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Report Card: Texas Tech vs. Texas A&M

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We're grading based on the entire game. Just keep that in mind as we go forward with the grades. One other thing to note, John Bible officiated the game yesterday. Did anyone else notice?

 

Offensive MVP: Detron Lewis I thought his play throughout the game was outstanding, plus I thought someone other than Crabtree, Harrell or Batch should get some recognition.

Defensive MVP: Brandon Williams and Richard Jones Richard Jones stop on 3rd and goal was huge. Jones doesn't get enough credit, but he's good. Brandon Williams was getting pressure on Johnson a good part of the game, he was awfully good on Saturday.

Special Teams MVP: Cory Fowler Despite missing a couple extra points, I thought, when given time, his kicks looked good with plenty of height.

QUARTERBACK
 

A-

Certainly not a perfect game, especially with Graham Harrell's (44-56; 450 yds; 3 TD's; 2 INT's) lone pick of the day, which he threw off the back of his foot, but it was pretty good. He knows better than that and I think he'd like to have that one back. I also thought it was odd on this first interception that it looked like Vasquez was pulling left to set up a screen, but Woods goes right into the flat. I'm not sure if there was a communication breakdown as to who was supposed to go where, but Harrell has got to know better than to just throw the ball up for grabs. The 2nd interception wasn't his fault and the ball slipped through Crabtree's hands. Harrell completed 79% of his passes, and had just a hair over 8 yards per passing attempt (8.03). Harrell didn't call a perfect game either, there were some times that he should have changed the play at the line of scrimmage (in particular when TAMU dropped 8 at or near the goal line), and you would hope that Harrell will be able to punish opposing teams in the future for this soft defense. In the 2nd to last drive, TAMU started to blitz in an attempt to change things up a bit where they were dropping 8, but Harrell continually found the open man. Harrell seemed poised throughout most of the game, didn't rush his throws and his play makes me feel confident heading into the next 4 games.
RUNNING BACK
 

A

You were probably expecting a "B" here right? Not so fast. Baron Batch (13; 87 rush yds; 1 TD; 3 8 pass yds; 1 TD) was amazing, again. The guy just gets it, and when he ran over the TAMU defender, pushing him back 3 yards, that was a stand up and cheer moment for me. I loved seeing that. Batch averaged 6.7 yards per attempt and is just seeing everything. Shannon Woods (7; 20 rush yds; 4; 34 pass yds) deserves a ton of credit for the way he blocked yesterday and for that alone, he gets an "A". The way I see it, there's no shame in Batch being a better runner in comparison to Woods. There are things that Woods can do that Batch can't, and that's pick up the blitz and be one of the more effective full backs I've seen at Texas Tech. At least 15 of Batch's yards are due to Woods absolutely clearing out the hole and just leveling the TAMU defender. Also don't forget a couple of blitz pick-ups that Woods had which saved a Harrell sack. As much crap that Woods gets for not being the runner that Batch is, he's one hell of a blocker.
RECEIVER
 

A-

The only reason this group doesn't get an "A+" are the two turnovers, one by Swindall on what would have been an amazing catch and Crabtree's drop in the 2nd half.  On the positive side of the ledger, I cannot recall a time when this group blocked better. I don't know who crawled up their rears, they got them in gear in high form. Excellent job by each one of them, to the man, for their job blocking yesterday. As far as individual performances, it was Detron Lewis' (9; 92 yds) play that made me jump up in my living room. Lewis was running tough after he caught the ball and he took some pretty nasty hits. Lewis led the team in receptions for the day and his work on Texas Tech's 4th drive was tremendous. Michael Crabtree (8; 71 yds; 2 TD's) was a little banged up after he twisted his ankle on a punt return. Tramain Swindall (7; 101 yds) would have had an outstanding day if not for the fumble. Edward Britton (4; 48 yds) and Eric Morris (7; 70 yds) also played well, as did Jacoby Franks (1; 13 yds) subbing in for Crabtree and Lyle Leong (1; 13 yds) caught what was thrown to him.
H-BACK AND TIGHT END
 

C

Adam James had 1 pass thrown his way, behind him, and that was it for the tight ends being involved in the passing game. Texas Tech was able to run relatively well, but this formation isn't quite as a mystery  to opponents lately as it was earlier in the year.
OFFENSIVE LINE
 

A

No sacks given up. Again. Click. I thought Louis Vasquez and Rylan Reed looked more mobile than they have all year. Both looked good getting down the field and pulling. They're getting healthy at the right time. It's hard to criticize a group of guys who average 7.1 yards per play and don't allow a sack. Baron Batch lost 1 yard on 1 run. That's it. There was a play during the 2nd drive of the game where Brandon Carter just crushed an Aggie defensive player on a Batch run. There was another play where Marlon Winn whiffed on an Aggie defender forcing Harrell to throw a little early, but other than that I'm having a hard time thinking of a bad offensive play. I also really liked how there was a significant push by the offensive line on some of those goal line situations.
DEFENSIVE LINE
 

B

This is the only defensive unit that gets a decent grade. I thought the pressure from the line was outstanding. Early in the game I thought the alignment was off and the Aggies did a good job of taking advantage of no one up the middle, but the line adjusted. McNeill called quite a few more stunts this week, than I recall last week and for the most part, they did a good job of collapsing the pocket and containing Johnson. As mentioned above, Richard Jones (3 tackles) gets part of the defensive MVP for his work on the line. I thought his presence along the line was outstanding, as was Colby Whitlock (5 tackles) who has a motor that just doesn't quit. Whitlock is a guy who can put pressure on the quarterback, stop the run and does as good a job as any lineman in the Big 12 at getting down the line of scrimmage in pursuit. Brandon Williams (2.0 sacks) had consistent pressure from the edge and I'm surprised he's not credited with at least 1 quarterback hurry. Jake Ratliff (3 tackles) is a guy that I just don't notice, while McKinner Dixon (1 tackle) had a relatively quiet day in comparison to what we're accustomed, but he as well as Daniel Howard (1.0 sack) and Brandon Sharpe (2 tackles; 1 sack) collectively had good days putting pressure on Johnson.
LINEBACKER
 

C

The only reason ths group gets a "C" is the play of Brian Duncan (5 tackles; 1 TFL).  Other than the Goodson touchdown where he followed the fullback to the right rather than filling the hole to the left, he was really good.  Part of the problem is that the further we go into the Big 12 and passing teams, the less we'll see Bront Bird (1 tackle) be able to make a difference. I should mention that Marlon Williams (12 tackles) is doing as best he can covering the slot receiver and although I might be inclined to try another option, like Julius Howard or even Bird to an extent (although I think Tannehill was his responsibility on his short touchdown), he's doing what he's told. It's an obvious matchup that an opposing team will take advantage of, but I think he's doing his job as best he can.  He is probably well aware that he's not fast enough to cover a slot receiver, and he probably doesn't need me telling him that each week.  With that being said, this was Williams best week chasing down plays that I can recall.
DEFENSIVE BACKS
 

F

So that's the reason McNeill doesn't blitz. There were at least 2 touchdowns that were called back or just couldn't connect (one where Johnson overthrew the receiver and one where a holding penalty called back an apparent touchdown) and if things had gone a bit differently, it could have been a lot closer than the final score. For all of us griping, me included, about the lack of blitzes there was a reason why McNeill is holding back, and it's because his defensive backs are biting on routes and can't keep up with opposing receivers. That's not to say that there weren't some nice plays that were made by the defensive backfield, especially in the 2nd half, but the entire group struggled. Darcel McBath (6 tackles; 2 PBU) was good in run support, but he even got behind the receiver a couple of times and that should never happen. Daniel Charbonnet (5 tackles; 1 PBU) also good in support didn't seem to get in too much trouble in coverage, but I think Anthony Hines (3 tackles; 1 PBU) had a rough day (tough telling if it was him on a couple of broken plays from the television). I think there's talent back there, but McNeill has obviously learned his lesson.  This is why he doesn't blitz.  His guys just aren't ready to be shutdown cornerbacks, at least not yet.  
SPECIAL TEAMS
 

F

Did anyone else notice that Taylor Potts was holding for extra points? I didn't notice it until after I watched the game again. You guys can all pat yourselves on the back for making the suggestion earlier in the week. The staff obviously listened. What we did learn was that they are trying to make adjustments, but we can't completely fault Donnie Carona for the missed extra points. At least twice, the line was manhandled. In the blocked extra point, Austin Burns didn't lay a hand on anyone while Stephen Hamby was double-teamed. If Burns doesn't have a soul on him, he's got to help a brother out. On the extra point that was returned, again, it was in large part the line getting pushed around. I liked seeing Crabtree on kickoff returns, although that's where he was injured, I've still got no problem with getting him more touches.  You add in that kickoff return and he has 130 all purpose yards for the day. Morris did a pretty good job returning punts and he's done  nice job of holding onto the ball.
COACHING
 

B

This was a tough one and again, perhaps McNeill knows a hell of a lot more about his team that we do. I was glad to see McNeill pull back a bit after taking some risks int he first half. He was burned early as he rushed four on the line and blitzed Marlon Williams and Brian Duncan. McNeill played it safe the second half as we saw lots of Jordy Rowland and Anthony Hines in coverage with the defensive line mixing stunts rather than blitzes. Offensively, the game calling was special. The only time the Texas Tech was stopped (except for the lone punt) was when Texas Tech stopped itself (fumble and interceptions). At this point I'm really interested to see if Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State can stop this offense.