I had two realizations over the course of the Oklahoma St. game.
The first came in the first half when I finally admitted, "I hate watching this team about as much as last year's team or the first Gibson team." That changed quickly when I saw a return to the kind of offensive brilliance that was so enjoyable in the DJ Augustine days. Realization number two started when Chapman came into the game and I was actually excited. Then over the course of the 2nd half it occured to me, "this team is better without Pittman."
Am I saying that Pittman couldn't fit in with the team with Hamilton playing like this? No, ideally a performance like this from a wing should make it easier for Pittman. I usually hate when people draw conclusions such as "X team is better without X star" as they are usually based in dubious logic. Yet, I'm wondering whether Hamilton plays like this if Pittman is in the game. My suspicion is that Barnes' offense isn't good at adapting a low post guy like Pittman.
The desire with Pittman is to play inside-out, and though it's not his fault that we surround him with terrible personnel for that offense, I'm not sure that a lineup with Balbay, Brown, Hamilton, James and Pittman will free up the big guy. With the small lineup everyone looked more effective setting screens and getting looks. Barnes' offense in general, has always seemed more smooth operating that way. Every good Barnes offense I can think of revolved around the high screen and Pittman simply isn't a high screen guy. It was different with Aldridge, who was effective from 15 out, and Brad Buckman who would take 3 pt. shots, Pittman is always lurking down low trying to present a target and clogging the lane for any other activity if he doesn't get the ball.
What's more, Hamilton's height and Johnson and James' tenacity on the boards keeps the group effective defensively without him, not to mention what Wangmene or Chapman can offer situationally. I'm sure Trips Right might disagree but I'll risk the rebuke because I suspect that this team is better playing a style more akin to the one we saw with Durant and Augustine. Of course if Hamilton keeps this up and Pittman starts throwing down some 20-10 games...
Anyways, the box score is available for anyone to draw conclusions and the open thread for the game has some further ipowers comedic value as his desperation with Hamilton's genius over the course of the game can be tracked. Finally, no one should think I'm suggesting Pittman be benched for the rest of the season. Merely that the small-ball lineup should see more time and be the team's focus.
Texas finished up the class stronger than any other I can remember under Mack Brown (which is the only kind I can remember) securing kicker Russ Will's services. Will has a good a chance as any other player signed in this class to immediately find the depth chart. We'll examine the class more from that perspective soon.
Gerry Hamilton offers some info on the Jeffcoat decision that reveals that Jeffcoat was sold on the "Buck" position which directly contradicts my sense of him as a potential strong-side end. I just noticed that speed was not his preferred method of attacking the quarterback, but clearly there are other ways to the passer. Orakpo had speed but he really excelled using his hands and swimming, or using the "speed to power" moves. Also, whatever Muschamp is selling it's hard to see how Kindle and Orakpo played the same position here. Muschamp left Orakpo with his hands on the ground in several 3 DL packages while Kindle would move over to the strongside as a stand-up OLB and frequently was positioned to take on the RT and avoid the better pass protector. At any rate, clearly Texas has acquired another great pass-rusher and clearly Muschamp will know how to deploy him. It looks like getting to the quarterback is going to become more of a competition than a concern in upcoming seasons.
Spenceparksoapbox covers the Texas A&M class in detail on offense and defense. Count me amongst those wary of Sherman's era in batcrap land. They built a very potent offense with nothing on OL this year and now they have a top class coming in at that position along with all those returning skill guys. It's disconcerting is all. At least they still look horrendous on defense and this class doesn't reflect that Texas recruits necessarily think that's likely to change with Sherman venturing into the Bayou to find his wrecking crew..
Andy Staples of si.com attempts to take on the creation of a top 15 recruiting classes of all time list. This is a rather desperate venture because of changes in scholarship limits and the rise in non-BCS school TV exposure that has made recruiting a different game. Or simply the creation of the BCS. Staples nevertheless attempts to rank classes from the 00s with classes in the 40s. Coach February checks in at no. 8 with the class you're thinking of, Worster's class is nowhere to be seen.
Dedfischer has his thoughts on the top 10 players in the Big 12 in the upcoming NFL draft. While you won't find McCoy and no. 10 makes you go, "oh yeah...wait, only number 10!" it's hard to argue with his take on anyone if you've been watching them play the last few years.