Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Frogs in the NFL - Week 7

The NFL season is almost at the halfway point, and it really has been an interesting season so far, depending on your rooting interests. Regardless of what pro team you do root for, if you are paying attention to the teams with TCU ties, there has been a lot to be excited about.

Marcus Cannon - OT - Patriots (beat the Jets 29-26 in OT) A crazy finish in Foxborough, after the Jets looked like the Jets for three quarters before rallying and forcing OT (sound familiar, Frog fans?).  A couple of vintage Tom Brady two minute drills and a classic Sanchize sack/fumble ended the comeback bid and sent Rex Ryan in search of a few dozen donuts. I'll talk Jets a little further down, as Kerley was LEGIT on Sunday, but the Pats O-Line played well, allowing only a single sack and helping the scrap heap of running backs Belichick employs run for 131 yards.

Tank Carder - LB - Browns (lost to the Colts 13-17) no stats.

Andy Dalton - QB - Bengals (lost to the Steelers 17-24) Dalton had one beautiful throw to AJ Green that he fit through an impossibly small window for a TD, but otherwise struggled. The Steelers, who did not have a tipped pass going into the game, had two on one drive late in the first half, the second that was intercepted at the line and led to a Pittsburgh score. The Red Rifle was only 14-28 for 105 yards in his prime time season debut, but did get some love from the announcers and a really cool nickname montage. Unfortunately, those things don't translate to on-field success, apparently.

Clint Gresham - LS - Seahawks (bye week)

David Hawthorne - LB - Saints (beat the Bucs 35-28) Hawthorne is still not active for NO.

Jerry Hughes - LB - Colts (beat the Browns 17-13) Hughes had three tackles, including a TFL, and a QB hit on Sunday, as Indy beat Cleveland. Hughes has been a revelation, now that he is in a system that suits his skills and it's been fun seeing him making an impact.

Colin Jones - S - Panthers (lost to Dallas 14-19) Colin had one tackle, but his biggest contribution was a negative one, as he had a crucial penalty late that extended a Dallas scoring drive.

Jeremy Kerley - WR - Jets (lost to the Patriots 26-29 OT) As already mentioned, Kerley nearly stole the show on Sunday in New England, as he made a couple spectacular plays on typically poorly thrown Sanchize balls, including a third down conversion off a tip that he somehow corralled for big yardage. In what was his best game as a pro, Kerley had seven catches on 11 targets for 120 yards and was basically impossible to cover. He also had three punt returns for 22 yards, and though he didn't get in the end zone, he was a big reason the Jets had a chance to pull the upset late.

Marshall Newhouse - OT - Packers (beat the Rams 30-20) Rodgers was sacked three times, but only for 10 total yards, and the Packers' O-Line and Newhouse, have improved steadily throughout the year.

Jason Phillips - LB - Panthers (lost to Dallas 14-19) Jason had one tackle in the loss.

Herb Taylor - OT - Jacksonville (lost to Oakland 23-26, OT) I watched most of this game, and still have no idea if and or how much Taylor got on the field. If you're an O-Lineman, I guess that's a good thing?

Daryl Washington - LB - Cardinals (lost to Minnesota 14-21) Washington had nine tackles, two sacks, and two QB hits. He has been ridiculous, and continues to be mentioned as one of the best young linebackers in the league. 

Predictions in the comments... who gets in the end zone in Week 8 and which Frogs can force some turnovers for their respective teams?

Tech Recap

This pretty much sums it up.

This is my first attempt at stepping into SWW's role since he's got bigtime grown up responsibilities to deal with now, so I apologize if it's a little different than what you're used to.  I guess I should start by saying bummer.  After the shitstorm that I instigated on this blog as well as the tech fan site world last week, it sure would've been nice to escape that game with a win, but Tech and Seth Doege had other plans.  I'll go ahead and own it, Tech fans, so feel free to come back and gloat.  That's what makes this fun.  I make jokes and if we win, I get to say I told you so and tell you how right I was.  When we lose, you can tell me how wrong I was and how much of an idiot I am.  I'm a big boy.  I'll be alright.  See, I've learned to not take things too seriously, especially here at spitblood.  You get my drift?  Also, I'll admit that I was wrong with what I said...Seth Doege doesn't suck.  He's damn good actually and he proved it Saturday.  Anyways, let's get on with things and take a look back at the game.

I'll admit I haven't been able to stomach going back and watching the replay yet, but honestly that has to be one of the top 5 best games of the Patterson era if you're not taking wins and losses into the equation.  As far as all around entertaining football, this is right up there with Baylor and Boise last season, OU in 2005, the Utah game in '09 (blowout but amazing atmopshere), and of course, The Rose Bowl.  So without having gone back and watched the replay to this point, I'll do my best to piece together my thoughts on the game.  If you're looking for me to blame officials or make excuses in the coming paragraphs, don't bother reading on.  We all know there were some questionable calls and a lot of factors that hurt the Frogs' chances Saturday afternoon, but I'd rather not dwell on it nor become fodder for any sort of sour grapes for the Tech fans that are still lingering.

Here are a couple assertions that SWW made in his preview on how we can beat Tech in his game preview:

"Trevone Boykin must follow up last week's performance with an even better one."

Boykin played another outstanding ball game and did all he could to keep us in this game (even on one ankle in the second half), but he did not exceed nor duplicate his Baylor performance.  Tech's defense definitely wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but it wasn't as terrible as Baylor's.  Honestly I didn't really expect a better performance Saturday.  Of his 2 interceptions, 1 bounced right off of Cam White and straight up into the air for an easy pick, and the other basically served as a punt that pinned them at the 8 on a 3rd and long prayer.  Pick #1 resulted in a Tech TD, but the real critical misses from Boykin were overthrows on some deep routes.  He'll get better at that as he gets in a better rhythm with our starting WR's.  His throw to LaDarius Brown late in the 4th was absolutely perfect though.  One thing that SWW has been saying since Boykin took over for Casey "Joe Kane" Pachall was that our offense would be better with Boykin because he fits better with what we want to do schematically, and I completely agree.  The last 2 weeks are great evidence of that.  The running lanes are opening up and more and more players are emerging as playmakers.  Did you ever think you'd see Skye Dawson with 10 grabs for over 154 yards with Pachall under center?  I did not.  It's also no coincidence that our offensive line looks light years better since Boykin has become the signal caller.  Boykin may not have played better than in the Baylor game, but he's not at fault in this one.

"The Frogs D must continue to force turnovers and improve upon their NCAA leading 14 picks."

This is the one that got us.  No interceptions and no fumbles=no stopping Doege Saturday afternoon.  Doege seemed to learn really early on in the game after a couple shots toward Jason Verrett that it might not be his best approach to attack him, so he wisely went to the other side of the field against Kevin White and picked on our safeties in coverage, especially on 3rd downs.  This game defensively eerily reminded me of watching BYU's John Beck in 2006 as he methodically picked apart our secondary on 3rd downs, keeping our defense on the field and eventually leading BYU to victory.  Doege was on point on 3rd downs all game, but our secondary was giving their receivers too much cushion and making life easy for him.  Also, with the exception of the first couple of drives early in the second half, Doege had as much time as he wanted in the pocket all game, and that's inevitably what doomed us defensively.  You can't expect to beat anybody when you allow 7 TD passes and force no turnovers.  Also, I'd like to see Kevin White be a bit more physical on the fade routes in man to man situations.  Let him go against LaDarius all week and practice and learn not to get pushed around.  His coverage skills are there, but the ball skills are lacking.

Another thing I hated to see was GP and his staff getting outwitted in the trick play department again, and it happened twice.  The onsides kick was a complete momentum swing late in the first half, and I still for the life of me don't know how Antonio Graves didn't come up with that ball.  Really we weren't outsmarted there if you think about it.  Graves was in position to make the play on the ball and did everything right...except cover the ball.  That one hurt.  As for the Wildcat reverse pass by Doege in the 2nd OT- it was a great play call, but we had to see it coming at some point right?  I mean, there was no reason for Tech, who hadn't run the ball successfully at all the entire game except for breakaway run, to line up in the Wildcat on 1st and 10 in overtime after showing that they could pick apart our secondary seemingly at will.  Sure enough, it wasn't a run at all, and Seth Doege found a wide open receiver on across the field.  I don't know how you game plan for things like that, but 2 home games in a row we've been fooled by a very similar trick play.  Gotta fix that soon, because that won't be our last opponent to show that formation.  In fact, I'm pretty sure everyone left on the schedule has a package similar to that, except maybe OU and K State and that's because they have QB's that will run you over so they don't need it.

As sad as it is to admit, I pretty much knew in my heart that once Oberkrom, who might deserve his own post for how well he's played, kicked that field goal in OT3 that we had basically surrendered the loss.  Tech had their way with us in the red zone all game long and our defense was gassed at that point.  I was extremely proud of the fight this team showed to even force overtime in this game, and it just shows you what kind of leader in the making we have on our hands with Boykin, who is still a teenager, mind you.  As for the fans who left when we got down by 10 with 4+ to go in the game- shame on you.  Other than that, the fan turnout was pretty solid and it was great to actually see the stadium full.  I also don't think Tech had near as many fans there as they believed they would, so I guess I'm proud of all the season ticket holders for not just dumping their extra tickets into the hands of the enemy.

I've never seen a season like this for a football team I pull for, and I'm assuming most of the readers never have either.  There's a whole lot to like about this young squad and I am pretty certain they put together a couple more wins this season and could potentially shock someone down the stretch.  This team will go bowling this season, and I predict we get bowl eligible this weekend.  There's too much talent on both sides of the ball, albeit young talent, to not win another game this season.  I think this team might actually feed off of hostile road environments more than their docile home crowd, and I think that stems from the attitude GMFP instills in them.  Our biggest regular season wins over the past few years have primarily been on the road sans Utah in 2009, and I think that's because for whatever reason they come in to those games more focused and more intense.  I think we will win 2 more road games this year although all 3 of our remaining road games appear to be the most winnable left on our schedule.  I'd love to pull out a victory over K State or OU in The Carter, but I'm not banking on it at this point.

Again, congrats to Tech on winning an absolute gem of a ball game.  If any Tech fans REALLY don't think we can compete in the Big 12 then they didn't watch Saturday's ball game or they're completely underselling their own team, so enough with the "big boy football" bullshit.  We've got a roster full of 18 and 19 year olds that are already doing a pretty damn good job staying competitive in the Big 12, and they'll be here for the next 3 or 4 years as well.  If I were the rest of the Big 12, I'd take notice of what's being built here.