Football

Texas Tech Football: Frisco Scrimmage Takeaways

It was a scrimmage.

Before we get to my thoughts, here’s the link to the recap and box score (PDF).

1. The Offense is Going to be Alright. I know the offense struggled a bit, the offensive line didn’t block as well as I would have hoped and so there were some issues with protection, but I’ve seen this script before and I’m pretty confident in Alan Bowman’s ability. If he’s healthy, the offense is going to be okay. You could kind of tell that there’s still some uncertainty regarding the offense, not with Bowman, but with where the receivers are supposed to line up. The receivers were also a mix of walk-ons and scholarship guys, so not the full complement of who will hopefully be available in the fall. There were a few starting offensive linemen missing, some starting receivers, and so maybe overall, there were 4 to 6 starters that weren’t playing yesterday for the offense. I think that maybe the defense was playing at full strength, that’s just something to consider the offense in general. I think this is still a work in progress.

2. Maybe the Defense is Going to be Alright Too. With the defense at full strength, at least I think that was the case, they looked significantly better than the offense. The defensive line looked very good, the linebackers closed, the defensive backs were very active. Just a ton of things were all working together. And I do think that they had a pretty full complement of their players, there was no one necessarily out on defense. So they should have been better and they absolutely were better in my opinion. They put pressure on the quarterback, they stuffed indecisive running backs, and the defensive backs did a really nice job of knocking away passes without being pass interference. I was really impressed by the defensive line, but they return pretty much everyone from last year and so that’s what you’d expect.

3. Ezukanma and Henry Look Good. I really liked Erik Ezukanma and Ta’Zhawn Henry as playmakers moving forward. Ezukanma is much bigger than I thought he’d be, he’s obviously added weight during his redshirt year. He’s got really nice body control and really nice strength and size. Up close and personal, he’s got something. Henry looks like he’s going to be a player. Offensive coordinator David Yost likes smaller and quicker running backs and that really fits Henry to a T. I definitely thing that Thompson will have a role and last year, Yost pretty much split the workload between two running backs and I’d expect the same thing here too.

4. The Defense Will Come At You. Well, not you, but they will go at opposing offenses this year. We saw plenty of safety blitzes and linebackers trying to overwhelm the offensive line and it worked for the offensive line that the offense was running out. We talked a bit about this over the week, but over the past three years, we saw a defense that was just hoping and waiting for the opposing offense to make a mistake. It was clear that Gibbs firmly believed in just waiting for the offense to falter and the defense to hopefully take advantage of any errors. There was always this idea that the defense would try to force turnovers by maybe ripping the ball away or perhaps making a hard hit. This defense is going to be much different in that they are going to take chances and try to make something happen. That will most assuredly result in similar heartburn because when you take chances, opposing offenses will take advantage of open opportunities. It’s a different philosophy and there’s no right or wrong here. Gibbs was well within being reasonable to just try to stack up play after play in the hopes that the offense would falter, but I think if given an option, I’d take Patterson’s defensive theory of attempting to create mistakes. At the very least, there should be more splash plays and I think those splash plays create more opportunities for turnovers.

5. Full Time Tight End. This is the real thing so get ready for it. I think part of the reason why the defense may be a bit ahead of the offense is because the tight end spot isn’t truly a weapon just yet. I think the order is Donta Thompson, Tyler Carr, and then Simon Gonzalez. When JUCO transfer Tyler Koontz shows up in the summer, we’ll see how quickly he can get involved in the offense. For me, none of the tight ends really stood out, but I thought that Tyler Carr looked the part from a physicality standpoint. Thompson has never been physical player at the line of scrimmage and Gonzalez really looks like a wide receiver more than a tight end. That’s not a knock on him, that’s him essentially playing college football in his senior year of high school. He’ll be fine, but I think he needs a year to gain some weight and strength.

6. Miscellaneous . . . on that long pass by Duffey to Ezukanma, Justus Parker was right there to make the play, but he half-heartedly tried to hit Ezukanma, who made some tremendous adjustments to go get that ball then he half-heartedly walked over and didn’t even try to make a tackle as Ezukanma drove defenders to the one-yard line. I don’t know whether or not we’re going to get a fully invested Parker or not this year, but you just hate to see him essentially take plays off like he did on this play. He didn’t look back to the ball at any point and he didn’t really try to make a play. Watch this and tell me I’m wrong.

I think that SaRodorick Thompson is going to be good, but I think he needs to be a bit quicker to the spot, Henry has that down pretty pat and I think that Thompson is a different back, but there was an ever so slight hesitation in Thompson’s runs . . . I thought that the Terence Steele and Travis Bruffy flip-flop worked out well. I get the impression that with the offensive line they are still working through some communication issues, there was one sack on Bowman where there were multiple defenders coming at Steele and he sort of handed one off to the left guard, who wasn’t blocking anyone at the time, and they just failed to pick up either one of the blitzers . . . I thought that the linebackers all looked really good, I think the starters were Jordyn Brooks and Riko Jeffers with Brayden Stringer and Patrick Curley backing them up. I didn’t notice a discernible drop-off between them and I think that Stringer may be the best back-up linebacker in the Big 12 . . . there were a handful of walk-on receivers that contributed and looked good, Dalton Rigdon is inside now and I think that’s better for him physically as he’s got some quickness that he can take advantage of. Caden Leggett was targeted a couple of times downfield as a wideout and I don’t know how much he’ll play, but he doesn’t look like he’s overwhelmed physically. Dax Neece is a good-sized wideout from Albany that looked good as well . . . Xavier Martin did get a series at quarterback and he doesn’t look terrible. He does look a bit rusty, but he did complete the only pass he attempted . . . Maybe the most productive defensive lineman was Nelson Mbanasor, who had 2 sacks on Saturday, while Jaylon Hutchings looked pretty good as well . . . It’s tough picking out a defensive lineman that played above and beyond anyone else. They were all pretty good and I’m legitimately excited about the defensive line . . . Alan Bowman finding two wide open receivers was good, but I’m not sure he was going up against the starting defense, so you know, there’s some give and take. He obviously took advantage of the situation and exploited the defense. Just wide open . . .

Let’s hear from you, love to hear your two cents regarding the scrimmage and what you thought.

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