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Kansas State Post-Mortem: Offense, Defense, Special Teams

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Mack Brown opined that we played hard against Kansas State and that suggests he's either a liar or a fool. I'm hoping that he's a liar, frankly.

His blind spots are now Mr Magoo-like in their prominence and a good guy who engineered the turnaround in Texas football is transforming himself into a dopey caricature. The contrast between Bill Snyder and our staff couldn't have been more stark and if you don't think he could take our guys and destroy his own K-State team by 40, then we have no basis for reasonable conversation. Snyder was getting water from stones out there (2nd team QB, no outside WRs, zero first half passing yards), doing it with mirrors and effort, while we coached and played like Persian cats on a divan.

Mack Brown is often compared to John Cooper, but I'm starting to think Phil Fulmer. Unlike Tennessee, I hope Texas has the aggressive foresight to arrest our decline because this not an "off-year." This is a full-on systemic collapse. And I'm not interested in cycling through Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley in the wild hopes of fixing it.

I'm not going to break out each unit individually in separate post-mortems because breaking down performance granularly is irrelevant to a team that has quit on the staff and a head coach who has quit on his obligations to the program. This is an offensive staff of lazy yes men - Applewhite excepted; who is amusingly treated like some junior intern when he may be the only guy on the offensive side of the ball that gets it - that quit on the recruiting trail for two years after Vince Young delivered a national championship, ignored all evidence of what made Greg Davis' abortion of an offense function from 2004-2009 (a dual threat, self-directed, play-changing badass at QB paired with hyper-reliable skill players), and mailed it in long before the season started.

We have an offensive coordinator that is openly petulant about the running game, admitting for three consecutive weeks in post-game interviews that he abandoned the running game early against three of the worst defenses in college football (against whom we scored 19 ppg) with nothing more than a shrug, throwing a young QB who is now a pathetic shell of himself to the wolves, and continues to reward the sorriest collection of WRs and TEs we've seen at Texas since 1991 with the validation of playing time. We don't game plan, we don't scout, and we don't care. We've laid up. Hard. And it started in the Spring.

Still trying to get Darius White those snaps, by the way.

On defense, Will Muschamp has held his tongue for three years about the laziness he has seen from his fellow coaches - particularly on offense - on the recruiting trail, in player development, observed the mind-numbing simple-mindedness of Davis' schemes, and shaken his head at the figurehead status of our obese S&C coach who is twenty years behind the curve and has to learn from Oprah Winfrey that a training table shouldn't have fried chicken on it. Whether it's Mack's right hand man Cleve Bryant creating harassment lawsuits that makes us look like a Barry Switzer staff, or Brian Davis bungling yet another transcript, staff arrogance and underachievement has become hardwired and calcified in all areas. This program complacency has infected Muschamp's side of the ball and our best unit has now quit on the season.

Perhaps someone needs to get their attention?

For the last two years, we had great seasons on the backs of great Longhorns like Quan Cosby, Chris Ogbonnaya, Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley, Earl Thomas, Lamarr Houston, and Sergio Kindle and a temporary rejuvenating botox injection of competence at defensive coordinator. Those imperfections don't go away permanently though. They come back without new injections. Those players dragged along the dead weight of bad habits, lazy coaching, and the lack of self-awareness that has now been hardwired into our program. With their departure, the house of cards was revealed for what it was. And that includes now the defense, where they no longer have enough pride to hold up their own individual standard, even as the offense and special teams mail it on a weekly basis.

Offense

QB

Garrett Gilbert is in the bottom 10% of starting FBS quarterbacks and the worst QB in the Big 12. However you want to apportion responsibility for that is your own preference on how to properly stack the deck chairs on the Titanic. I favor a 6-2-2 Greg Davis-Sorry WR-Gilbert Himself breakdown, but I won't argue with yours. For the coach's not to intervene in Gilbert's bizarre Interceptionpalooza was a disservice to Gilbert as much as the team. A teammate should have grabbed Gilbert's helmet and hid it. I'm not kidding.

We couldn't make a switch though. You see, Case McCoy wasn't warmed up.

Maybe we were looking to create a Tin Cup moment?

RB

The only unit on our offense that played particularly hard. In spurts. Thanks Fozzy. We abandoned them like a Spartan baby born with cleft palate early on despite all indications that a slight amount of stubbornness would have been wildly rewarded with things like yardage, scores, and drives. And by wildly rewarded, I mean we would have lost 39-28 and Gilbert would have thrown two fewer interceptions. KSU was surrendering 5.7 yards per carry, we had back-to-back 10+ yard runs from Fozzy early, Gilbert was killing them with the QB draw, and we ran from the running game like Greg Davis from a Stanford-Binet.

WR/TE

Mike Davis is good. Chiles played hard again. The rest of the group is more or less useless. OSU can create the most dangerous passing offense in the country with a pack of no-names and three stars while we struggle to teach guys to catch, not to run into the same area as another receiver, and to work back to the ball on a broken play.

OL

They're not helped by schemes, play selection, coaching or S&C, so why should they help the offense?

Trey Hopkins is a good, raw player. He had some miscues on Saturday, as you'd expect from a true freshman OL thrown to the wolves, but look at the difference between him coming off of the ball and some of our upper classmen and 5th year seniors. His initial punch and leverage looks like a real college OL, even though he forgets to bring his feet. What an incredible indictment of our S&C staff and basic coaching. The longer our big boys stay in the program, the stiffer they get. If you've ever called them stiffs, you have no idea how right you were.

Hopkins is also an indictment of our offensive evaluation. Remember that he was a guy being recruited by every school in the country and an easy Top 15 player in the state and couldn't land an offer until he drove to our camp unexpectedly and blew away the competition, forcing an offer. See Garrett Greenlea this year. Like RGIII, Hopkins was in the top 2% of his graduating class at North Shore. So let's not play the questionable character game that we like to do on every guy we pass on.

If you look objectively at the recruitments of Whaley, Hopkins, Davis, or even our appraisals coming into the year of Kirkendoll and DJ Monroe, it's clear to me that our offensive staff has no idea what a good football player looks like.

I appreciate Paden Kelly for playing hard though he's not strong enough to run block yet. At least he demonstrated some capacity for Give A Shit. We'll break him of that soon enough, I suspect. Paden, make sure to add 30 pounds of bad weight in the offseason, do no core work, avoid plyometrics, and avoid any drills that teach you agility and flexibility.

Which brings up....

Mason Walters - so promising early in the year - has already regressed to the lowest common denominator of our low expectations. If he's playing at Stanford, he's All Pac 10 right now and a mauling fixture there for the next two years. Now he's just another lamb in our sheepish coterie.

Overall

KSU is one of the worst defenses in college football. They are slow, undersized, and weak. They have four guys on their starting 11 who would crack our two deep. I'm not being overly dramatic. This is the objective truth. They destroyed us. With effort. With scheme. By solving the two piece jigsaw puzzle of the Greg Davis offense that comes together to form Corky from Like Goes On eating a Happy Meal. We put up 14 points on them because they let us.

Defense

They've quit.

That's it.

And I'm not mailing in my analysis. That's really the basic truth of it. When you're a quickness based defense, effort is everything. When extra effort dissipates, you transform from great to average very quickly.

Guys didn't play their assignments, we outnumbered the run (we played Cover Zero for 80% of the game) heavily, and Eddie Jones still shot an inside gap and got hooked when he had the QB just for the hell of it while Blake Gideon stood paralyzed like a spotlighted bullfrog. Our LBs have no future as dental technicians because they sure as hell can't scrape. And AJ Williams was missed badly for his physical presence on the corner.

We can torture the numbers, I can ably demonstrate that they were betrayed once again by the offense and special teams, we can discuss how they held KSU under their season averages. It doesn't matter. They couldn't solve the most one-dimensional offense in college football because they're tired of being the only unit that gives a damn.

They don't even care enough to walk over the offensive side of the locker room and punch James Kirkendoll in his Whoopi Goldberg head.

I've been picking on the safety position since the beginning of the year. It's for a reason. For the same reason I picked on Tim Nunez and never really let up on Greg Davis. Wins don't cover the stink of shit. They just make it palatable. When the wins disappear as graduation and NFL entry exposes formerly "reliable" coaches and players, it's laid bare how little those individuals had to do with those wins. Watching Blake Gideon play the last three games has been nothing less than a Last Temptation Passion of The Christ style beating and Christian Scott complements him like nails on a chalkboard marry to an ambulance siren.

Sam Acho and Kheeston Randall didn't even play that hard. I don't know what else to write beyond that. Those guys are indomitable triers and energy players who have played to a personal standard all year. And they're waving the white flag.

This team is deeply dysfunctional and Mack Brown's bizarre, needy pathologies are at the root of it. Pleasers are some of the most likable, enjoyable, and thoroughly dangerous people in the world when placed at the head of an enterprise.

Special Teams

Seriously. I can't do this.

Final Word

I feel like a dung beetle, consigned to rolling a ball of shit up a hill every time I watch these slap dicks dive out of their clown car. At least Sisyphus had a rock to roll up the hill and it probably did wonders for his core strength and shoulder definition. I'm leaning on a big ball of gooey excrement and none us can escape it's olfactory pull.

Royal hung it up after a bitterly disappointing 5-5-1 year despite knowing that he had gems in his younger recruiting classes and that brighter days lay ahead. But he was a tired, burned out coach. That rocky end was forgotten and we love him today as a man of integrity, a winner, and a great Longhorn.

Mack Brown could do the same. We would gloss over this season hiccup-turned-to-projectile-vomiting and remember him fondly. That's the truth - no matter how pissed off some Texas fans are right now. I fear that his own self-pity and a total incapacity for analyzing root causes will prevent it.