football

West Virginia Post-Mortem

1311215
IfyouhaveahealthydisdainforKool-Aid,thenI'llwarnyouaheadoftime
thatthisprobablyisn'tthearticleforyou.I'mgoingtobeabitexaggerative
inplacesbecause,well,it'sbeenalongtimesinceI'vebeenabletowritea
featureinwhichIcanshowertheTexasTechplayersandcoacheswithsomuch
praise.And,theydeserveeverybitofit.
Thisteamisstartingtodevelopanidentity.It'sonethatknowshowwellthey
arecapableofplayingandthattheyletoneslipawayfromthemlastweekwhen
theyplayedtheirC-gameandlosttothetopteamintheconference.Theywere
readytobrutallypunishwhoevertheyplayedthisweekandthat'sthewaygood
teamsrespond.
IwillsaythatIfeltWestVirginiawasjustasexposedasitwasastatement
gamefromtheRedRaiders.KansasStatewilldrilltheminMorgantownthisweek
and,sowillanyteamintheconferencethatcanappropriatelydropintosound
zonecoverage.DefinitelytheSooners.Iwon'tbesurprisediftheylosein
StillwaterandAmesaswell,butnonetheless,theywererankedNo.5inthe
countryandeveryoneconsensuallyagreedtheywereagoodfootballteambefore
thisgamesolet'snotcheapenitanyatthisjuncture.
WestVirginiaisstillasolidbowlteamatworstandthisdismantlingby
chainsawwarrantspraise.Theonlybadnewsistheinjuries.Techhasalotof
guysontherosterthathaveplayedgoodfootballineverygame,theOklahoma
gameincluded,andthiswasthefruitsoftheirlabor.Theyjustneedtoplay
wellandthey'llbefine.
CongratulationstoTommyTubervilleforhavingthemreadytoplay.
OFFENSE
Icouldn'thavebeenhappierforNealBrownandhisstaff.Theyneeded
thisgameasbadlyasanyoneinfrontofahomecrowd.TheRedRaiders'
preparationandgameplanningforWestVirginia'sdeficienciesshowedupfromthe
firstdriveofthegameandneverletup.
Ilikeseeingthingsonthefieldthatweresuccessfulforotherteamsandjust
copyingthemsinceeveryonehasthesameplaybook.Brownobviouslynoticedin
theBaylorandTexasgamesthatWestVirginiacannot,forthelifeofthem,
coveraslotreceiveronawheelroutefromthetwinssetinzone.Theyalso
can'tcovera6-foot-5,260-poundtightendwhorunsa4.5.Tech'soffense
skippedtheprocessofpickingatascabuntilitbleedsandjustpunched
straightthroughthesternumcreatingasuckingchestwound.
ThiswaseasilymyfavoriteNealBrownmomenttodate.Outstandingworkof
dissectingaquestionableoutfitinagamewheregoodoffensewasakey
ingredientforgooddefense.TheRedRaidersgottouchdowns.
Quarterback
I'mevenmorehappyforSethDoegetoday.Hehadtohavethisgame.
ThiswashisfirstvictoryoveraBig12opponentathomeastheteam's
full-timestarter.Ifheplayslikethateveryweek,itsurelywon'tbehis
last.WesawafierysideofDoegethatplayedwithakillerinstinct.There
werealotofpeoplewatchingthisgameonanationalscaleandbringingyour
A-gametoanexpectedshootoutreflectsabitofmentaltoughness.A
well-deservedOffensiveMVPawardforhim.Wesawimproveddecisionmakingand
heclimbedthepocketintopressuremuchbetterthisweekallowinghimbetter
fieldvisionandformonhisthrows.
RunningBack
SaDaleFosterstoletheshowwiththeelectrictouchdownrunright
beforethehalftoallbutsealthegame.IknewFosterwasquick,butIdidn't
realizehistopendspeedwasthatgood.Fourdefendershadanangleonhimand
heblewpastallofthem.Justasimpressivewashisvisioninsettingupall
theblocksdownfield.KennyWilliamshasmoreofabullinachina
shopstyleandwasbrutallyeffectiveuntilhefumbled.Thoseweresomemonster
playsinthepassinggame.Hopefullyhecangettheballsecurityissues
resolved.EricStephenshasalwaysbeenanunderratedshortyardage
backandhe'sfindingacriticalpost-injuryroleasaspecialist.
WideReceiver
TheidentitythatisbeingdevelopedbytheRedRaiders'receivingcorpsisone
thatscreamsyou-better-enjoy-playing-contact-football-when-you-line-up-with-us.
Alotofthedamagetheyinflict,notonlyphysically,butpsychologically
occursonplayswheretheydon'thavetheball.EricWard,
TysonWilliamsandJaceAmarocatchafewballseachgameandspendthe
restoftheirtimekickingsomeone'sass.Theofficialsthrewa
playing-football-too-meanpenaltyonWardinthefirsthalf.
Onanygivenrunorpassplayyoutypicallyseeadefensivebackgettinga
swirlieintheGatoradecooleronthesidelineorbeingpinneddownontheturf
gettingpunchedinthechestuntilforcedtosayuncle,ifnotsimultaneously.
Williams'valueisnotgainedintheamountofyardsandcatcheshehasasmuch
asthefactthatyouhavetocoverhimwithalinebackerintherungame.
ThiswasabreakoutgameforAmaroinmorewaysthanhisfivecatchesfor157
yardsandatouchdownindicated.Thisisthefirstweekwe'vereallyseenAmaro
starttohandledefensiveendsintherungamewithouttacklehelpandhe
becomesawholedifferentlevelofweaponatthatpoint.He'smaulingdefensive
backsinTech'sscreengameanddownfieldblocking.Ihopeherecoversquickly
becausethelightbulbseemedtocomeonforhiminthisgameandhe'scapableof
changingthewayfootballisplayedinthisconference.Ittakesaspecialtype
oftalenttodothatfromthetightendposition.
ThisduoofAmaroandWilliamsgivesmesomeconfidencethattheRedRaiders
giveteamssomeofthesameproblemstheMissourioffensedidafewyearsback
withMartinRuckerandChaseCoffman,butAmaroistakingittothenextlevel
inthepassinggame.That62-yardcatchwouldhavebeenanamazingplayfor
MichaelCrabtree.I'mhonestlystillnotsurewhathisceilingisandthisis
thefirsttimeinhiscareerthathereallyshowedthegamehadsloweddownfor
him.Tech'soffensecanhitawholedifferentleveliftheycanstartforcing
teamstoputanextralinebackeronthefieldandthentrytocoverthosetwo
guys.
Williamsismykindoffootballplayerandhisvaluewithonlyincreasethe
furthertheRedRaidersgetintoconferenceplay.Foster'splaywon'tbethe
last50-yardplustouchdowntheteamhousesintherungameiftheyplaylike
thiseveryweek.
TechwonthephysicalgameinthiscontestandtappedWVUoutwiththreeminutes
leftinthefirstquarter.Theteam'sinsidereceiversaveragedover22yardsa
catchon13receptionsandgotabigplayfromtherungameasaresultoftheir
downfieldblocking.Theseguysweregettingitdone.Theywereprobablya
28-pointswinginqualityoftalentbetweenwhattheircounterpartsproduced.
ThisfacilitatesevenmorespaceontheoutsidefortheirteammatesandWardand
DarrinMooretookeveryadvantageoutplayingStedmanBailey
andTavonAustin.Iwouldhaveneverpredictedthat.Moorerangreat
routesandshowednofeargoingoverthemiddleprovingtobeaseriousredzone
threatwiththreetouchdowns.MarcusKennardshowedupbigonce
BradleyMarquezwentdown.
CanwegetsomeSonnyCumbieandTommyMainordlovehere?
OffensiveLine
MuchbetterplaythisweekendandtheRedRaidersshowedthat,iftheyavoidour
ownmentalmistakes,theycanphysicallyhandlesomeone.We'repastthepointof
talkingaboutLe'RavenClarkbecomingagoodplayerandrecognizethat
healreadyis.TerryMcDanielisplayingthebestfootballofhis
careerandtogethertheyperformedwell.
Techseemstobemoldingsomethingconsistentherewiththeirzoneblocking
behindthosetwoguys.WestVirginiawasateamthatthrivesonblitzes,sacks
andnegativerunplaysandyouwouldhaveneverguessedthatfromwatchingthe
game.Ithinkthat'sthebestcomplementIcangivethem.We'llmoveon.
DEFENSE
I'vehadachancetowatchmostofthedefensesintheBig12now.TheRed
Raidersdon'tanythingfancyorexoticandthereisnosecret.They'vegot11
guysplayingwithgreatleverageoneachplayasconsistentlyasanyoneinthis
conference.That'stheirsecret.Leverage.And,I'mnotjustreferencingtherun
game,wheretheyaregoingtobeabitsusceptibletoofftacklezone/power
playsagainsttheirnickelpackage,buthaveshowntheabilitytoschemearound
it.Techisplayingwithasgoodofleverageintheirzonedropsasanydefense
I'vewatched.Theteamhasgonestretchesatatimeagainsteveryopponenton
theschedulewhereitappearstheyareplayingwith13guysincoverage.
ArtKaufmanchosenottoblitzasmuchthisgame,playingcoverageand
lettinghispassrushersworktothequarterbackandtheRedRaiderslookedthe
besttheyhaveallseason.Infact,theylookedbetterthanLSUdidagainstWVU
lastyear.It'sorganized.It'sdisciplined.It'sfocused.And,Ilikeit.
Creatingchaosisoftenaproductofnothavingityourself.
ThisiswhereTechissucceedingwhileothersaroundthemfailatattempting
similarbasicconcepts.KaufmanhadDanaHolgorsenfrustratedbythe
secondquarterandblamingthewindbyhalftime.Theteam'sgoalswereobvious
throughtheirlevelofplay.Tacklewellinfrontofyouanddon'tletanything
behindyou.
TheRedRaidershavefoundaperfectspotforTre'Porteranditallows
thedefensetoaccomplishthingsfromtheirnickelpackagethattheycouldn't
accomplishwithabasenickeldefense.
DefensiveLine
Markthisdatedownrighthere:Oct.6,2012.That'stheday
DelvonSimmonsarrived.HewasabrightspotlastweekagainstasolidSooner
offensiveline,buthewasreallymoreofadifferencemakerthisweek.I'mnot
surehowhe'llprojectfortherestoftheschedule,buthe'smakingsomeofthe
sameplaysthosereallygoodguysfromthebignameprogramsmakeonthe
defensiveinterior.
KerryHyderwasbackwreckingshopthisweekfinishingsecondonthe
teamwithsixtackles.TechislargelyplayingHyderastheteam'sone-techand
Simmonsatthethree-tech,whichcouldbesomekindofbrilliantstrategicmove
thatIhaven'tquitethoughtoftheanswerfor.
AgainstapasshappyoffensetheRedRaidersreliedonPeteRobertson
moretofacilitateabetterpassrush.Theyalsolefthiminlongenoughto
whereitwasclearythattheytrusthimalittlemoreagainsttherunand
Robertsonresponded.He'sgotreallylongarmswithmanstrengthandusesthat
assetwelltoseparatefromblockers.Nobodyhasmanhandledhimyetdespitehis
sizedeficiency.I'mguessingTechwillstarttorelyonhimmoreastheseason
progressesifhecontinuestodoanicejobsettingtheedgeonrunplayswhile
givingtheteamaguyonthefieldthatcanjukearoundatackle.Robertson
playsmuchbiggerthanheis.DartwanBushcan'tholduptoomany
seriesagainstacommittedofftacklegame,sodevelopingfreshdepthherewill
becriticalintheweekstocome.
JacksonRichardsishavingagreatseasonanddoeseverythingthathis
coachesaskofhimprettywell.It'sgoodtohavethosekindofguysonthe
field.WhenyouthrowBrandenJacksoninthemix,Ican'tremember
feelingbetteraboutTech'sdefensiveendtwo-deep. 
Overall,thedefensivelinehad17tacklesbetweenfourpositionsandthat
usuallymeansyouweregettingrunplaysonthegroundforminimaldamage.The
RedRaiderscanbehadwiththeaforementionedoff-tacklezoneplaysusinglead
blockersagainstnickelpersonnel,butthat'snotanunusualweaknessofany
defense.Techrotatesitsdefensiveendsappropriatelyandwilleventually
answerwithalinebackeriftheyreallyneedtostopyou,butthey'renotgoing
tofallforplay-actionintheprocess.
Smartfootballfeelsgood.
Linebackers
BlakeDeesseemedtoplaymorethanWillSmith--
understandablegivenhowSmithbattledillnessallweek--andwasgreatin
coverageandcleanedupafewplays.TerranceBullittranaroundand
didsomegoodthings.Ican'tstressenoughhowgoodtheyallwereatfilling
theirpassinglanesanddenyingtheball.ThereisadifferenceinhowJim
BoeheimandPatKnightplayzonedefense.It'snotmeanttobeapassivist
approachtoguardinganopponent.
Secondary
GenoSmithstartedthegame7-of-9for81yardsandatouchdown.He
finished19-of-46for194yardsandnotouchdowns.I'mnotsurethereisanend
pointtowritinggoodthingsaboutthem.
YouhatetoseeCorneliusDouglasgodownbutBruceJones
answeredthecallmorethanadmirably.That'stwoweeksinarowthat
EugeneNebohhasmadebigplayafterbigplayonanationalplatformagainsttop
10opponents.Howdoyoudefinebigtimeplayeragain?
ThisisanothergreatexampleofhowwelltheRedRaidersunderstandthe
conceptsofleverage.Watchtheircornerbackscoveragoroute.Theydoatext
bookjobofusingthesidelineasathirddefenderdenyingbackshoulderthrows.
Teamsgenerallycompletedeepballstotheiroutsidereceiversthreeyardsout
ofboundsifTechdoesn'tswatitoutoftheirhandsinasix-inchwindowonthe
fieldofplay.
Porterhasbeenaluxurythelasttwoweeksinneutralizingthetwopreseason
first-teamAll-Big12widereceiversoutoftheslotposition.He'sprobablythe
oneguywhoisstillmakingmoremistakesthananyone,butPorter'salsothe
onlyoneontherostercapableofexecutingtheassignmentshehasbeengiven
andhe'sbeengreatatplayingthenextplay.Hegetsalittletiedupby
blockersattimes,butheservesasanassetoverthecourseoffourquarters.
WhileIwashappyforTuberville,BrownandDoege,noonemoredeservedthis
gamethanCodyDavisandD.J.Johnson.Thesetwoguyshave
beenthroughthemostinthedefensedebaucheryofthelasttwoyearsand,like
mostsafeties,whentheyhavebeenaskedtoover-compensatedforotherareasof
deficiency,theyhavebeenmadetolookatbadfootballplayers.Thosedays
seemslikeyearsagoatthemid-waypointoftheRedRaiders'scheduleandno
othersafetyintheBig12willbespokenofmorehighlythanCodyDavis.
Inthelasttwoweeks,Davishasmissedoneopenfieldtackle,whichistwoless
thanTexasaverageseveryplay.Hehasplayedlikeastar.Davisreadsplays
fast,runstothefootballandgetspeopleontheground.It'smuchhardertodo
thanhe'smakingitlook.Johnsonhasbeenacalmingforce,whohasdoneagreat
jobprotectingthedeepball.Heappearstobethemostvocalleaderonthe
defenseandisdemandinghighstandardsfromthosearoundhimandkeepingthem
focused.ItwasdefinitelythebestTech'ssecondaryhasplayedinthemodern
passingeraofthelast10years.
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