2010 Week 8 Report Card

There was only one thing that mattered last week - the big W.   

Even the ugly ones count.

Like most of us, I wasn't able to attend the game

Unlike most of us, I had to attend a Polish wedding instead. Let me tell you something.  I'm not Polish, so I don't want this to come across the wrong way nor do I mean to cause any offense, but Polish food .... what's the best way to put this . . . it's not Tex-Mex. That's for sure. 

With respect to the football game, hopefully Oldschool and BTech can fill in a few more blanks, and answer some questions.

Report Card after the jump!

The Report Card

Link to the Report Card is here:

Week 8 Report Card

Overall, we are scoring 31.1 points per game and surrendering 30.9 points per game.  A 20 basis point differential is a pretty thin margin, and after seven games that figure probably tells you the most about where this team is right now. 

The offense is still not performing at the same level as in previous years, which might be somewhat palatable if the defense was not performing so poorly.

Offense

SSDD  - to paraphrase a famous DTN philosopher.

Another slow start.

In our first 3 possessions, the offense executed 12 plays, generated 15 yards and picked up 2 first downs.   

On the fourth possession, we strung together a nice 11 play 79 yard touchdown drive.   On that drive, Tech threw the ball 3 times, and ran the ball on 8 other occasions enabling Tech to tie the game 7-7 in the second quarter.

The fifth possession went for one play right before halftime. 

One scoring drive out of (effectively) 4 possessions. That's what I call a slow start.

Overall against CU, Tech's offense called 40 passing plays and 35 rushing plays (53:47 pass to run ratio).

Tech's offense held the ball for 29 minutes and 23 seconds - its longest time of possession this season.

Tech's offense scored 20 points in the second half and racked up 327 (out of a total of 430 yards) in the second half alone. 

Overall for the year, we are passing the ball 62% of the time versus 70% of the time as we have done in recent years. 

That's your tweak.  Playcalling wise, that's the difference between the Air Raid and NASCAR.

Taylor Potts Show

At just over the midway point in the season, Texas Tech's very own Taylor Potts is ranked 5th nationally in total yards thrown with 2,161 yards this season.  He is completed 65.7% of his passes - a slightly lower completion rate than Andrew Luck (66.5%).   Potts has thrown 20 TDs against just 5 INTs all year long - an impressive 4:1 ratio. 

Among the Top 20 NCAA quarterbacks, as measured by passing yards, only RGIII at Baylor (4.5:1) and Mark Harline at Kentucky (4.25:1) have a better TD/INT ratio. 

Typical Potts means that he completes a high percentage of throws, throws lots of TDs and doesn't turn the ball over very frequently

Potts is on track for a 4,045 yard season (assuming  Potts can stay healthy and that we extend our bowl streak to play 13 games - which, of course, we will!)

To put those figures in perspective, let's look at previous Tech quarterback production over the  years:

2009:  Potts/Sticks/Doege:  5,027

2008:  Harrell: 5,111

2007:  Harrell:  5,705

2006: Harrell:  4,555

2005: Hodges:  4,238

2004: Cumbie:  4,742

2003:  Symons:  5,833

2002:  Kingsbury:  5017

2001:  Kingsbury:  3501

2000:  Kingsbury:  3,412

If we were to extrapolate Potts' current passing numbers, based on last year's pass-to-run mix (Tech on average threw 51.5 passes per game in 2009 versus  47.4 passes per game in 2010), Potts could feasably generate 4,392 yards in the Air Raid system (assuming Potts is not injured, Sticks doesn't play, yada yada - lot's of variables being controlled here, etc) - placing him in Cody Hodges territory in the pantheon of Tech QB's over the past decade.  

Potts is unlikely to reach those absolute figures in the current offense unless he is able to generate an additional 50 yards or so passing per game by some combination of longer throws and more passing plays (still doable considering Tech does not play a strong defense for the remainder of its stretch run).

That's pretty impressive if you ask me.

On the other hand, to look at Potts' numbers in a different way, consider that Potts is presently generating about 6.7 yards per passing attempt.  Among recent Tech QBs, only Kingsbury, who generated 5.8 yards per attempt in 2000, completed fewer yards per attempt over the course of a season.

Sticks generated 9.7 yards per attempt in the 3 or so games he played last year. Symons (2003) and Harrell (2008) generated the highest passing yards per attempt numbers over the course of the season with a whopping 8.2 yards per attempt.

There you go.  Fodder for everyone!

New Stats

I've added a new statistic which measures  yards per play.  Tech is generating 5.4 yards per play in 2010, compared to 6.2 yards per play in 2009.  

The OL

The OL seems to be settling down.  Pass protection seems to be a little better than last year.  Our running production figures have also improved.   This is going to be a strong group over the next 2 to 3 years.  Only Olson is graduating next year (can someone provide the 411 about Keown?). 

I know I'm not the first person to say this, but Lonnie Edwards, who was named player of the week by Tuberville, will be playing on Sundays.  Mark it down. (So if Potts, Edwards, Waddle and maybe Stephens or Batch play in the NFL one day, what does that say about our previous recruiting?)

Oldschool, BTech and any  others who went to the game,  what was your impression of the OL's performance?   Are the stats telling the story or do things look differently from up close?

Defense

Allow me to walk through the rubble, and pick out a few shiny objects.

Oldschool, BTech and others, can I get another hand?

What happened in Boulder?

When CU's starting QB,Tyler Hansen, went down with a ruptured spleen at the start of the second quarter.  Did things fall apart for Colorado?  

Hansen had to leave the game after absorbing a sack at the hands of Pearlie Graves.

So of course now we need a new nick name for future Pearlie initiated sacks...

How about "Welcome to the Pearlie Gates"  . . . Anyone?  Anyone?

(Why do I suspect that blackbeard has another suggestion of the ZZ-Top variety?)

Tech was able to hold CU's rushing game to 43 yards for the entire game (excluding sacks), holding CU to 1.43 yards per rush on 30 carries.  That is outstanding (and one big shiny object!)

Oldschool, BTech and others, did Tech's D just have no respect for Hawkins'  arm and put everyone in the box?

Does our defensive performance against Colorado's run represent a trend?

Back to reality.  Our defense is still surrendering 5.5 yards per play.  That's got to change.

Special Teams

Williams goes 2 for 2 on critical second half field goals on the road? 

Not bad for a guy from the stands.

Weber State Update

Last but not least.

Last time we checked in with the Wildcats they were limping along at 2-3 having suffered back-to-back losses at the hands of Sacramento State and Eastern Washington.

Well, my, my how quickly fortunes change...

Needing a win to keep their season alive, Weber State outlasted Big Sky cellar dweller Idaho State 16-13 at Pocatello, Idaho in front of 5,083 fervent fans. Senior QB Cameron Higgins struggled yet again - passing for 200 yards, 0 TDs and 3 INTs which kept the game close.  

Idaho State's scored first on a 100 yard interception return in the second quarter.   The Wildcats responded by scoring 10 straight points to finish the first half.   Weber State's defense managed to hold Idaho State to two field goals in the third quarter, but with 13 minutes left to go in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats' sure- handed fullback  Vaingamalie Tafuna  -a guy we'll definitely need to watch out for -scored the go-ahead touchdown . 

Last week's game against Portland State might be viewed at Weber State's biggest game of the season to date.  These two teams share quite a bit of history. From Weber State Sports:

Weber State's WORST loss (point wise) and LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY (point wise), have both come against Portland State.  ...  In 1980, the Vikings destroyed the Wildcats 75-0 in Portland, Oregon in the last game of the season.   ...   In 1965, Weber State defeated Portland State, 74-6, Ogden.    ...  Probably the most entertaining game was the 2007 match up in Portland where the Wildcats came out on top 73-68. The ‘Cats overcame a NINE TOUCHDOWN passing performance from PSU quarterback Drew Hubel. ... The 141 combined points is still an NCAA Division I FCS single game record, as are the 20 combined touchdowns scored.  PSU's 68 points is still a record for the Most Points Scored by a Losing Team.

Like many past matchups, last week's game proved to be another high scoring affair.   Unfortunately only 4,880 Wildcats fans filled up the Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Stadium's 17,312 capacity stadium (a.k.a. "the Stewart") to watch the fireworks.

Trailing 34-22 going into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats posted two straight touchdowns (and a two point conversion) to take the lead 37-34.   Portland State answered with a touchdown of its own to make the game 41-37 with just over one minute left to spare. The Wildcats responded just 40 seconds later with another Vaingamalie Tafuna go-ahead touchdown, leaving 20 seconds left on the clock - just enough time to give the Vikings one last chance to tie.

On the game's final play, Portland State's 65 yard field goal try was on target, but fell just a few yards short preserving the win for the Wildcats - a game in which its defense surrendered 600 yards to the Vikings'  offense.

Now with their season seemingly turned around, Weber State sets its sites on the Big Sky co-leaders Montana Grizzlies.  Fortunately for the Wildcats, they're in the friendly confines of the Stewart this week. Go Wildcats!

Predictions for Texas A&M

Can our defense stop anyone?

Do the ghosts of 2009 still haunt our team? 

Can we finally play 3 quarters of football in a single game?

I'm going with a W.  Another CU-like performance. 

Ugly is the new black.

Tech 28 Aggies 24.

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