabsence.ThisgroupneedstoplaymuchbettertogivetheRed
RaidersachanceagainstKleinandSnyder'soptionattack.
Secondary
CodyDavishasdonenothingthisyearexceptmakeplayafterplay.
Giventhathiscurrentperformanceleveldoesn'tdropoff,he'sashoe-infor
firstteamAll-Big12.Ican'tthinkofanyguymakingmorepositiveplayson
defenseinthisleague.D.J.Johnsonwassolidandhadahugepick
earlyinthegametoturnthemomentum.Tre'Porterdidanoutstanding
jobagainofeliminatingabigplayguyinBrandonCarter.Portergotbangedup
abitandJarvisPhillipswasdecentinrelief.BruceJones
gaveupacoupleofballs,butwasn'tbadoverall.EugeneNebohwasas
goodashe'sbeenallyearuntilhetookapeakinthebackfieldwith4:00
minutesleftandletLaDariusBrownrunbyhimtofacilitateovertime.Theywere
generallyoutstandinguptothatpointandkeptsomebigrunsfrombeingeven
bigger.Justthatonepassplayservedasahickeyonanoverallgood
performance.
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