Our opening offensive play - a 58 yard broken play McCoy TD pass to Jordan Shipley - told us all we needed to know about the eventual outcome of the game, the quality of Iowa St, the bizarre consistency of a Gene Chizik defense, the current state of our offense, and the unyielding inanity of Dave Lapham. I'm not sure what was more brutal: Dave Lapham or the crowd shots of Iowa State's fat female albino fan base.
There are a number of things to be encouraged by after this game, but our renewed optimism, which will be compounded by an easy win in Waco, should be tempered by the realization that we've played seven teams and our record against the five shitty ones is 5-0; our record against the two that are above average and/or good is 0-2. We're bullies! Assuming we hold true to form, that presages wins over Baylor, Nebraska, and A&M and a loss to Texas Tech. Oklahoma State hasn't quite figured out what they are - your guess is as good as mine as to which column they belong to at the moment. A Cotton Bowl or Holiday Bowl berth screams loss to me though I hold out for individual team matchups to be sure, while a Big 10 rematch in San Antonio in the Alamo says win. This year's Big 10 is as daunting as Enchanted Rock is to a sherpa.
Nozing Sherpa carries the burden of Big 10 disappointment
There. That's the season for you - you don't even need to watch the rest of our games. Scalp your tickets and invest that revenue in Burmese emerging markets. Best realistic finish: 10-3. Worst realistic finish: 9-4. 11-2 would be an achievement while 8-5 would result in a complete Fulmerization of our program's expectations.
The composition of Tennessee Defense
Gene Chizik's game day Belichickian wardrobe inspiration (I think he was sporting the sweatshirt that Jennifer Beals wore in Flashdance) didn't translate over to defensive acumen. It appears that Greg Davis noticed that Chizik is still the most overrated defensive mind in college football and won't go to a dime even when we're in a five WR offense. Chizik is still married to the concept of LBs covering slot receivers and safeties peeking into the backfield even when they're in two deep. They bite if you just think the words "play fake." Since NFL DBs are nowhere to be found in Ames, it's fairly predictable that any team that can throw a spiral to a black man (or an injury prone white man) will face rape them. We gouged their defense at will with every called play seemingly resulting in 10 yards and every fucked up play a touchdown. Such is the way of a GD offense. If only we could put the near sack spinning knee almost touched ground while WR breaks route up play into our playbook.
Chizik defense: What a feeling!
We decided to punish Jamaal Charles for his fumbling. Formationally. Finley also participated in that punishment though his major offense to date has been running for 55 yards every time he catches the ball in stride while headed upfield.
The line protected well, but I'm unsure as to whether this was continued improvement or revealing of the Cyclone's utter helplessness. It's nice to see Ulatoski back in the mix and we're getting good play from Dockery, who has been our best OL to date. We get very little push at the point of attack in the running game except for Dockery and I'm fairly comfortable with being a 40+ pass attempts per game offense - I have zero interest in exploring balance simply for its own sake. We are what we are this bunch, we should shrug and embrace it - even though I love the running game like a whore loves crack.
The question of who will replace Limas Sweed has a pretty clear answer: Everyone. It was nice to see Billy Pittman back, Jordan Shipley without a limp, and Nate Jones continuing to produce. Quan Cosby continues to make his case for the best hands for a wide receiver in Texas history (Pat Fitzgerald and David Thomas can file their protests for TE inclusion at the conclusion of this post) and yeah, he's not an explosive guy, but if you're not a Quan fan, you don't like football. He blocks like a demon as well. We have a very solid receiving corps, but I think we'll find that if we play a team with an actual secondary - which we may not until a bowl game - that our #1 and #2 are possession guys. That's not a knock on them - they are what they are - but teams won't respect us in more conventional formations without a deep threat. Four and five wide sets give us space by formation that we can't get with our legs. Why Finley isn't a part of that mix is mystifying, but that's another post.
Killebrew contributed 30 yards of personal fouls, making him Iowa State's 2nd most productive player behind Scales. Derry had one nice pressure on Meyer, but then contributed a couple of stunts off of the edge that looked like a burglar in clogs trying to sneak past a sleeping mastiff on hardwoods. Bobino actually played a decent ball game though that's best understood within the context that at this point Akina is happy to run blitz him into the center on every snap in lieu of MacDuff actually teaching him to play LB. Akina has been more influenced by Carl Reese than Greg Robinson and that's not a good thing. MacDuff continues to be a puzzling hire. I think what this staff needs is more guys with grey hair, a love of golf, a pension date circled on their calendar, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Sergio Kindle has none of those things. His second half was fun to watch. He has great energy and range and basically just runs around talking shit and trying to knock people unconscious. This strikes our coaches as gauche and we will continue to start Renaissance Men in his place so that he gets the message that he should take up bonsai trimming, spelunking, or ashtanga yoga so that the Fox color guy has something inane to talk about on a crucial 3rd and 1.
The secondary was good. Predictably, purging Chizik has been good for us overall. Our DBs no longer chase yarn or shiny objects. It's written objectively all over our numbers and qualitatively in our play. Brandon Foster is a Longhorn version of Jay Brooks. Ryan Palmer is a physical Ewok. Watching him cover Todd Blythe was like seeing Emmanuel Lewis shut down Mark Eaton in the paint. Erick Jackson covers like a White Lion cover band. The only thing that stands between Marcus Griffin and a NFL career is his combine run. Deion Beasley has been a (deserved) whipping boy in a few games, but defensive back is definitely one position where experience, growing into your body, and the acquisition of skills can transform a player. Don't give up on him yet.
The front four was very solid. The issue we're facing now - with us since K-State - is that teams are simply not blocking our LBs, preferring to put an extra body on the playside DL. Makes sense. That's what I'd do. That makes for some quiet games from them. From a pass rushing standpoint, we're still not committing to pressure from our DE's on neutral downs (i.e. 2nd and 8 - equal chance of run or pass). This has a lot to do with our LB play. It's a shame really. I think we're wasting some opportunities afforded by one of the better DL groups in the country.
Nevertheless, a 56-3 win is good fun. Even if it was easier than Carmen Electra.
There are no girls like this in Ames.
On to Waco.