In lieu of links this morning, I figured we needed to ask five questions. This first part is not a question, but rather a request. I need 6 or so DTN readers to take a look at the first down play for the first three games from this year and from last year. Please email me the results along with your username. We're going to try to track this for the rest of the year to determine whether or not the play-calling is any different on first down.
Also, I know I'm way behind on recruiting with a football commitment and then I know that there was a basketball commitment during the SMU weekend and this past weekend as well. With a full week off I'll be getting to all of this. Promise.
A few more items.
First, I decided to chunk the old DTN store and use Spreadshirt. I have quite a bit more control and there are more affordable options (not every shirt is $20 and I didn't like that aspect). Any proceeds that I make go to my wife's and my adoption (as an aside, we're officially on a waiting list, which is good and we're probably 4 to 6 months from traveling to Ethiopia the first time). I'm charging $2 commission on each shirt and I have no idea if this is enough or too much or not enough.
Second, I've copied the questions after the jump with the thought that you might make it easier on you to then to copy and paste those questions into a comment box and it's easier to answer. Let me know if this is a good idea or a dumb idea (i.e. being loud all of the time vs. Silent Scare).
Third, I cannot read all of the comments for every FanPost or FanShot. If you see something that you don't like (myself or any of the other co-authors will be the final decision-makers) then you can click on "actions" for each and every comment and click on "flag" if you think a comment is over the line. Help me help you keep an eye on things going on DTN.
1. DO YOU REALLY CARE IF FIRST DOWN IS A RUN OR A PASS OR DO YOU CARE MORE IF THE PLAY IS SUCCESSFUL? | If you haven't had the time to watch the post-game press conference then please do. It's an interesting watch. There are transcripts available for Tommy Tuberville, DE Scott Smith and QB Taylor Potts, but both OC Neal Brown and DC James Willis both spoke at about the 10:00 minute mark of the video. The thing that I took away from the video and body-language was that Brown seemed pissed, while Willis seemed a little more at ease (I think this just may be Willis' demeanor). Here's a non-transcript:
Neal Brown: Obviously a very a very poor performance. I take blame for it. We didn't convert. We pressed, the longer the game, the more we pressed, the more we struggled. Poor performance all the way around. A lot of 2nd and 3rd and long and do not have. Coaching from me it was a very poor performance. We had some spots where we ran the ball decently. Too many negative plays. Gave them 7 points to start the game. Have to run the ball early. Baron Batch ran the ball early and did well. Inability on 1st and 3rd downs was was killed Texas Tech. Kept the defense on the field too much.
James Willis: Entire team is starting to get it. Trying to get better every week. Knew Scott Smith could do some things, caused some bad and negative plays. Jarvis Phillips is another guy that can make plays. Too many personal foul penalties, two in the same drive, and this goes back to being disciplined as a player and a team. I take total blame for it. We got pressure without having to blitz, that's what makes you look good on defense. Game plan was to force UT into bad situations.
One of the interesting things about the data that Football Outsiders puts together is on the play-by-play level and that success can be had on each particular down. For example, first down success is gaining at least five yards, second down success (please read this from Rock M Nation's Bill C. who also writes for Football Outsiders for a much better explanation and Beyond The Box Score primer).
In my opinion, I really don't care whether or not the run sets up the pass or the pass sets up the run, so long as the play is successful, and perhaps this is the biggest issue. One of Brown's comments during the offseason was that he wanted to take away some of the decision making of the quarterback, which might also mean that the quarterback is relatively limited in what he can audible out of or into? On some level, I liked the idea of limiting what the quarterback could do, especially Potts as I thought he seemed overwhelmed last year and giving him fewer options would be better for his overall play.
I've rambled enough, give me your general thoughts about whether you care about running or passing on first down (as an aside, Texas Tech is still passing at a 60% rate and running at a 40% rate) and whether or not you think that Brown has taken too much away from the quarterback?
2. DO YOU THINK THE DEFENSE IS BETTER? | Statistically, the defense isn't better, but my eyes tell me differently. Is this me just wishful thinking or hanging onto a positive because I would go crazy if I couldn't find any positives or do you believe that the defense has taken a step back ?
3. ARE THE SHORTER SPLITS ALONG THE OFFENSIVE LINE THE PROBLEM OR IS THE OFFENSIVE LINE NOT BEING PHYSICAL? | Everyone keeps taking about how the wide splits along the offensive line. Before the season, Brown said that under the prior staff it was about 4 feet while he felt more comfortable with splits at the 3.5 feet splits. Is the problem really with the size of the splits or the offensive line not being physical? And as a follow-up question, some of you have questioned the job that OL coach Moore has done thus far. Are you starting to question his competency or are you just questioning everything?
4. WHO IS THE BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER THUS FAR AND HOW CAN THE DEFENSE IMPROVE? | Defensively, there have been some strong individual performances, but it appears that the team is still working out the details. Who has had the most impressive individual performance thus far defensively and what do you think the team needs to improve on?
5. WHO ARE THE BEST THREE TEAMS IN THE BIG 12? | Who are the best three teams in the Big 12? When giving your answer tell us how you rank teams, is it where you think they'll finish or do you rank teams off of their current resume (who have they played and have they played well), etc.
1. DO YOU REALLY CARE IF FIRST DOWN IS A RUN OR A PASS OR DO YOU CARE MORE IF THE PLAY IS SUCCESSFUL?
2. DO YOU THINK THE DEFENSE IS BETTER?
3. ARE THE SHORTER SPLITS ALONG THE OFFENSIVE LINE THE PROBLEM OR IS THE OFFENSIVE LINE NOT BEING PHYSICAL?
4. WHO IS THE BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER THUS FAR AND HOW CAN THE DEFENSE IMPROVE?
5. WHO ARE THE BEST THREE TEAMS IN THE BIG 12?