Ed. Note: I’m leaving to go out of town this morning. I should be able to continue with my regularly scheduled posts, but there is a possibility that I won’t. This will also mean that this post is a bit more abbreviated than normal.
|* Box Score
1. I Cannot Console You. This week it is going to be difficult. I’ve somewhat put away my football-anger a long time ago, so this isn’t going to be the place where you see me raging against Matt Wells or anything like that. I’ll most definitely discuss the issues with the game and the frustrating aspect of having a game that’s right there only slip away.
So many aspects to this game that it’s tough to think about just one that led to the loss. This felt like papercuts and in no particular order.
* Missed field goals (again).
* A safety fails to just make a push on a tight end that ended up be a 60+ yarder.
* Targeting on the opposing quarterback and losing your best linebacker.
* Starting quarterback going out.
* No targeting penalties called on the opponent.
* A left tackle finally getting exposed that causes a penalty that ends up ending a drive in the red zone to win the game.
* Two more bad kickoffs.
I’m sure there are others, but that’s off the top of my head.
2. Bowman Injured; Columbi Enters. When Alan Bowman was in, he was not particularly effective and when the K-State player hit Bowman in lower leg, it didn’t look good. At halftime, Bowman tried to give it a go, but he just wasn’t nimble enough. Bowman only finished with 23 total passing yards on 7 attempts, so that’s, again, not exactly great.
Henry Columbi enters the game and it took a while for him to warm up, but he was relatively effective. I think Columbi will be fine, but he’s got to work on his screen passes, maybe give a bit more touch, but his effectiveness running the ball is beneficial. The problem of course is that Columbi is not exactly built, so if he does take off and run, he had better slide or have a plan. Once Columbi did warm up, he was relatively effective and even completed 10 in a row. His worst pass was the interception, which was effectively a punt and there’s a chance the coaches told him to do that if nothing was there. I’d like a better plan if that was the case and I’m completely guessing.
Columbi only had 5.8 yards per attempt, and he was much more effective with this zone-read sort of thing he had going with Xavier White. I wonder if they are both second team, that they had more of an opportunity to work together, which is why we saw White so much in the second half. I would be fine with Columbi being less of a downfield threat if the completion rate is high, but at some point, that will get taken away, most likely next week by Iowa State, so he had better be ready to adjust now.
3. Targeting. Losing Riko Jeffers to a clear targeting was terrible in every way. It looks like KSU’s quarterback is out for a while. And I think that there was some intentionality on the hit on Bowman as well, going at a quarterback’s knees, really any player’s knees, just isn’t right by any measure.
But the subsequent targeting non-calls on Kansas State were incredibly upsetting and there were even a couple of more that weren’t called. I know these guys aren’t angels, but if the key is lowering your head and hitting the opponent’s helmet, well, that happened multiple times (Vasher and two on White that I can think of) for Kansas Sate and they got away with it.
4. What Do We Think Defensively? I think the big plays absolutely ruined the defense. Again. That is the hallmark of the Keith Patterson defense, which is that he’ll gamble, but in gambling, he’ll give up a big play, or 5. The Eric Monroe whiff on the tight end catch that should have been stopped for a decent gain ended up terrible. I don’t know what he was thinking. The numerous Vaughn catches were also a killer, including the last one. Oh, and I don’t know how Morganstern was left covering Vaughn, but that’s a matchup you lose nearly every time. He shouldn’t be covering him in the first place.
Regardless, this is a defense that just gives up big plays and I think they play most things okay, but the big plays are a killer for me.
5. Receivers I Still Love. Well, I still absolutely love Erik Ezukanma and KeSean Carter. They have NFL potential. I’m sure of that. They’re incredibly tough. They fight for balls, they can get vertical. And Myles Price? Yeah, he’s coming on strong as well. I do like that Travis Koontz was move involved and he had a nice block on the White touchdown run. I get that the tight ends are important from a blocking perspective, but I think being able to do both, block and catch, make things all that much better.
6. Emergence of White. It was a ton of fun watching White. The breakaway speed and ability to run between the tackles is a really nice change of pace. It was clear that Yost wanted the hot-hand and that was White for a majority of the second half. White ended up with 113 yards on 12 carries for 9.4 yards a carry and a touchdown, while he caught 4 for 9. SaRodorick Thompson had 46 yards on 12 carries, so not quite as effective, and 3 catches for 10 yards (2 of those were for no gain or a loss I think). I think the running backs are good and there are multiple options that can play. That’s encouraging.
7. A Left Tackle Situation. I have the Dallas Cowboys game on for the past two weekends. I’m not a fan, but I do follow the team. Both of their starting tackles have been out, one of those starters has been Terence Steele. But one of the issues with the Cowboys is that teams are keying off on the tackles and these rookie players are struggling at times. We saw what a powerful defensive end can do to the left tackle, one that has some size and speed and strength. Ethan Carde struggled and there may not be a thing that you can do to disrupt an offense more than pressure the left tackle. I think both tackles are struggling a bit and when you’re starting two brand new newcomers, you can expect problems at some point. Maybe they will be fine, but this might also be an area of concern.
8. Wells on the Loss.
On the fourth quarter…
“I don’t think it unraveled. They scored one time. We drove it down and obviously had the interception in the end
zone. Then we get them to third and six and we bring the house because we know if they get the first down on third and six, that is really close to two minutes and four seconds, and at two minutes and four seconds you can basically kneel the ball out with no timeouts and at that point, we had no timeouts. That’s what happened at the end. I don’t think it unraveled. We allowed a touchdown and they drove it down and scored. Then we drove it all the way back down and obviously didn’t score, and that’s the ball game. That’s a one score game.”
I don’t know that I can add anything to that, but definitely not unraveled.
9. Well Oiled Machine. That’s what I want. I want a well oiled machine and I don’t know what that’s going to happen. I want an offense that plays with purpose and a defense that has enough discipline not to give up huge yards. I’d love a special teams unit that can hit a makeable field goal. Just think, a made field goal last week and this week maybe completely changes the outcome of each game. A special teams that doesn’t give Kansas State a short field that leads to a very short touchdown. Completely shut out in the first half. For real. I get that things aren’t going to be easy this year, but I really need for the entire group to start figuring some things out more consistently. I oftentimes write about how players that want to take the next step have to be more consistent. We’re seeing that with EZ and KeSean. But the coaches have to start doing that as well.
10. Thank Goodness. Thank goodness Texas Tech doesn’t have to go back on the road and play an Iowa State team that just defeated the Oklahoma Sooners, 37-30, and an Iowa State team that when playing Texas Tech has had a long run of 15 yards, and the longest play of 34 yards (stats courtesy of Kyle Jacobson).