Friday, September 20, 2013

Bye Week Inventory.

Last week I believe I said that, if there was ever a year for an early season bye week, this is it.  Reading GP's quotes throughout the week - notably where he said his team needed to start caring more or he was going to make his wife a widow - made me realize that's true more than ever.  It may only be 3 weeks into the season, but this team is at a major crossroads, and the next two weeks are going to make or break the season.  Knock off SMU and OU and the sky is the limit.  Knock off SMU and lose a hard fought game to the Sooners?  You're not winning anything major, but 8-4 is still in play.  Lose to SMU and OU?  Welp, see you guys next year!  But you get what I'm saying - having 16 days off between games SHOULD work to TCU's advantage at this point in the season.  Let's take a look at what has happened since Texas Tech and their refereeing crew took the Frogs down in Lubbock.

  1. Jarrett Anderson was moved back upstairs.  Given his colorful opinions on Mike Schultz, I'm sure that this one will at the very least make bucknasty very excited.  GP comments on the offensive game plan about as much as he watches it - hint: not often - so when he immediately came out and said he had concerns about the play calling, you knew a shakeup was soon coming.  GP suggests that having Anderson in the booth, presumably alongside Rusty Burns, will give TCU the advantage of having an extra set of eyes on the field to see what's really going on when the Frogs have the ball.  Theoretically, this is true - standing on the sidelines is the absolute worst place to watch a football game, so having one of your offensive coordinators there does not make a whole lot of sense.  But, in the same interview Patterson also said that Trevone Boykin was a hindrance to this offense against Tech because he tried to do too much himself.  In theory, having Anderson on the sidelines should've helped in the regard because it would be his job to take Deuce aside and tell him to follow the plan instead of trying to improvise.  Clearly that was not the case, so I suppose moving Anderson can't HURT anything, but should he start getting happy feet again, someone is going to have to settle him down, and I'm not sure Gary "Tough Love" Patterson is the guy to do it.  Anderson was upstairs a year ago and the offense seemed to hum a little more smoothly, so I'm cautiously optimistic, but nothing will work unless Boykin buys into it, something that will remain to be seen.  I'm not a tactician by any means, so perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree here, but why can't TCU implement an offense like Tech was running?  It's VERY simple - your receivers have a defined set of routes to run, and they just run them out of different formations.  That way, even a true freshman walk on QB can understand how it works.  Now, I'm no dummy - I completely understand that offensive line play is a huge factor in making it work.  But Boykin looked completely untrusting of whatever the play calls were last week. There might be a better way to get him on board, but simplifying the playbook would be a start.  Oh, and also, RUN THE DAMN BALL!
  2. James Dunbar moves to Left Tackle.  After two years of Aviante Collins not listening to the snap count, this had to be done.  Of course, had Dunbar taken care of business in the classroom, he'd have a dozen starts at LT under his belt and Collins would never have had to take the reps he has, but that's neither here nor there.  Dunbar's move to tackle suggests that the staff has at least some faith in LG backups John Woolridge, Jamelle Naff and Brady Foltz, and perhaps platooning the left tackle position will allow Collins to have a better focus when he does line up.  Anyway, it can't be any worse than what we've seen across the line lately, and at least the staff recognizes that there are fairly substantial issues.  
  3. Griffin Gilbert has season ending surgery.  Oh, you mean we have tight ends that are capable of catching passes on our roster?  COLOR ME SHOCKED!  I mean, when you have a QB that's not making the long passes and isn't getting a lot of time to throw, doesn't throwing to the guy closest to him to make the defense back off a bit make any sense at all?  Again, I'm no tactician, but there are some bad QBs in the NFL that keep their starting jobs because of talented TE play (Brandon Weeden and Cam Newton come to mind).  But, so much for that.
  4. No updates on Devonte Fields' health.  Devonte and Brandon Carter missed practice this week and, if you believe the man in charge, it was nothing to do with injuries and everything to do with grades.  I can't remember Carter having any issues during the Tech game, so I'm willing to go with it for him, but the fact that the comment was immediately followed by silence on GPs part regarding Fields' injury, I'll be the first to say I'm a bit concerned.  (At one point this week one of our fair contributors let it slip that he might be taking a medical redshirt, and while nothing has come to fruition on this, the fact that said information is out there makes me squirm a bit).  If Devonte is unable to go the rest of the year, I'm not so sure it's going to be the reason we win or lose any game on the schedule, but it's sure nice to have #95 drawing attention and freeing up other members of the defense.  Stay tuned...
  5. Big 12 head of officiating comments on the Tech game.  They confirmed that the Tech fumble at the one yard line was a legit call (well, duh) and that Brandon Carter's semi-phantom fair catch call was also the right one (way less duh), so there's that.  But, they also admitted that there were TWELVE (12!!!) incorrect calls made throughout the rest of the game, and refused to address the reviewed Tech fumble that wasn't and the worst kick/catch interference call I've seen in all of my days.  If you see Thursday's crew working Pac 12 games next season, don't be shocked.  They recruit the crooked ones on the Left Coast.  
  6. SMU sells 500 tickets to the game next weekend.  I'm not one to talk attendance smack, so I'll just let this one stand on its own.
I think that about sums it all up.  Hate Week begins on Monday.  Hopefully it will spur Spitblood back into action.