Football

Ten Things: Arizona 28, Texas Tech 14

It’s a loss.

1. Overall

This is not ideal. That was a very frustrating and difficult game to watch and I’m sure it was equally difficult and frustrating for the team and coaches. There was so much that went wrong, that I’m struggling to figure out what went right. Maybe punting, but let’s not give all of that away at the begging of this deal. That was one of the more uneven offensive performances that Ive seen in quite some time and the fact that the offense could never really figure out a defense that was one of the worst defenses statistically leading up to the game is again worrisome. Generally speaking, I thought the defense was fine, yes, ultimately, they gave up 28 points, but this was a tough loss all of the way around.

2. The Offense

We had a discussion earlier in the week about how the offense simply isn’t putting the ball down the field and that’s absolutely true. It’s just not doing the job that it needs to do offensively and there is a significant disconnect in maybe what I think the offense is supposed to do and what it’s doing right now. Last year for Utah State, the quarterback essentially passed for the course of the season 8.5 yards per attempt. It’s a vertical offense for the most part. However, that’s not the offense that you see. Last night, Bowman only passed for 5.7 yards per attempt. That’s the definition of a dink-and-dunk offense that’s not going to work with how offenses are run today. The problem for the offense is that the defense is simply rushing 3 players, dropping 8.

Gary Patterson is salivating at the thought of playing this offense as it is currently constructed.

Couple the dropping 8 players with not really being able to take advantage of that 3-man front in the running game and you have an offense that only puts up 14 points for an entire game and seemingly shoots self in foot for 4 hours.

Pointing out all of the mistakes? I don’t know how I can do that at 5 in the morning.

3. The Defense

The offense wasn’t great, the defense was fine. That’s not intended to be an endorsement or a criticism, at some point, I don’t think it is a surprise that the defense gave up 28 points to Arizona. Holding Arizona to 28 points should be enough. The defense did give up 314 yards rushing, which is a ton, but it was on 61 attempts and that’s good for 5.1 yards per attempt. For me, it didn’t feel like the defense was terrible and I thought that the defense kept Arizona in check for most of the game. I think the defense maybe finally slipped in the 4th quarter and the Arizona offense simply wore Texas Tech down.

Maybe the biggest problem for the defense is that it simply didn’t force Arizona off the field enough. The Wildcats converted 15 of 21 third downs, so Arizona was sort of allowed to constantly churn away at the defense. The time of possession disparity was about 10 minutes in favor of Arizona, and that’s normally not a problem for a team if the offense is putting up points, but if Arizona is just churning yards and plays time after time, it’s going to wear on a team.

4. The Special Teams

Let’s start with the good. The punting has been consistently the best part of this team thus far. That is intended to both be accurate and depressing at the same time. Austin McNamara has been fantastic as he’s averaging 46 or 47 yards a punt and he did that last night. He had one touchback, but that’s it. Oh, and the kickoffs have been great too. Trey Wolff boots it out of the end zone consistently.

The bad? The fake field goal was a disaster. That looked as unprepared as I’ve ever seen a special teams play. So if you’re going to run a play like that, you sort of have to block and you sort of have to execute otherwise, the idea of leaving 3 points in what was at that time a defensive battle seems like a terrible idea. Second guessing that particular play is the perfect type of hindsight. Those 3 points wouldn’t have mattered in the long run if the game plays out like it did, but to leave a defender completely unblocked is the epitome of not running the play the way the play was supposed to be run and one of those signs that the execution of the play was not properly prepared.

5. Offensive Notes

  • I thought the offensive line had one of their worst games in recent memory. Casey Verhulst replaced Terence Steele at right tackle and maybe I just need to let that replacement speak for itself. All of these things are seemingly related in that if the offensive line can’t block a 3-man front and gain 5 yards a rush and allows pressure on Bowman where he doesn’t have time to go down field, then the whole thing doesn’t work.
  • By no means am I saying that the if Bowman had more time that he would be better because this is a problem with Bowman. I am somewhat shocked about Bowman’s inability to go down the field, the lack of touch on fade throws is something that we simply haven’t seen in quite some time. That’s usually something that missed fade throw to Vasher was not even in the ballpark. Bowman obviously hit it on the fade to Mannix and that was a nice play, but to simply not be close at all with a receiver who has a huge catch radius is a problem.
  • We’ve talked a bit about how you have one receiver step up in one game, and then another in another game and that’s somewhat of a problem. There’s not one guy that’s demanding a double-team or demanding the attention of the opposing team. The only guy that you really have to game-plan for is Vasher and if Bowman can’t go deep, then there’s less to consider for opposing defensive coordinators.
  • In this particular game, T.J. Vasher and McLane Mannix had huge days, but other guys were held in-check. I thought Reginald Turner missed a couple of critical opportunities to move the sticks and he has not been what I expected. There was a point in the second quarter where all of the receivers were replaced and I kind of liked the mix of players who made plays.
  • You’re probably thinking that you hope you never see another swing pass for quite some time. That was simply not effective.
  • The running game was fine, but it was simply not effective consistently, or, perhaps more accurately, the running game was never able to get into a flow, which again starts up front.
  • Bowman is throwing into double-coverage and just not seeing the field. This isn’t the Bowman that we saw at the end of last year. The two interceptions were just bad terrible plays.

6. Defensive Notes

  • The game was sort of lost when Arizona possessed the ball for nearly 10 minutes in the 4th quarter. The Wildcats just simply ran the ball and the Texas Tech defense was too gassed and/or injured to do much of anything to stop Arizona. The 99 yard touchdown drive that put the nail in the coffin consisted of 13 runs. By this time, Texas Tech had no answer.
  • It is clear again that Jordyn Brooks is the best player on the field for Texas Tech, 13 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss and tried his best to contain Tate all game long.
  • I thought Douglas Coleman, III was pretty terrific as well, 10 tackles, 2 interceptions and nearly a third, were pretty terrific.
  • It’s pretty difficult to et a ton of pressure on Tate, but the fact that the team managed 2, isn’t easy, Demarcus Fields and Jaylon Hutchings bot registered a sack.
  • As a team, forcing 9 tackles for a loss is about all you can expect, lots of guys pulled their part here.
  • Back on the time of possession thing, at the end of the first half, it was pretty even in terms of of possessing the ball, 14:56 for Texas Tech and 15:06 for Arizona. By the end of the third quarter, Arizona had 25:28 and Texas Tech only had 19.32. TLDR, in a 30 minute half, Arizona had the ball 20 minutes to just 10 for Texas Tech.

7. Coach Quotes

There are not a lot of quotes here as Arizona does not do a very good job of having a dictation service transcribe player and coach quotes.

Texas Tech coach Matt Wells on the loss and the 99-yard drive: “It was a one-possession game all the way down to the middle of the fourth quarter. It was a tough game. A physical game. I thought we played pretty well on defense up until that drive. And then, truth be told, they imposed their will on us, and that’s tough to take.”

Via A-J Media’s Don Williams:

“Just proud of him,” Wells said. “The guy was in pain. He’s hurting and he fought his butt off and tried to help give us a chance to win.”

Bowman finished with 311 yards on 30-for-55 passing. But he had two costly interceptions early — one on a miscommunication with T.J. Vasher on a throw to the end zone — and the offense as a whole was spotty.

“I thought offensively we played well at times; it just wasn’t consistent enough,” Wells said. “It was like, we played well. Then we have a rush for zero, an incomplete pass and you’re looking at third-and-10. That happened to us a few times just past the 50.

“The consistency of it is just not there yet.”

8. Player Quotes

Texas Tech DB Adrian Frye on Tate: “Really, he’s a pure-bred athlete. He’s one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the nation, so any defense would have to contain him. And the plays we didn’t, it cost us.”

9. Numbers

  • Texas Tech only converted 7 of 17 third downs, which is down about 15% from the season average of 56 or so percent. The depressing part is that Texas Tech averaged about 7 yards per third down. That’s not going to cut it and that’s not even giving yourself a chance. The other distressing statistic is that Texas Tech only gained an average of 4.1 yards per third down, so on average, they were 3 yards short every third down.
  • A few more third down statistics, on third and short (1-4 yards) Texas Tech was a respectable 5 of 7. Okay, we can live with that. On third and long, 9+ yards, Texas Tech was 0-5. That’s not necessarily bad because most plays aren’t usually designed to gain 10 yards, but the fact that the offense puts itself in a bad spot on downs 1 and 2 is the bad part.
  • .175 points per play. That’s no bueno. Arizona wasn’t great, but an acceptable .33 points per play. Prior to last night, Texas Tech was at .48 points per play.

10. Looking Ahead

Well, there are two weeks to try to solve what ails this team. The bad news is that Oklahoma is on deck and they also have a bye this week, so they’ll have a full opportunity to take a look at Texas Tech, oh, and it’s in Norman, so that should be fun. OU just dismantled UCLA, which isn’t necessarily anything to write home about, but they dominated.

Also, Bowman left the stadium with his non-throwing arm in a sling.

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