THE RESULT | What I Expected | Expectations are a funny thing. It's strange how there are so many different ideas about what to expect. That game was just about what I expected from this team given the entirety of the circumstances, and in some ways, exceeded expectations and in other ways there are definitely some areas to improve upon. But as stated initially, I couldn't be happier with the overall outcome. Most of you know me well enough to know that sports make me happy and this was one of those situations where I think that overall this was a really terrific outcome.
And we can't really go any further without congratulating head coach Kliff Kingsbury. I'll never get tired of typing that.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | I think I'd have to choose between Baker Mayfield and Eric Ward. Given the fact that this was his first game as a collegian, I'll go with Mayfield, who finished with 413 yards, 71% completion, 6.8 yards per attempt 4 touchdowns (5 if you count the rushing touchdown) with no interceptions.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Woot! Woot! Get on that Kerry Hyder train. Hyder looks much bigger than last year and he produced, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 quarterback hurries and 7 overall tackles. Strong work.
Defense that Learns | I'm pretty exctied about how the defense performed. Garrett Gilbert is Garrett Gilbert and he just can't not be himsef, so The Texas Tech defense gets some credit for that, but other than some small change sort of stuff, one long pass play and Gilbert gaining some pretty good yards on just one drive, Texas Tech did a very good job of shutting down SMU. Statistically, Texas Tech gave up 51 yards rushing to Gilbert in that rushing touchdown drive (only 102 rushing yards overall for SMU) and then Texas Tech figured it out. Containment with some stunting and delayed blitzes and that was the difference in containing Gilbert. The defense figured something out mid-game. Adjustments. That's a good sign. No defense is going to be perfect and yards are a part of the game for the most part.
Which One Would You | Just something to think about in the course of looking back at this game. Given what little you know about both Garrett Gilbert and Baker Mayfield, which one would you rather have for the rest of the season. Mayfield averaged almost 7 yards an attempt, threw some dangerous throws in the firls half, but really figured things out in the second half. I think the upside is there for Mayfield. He's got some things that he has to correct, especially going over the middle of the field. He's got to pick and choose when that's appropriate, but that takes time. Experience.
Let's focus on some of the good things. On the Marquez touchdown, Mayfield goes over the top with a defender playing zone coverage to take away something just over the middle, but Mayfield knows he can't just go over the middle because of that defender, so he puts the ball on the outside and sideline shoulder of Marquez. TDRR.
With the Grant touchdown, it's really a fantastic play that allows Grant to just use his speed to run to the corner with the wide reciever just pretty much stopping his route to allow Grant to have one-on-one coverage. Mayfield just tosses it where only Grant can run out the pass or it's incomplete.
Fun Defense | Gilbert is prone to getting sacked and SMU was going to have issues with their line to an extent, but I wasn't really envisioning 8 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 7 sacks and 3 quarterback hurries. Again, there were some real issues with some of those crossing patterns, but credit goes to SMU for exploiting, what seemed like a three vertical passing route with a receiver dragging underneath and grabbing some pretty good yardage. That's good offense, not necessarily bad defense.
Celebrate Wins | So I say this each year, but you really have to savor those wins. They don't happen as often as you like and they aren't pretty, but they sure are fun. Again, there were some things that were really stacked against this team. From what I've been told, this really wasn't the ideal situation with the quarterback situation, that the spring and fall camp wasn't anywhere close to where you were maybe led to believe, but you can't worry about what has happened, but worry about what has to happen. This is what we have to do to move forward.
Redshirts Removed | Just going off of game participation, LB Bobby Esiaba (a walk-on), Zach Barnes, Dee Paul and Malik Jenkins all had their redshirts removed. Let me now if you see other ones.
- The SMU public address announcer kept referring to the quarters as periods.
- It wasn't so much the heat as it was that there was just no breeze at all. You don't realize how much body odor is swept away with a breeze. I was almost happy to drive the hour home with the air conditioner in my car going full blast.
- Eric Ward was really fantastic. He's so damn tough and big and tough. We're going to really miss him next year and don't let anyone tell you that he'll be easy to replace. Those two holding penalties were because he takes pride in blocking his tail off. He's got to get his hands inside, not outside the jersey.
- The offensive line really needs to work some things out. They're going to have to figure it out on the go and luckily, there are some relatively easy games to do tht before TCU, but there were a lot of missed blocks and the running backs never even had a chance for the most part. They'll just have to be better. There's really no other way around this.
- There were 11 players that caught a pass. Going off of memory, I don't think that Mayfield had much of a thought about going down the field in the first half, but I'd guess the splits are going to be pretty impressive.
- Aside from the defenses performance of Hyder, I loved Pete Robertson, Terrance Bullitt, and Austin Stewart. I thought they all played really well. You can add in Will Smith and Micah Awe too. There were some really good performances. NOt great, but pretty good.