Good News: Click. That's the sound that the light makes when it goes on over the collective heads of the offense. When the clock read 2:59 left in the 2nd quarter, the offense changed. The average pass went from being within 2 yards in front of or behind the line of scrimmage to 8-15 yards downfield. In short, the team was throwing for the sticks (if I can toot my own horn a bit on calling that problem two weeks ago). Suddenly everything started to work. Once you get those linebackers and defensive backs back-peddling, all of the underneath stuff that this offense does well works a whole hell of a lot better.
Was this the offense coming awake for the first time under Neal Brown? I certainly hope so. We had 2 drives stopped in the 2nd half. The first was thanks to a fumble by Detron after a 2 yard gain on first down. The second was a 3 and out after an incompletion on a short pass to Cornelius Douglas, a 5 yard gain on a screen to Torres, and an errant pass intended for Zouzalik running a slant. Sounds to me a lot more like the conservative offense that kills us making a short return. Please Tuberville, for the love of Pete, pick up on that play calling strategy and keep it going against Baylor. Your bread and butter is medium range passes and we score points when we're throwing them. We're going to need the points to beat Baylor.
Bad News: Click. That's the sound of the defense's gun not going off. Two weeks ago we thought that we saw a solid defense effectively shutting down a talented, if awfully managed Texas team. A week ago, I started to suspect that the Texas team's offensive woes were worse, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Well, I think this outing against Iowa State goes to show that our defense has a long way to go. The game plan seemed to be to shut down the running backs and make Arnaud beat us with his arm, especially due to all of the talk earlier in the week about how it didn't matter which QB started. Unfortunately, whatever we did, it didn't work. Arnaud and his TE's tore us up for third down conversion after conversion, totaling 8 catches, 78 yards and 2 TD's to TE's. The worst was probably the 27 yard TD to Franklin on a 3rd and long. It was by far Arnaud's best outing of the year.
Ok, so we dared a QB to beat us and he did, but at least we shut down the run, right? Well, that's the worst part. After all but stuffing their offense in the first quarter, things broke down and we gave up 250 yards on 50 carries, including any sacks and the bad snap on the punt. This was not a good Iowa State offense, but we made them look as much.
More Bad News: Click. That's the sound that Tuberville's counter makes as he keeps track of the mistakes made. Between Detron's dropped ball on the contact-less fumble, the big plays given up by the defense (two 60+ yard runs and two 25 yard receptions) and special teams miscues (giving up the fake punt that set up Iowa State for the first points of the game and a kick return touchdown when trying for an onside kick), Tuberville has to be steaming. 7 penalties is below the Mike Leach average, but is still more than you'd like to see, especially since they're of the 10 and 15 yard variety.
Good News: There were a few individuals who had good games. The "high school teammates" of Leong and Potts continued to hook up, giving Leong a 125 yard, 3 TD day. Pott's overall status were really good as well, seeing him throw for 377 yards, 4 TD's and 1 pick when the game was all but over. These stats were primarily in just over one half, as he only had around 51 yard passing before the 3:00 mark of the 2nd quarter.
Batch and Stephens each had good days, giving us our first 100+ yard rushing day. Some of the credit goes to the unpredictable nature of our offense in the 2nd half when we were picking up big chunks on the ground. Part of that credit goes to the o-line who bounced back well this week not allowing a sack all game.
The defense wasn't good, but Wade and Whitlock were all over the field even through double teams. Bird had an OK game, but there really isn't anyone else on the defense worth mentioning.
Bad News: As to pointing out those who had bad games, well, that's a lot easier. Cody Davis bounced off running backs and tight ends like balls bounce off of his hands. It hurt us less than the LB corps who took bad angles, were lost in the wash, and missed tackles most of the night. Both long runs and a number of 3rd down conversions were direct results of bad reads by linebackers. Scott Smith, who had such a great day against UT, couldn't beat his man (or his double team, as was often the case) against ISU and was a non-entity all day.
The only other thing to point out was the number of drops by the WR on the day. I'm sure a lot of the short passing game we ran in the first half would be effective if we could catch on third down, but drops thanks to Zouzalik, Detron, and especially Cornelius Douglas killed many a drive.