Archive for the ‘2016’ Category

Kansas State Over/Under Results and New Flavor of the Week

Kansas State Over/Under Results

In one of the most memorable Over/Under contests of all time, which was decided by the first ever Daily Double, David Frink won with 10 points picking up a bonus point with a correct answer to the Daily Double.  It was a heartbreaking second place finish for David Bergstrom who scored a nine missing only the Daily Double question. I like this Daily Double thing.

Randy Bogard finished third with an eight, Clayton Frink and Reed Ramlow tied for fourth with sevens.  The average score was 6.5.

New Flavor of the Week

The staff at Willie Earl is excited to announce Chad Morris as the new flavor of the week. Other flavors receiving consideration were Gus Malzahn, Mike Leach, and Todd Dodge.

Hook ‘Em,

W.E.

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Kansas State Pre Game

On Kansas State, Charlie’s Graceful Exit, and Candidates

If the assumption that Charlie Strong needs eight wins this year to keep his job is correct, for the second straight week, Charlie Strong faces a must-win situation tomorrow morning in Manhattan, Kansas. I was a little surprised earlier this week when I learned that Kansas State was favored by 2 ½ points, but I guess I shouldn’t have been given the Horns are 1-6 on the road since the start of the 2015 season.  In Strong’s first trip to Manhattan in 2014 as the Texas coach, they lost 23-0. Disregarding those facts, on paper, this is a good match-up for Texas.  Kansas State is averaging a paltry 167 yards per game passing and 342.7 total yards per game.  Kansas State does average 177 yards per game rushing at 4.8 yards per attempt and Bill Snyder is known for having creative running game schemes.  If the Texas’ linebackers don’t read, react correctly, and tackle well on running plays, the Texas defense could be in for a long day.  But even if Kansas State runs the ball well, Texas should win this game.  They’re underdogs because of Strong’s lousy road record and his team’s tendency to pull inexplicable no-shows at any time against any opponent.  Indeed, it’s easier for me to envision another Longhorn sluggish performance accompanied by special teams meltdowns leading to a loss than it is a win for the Longhorns in Manhattan.

West Virginia

Did you see what West Virginia did Texas Tech in Lubbock last Saturday?  That was a real beat-down.

Uh oh.

Could this happen?

Did you hear about what former Colorado and Northwestern coach Gary Barnett said about Charlie Strong a couple of weeks ago?  In addition to saying Strong deserved to be fired for his revolving door for coordinators and general incompetence, he claimed that Strong didn’t really want the Texas job to begin with, that he preferred to go to Florida or South Carolina but Lou Holtz talked him into taking it.  And do you remember last year the rumor that Strong was interested in the Miami opening?

Well, suppose Texas wins seven regular season games this year?  That would be an improvement over 2014 and 2015 but it wouldn’t good enough to cool Strong’s hot seat. But instead of Texas firing Strong, he resigns and returns to Louisville, replacing Bobby Petrino who leaves to go to LSU, or some other school that isn’t all hung up on ethics and morals, and will pay him more than Louisville.  In this scenario, Texas avoids the unpleasantness of firing Strong and the criticism that Strong wasn’t given a fair chance to succeed.  A happy ending for all right?  I like it.

A better idea than Herman?

Can you name the 39-year-old college football head coach who is 28-6 since 2014, has victories in the Fiesta and Poinsettia Bowls, who’s 14th ranked team is 7-0 this year, was a major college offensive coordinator for seven years known for creative, high-scoring offenses, has experience recruiting in Texas, and knows his way around Austin?  That would Bryan Harsin who you can see has a longer track record of success than the flavor of the moment Tom Herman.  I would also put forward the notion that  Boise State and Boise, Idaho, while not Texas and Austin, have a stronger college football tradition and higher expectations with more pressure on the head coach than does the University of Houston and Houston.

I’m not seriously suggesting that I know anything about hiring a college football coach, but from where I sit, Bryan Harsin looks like a better candidate than Tom Herman, should the Texas job come open in a couple of months.

Hook “Em,

W.E.

New Over/Under Wrinkle

Starting today, as a tribute to Jeopardy, each contest will feature a Daily Double question. Contestants who answer the Daily Double question correctly will receive two points credit.

Kansas State Over/Under

  • THE DAILY DOUBLE
  • Tiebreaker: Predict Winners. Scores aren't required



    TCU @ West Virginia
  • Ole Miss @ LSU
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Iowa State Post Game of Sorts

A Hand-Wringing, Agonizing Reappraisal

One of my pleasant memories of growing up is my father’s conversations with my mother about his work as a middle-management financial analyst at IBM.  These conversations weren’t private, they mostly took place around the dinner table so there were some valuable insights into the adult world of work to be had by my brothers and me if we were paying attention. During these conversations,  I specifically remember my father using the phrase “agonizing reappraisal” on more than one occasion. When my father used this phrase it was usually in a bemused or mocking observation about a meeting that had been called by one of his managers.  At least once I remember my father adding, “A Hand-Wringing” to the phrase. When I worked for Time Warner Cable, I specifically remember sitting in a meeting in a large conference room circa 1999 and having a private, bemused “Aha moment” about the “ Hand-Wringing, Agonizing Reappraisal.”  It was a great moment.

In my Friday column, I’ll discuss Charlie Strong’s  “Agonizing Reappraisal.”  See how I didn’t add the preface “Hand-Wringing” there?

Hub Frink, far left, possibly during an "Agonizing Reappraisal" circa 1969

Hub Frink, far left, possibly during an “Agonizing Reappraisal” circa 1969

I’m having an “Agonizing Reappraisal” about running a contest and then not posting results in a timely manner. Going forward, I will post Over/Under results no later than Sunday morning. Count on it. Also, look for an exciting new feature being added to the contest this week.

Iowa State Over/Under Results

Mark Adams scored a nine and returns to winner’s circle for the first time this year.  A year or two ago Mark went on a hot streak winning or placing in three out of four straight weeks. Greg Swan and Andy Garrod tied for second with eight correct answers. Mark, Greg, and Andy far outpaced the 5.8 average overall grade.

John Scott gets an Honorable Mention for being the only contestant to pick Devin Duvernay as Texas leading receiver for the game.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

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Iowa State Pre Game

Job Functions and Cesspools

Amazingly, there are some folks out there who think the Longhorn fan and blog community’s current displeasure and criticism of Charlie Strong is unfair.  To those folks, this blog is for you.

Do you think 13-17 is acceptable for a football coach who is paid $5 million a year?  Really?  If you were told in January of 2014 that Strong’s record after 30 games would be 13-17 you would have said, I’m down with that?  By what objective standard is 13-17 beyond criticism?  Why should Strong’s job not be in jeopardy?

And it’s not just the won-loss record. It’s also that 9 of those 17 losses have been by 24 points or more and that doesn’t include the 18 point loss to Oklahoma State two weeks ago. Let’s review some more fun facts and figures.  In 2014 Texas finished with the 109th ranked offense in the country, in 2015 the offense finished 84th and the defense 87th.  Currently, Strong’s defense ranks 118th giving up an average of 48 points over the last three games.

What would you say you do here?

Office Space—which was filmed in Austin—is one of my all-time favorite movies.  It’s a comedy written and directed by Mike Judge about a fictional high-tech company that has hired a couple of consultants to interview employees about their job functions and then recommend who to layoff.  In one of the many very funny scenes the consultants—who are both named Bob—are trying to get a middle-aged employee to describe and justify his job function.  Dissatisfied with the employees’ explanation, one of the Bobs finally asks, “What would you say you do here?”

I thought of this scene a couple of days ago when thinking about Charlie Strong’s current job situation.  Strong’s background is on the defensive side of the ball.  He became well-known nationally as the defensive coordinator for Florida’s teams that won national championships in 2006 and 2008. When his Texas offenses were failing in 2014 and 2015, he didn’t assume play calling duties as he has for his failing defense this year. In fact, as evidenced by his surprise by what kind of offense Shawn Watson  rolled out in the first game of 2015, and the urgency of which the UT president and athletic director became involved in the hiring of Sterlin Gilbert, we can be relatively certain that Strong has very little input with the offense.  Strong’s biggest contribution to the offense that I’ve seen was his insistence that “J Gray” and his 3.9 yards per carry average start ahead of D’Onta Foreman’s  6.9 yards per carry last year.

So, in Strong’s first game calling the defensive plays, Texas surrendered 672 total yards and 45 points to Oklahoma.  So, one might ask Charlie, “What would you say you do here?”

Iowa State

It’s hard to envision a scenario where Texas loses tomorrow to Iowa State and Charlie Strong is the Texas coach in 2017. If Texas loses, it’s more than likely they won’t win more than seven games and seven would be a tall order with Baylor, TCU, and Texas Tech—which in Lubbock—left  on the schedule. Reading the tea leaves today, seven regular season wins will not be enough to save Strong’s job. Therefore, as much as I avoid calling mid-season games must-win, this game is a must-win for Strong if he wants to keep his job in 2017. That adds excitement to a game pitting a 2-3 team against a 1-5 team. Be sure to tune into the Longhorn Network whose execution of game broadcasts can be almost as funny as Office Space.

Herbstreit

Hey, Herbie, you Buckeye dunce you. Wanna see a cesspool?  Put on the visiting team’s t-shirt and hat and walk around Columbus on a Saturday prior to an Ohio State game. After all Herbie, it wasn’t the UT president who felt compelled to write a letter to the editor of a visiting team’s local newspaper apologizing for the widespread loutish behavior of his school’s students and fans towards a visiting team’s fans.

Oklahoma Over/Under

My apologies to contestants and readers for my trady reporting of the results for the Oklahoma Over/Under contest.  Tom Yoxall was the winner with nine correct answers.  Way to keep plugging away Tom! Tom has been a very regular Over/Under contestant since the beginning and this was his third or fourth all-time win. As you know, you can’t win if you don’t play.

Thank goodness Tom came through with a nine because David Frink, David Bergstrom, John Scott, and Reed Ramlow all tied for second with eights. I’m sure glad I didn’t have to go to a four-way  tiebreaker to determine the winner. By-the-way, those four would have made a helluva good pickup basketball team at Gregory back in the day.

Hook “Em,

W.E.

Iowa State Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: Predict Winners. Scores aren't required



    Alabama. @ Tennessee
  • Ohio State @ Wisconsin
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The Pretender

Paraphrasing the great Jackson Browne, I’m caught between the longing to write about the Longhorns and the struggle for the legal tender.  In other words, a confluence of new work, neglected ditch digging work, and a personal life have temporarily pushed Willie Earl to the back of the line. I missed my deadline for a post OU game blog so I’m going to post a combination OU, Iowa State column on Friday including the results from the OU Over/Under.

In the meantime, here are a couple of must read articles if you’re still in interested in 2016 Longhorn Football.

Hook ‘Em,

W.E.

Kirk Bohls

http://www.hookem.com/columns/bohls-cesspools-go-texas-job-comes-full-support/

Scipio Texas from InsideTexas.com

Here are some quick thoughts without the benefit of film review:

DEFENSE

672 yards surrendered. A 300+ passer, a 200+ rusher, a 200+ receiver. That’s the futility trifecta for a defense, demonstrating that we took away no part of OU’s offense. A basic idea of defensive football is to take something, anything away, narrow the offense’s options, then try to guess right based on their declared tendencies. Nope.

Texas did force 4 turnovers. Roach’s was the most impressive force as he knocked the ball out of the TE’s hands to #14. We also got a lucky break on the Brandon Jones PI, but whatever. The other two fumbles were honestly earned. Mixon, you clown.

Jason Hall played another solid game for us. He’s a solid walk-up safety right now.

If our blitzes were any more telegraphed, we’d need to do them in Morse Code. Terrible timing, personnel use and angles.

We’re horrendous on 3rd down. 8 of 12 when it mattered, 8 of 14 overall. We don’t recognize game situations from the booth and we don’t think strategically.

I’ll give some examples of this:

1. We go with a blitzer/chaser look on 3rd and long on an overload blitz early in the 1st quarter. It opens up perfectly. Except our standup edge guy is big Poona Ford. He has an open shot on Mayfield but he doesn’t get there in time. Completion. 1st down OU. If it’s a small coming at the correct angle, it’s a sack and strip. This stuff matters.

2. On another 3rd and 5, Sooners up 8, late in the game, OU is near midfield. They go 5 wide. We clear out and run a ridiculous coverage game with PJ Locke and McCulloch both occupying the same space outside (they’re literally touching each other) and Mayfield runs the wide open QB draw. He isn’t touched in his first ten yards. 1st down Sooners. This was the obvious offensive call on that down and distance in the larger game context. We don’t even honor it.

3. Mayfield runs the same draw in the red zone for an easy TD. Go re-watch our contain on Davis Webb in goal line against Cal. Then re-watch the Hager telegraphed edge stunt against OSU’s Rudolph for his 19 yard TD scamper. Every OC in the league has this in their back pocket against us in these situations because we’re so fundamentally unsound and predictable.

Horrible mental errors in single coverage from Davante (79 yard TD iso route on backside), Kris Boyd (stops running with ball in air…just because) and Holton Hill (42 yard TD surrendered on double move when he had no safety help over the top). When all of your players are dumb on the field, it stems from your staff on the sideline. Clay Jennings is stealing his paychecks.

This is an incredibly low football IQ defense. All of these guys can’t be this dumb independently.

OFFENSE

OU was squatting on short routes, outnumbering the LOS (extra man crash from outside to hit our running game) and allowing single coverage outside. It was really just a matter of time before we connected, forced deep safeties and then ran Foreman up their ass. Which is what happened. It just took a half – which was a quarter long. Sometimes, offense comes in floods, not steady rain drops.

The OL lost in the first half and won in the second half. There were schematic reasons for this, but they needed to compete better early, even when the defense is outnumbering them.

The Swoopes Package out of a regular spread set is asinine if we don’t threaten a throw. It just allows the defense to overload and win. Either run it with power personnel and go dick on dick, or show that you’ll punish extra men in the box. C’mon Sterlin. You’re better than this.

OU repeatedly crashed an extra outside defender in the first half to stop our inside running game. That’s solved with a jet sweep or running formations that disallow him standing there. We chose the latter. So Foreman ran for 127 in the second half. That adjustment needs to happen more quickly.

#7 for OU was Deion Sanders in his prime in the first half. Amazing. Sometimes you have to tip your cap when he breaks up a perfect throw. He regressed to the mean quickly in the second half when we got him with Duvernay for 62 and Leonard for 45 yard touchdowns, respectively.

Buechele is a work in progress, but his arm strength outside is costing us YAC if he doesn’t throw with anticipation. Obviously, left some meat on the bone out there, but man, he really competed.

Love Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson. More please. John Burt. You’re making it tough to play you. How did it come to this?

SPECIAL TEAMS

Great job. Really. We returned kicks, covered kicks, made a good decisions and forced a turnover on the guy who like to knockout 100 pound girls.

Dickson is a monster and if we had a real defense, we could win a hell of a lot of games just playing 1980s football running Foreman, throwing deep and letting Dickson create 90 yard fields.

CONCLUSION

If you told me we’d force four turnovers, have only two penalties, play well on special teams and score 40 points, I’d have nearly guaranteed that Charlie would be wearing the Golden Hat again.

But the Texas defense.

You can’t fix a defense you lost in the spring and summer in one week. 

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