I had a chance to catch up with The Asset last night and he gave me the latest and greatest from Monday's practice. I was also able to connect with another source who clued me on some goings on with the offense. The more information the better, especially considering the timing. And, since this is Aggie week, we're going to provide multiple practice reports, a Humidor post with the Big Cigar(s), and some pretty interesting tidbits on the talented prospects that visited Austin for the KSU game. For now, on to yesterday's workout...
McAsh is back, back again. The Asset reports that the two signal callers alternated frequently yesterday. Hopefully we can find away to alternate the football down the football field come turkey day. The Asset says that David Ash looked good on some throws and made some WTF? throws on other plays. Obviously David has a confidence issue at this point so hopefully sharing the QB duties will get him back to his happy place.
McCoy, on the other hand, well, he's just not a very good practice player but you knew that and it probably doesn't matter at this point. James Brown was a notoriously poor practice player while David Ash can look all-world in the bubble. (The practice facility, not a plastic enclosure that keeps germs and drooling DB's away.) The Asset tells us that Case was Case yesterday. He doesn't lack for confidence and that's not a bad thing right now for that position. We won't judge him until the lights come on.
As for snap allocation, the two QB's pretty much split snaps Monday so that tells me we can expect dueling QB's come Thursday. We'll know more after today's workout.
At running back Brown looks like he's close to 100% and starting to get his burst back. Coach Applewhite was counseling Brown on getting back to patience and vision because he missed the proper cut on a couple of occasions Saturday night. Bergeron got a few reps but for the most part was held out. My guy says they're just trying to get his hammy right so he's doing lots of treatment. Hopefully Bergeron can give us 10 brutish carries Thursday. As for wrinkles, Malcolm continues to run the WildHorn but we're doing some stuff with Cody out of the gun on straight lead plays.
At WR Jaxon Shipley gave it a go yesterday and looked pretty good. Based on Monday's workout, he'll probably play unless the knee swells up like it did after his first workout before Mizzou. The definitive clues will come from the training room and not the practice field with Ship. My guy will know more today either way.
Along the Oline Allen replaced Walters at RG because Walters was held out for an undisclosed illness. It's not thought to be serious which is easy to say because I'm not the one who's sick.
Overall, offensively we had a pretty mediocre practice unfortunately.
The good news is that our defense came to play. These guys are sky-high and feel like they can stop anyone at this point. They're flying around making plays all over the field and oozing confidence. When I asked my guy what was up, he said they're no longer thinking about the scheme, they're just playing football within the scheme according to the defensive staff which is a far cry from what the offense is going through.
"Offensively we were starting to get there with Fozzy, Brown, and Bergeron and a confident offensive line, and then we got bit by the injury bug so we had to change our identity a bit. Tweaking identities is exactly what you don't want to do on the fly with a young QB. On the flip side the defense has been healthy all season. That's huge."
Speaking of defense, we're rotating 8 guys on the defensive line so we expect them to go "balls to the wall" on every play. That was the message of the day from Bo Davis to his DT's The Asset tells us. Whaley and Desmond Jackson will get plenty of opportunities to make plays in the backfield and the coaches are getting this duo geared up for these situations according to The Asset.
At linebacker we're solid now that Hicks is 100% again. We worked on a lot of nickel today, however, probably because it's doubtful that Cyrus Gray plays significant snaps now that he's dinged. The Ags are down to their third string tailback if Gray can't go.
In the secondary the kids are getting hyped for the challenge because we know the Ags are going to chunk it around. Look for a bounce-back game from Byndom.
One final note, the defense is working on substitution against the hurry-up when the ball's on our hash to counter the Aggie hurry-up according to Asset. Also, look for a version of the OSU game plan on the defensive side of the ball.
Overall, I've been asked about the lack of gadgets/redacted plays in the last few weeks so I posed the question to one of our sources close to the offensive staff and he said it's simply a matter of not executing the complementary plays that set up these gadgets, combined with the wrong game situation and field position. He says Harsin's pretty frustrated by this, and it's another weapon that's being hindered by our injury woes on offense. If you're running the ball conventionally and out of the Wildcat for 5 yards a pop you can get to the gadgets because you have more opportunities and the defense is probably set up for it because it means you're having success in your base stuff.
For example, we had a double pass in the game plan for Mizzou which was built on our WR screen game. We never got our base offense going so we could never set that up. Plus, we only had half the game to find the right situation even if we had something going because of the wind.
In the week leading up to KSU, we had worked on a reverse off our jet action and even tinkered with allowing Onyegbule to throw out of that, but we never got our running game going to set it up, and we weren't able to extend drives to give us favorable field position or opportunities.
Those are just two examples of offensive ineptitude feeding on itself and limiting you as a play caller. There's no doubt Harsin is frustrated by this.
That's all I have now. Check back later for Practice Report II and a Mondays in the Humidor. After all, it's Aggie week.