Trips did another excellent post-mortem after yet another tough road loss. This is a game Texas has been unable to solve for some time, as I wrote before. Kansas won in Reed Arena by 5 thanks to dominant play by Aldrich late in the game. Texas couldn't get dominant, reliable offense from anyone...except Jordan Hamilton.
Last we checked Hamilton was capably serving in a Ginobili-esque, come off the bench and be the creator for a spell 6th man role. Against Aggy Hamilton was the ONLY player who could create offense for himself or anyone else. His line for the game? Well Trips already pointed it out but it's worth repeating: 4-9 for 10 points, 4 rebs, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 TO, and 24 minutes. From his first 5 minutes it was clear he needed to play the rest of the game for Texas to have any chance at victory.
Apparently victory is not one of Barnes' top priorities though. Hopefully he achieves his goal of putting Hamilton in the NBA even less successfully than his job of winning games at Texas. Then maybe the fans can actually enjoy a season of watching the talented young kid play basketball instead of ripping out hair every other game. That's really the point here, that we the fans who pay the bills have been done a disservice by this team. Some of it may be on the players for their practice efforts and habits but I know how Muschamp would publicly handle the blame for execution on this team.
You would think another loss @ College Station wouldn't be a big deal and really I wouldn't mind watching the team lose a hard-fought game in that hell-hole if the loss was not so closely tied to unacceptable incompetence. At any rate, this team goes as far as Hamilton carries them against the better defenses in the tournament so hopefully he and coach can sync up. In fairness to Barnes, other freshman have played immediately and earned his trust quickly and totally but that doesn't excuse him for dropping a turd on the hardwood every other contest.
Monday night vs. OU at home will probably be another encouraging win but we still know this team is unreliable away from the Erwin Center.
While Barnes frustrates with his methods, McWhorter earns back some trust landing a top tackle prospect with Garrett Greenlea (that same link doubles as an introduction to W-Horn, the most entertaining commenter since Ipowers). After plucking from the lower branches in the early commitments Texas has landed one of the top interior OL and now a tackle who looks as college-ready as juniors come.
I think a lot of the concern over the class has come from the last few years when Hall and Tanner were relied on heavily and the OL never saw another talent like Studdard or Sendlein, much less a Blalock. However, I think it's worth checking the OL classes the last several years to see if the dearth of talent was an anomaly or systemic failure.
Greg Dolan: 4 star, no idea what happened to him.
Adam Ulatoski: 3 star, the best OL since Blalock and co.
Cedric Dockery: 4 star, 2nd best.
Chris Hall: 3 star, could play every spot on the line and mobile in space but notoriously weak at the point of attack. A worthy take but not someone you want to count on.
Charlie Tanner: 3 star, ditto. These were 2 really thin classes, no small wonder the seniors of 2009 couldn't match 2005.
Buck Burnette: 4 star, likely to make center a strength before 2010 but then exposed himself as an idiot and got kicked off the team.
Steve Moore: 3 star, hasn't shown anything yet.
Roy Watts: 3 star, academic casualty.
J'Marcus Webb: 4 star, another academic casualty. He or Watts could be starting at tackle this season.
*Britt Mitchell: 3 star TE now a likely starter at RT. Jury's out before he plays but he seems like a very worthy acquisition having cracked the 2-deep on the most athletic spot on the line as a 3 start recruit for another position.
Tray Allen: 5 star, never got redshirted though he needed it. He's probably your starter at LG though and athletic enough to make some serious noise if he's comfortable there.
Kyle Hix: 4 star, 3-year starter at RT. He showed a lot of early potential but now has me cringing at the prospect of him at LT.
Michael Huey: 4 star, pretty much the same story. Both could probably be great with man-blocking.
Aundre McGaskey: 4 star, another of the endless casualties at tackle. Transferred.
Mark Buchanan: 4 star, hasn't cracked the 2-deep yet.
Luke Poehlmann: 3 star, hasn't gained a pound since he arrived save for in hair...let's move on.
David Snow: 4 star, my pick for best OL in 2010. Made the 2-deep immediately (with some help from Bucky) and has excelled when asked to play center.
Thomas Ashcraft: 4 star, too early to tell much.
Paden Kelly: 3 star, packing on some weight check back after fall.
Garrett Porter: 4 star, ditto.
Mason Walters: 5 star, would have been in the rotation in 09 and probably a starter in 10 if not for a nasty ankle injury that was handled about as badly as you could have imagined. I'm sure next we'll hear that surgery in November could have prevented the now inevitable amputation...
The next 2 classes aren't really worth getting into at this point although the schollie numbers from 2010 (2) are disconcerting. I guess the information to be gleaned from all that is this: A). If you want dominant OL play, recruit enough guys every year to keep a 2-deep full should even you lose ALL your upperclassmen. B). Tackles can turn into guards, guards don't become tackles. C). Character matters here probably more than anywhere. Your OL have to be heady, disciplined, and have a love and passion for the game that will enable them to hang around at 300 lbs. and be fit physically and mentally for war against some of the most dangerous men on the football field.
Maybe McWhorter has been slow to catch on how to recruit his unit properly but I think most of the damage done recently was a result of several misses at tackle following 2 undersized classes back mid-decade. Since then the classes have shown a better understanding of how to maintain OL play in recruiting.
As far as other offensive coaching, if Texas wants to steal from Auburn again I would start at least with this guy's ideas regarding how to use a half-back and power-running from the spread if not just trying to pry him away entirely.
There's been some fun discussion of the combine results here and here. So far the times have been a little surprising and I forget that you need to add about a second to whatever number you would predict for your team's stars. Colt ran a 4.77, which wasn't really shocking but probably made Mike Sherman throw up in his mouth.
Shipley's 4.57 and 4.6 were the real story and you can see in the discussion everyone rationalizing this information pretty quickly and readily. Fact is, we didn't see Shipley run by people that often, at least not before he would give a head shake or hard cut.
Does this number matter ultimately? Only for the size of his contract, Shipley's skills absolutely translate to the NFL as a slot receiver. His speed in and out of cuts (which will be more important than his straight-line speed) is clearly legit as are the magnets at the ends of his arms. His value as a returner may have been damaged though. Anyone here would have guessed the Quan would outrun Ship?
And for all who were curious, Welker ran a 4.61 at the combine. I thought Shipley would best that number and I still think he's faster in and out of cuts.
After getting a look at all the times and measurements I think if I were the Rams I would invest the no. 1 pick in...Ndamukong Suh of course. He beat Gerald McCoy easily on the bench press and I'm betting his power clean numbers (more important) are better along with his 40 time. We'll see how McCoy's rep as a better pass rusher holds up to the combine drills.
Now we get to another unpleasant matter. Namely the jackanapery of Jeff Fisher which BurntOrangeWookie called attention to in the forums. Fisher claimed that Vince "benefited from the running game" while Collins was a "victim of drops" in rationalizing the Titans success with Vince.
At least one of those points is true, I recall Collins and the entire team being a big victim at home against the Texans of a drop when Collins inexplicably put the ball on the turf without being touched and caused the Titans to drop a very winnable game. Let's examine a few numbers though just for giggles, and we'll even ignore the obvious fact that Vince improves a running game with raw numbers (which we'll exclude for now) and as a threat on the zone-read and option stuff Tennessee occasionally uses.
I also threw out the St. Louis game that Vince started and was pulled from (hamstring pull) because it would inflate the rushing numbers for Collins and would weaken Fisher's case since it came late in the season. Also the Rams sucked really hard so it's nice to throw them out as an anomaly regardless.
I won't make any compensation for this but I want to point out that Collins' starts might have seen higher rushing totals if they didn't have to play from behind so much. I'm not sure why I wouldn't simply let that punish Collins though.
Running game averages in Collins starts:
For Collins' six starts to begin the season the Titans averaged 26 carries per game for 138.5 yards. That averages to 5.3 yards per carry. We could really stop right there, even if the rushing stats for Vince were significantly better. If you can't win a game in 6 tries with those kind of rushing numbers you have no value as a quarterback.
Running game averages in VY starts:
For 9 of Vince's starts (not counting the Rams) the Titans averaged 29 carries per game for 152 yards, which averages to 5.2 yards per carry...hmm. Really the best you can say in Fisher's defense is that the Titans were smart enough to hand the ball to Chris Johnson more often when Vince was the quarterback. Of course, he's the coach and playcalls go through him.
But what if we add Vince's direct contribution to the running game?
Vince Young: 55 carries for 281 yards, 5.1 yards per carry.
Well I guess that would make for a fairly sizable addition to the rushing totals. I guess we have no choice but to conclude that Jeff Fisher is a massive tool. It would have been nice if he had just noticed the following stat:
Titans in games started by Collins: 0-6
Titans in games started by Vince Young: 8-2
Would've saved me a lot of trouble.