We started the game aggressively, trying to set tempo, attempting to get Garrett Gilbert into a rhythm, but we stalled in Wyoming territory with a false start on Hix, a two yard run, a feeble dump off to Newton for -2, and a 3rd and 10 deep ball to Williams where Gilbert threw into double coverage.
After that, we managed 73 yards of offense on our next four drives in 23 plays, exhibiting little urgency until Wyoming took the lead late in the 2nd quarter.
On the positive side, another clean stat sheet in terms of turnovers and sacks.
My critique from the Rice game holds though.
If we want to spark continuity we have to pair play calling with game context. We're not doing enough in favorable game situations to foster confidence in a our QB, who, at times, looks to be playing with the joylessness of a North Korean athlete.
Random play call highlights included a max protect where Gilbert flushed himself from the pocket for no reason when Wyoming rushed two and dropped nine into coverage, and another screen from the random screen generator on 3rd and 12 against a four man rush and zone coverage.
Gilbert was OK once again and didn't turn it over, but I'm not sure if I want Craig Krenzel descriptives affixed to a guy that's going to need to win games for us.
In the first half Gilbert was 15 of 22 for 167 and 1 TD, most of that coming with a strong finish in the last 5:00.
Awesome. Let's throw kindling on that ember...
In the second half, Gilbert was 7 of 13 for 55 yards.
Asbestos. Kindling. What's the difference?
Imagine that you're a CEO and you ask an underling to force rank his direct reports in relation to each other. He does. The next week he sends another report contradicting the week previous. Then another contradicting that one. Three weeks, three different evaluations of talent. He also did this almost every week last year. That manager is our coaching staff and fan base - are they any good at distinguishing system performance from player performance on the RB carousel? Here's where one of you chimes in asking for Traylon Shead or Jeremy Hills and I throw my laptop out of the window, praying that a gust a wind of wind will carry it to your forehead.
Whitaker's 39 yard TD run was the play of the game, not only because he had a massive hole to run through (it was the old Redskins counter trey), and he didn't attempt to make it a sweep, but he also split two different pairs of defenders while maintaining his balance. Broken tackles! Yards after contact! The stuff of scholarship running backs! Here's another thought - figure out why the run call that sprung him created first contact nine yards downfield. Could blocking down play side at advantage with man specific responsibilities paired with a downhill inside run behind our best players be responsible?
Tre Newton will get exactly three yards if you block if for three. Last week's running game solution is now averaging a smooth 3.2 yards per carry on the year.
Cody Johnson looked fine finishing the game. Any RB that gets the late carries will generally flourish.
Pleased with our pass protection once again overall, but we haven't been facing particularly gifted pass rushers or much blitzing, despite some protection schemes that suggest we're playing the '85 Bears.
Most of our run blocking is solid at the point of attack, but were sunk by backside pursuit and a miserable job by our wide receivers in getting a body on the safety before he can fill the alley. The most irritating thing about our running game? Seeing well blocked plays at the LOS only get five yards.
We left some big runs out on the field on our power play (we pull backside guard and lead) because Huey couldn't get a helmet on a LB while play side OL drove Wyoming defenders five yards down the field. This has been an ongoing struggle for us and I don't think it's physical. It's unclear to me that the guard even knows where to expect the defender to come from. We're also rounding too much on the pull. It needs to be a sharp angle, trusting that the OL won't allow penetration.
David Snow played well. Mason Walters is very physical, but made a couple of rookie errors that he'll clean up with more experience. Mitchell was game.
Losing Poehlmann is a huge blow not only for depth this year, but in losing experience for a possible starting gig in 2011.
Hix and the false starts are getting tired and infectious to others and marred an otherwise solid game from the big senior. He now has three in two games and with an offense short on explosive plays, those errors are killers.
If you want to understand James Kirkendoll as a football player, set your replay to 12:05 in the 1st quarter when we're threatening to score on our opening drive. He allows the corner to run across his face with nary a nudge and half jogs to engage Prosinski, the Wyoming play side safety. A sound block on Prosinski could be the difference between a 7 yard run and a 70 yard run if Newton can make a move on the LB that Huey misses. On the play, Kirkendoll never makes contact with a single guy in a white jersey and watches Newton get nailed in total disinterest. He is the anti-Quan.
Loved seeing Mike Davis blow up and his development is huge for any hope of a real offense. He is Black Shipley and his ability to extend drives on 3rd down from the slot as well as turn mundane plays into explosives will play a huge role in opening up Malcolm Williams or Goodwin outside, forcing the safety to sit and lose the angle on a potential deep route, and allow our run game an extra step. Davis gave us 4-90 in the 1st half and we never returned to him in any real way in the 2nd half. Why not?
Appreciated Marquise Goodwin's effort on the end around, but two drops earn him a failing grade, particularly when one of them should have gone for 6. Catch a 60 yard go route or two and our offense opens up in a big way.
Malcolm Williams took a touchdown off of the board with a senseless crack back when he went low after officials made a specific mention of this in the offseason as a penalty and a point of emphasis. Still, he never lacks for effort.
Broadly speaking, our most tenured WRs don't block, they're not catching the ball, creating nothing after the catch, and the freshman WR Kennedy passed on in our camp evaluation and who fell into our lap later is the best player in the group. As I wrote before the year, Williams/Davis/Goodwin represent our best upside.
We're taking care of the ball and we're burning clock to shorten games. In fact, Texas and Wyoming combined for only 124 plays - a far cry from the 2008/2009 contests that might have 160+. Tech will be working to lengthen the game as we work to shorten it and it should make for an interesting contest of wills. Tech has a defense that is exploitable and doesn't always start quickly and we can't play the game of falling behind while our offense dicks around anymore. We do have more potential than we're showing.
Not treating 2nd and 1 or 1st and 5 as automatic running downs would be a good start.