THE RESULT | Up Next | I'm glad that the team wasn't looking forward, but I think most of us were looking forward to TCU. The biggest keys to the game were the fact that there weren't any significant injuries, other that LB Aaron Ross, who had some sort of leg injury, and I think that was about it. You also needed to see a dominating performance and the fact that head coach Kliff Kingsbury was able to take out every starter at the freaking half, is all you could ask for with a short week.
And if you needed to know about the focus of this team, then this is what we're talking about. Putting a game away with an entire half to go.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | TE Jace Amaro was the difference maker in this game with 8 catches for 142 yards and 1 touchdown. He just transforms the offense.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Really pretty tough with such a short time period to evaluate as it didn't seem like these guys were on the field all that much. I'll give this to S Tre' Porter who finished the game with 6 solo tackles, but there were a lot of moving parts to the defense
Mayfield Shines | I'm not at all down on Davis Webb, in fact, I'm actually pretty encouraged. I said this after the game, which is that I do think that the quarterback controversy that was pumped up during the fall practices and spring was a bit media driven. That's fine and I think it was coach driven too, but I've always thought that based on the statistics from the spring, it was Michael Brewer that was the significantly better quarterback. HC Kingsbury has always said that guys earn their jobs from week to week and I don't think that's any different with the quarterback position. Long-term, I think that Webb is uneven right now, but he'll be just fine and he's a good quarterback. He's got to work on throwing the ball up, but he'll be just fine.
With Mayfield though, it's a bit different. I honestly believe that Kingsbury is most concerned with making good decisions and being able to be agile with your feet. Those are the biggest things that Kingsbury values as a quarterback. It's not necessarily the arm-strenght (it certainly helps) but the ability to make sound decisions and scramble a bit.
Mayfield certainly has that and you can just count your lucky stars that he's at Texas Tech and not some other place burried on a bench.
Mayfield finished the night completing 70% of his passes for 12.2 yards per attempt, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. I also can't think of any careless throws that he had just right now. The 12.2 YPA is pretty significant and it is a stark contrast to wht Mayfield did in the first half of last week. You could somewhat see the more conservative play-calling taken off of what Mayfield likes to do and this seems more in line with what Mayfield's high school film displayed.
Am I worried about a quarterback controversy? Heck no. Kingsbury seems to be making a habit of making good decisions about quarterback. Personally, I don't think Webb is ready and that's okay. If Webb is having to play then something has gone wrong, but I believe that Mayfield and Brewer are more than competent to lead this team. It's a nice problem to have.
Woooo! That Defense! | I don't use exclamation marks all that much, but that defense was really good last night. And before we go much furhter, yes, SFA is a FCS team, but I can't worry about that. In the first half, which is the half that matters most to me, is that SFA had 172 total yards on 32 plays. Of those 172 yards, 75 came on 1 play, the double-reverse pass. For all other plays, SFA averaged 3.1 yards per play. For comparison purposes, Texas Tech has 482 yards at the half on 58 plays for 8.3 yards per play.
There are certainly holes on this defense. CB Olaoluwa Falemi was purposesly picked on for a good part of the first half and there were just a couple of opportunities that CB Bruce Jones had for a good part of the game.
Level by level, the defensive line was really fantastic. They weren't going to have a lot of opportunity to do much of anything because of the nature of the SFA offense. They only allowed 69 rushing yards on 32 attempts and that's very acceptable. No sacks, but SFA was getting rid of the ball really quickly. I'm fine with that. I really am loving the switch of DT Jackson Richards to tackle. He's really suited to play there as he was never quick enough to get around a tackle, but he's plenty quick enough and big enough to play inside. Maybe that will change with Big 12 defenses, but right now, I really like what I see and he can beat his man.
OLB Pete Robertson really is an x-factor. It will be interesting to see how teams try to neutralize him. SFA went 5-wide to ensure that Robertson was covering a slot receiver, but even then, there were times that Robertson blitzed. I'm not even sure if the starting linebackers made all that many plays, but they were solid along the interior. Linebackers Sam Eguavoen, Will Smith and Terrance Bullitt probably had minimal impact, but I'm thinking the same thing applied with them playing as much as of the offense. Keep them healthy and fresh for TCU.
SFA starter Brady Attaway completed less than half of his passes for only 3.1 yards per attempt. He just missed some receivers and some receivers dropped some passes, but the defensive backfield deserves some pats on the back. Good job. Good effort.
The Offensive Line Improves | I did my best to focus on the offensive line during the second viewing of the game and they are getting significantly better. Again, FCS competition, but I was pleased. There are always calls that can go either way, but the holding call against RG James Polk was bulsh, but the other was a good call. The thing about the offensive line is that they did a much better job of moving their feet and getting to spots. We'll get to this in a bit, but the offensive line was actually really good at doing what they are supposed to do. They kept Mayfield clean for the most part and there were just a couple of instances where Polk missed a block. Polk is the weak link, but he's okay. I think it took a bit for OC coach Lee Hays to figure out how they were going to work out. RT Rashad Fortenberry is really athletic and I don't recall such an athletic right tackle in some time. That's not all that normal and I think it took a bit of tweaking to get things how they wanted them.
Running Back Review | There's no doubt that RB Quinton White stole the show last night. He was electric. The running backs as a whole (Kenny Williams, DeAndre Washington, Quinton White and Rodney Hall) had 164 yards rushing on 22 carries for 7.4 yards per attempt. There's some rumbling about White needing to replace Williams, and maybe that will happen, but Texas Tech needs a running back that can run between the tackles and that's Williams. He's not going to be explosive and he's not going to break huge runs, but I like what Williams can do quite a bit. There is room on this team for a between the tackle running back and running backs like Washington and White.
Get On Those Blocks | Kenny Williams first touchdown, the one that took basically two attempts by him were NOT a result of poor offensive line blocking. If you go back and look, both runs by Williams were somewhat stunted by the fact that Amaro didn't land his blocks. Amaro whiffed. Amaro is a fantastic talent and there isn't a Big 12 defender that can cover him, but to take it to the next level he has to learn how to block.
I'd also say that the reason why true freshmen receivers don't play all that much is because they can't block. It's not because they can't catch the ball, but Dylan Cantrell would play more if he'd go kick some ass blocking. But high school receivers aren't used to that. They're used to being "the guy" on offense and not having to block. They'll get it, eventually, but it's the reason why receivers in this offense take time to develop. The ones that can catch and block are the ones that play more than the ones that don't.
- I don't know exactly which players had their redshirt removed, but as I go throw the list of players that particpated here is the list of true freshmen: IR Carlos Thompson, WR D.J. Polite-Bray, LB Zach Barnes, WR Dylan Cantrell, CB Dee Paul (who got beat on the second TD pass), LB Malik Jenkins, and OL Baylen Brown. I think the coaching staff really wants to keep those redshirts on those offensive linemen if possible. I think Brown played at center and he is the back-up center. Other than that, barring injury, he should be the only offensive lineman with the redshirt removed.
- Still find it amazing that Carlos Thompson's only significant offer was freaking Old Dominion. He can play and that punt return was really a terrific look at his speed.
- Most likely next year, CB Jeremy Reynolds is going to start at cornerback and he's a guy that competes. I thought the penalty was bulsh on him, but he's going to step into that role just fine. The size he has added is pretty significant and that's going to be very beneficial next year.
- I have barely mentioned the receivers. WR Bradley Marquez is going to be terrific this year. Granted, he wasn't playing a lock-down cornerback, or really a cornerback at all for his touchdown run, but the defenders on Marquez for both of his catches were both right on him. Marquez still had to go out and catch the ball.
- WR Eric Ward was relatively quiet this game, but I'm not worried about that at all. IR Jakeem Grant again shows all of us that he's deadly in space.
- I loved the way the uniforms looked. This is really a minor thing, but I liked the bit of red and white in the black uniforms, both in the jerseys and the pants. I also really liked the non-bass boat glitter helmets and the red stripe. Also, how about those baseball caps with the GUNS UP right up the middle in the back. Who else wants one of those?