Monday Morning Quarterback : Oklahoma

Staking the Plains staff analyze key points from the game against Oklahoma.

We’re going to be looking at the bleak offensive line performance and the lack of explosive plays.

Offensive Line

Michael_LSRR – Seth did a great job yesterday analyzing the offensive line. Just looking at the unit as a whole, it’s jarring how much the pass protection has deteriorated over the past few games. Tech had issues creating running lanes against Baylor, but they were able to give Mahomes all the time he needed to make a play. Now, Mahomes is hurried often. His last interception was due to a breakdown of the o-line on the weak side. Unfortunately, this could be a problem that may plague Tech for the remainder of the year without the return of Clark.

Brian DonCarlos – Well, there’s no real way around it: when you end up on your 3rd option to hold down the edge, you’re going to have a bad time. Justin Murphy going out looks bigger and bigger with each passing game, and instead of having a known commodity in Baylen Brown shifting over to the RT spot and leaving the RG spot a little more exposed, the entire right side of the line is now somewhat of a liability. That means, instead of the interior collapsing, allowing Pat the chance to escape out of the side, Pat is now funneled up the middle if he’s even given the chance to get away, which we saw the result of often on Saturday. The move of Eric Striker to that side of the line was brilliant, and Tech just had no answer for it. If Brown isn’t back for Saturday, I fully expect OSU to follow suit by shifting Emmanuel Ogbah to be lined up on top of Emeka Okafor. The only way this can turn into the silver lining is for some of the younger linemen to get in and get some game experience, because it’s going to be all hands on deck for the OL next season.

As for the rest of the line, the completely idiotic penalties from them just have to stop. There’s no excuse for a personal foul penalty of shoving an opposing player after the whistle. Holds may happen, false starts may happen, even inadvertent facemasks may even happen. But given the nature of some of the penalties we’ve seen from this unit the past few games, they absolutely have to lock it up. No more dumb mistakes. Stop killing your team.

Meestah Rogers – I’m not sure what Tech can do here, but the right side of the offensive line right now just isn’t working. It’s a nice story to see Tony Morales work back and be able to play this year, but his inexperience is really showing, as is whoever is throw out there at right tackle. Losing Brown hurts but I don’t think he’s the answer at right tackle.

Mahomes threw four interceptions on Saturday. Three of those were absolutely on the offensive line. Those weren’t bad decisions by Mahomes. Those weren’t instances where Mahomes threw into a disguised coverage. Those weren’t even the so-called “arm punts” he’s gotten away with this season. The Striker interception shouldn’t have happened had Brown actually engaged him and blocked him. The broadcast crew mentioned this and I agree with them, that with a throw to the sideline like that one, the tackle on that side of the line has to cut down his defender. Instead, Brown dropped back into pass coverage and Striker was right in the throwing lane. The next interception on the tipped ball at the line was, again, because the offensive lineman didn’t fully engage his man. If the defensive lineman is engaged with the offensive lineman, he shouldn’t be able to jump up. And finally, Clark was beaten badly off the edge for the final interception where the rushing defender got to Mahomes’ arm.

The run game was alright, but averaging less than 5 yards a carry is not going to cut it. Especially when Mahomes isn’t afforded the time to carve up the defense through the air.

Explosive Plays

Michael_LSRR – From what I recall, the most explosive plays came on the defensive side of the ball for Tech. The 50 yard fumble return by Johnson could have gone for a touchdown had he not tripped up on his juke of Mayfield. I just about leaped out of my seat on that one along with Nelson’s interception later on in the same quarter which lead to a hard-run 13 yard touchdown by Washington.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, had plenty of long gains offensively with most of them being handoffs to Perine and Mixon. By my count, this tandem of runningbacks managed 9 plays with gains of 15 yards or more with 5 of those going for 20+. I would add Striker’s interception to this considering the timing of the play, his position on the field, and the fact that he was just a yard shy of taking it all the way back.

Brian DonCarlos – Like Seth said on Sunday, watching the defense was the EXACT opposite of fun. I was texting with my football coach brother (neutral party) through Saturday, and he was astounded as to how all-time bad he thought the defense was. I started having visceral reactions to missed tackles. There’s only so many times you can watch a defensive player make contact behind/at the line of scrimmage, only to bounce off or not wrap up, allowing an extra 10 yards (if we were lucky). Are Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon way above average running backs? Yes they are. But the defense still doesn’t show signs of trying to wrap their arms around the ball carriers, and instead keep on using the torpedo technique of launching their bodies into somebody and hoping for the best. The good news is that Tech shouldn’t face that caliber of running back the rest of the season, and all 3 losses are from very superb ranked teams. The defense as it stands is a Frankenstein hodge-podge of players recruited for different schemes. Gibbs needs to put his mark on this next class, and stick around long enough for them to play in the positions and fulfill the roles they were originally intended to (pours one out for Jackson Richards).

Even after 8 games, all hope is not lost. I fully believe the defense has it in them to rise up and make stops. We’ve seen them do it. We’ve seen them get turnovers. And for the defense to operate as well as it can, the offense has to fulfill their end of the bargain,which hasn’t been the case the past 2 games (see above for part of the reason why). The lack of a bye week is turning out to be a killer, in my opinion, and I can’t believe the Big 12 offices let a schedule like this roll out. But it is what it is, and Tech is still above .500 and a bowl game is simply a win away.


Meestah Rogers – This was probably a product of the offensive line’s play, but Tech had four “explosive” plays (run 15+ yds, pass 20+ yds). Oklahoma had 11. You’re not going to win games when you’re not creating explosive plays. And from my tally, Tech’s explosive plays were all just barely meeting the requirements, whereas Oklahoma was comfortably above the threshold, with plenty more on the borderline. This is going to need to turnaround, starting this week, if Tech is expecting to make it to a bowl game.


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