THE RESULT | I'M DONE | I don't know if I've tried to defend QB Taylor Potts, but I've certainly tried to be fair to him. I've tried to give him an opportunity to show that he's capable of leading this team. I've tried to be patient and I'm done. I've always thought that he shouldn't be the starting quarterback, but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and he could prove me wrong. Every time I think about this situation, I stop and think that both Mike Leach and Tommy Tuberville came to the same conclusion, that Potts was the signal-caller that would lead this team. That still boggles my mind. It's tough to say what Leach would have done this year (I can assure you that no one, and I mean no one can accurately predict what Leach would have or would not have done. It's an exercise in futility.). But I'm there now. I've seen enough. But I also don't know how to handle this role. I'm not going to be the blogger that goes on a tirade and demands each and every day that the quarterback be replaced. That's just not my personality. I still want this to be fun and being the angry-blogger would be bad for my mental health. What I will write is that I know that the line hasn't performed up to our expectations and that the offensive play-calling should be better, but Potts just doesn't have it. Doesn't matter to me if it's Steven Sheffield or Seth Doege or Jacob Karam. I just can't defend Potts anymore.
Storylines and MVP's after the jump.
THE STORYLINES |
BEGETTING AND BEGETTING | So how does this work? Is it poor offensive line play begets an inability to call half-way decent offensive game plan begets negative rushing yards? Or is it poor offensive gameplan begets an inability to run begets poor offensive line play? Or is it no running game begets poor offensive line play begets poor offensive gameplan? I don't know, hopefully you see where I'm going with this, which is that you can't blame one with out blaming the other. And you could certainly add quarterback play in there, I wasn't trying to ignore this, but rather focus on some other things for a moment. I'm not sure how to wrap your head around all of this, but here's what I watched: The offensive line cannot handle speed rushers. They're just not quick enough to even so much as to get a hand on these guys. I might suggest that LaAdrian Waddle and Mickey Okafor and Chris Olson and who ever else might play the tackle position, to get some reps in against Brian Duncan and Scott Smith this week. Or maybe this is why a true freshman, Beau Carpenter, made such an impression this spring and fall. Perhaps the staff knew that they had a bunch of big guys that couldn't handle a speed rush to save their life and openly welcomes a player like Carpenter? I don't know the answer to this, but I'm more than willing to see if he can handle a pass-rush.
The other thing that really bothers me about the offensive line is that the interior line can't get their bodies on anyone. Trying to run a rushing play inside looks like a complete cluster-eff. For an offensive line to be as big as they are, it's a complete disaster and like watching a Keystone Cops routine where linemen are just running around, without purpose, and bumping into something.
But it was the overall offensive performance that was the most frustrating. And although I was somewhat joking about what begets the overall play, it's hard to call a game when the offensive line plays awful, but it's also hard to win a game when the quarterback takes one shot down the field and almost everything is underneath and premeditated.
I mentioned that one of my keys to the game would be how offensive coordinator Neal Brown would matchup against one of the best defensive coordinators in the country in Will Muschamp. Brown has a lot to learn and I still think he's a smart guy and I still think he's the right person for the job, but he's got to be better and he knows it:
"Obviously a very poor performance on the offensive side of the ball, and you don’t need to be a brain scientist to figure that out," Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. "We’re not going to beat anybody like that, much less Texas."
And Tuberville isn't passing the buck:
It's just I did a poor job of getting the offense ready to play. We were overemotional to begin with. The bad snap put us in a big bind, big bind. And that's just our guys were just too psyched up. You know, we never had a bad snap in practice.
But, you've got to learn from it. But as I told them, you know, they played in spurts, no consistency. That's reading your practice. We'll come back tomorrow, look at the film and try to get better.
But I don't have to tell all of you that that just wasn't a very good football game on our side as a team, and again, there are some part of it were good, some parts of it wasn't very good.
Words are nice, but we need to see some action and I appreciate this, but it's time to do something.
THE INEFFICIENCY OF THE OFFENSE AND POTTS | I could certainly run down Potts' and the offense's inefficiency. It's not hard to find. Only 4.4 yards per passing attempt. Only 144 total yards of offense. Only 2.7 yards per play. Only 3 of 13 on third downs. I could go on for days, but I won't.
The truth of the matter is that I'm a complete homer and I will cheer for a player personally. I still cheer for Potts and hope that he does well. It's intellectually dishonest for me to think that Potts still has it in him. The thing that I don't get, and keep in mind that Leach reached the same conclusion last year too, is how Potts can be such a convincing choice in practice while Sheffield isn't? When I was driving up for the SMU game, we were talking about Potts vs. Sheffield and I mentioned my half-assed theory about how if Potts is the starter, you don't have any sort of spark to come off the bench and possibly lead a team. It seems like a ridiculous reason not to start a player (i.e., is player A better than player B?), but I have a lot of completely unproven theories.
I don't know if this is a case where this staff or the former staff felt as if they had invested too much in Potts to let that talent not get on the field, but the mistakes that Potts is making are mistakes that a 5th year senior quarterback should make. Even more interesting, if you're watching Raider Power '10, Potts is the featured offensive player. At some point, that will have to stop.
But I don't know what to do as a fan or as a blogger. I don't think that the pressure of a blog will force a staff to make a change. I feel helpless and truthfully, I felt a little helpless last year too.
DISAPPEARANCE OF THE SCREEN GAME | I'll stop beating this dead horse in a minute, but last but not least, the running back screen game, that would seemingly neutralize an attacking defense has almost disappeared. Thus far this season, RB Eric Stephens has 3 catches for 43 yards and RB Baron Batch has 2 receptions for 10 yards. One of Graham Harrell's best traits was his innate ability to float the ball over a rushing defensive lineman that would then make and/or force the defense to play back a bit. After watching Potts, I don't think he has the ability to make this throw, otherwise we'd be seeing more of these screens. I don't have much to comment on it because I think the play on the field speaks for itself. Perhaps OC Brown needs to start here. Any other suggestions are welcome.
STILL MAKING PLAYS | Never saw it coming from Scott Smith. That guy was amazing. I don't know if I have much to add on that, but it was a tremendous effort: 6 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 2 sacks, 1 interception and 3 tipped passes. Can't ask much more from Smith and actually, I thought the entire defense played up to expectations. Tuberville obviously has some serious work to do on the offense, but this defense has a different attitude. The best thing about this defense is that they still made plays and they kept the offense in the game for the most part. Were they perfect? No, there's still work to be done, but I'd like to think that if we can be negative we can also be a little bit positive. DC James Willis has revamped this defense into something that I'm really proud of and I think it's only going to get better. CB Jarvis Phillips is a freaking redshirt freshman who was originally a quarterback in high school. He's become a play-making cornerback. And for the day, the defense had 10 TFL, 3 interceptions, and 3 sacks. The touchdown from Gilbert to Davis was disappointing, but the defense had been on the field for almost 40 minutes last night (37:44 for UT and 22:16 for TTU). The Texas Tech offense never the defense a chance.
TAUNTING | There's really not much more for me to add here. Obviously, Will Ford never should have gotten in the face of the receiver, but this led to a back-breaking touchdown. I don't think the offense had it in them to score.
- OC Brown said that his offense was predicated on getting the ball into the playmaker's hands. That's not happening. Every receiver was virtually non-existant. Brown's got to figure out a way to get the ball to these guys in space. Right now the offense is befuddled and UT was able to simply stop the run with just 4 defenders and play everyone back. This reminds me of Missouri from previous years. There are ways to beat this type of defense, but UT showed the rest of the Big 12 how to play this offense. It's Brown's move.
- CB Tre` Porter was tremendous. He doesn't play like a true freshman. Give him this year and he's like to be considered an all-conference player by next year.
- Texas Tech managed only 54 plays. Sheesh.
- The most disappointing thing about this offensive line is that they're not physical. It really doesn't matter what scheme you run, wishbone or the spread, you still have to be physical at the point of attack. That's not happening.
- DT Colby Whitlock made plays and beat double-teams. We need more of this please.
- The Longhorns averaged only 2.2 yards per rush.
OFFENSIVE MVP | WR LYLE LEONG | I was tempted to choose no one, but that's a cop-out. At the very least, Leong made one play. It would be nice to see some of the other skill position players start making plays.
DEFENSIVE MVP | DE SCOTT SMITH | See above. This kid was dominating.
SPECIAL TEAMS MVP | P JONATHAN LACOUR | It's never a good sign when your punter is the special teams MVP. I wish the staff would put him back on scholarship.