Good News: The defensive play calling and adjustment is solid. This will be a theme throughout this article, I think, where the defensive side of the ball is very good news. I was a little shocked yesterday when we were running a 4-3 pretty much the entire day or a 3-4 nickel or dime package. There weren't many blitzes at all and I was scared of that, but Willis knew what he was doing: protecting young defensive backs that were liable to give up big plays. It worked. We allowed 2 sustained drives, one of which was extended twice by a few bad personal fouls. We gave up the TD after the bad snap and only allowed a field goal after they got the ball on a near pick-6. It was a game plan and I trust in Willis
Bad News: Ok, let's get this over with. The offensive play calling was, well, atrocious. They were getting pressure with 4 men and were able to crash the line when we went to hand the ball off up the middle. Ok, so they give us pressure and shut down one aspect of our run game. Unfortunately, we never saw any adjustment to take some of that away. I mean, the classical solutions still exist: screen passes to reduce the aggressiveness, outside runs to keep the defense from packing the middle, delayed draw plays to keep the ends from speed rushing the edges. We saw none of that.
I've got a theory: Neal Brown was calling the plays as if we were a running team. The goal on 2nd down was always to get into a 3rd and short, no matter how successful 1st down was. While the air raid is really good at moving down the field, I don't think it's the best offense at picking up repeated 3rd down conversions. The idea is if you pick up 5-6 yards on 1st down, you then have 2 chances to pick up the 2nd down. As best I can tell, that's the biggest difference between the play calling this year and last: 1st down tries for 15+ yards, 2nd calls for 4-5 yards, and we go for the 3rd down conversion.
Good News: While we had a lot of penalties, the penalties were not procedure (false starts, offsides, illegal motion, etc) or holds (though we could have used a few of those). This is progress, I guess.
Bad News: We still had 8 penalties and they were the bad ones. 15 yarders. A few facemasks, a few pass interferences, and a few really bad personal fouls of the unnecessary roughness variety. I mean, I know some of them should not have been called, but we've got to keep things more even keel. What a dirty game.
Good News: We're just as loud and crazy as ever. I kinda had a feeling that would be the crowd reaction after all of the lead-up to the game. There's no telling a bunch of college kids that they can't do something, they're going to do the exact opposite. If that was the goal, then well done.
Bad News: I'm not going to be one saying that we're obnoxious as it being a bad thing. Most fan bases are obnoxious and we just have perfected the art. The real bad news is that we still have people trying to change what isn't broken. Or maybe it's that Tech's trying to sabotage itself again? I can't really tell what it is.
Just as an example of what I'm talking about, the last time a Tech didn't like the way the crowd behaved, we were throwing tortillas. It wasn't an opposing coach or the Big XII offices or anyone outside of the situation who asked the Big XII to enact a rule that would prevent the throwing of tortillas. No, it was Tech's own AD, Bob Bockrath, who couldn't figure out a way to make the tortillas stop on his own (sound like a familiar reaction? Somewhat like the "silent treatment" reaction), went to the Big XII office and asked them to make a rule about it. Will Hance and Myers give up the chase on this matter or will it escalate much as it has in the past? Only time will tell, I suppose. I might write a "ha ha I told you so" email to Hance later, though.