Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday Review.

I think we all felt a little like this watching the game.

I'm going to come right out and say it - yesterday's game was pretty damned boring. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fact that the Frogs are good enough to sleepwalk their way to a 24 point victory. And I suppose a comedown was inevitable after last week's nerve fest. But if there's one thing I'm looking forward to about the Big 12 it's that the increased level of excitement because, even if we're winning by 3 TDs, at least it will be against a team that you can convince yourself to hate fairly easily. Something about whipping Colorado State and New Mexico just doesn't do it for me anymore. I suppose knowing what's coming next year has stolen my youthful innocence and made me a bit jaded. Oh, to be young and naive again...

But you know what wasn't boring? Everything else about the College Football Weekend. We'll focus more on that later, but first I'll do my duty and break this sucker down.

From the get go it was pretty clear what our operating method was going to be: Run the ball and control the clock. It worked, at least partly: We outgained the Rams 255-160 yards on the ground, but they bested us in the clock category by about one minute. Once again Waymon James led all rushers with 108 yards on 15 carries and while I can't argue with the results, it's still a little curious as to why he doesn't dominate in the carries department. It's even more curious when you take into account the fumbleitis exhibited by Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker, the former coughing up another one yesterday. As I said, I can't argue with the results, especially since Tuck and Ed both had a TD, and I understand that at least part of Waymon's success is due to the fact that the limited number of carries keeps him fresh. But it's becoming increasingly more clear that the Sherman Tank is our best back. I will be very interested to see how the coaching staff chooses to use him in a bowl game and next year in Big 12 play.

In my preview I suggested that La Manga would have a "baseline" game of 250 yards and 3 TDs. As SnK pointed out, that's a pretty ridiculous baseline, and perhaps I was still so caught up in Boise euphoria and was basing my choice of that. In any case, it was obvious that the Rams weren't going to let Pachall go bombs away on them, and even clearer that the coaching staff wasn't going to let him open up the playbook unless necessary. Pachall was 13/20 for 117 yards and no TDs or picks; this was easily his weakest output of the season. I'm sure the staff wanted to play it a little bit more buttoned down this week in order to not let Casey get overconfident and make mistakes or get injured. It also looked like Josh Boyce was moving curiously slow, although I have not read anything suggesting he was injured.

However, in a"file under conspiracy theories" suggestion, kerley's, perhaps after a few pre and in-game cocktails, had another suggestion. As lyle pointed out in a post last week, Pachall is INCREDIBLY close to breaking quite a few of the single season passing records set by our favorite Rooster. And while Coach Patterson has grown to appreciate what La Manga brings to this team, it's pretty clear by some of his quotes that he's not ready to put him in that rarified Dalton air quite yet. So what if he's purposefully going to deflate Pachall's numbers going forward to protect the records and keep Casey's head in the right place? Coaches' are full of motivational tactics and if Pachall breaks all of Dalton's records in his first year, it's understandable that the staff will worry about what will motivate him going forward. There's clearly no proof of this, and there's no real reason to believe it, but I don't recall Casey throwing any passes more than 10-15 yards yesterday and, other than the opening drive where Boyce dropped a pass in the end zone, it was pretty much run, run and run again when we got in the red zone. Just some food for thought. Don't shoot the messenger.

Quickly running through the other points of interest, the only real positive to come from our defense was Tank's SnK pre-approved pick six which officially put the game out of reach. As for the rest of the day? A Rams team with no offense to speak of starting a rookie QB outgained TCU 408-372 despite committing 11 penalties. The G-man looked every bit like he's ready to step in and lead the Rams for the rest of the season assuming Thomas remains on the bench. In his first collegiate start he went 14-24 for 248 yards and a TD and never looked rattled. His 66 yard TD pass wasn't a thing of beauty, but he made a big play when the pocket collapsed and Tank uncharacteristically broke out of coverage allowing the receiver to put about 20 yards between them. The defense never put much pressure on Grayson all afternoon, finishing with no sacks, but Chris Nwoke was never really able to get anything going so I suppose that's a positive. It was defintely a bend but don't break kind of afternoon from a defense that was clearly not playing their best game, although I suppose they deserve a bit of a break after last week.

Ross made both of his field goals, but kicked another ball out of bounds giving way to Ryan DeNucci later in the game. I don't fancy myself a special teams expert, but it's baffling how Evans can kick the ball 5 yards deep in the end zone to start the game yet still kick the ball out of bounds despite having, what, 20-30 yards to work with horizontally? The world will never know.

Overall, a pretty flat, uneven day which was expected but unpleasant to watch. However, a win is a win even if its not exciting and when we can complain about a 3+ TD victory, we're probably just being over-privileged assholes.

But you know what we can't complain about? The crowd support as it was easily the most packed the stadium has been all year with even the rich folk occupying their seats for most of the game. Also in the non-complaint department is everything else about the CFB weekend because it was one of the most exciting in recent memory. However, you're going to have to wait until tomorrow to read about it.



EdK said...

About mid-way through the second quarter Saturday it hit me. Sure, the defense this season isn't as good as last three blah, blah, blah.

But you know what the difference is between this year's defense and ANY other Patterson D? Gang tackling.

Remember watching the Frogs in '03 or '05 or '08? There would be four guys in every tackle. Marvin White was within six feet of every tackle for a whole season! Jason Phillips was always in the middle of a big pile-up.

Swarms of PURPLE.

This year? Solo, solo, solo. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed this?

Auxilio said...

Anyone else remember that pass we threw that they ruled incomplete, it went to review, and then it came back still incomplete? I felt so sure that was going to be overturned. It looked like a clear call from my angle. Did anyone get a better look at that than me?

Also, I think a large part of why our crowd was so big was the weather. Just a beautifully cool day for football. There's not much excuse for students to miss the game, but the heat can be tough on the old people. My mother actually collapsed at one of the games earlier in the year from the heat.

Sir Wesley Willis said...

It's a good observation. I've thought all year that this defense has looked a lot slower than those of the past, so that would certainly go hand in hand with the lack of gang tackling. Lack of awareness as well. But, like I said, complaining about a sleep walk 24 point win where the defense only allows 10 points is kinda jerky of us. I'm guilty as charged.

Rotten Arsenal said...

God that game was boring. Except for Tank's pick 6, there wasn't a lot to go crazy about. I mean New Mexico got kinda boring too, but that was mostly because the Frogs were looking great and the Lobos helped make the Frogs look great. Yesterday... meh.
Yeah, it was a hangover game (Big Game last week and now you're coming down), but damn... we looked about as sloppy as any other time this season, on both sides of the ball. The Statler and Waldorf area of Section V (where you will hear us regularly scream "Thanks Schultz" whenever we run some craptastic run play or trying to quiet down the crowd when Ross is about to kick) pretty much agreed that this might have been the worst showing all season.