Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

Texas Tech Post Game

Knock Out Punch

The Horns are now 1-1 in games when they knock out the opponent’s starting quarterback. I’m not sure how the Texas Tech game would have turned out had Patrick Mahomes had played the entire game.

I didn’t think Texas looked very good against the woeful Red Raiders, but after reading today’s Austin American-Statesman I stand corrected.

Even though Malcolm Brown was the leading rusher I was more impressed with Jonathan Gray. For the first time this year, on a couple of runs, he showed the speed and quickness we’ve been looking for since 2011.

Go deep Tyrone, go deep!

I sure hope John Harris doesn’t drop any more touchdown passes this year.

Charlie Strong told an interesting anecdote in his press conference today. He asked the normally bespectacled Mykkle Thompson during a recent practice if he was wearing contacts because he wasn’t wearing his glasses. Thompson told him no and that he could see fine playing without them. Strong mused that maybe that’s why he couldn’t catch potential interceptions and told him to start wearing contacts during games. Wearing his contacts, Thompson made his first interception of the year against Texas Tech. The devil is in the details, no?

I’m seeing a season and program changing victory against West Virginia, tune in Friday for details.

Over/Under Results

Our man in Jordan, Reed Ramlow, aka High Plains Drifter, edged Zach Frank, who is constantly lurking near the top, in the tie breaker to take the Texas Tech Over/Under. Both players scored a nine. If Zach had more faith in the offensive line he would have scored a perfect 10. If not for TCU’s last second field goal Reed would have scored a perfect 10.
Art Zeitz finished all by his lonesome in third with eight correct.

HooK ‘eM,

W.E.

 

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Pre Game Texas Tech

Judgment

Charlie Strong made his reputation as defensive coordinator. He’s a defensive expert. From a football perspective he’s defensive minded. He’s not the head football coach at The University of Texas earning five million dollars a year because he can put together a great defense. UT is paying Vance Bedford $800,000 a year to be the defensive coordinator. UT is paying a combined $1.25 million dollars a year to Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline to coordinate the offense. In addition to the coordinators, Strong has a legion of position coaches responsible for coaching football fundamentals specific to every single position on the team. It’s an absolute requirement for a head coach at a major football program to have decades of experience in coaching football and understand in detail what every assistant coaches job is, but he is not being paid millions a year because he’s the best defensive or offensive coordinator there ever was. He’s being paid millions because he has good judgment that will mean the difference between wins and losses in two to three games a year.

Did Charlie Strong exercise good judgment when in February of this year, he decided not bring in a transfer quarterback to compete with David Ash to be the starter at quarterback or at least as an experienced backup? I wrote on August 29th that I thought David Ash was making a big mistake by continuing to play football. In my judgment, it seemed highly unlikely that Ash could stay healthy for more than three or four games. I think Strong made a major error in judgment on this issue. For that matter so did David Ash who now has many years to contemplate whether or not he took one too many blow to the head on the football field.

Did Strong use good judgment in delegating to a position coach, the decision about which running back would carry the ball on that critical fourth and one play against Kansas State last Saturday? And did he use good judgment by letting that play be run behind the weakest link on a struggling offensive line? I say no on both counts. In my opinion the big salary is paid to the head coach to make these types of decisions during the heat of battle.

Charlie Strong did a great job at Louisville and he was on everybody’s list of hot prospects to fill a head coaching opening at a premier college football program. Excuse me for being captain obvious here, but Louisville isn’t Texas. Maybe it’s going to take a year or two, or three for Strong to grow into his big responsibilities in Austin.
I like Charlie Strong. I desperately want him to succeed at Texas. You can almost be sure that he’s made dozens of good judgment calls that are less public than the ones I’ve cited since arriving in Austin. But from my perspective, he’s made some marginal to bad judgment calls, in areas that we as fans can observe, in exercising his duties as the UT head coach.  Right now those calls may be the difference between 3-5 and 5-3. That’s not fatal, yet.

*******
Are today’s football players that reach elite levels of competition now so specialized that they aren’t so good at seeing how their performance fits into down and distance? From a broad statistical stand point the Texas defense had a good game against Kansas State. But Kansas State was 9 of 17 in third down conversions. Five of those conversions came on an average of third and 11 and Kansas State’s two longest plays from scrimmage came on third and 13 and third and 14. Mainly this happened because defensive linemen lost containment of the quarterback and defensive backs let receivers get behind them because they were covering like it was third and 5 not third and 14.

Speaking of defense, Texas is tied for 41st in the country in forcing turnovers with 14 for the season. That’s not enough to be considered elite. They could lose to Texas Tech if they don’t force at least three turnovers.

Freshman running back D’Onta Foreman came in early in the third quarter against Kansas State and had three rushes for 19 yards. For the season he’s had five rushes for 51 yards. That’s a small body of work to judge, but I’d move him into the regular running back rotation and make sure he gets 10 + carries a game for the rest of this season.

Did you note that former Longhorn defensive tackle Lamarr Houston, now playing for the Chicago Bears, tore up his knee while celebrating a sack on New England’s second string quarterback, in the 4th quarter, with his team behind by 28 points? Talk about not understanding a team game.

HooK ‘eM,

W.E.

Over/Under Contest

 

 

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Kansas State Post Game

Decaffeinated

The Horns and Willie Earl were caffeine free on Saturday.  More on those debacles a little later in the week.

Over/Under Results

If I had told you before the game that, Tyrone Swoopes would have more rushing yards than Jake Waters, Kansas State would have only 143 yards rushing, and 367 total yards you might have thought that Texas had a pretty good chance of winning.  Shows to go you.

A rivalry is born
Andy Garrod, my two-year college roommate, dedicated gamer, and the subject of one of my short stories, in his first Over/Under outing, wins this week by answering nine questions correctly. In doing so, he edged his long-time gaming and gambling rival Mike Frank, who finished in a three-way tie for second with David Frink and D.R. Flower with eight correct.

The Friday night before this year’s OU game, when last I was with with Andy and Mike in the same room, they argued about who could throw a football further and who would live the longest.

Let the games begin.

HooK ‘eM,

W.E.

 

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Pre Game Kansas State

Hurry Up No Huddle
aka HUNH

I’m concerned that the fat man at Iowa State has given Kansas State and the rest Texas’ remaining opponents the blueprint for shredding the conference leading Longhorns defense. On a related note, the three man front isn’t working for the Horns. Hey, Vance and Charlie, “can the three-man front.”

At Charlie Strong’s press conference on Monday, he was asked about Tyrone Swoopes’ foot speed relative to his recent success running the ball. Strong smiled and chuckled, and the press chuckled. When the same subject was broached later in the press conference with the affable, mild-mannered Swoopes, he didn’t smile or chuckle. Interesting.

Strong hasn’t suspended or dismissed anyone from the team in six weeks or so. Knock on wood.

I have a question for those of you who have played defense on the high school level or higher. When a quarterback fakes a handoff with his hand that doesn’t have the ball, does that fake anybody out?

I have another question. Did Jackson Browne really want to play a little bit longer?

I like 11 a.m. kick offs for away games. It gives you time to get other stuff done in the late afternoon. I’ve found a late afternoon run after a game particularly satisfying after a win or a loss, obviously for different reasons. Speaking of morning football viewing, I remember during football season in 1983 when Helen and I were newlyweds, how getting up at 10 a.m. Sunday morning to watch the Fred Akers Show was getting up early. 1983 was a good year and a good year for Longhorn Football.

While we’re on the subject, I remember in 1977 during Fred Akers’ first year as the Texas head hoach, how bad he was on his Sunday morning show. When the Horns got to 6-0, 7-0, 8-0…..we kind of forgot about how bad he was on Sunday morning.

The Longhorns sure could use a running back with some speed and explosiveness.

Hey, did you hear about Joe Bergeron being suspended at Texas A&M Commerce for team rules violations? For God’s sake Joe.

Remember when I said I wasn’t worried about the Longhorns being passed up by A&M or Baylor?  How do you like me now?

Back to the defense, the weak link is at linebacker. Aside from Jordan Hicks, who is having a very good season, the linebackers are hesitant and lack football instincts. Steve Edmonds has played well in spurts but still seems indecisive most of the time.  Strong has inserted several freshmen on offense and defense that have been making significant positive contributions. I wish he could find some for the linebacker position.

At the beginning of this week, I was feeling sanguine about the Longhorns prospects for winning the Kansas State game. But as the week has worn on, I can’t get the vision out of my head of Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters having a big day running by taking advantage of the Horns’ defensive ends, who often lose containment, and the aforementioned hesitant and indecisive Longhorn linebackers.

Hopefully I’m wrong, and as the character Red said in the Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Iowa State Over/Under Analytics
Over the years I have always looked for questions, while reviewing the results, that most players got right or wrong. Analyzing results this way gives me a barometer of sorts of how my readers perceive the Longhorns week to week.

Last week every single player got right the answer to 49.5 yards for Iowa State’s longest kickoff return. Every Nick Rose kickoff was a touchback hence everybody got it right. I may have to can that question for a couple of years.

Only three of the 15 contestants were right that Texas would fall behind at some point during the game. Too much Burnt Orange Kool-Aid drinking I guess.

HooK ‘eM,

W.E.

Over/Under Contest

 

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Post Game Iowa State

Swoopes!

I think I’m in love. Yes, I think I’m in love but I’m afraid to fall. We haven’t had a quarterback go out and win a game that was hanging in the balance around here since Colt McCoy was covering up a lot of Longhorn faults with his magnificent accuracy. Tyrone Swoopes not only went out and won the game, he won it twice, after more poor clock management by Strong and company, and a stunningly bad performance by the defense, forced him to come in with 22 seconds left and in a—“I guess I have to do everything moment”—threw two perfect passes to set up the game winning field goal. So here I am, swooning over Swoopes but fearing that he could turn back into the scared quarterback we saw a couple weeks ago against Baylor. Oh well, better to have love and lost, than never to have loved at all.

Clock Management
After Texas scored to go ahead 45-38 I got a text from a friend, “Good drive, glad we scored a TD but terrible clock management. This game should be over.” He was right. Let me explain.
With 3:52 left to play in the game, Texas faced a third and two at the 50 yard line. Swoopes completed a nine yard pass giving Texas a first down at the Iowa State 41, with 3:45 left to play. At that point, Strong, Watson, and Wickline have to be thinking beyond just getting the go ahead points, but they weren’t. On the Texas’s next four plays they snapped the ball with 16, 18, 16, and 11 seconds left on the play clock. If Swoopes had waited until two seconds on the play clock before snapping the ball on those four plays, Texas would have burned an additional 53 seconds off the clock, before Iowa State called timeout with Texas facing third and eight at the Iowa State 26 yard line. Iowa State called the timeout with 1:52 left. If Texas had managed the clock more effectively, there would have been less than a minute left at that point. Or, Iowa State would have been forced to use two or all three of their timeouts on the Texas drive. Either way, Iowa State would have been in a much more difficult predicament, behind by seven points, with one or no timeouts left with about a minute left to score the tying touchdown, or with two timeouts and only about :30 left to play. Strong, Watson, and Wickline should never have allowed Iowa State the ball back with 1:22 left and two timeouts. I hope they know that now.

Give Credit
Having criticized Strong and his staff, now I’ll praise them. What they have done with the offensive line and Tyrone Swoopes is first rate player development. That and Charlie Strong’s decision to try and win the game with :22 left in regulation bode well for the future of the program. Although I was hoping the Horns would have a much easier time with Iowa State, my hats off to the coaching staff for getting a win when things weren’t going according to plan.

HooK ‘eM,

W.E.

Over/Under Results
The Westchester Wildcats are on a roll. Mark Adams edged out Greg Swan, Zach Frank, and first time player D.R. Flower in the tiebreaker to take home is first win of the season. They were tied in regulation with eight correct answers. Young Zach’s performance this week comes on the heels of his victory in his rookie outing two weeks ago, and a tie for fourth last week.
Clayton Frink, David Frink, and Reed Ramlow tied for fourth with seven correct.

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