THE RESULT | Two True True Freshmen Quarterbacks | I jokingly wrote before the game that I said I would miss that phrase. I really won’t and I’m sure you know that I was being sarcastic. I’ll be very glad to be able to put that to bed very soon. It’s just not the quarterbacks, but it’s the true freshmen on the field that are there too, trying to make a difference. A true freshman at right guard was really problematic and Beau Carpenter solves a lot of that. A true freshman at cornerback was problematic for at least one touchdown, maybe two. You get the idea. It stinks and it hurts.
In watching the post-game press conference, it’s seems that Kingsbury’s body language is a bit down, but his language still seems to try to stay positive. I do think it’s worn on him, this season and losing five in a row, and I didn’t think that prior to this year. If anything, I don’t think that Texas Tech wins at West Virginia and TCU last year, so if that gives you any solace to the year, that’s it. It has been a grind and it’s been tough. Kingsbury looked tired and a bit beaten.
I hope that someone can give Kingsbury. This really assumes that I know what's best for him, and I don't at all. Maybe Hocutt could let him know that it's going to get better.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Again, Eric Ward, I thought had the best game, with 8 catches and 88 yards and one of the hardest hits to knock out an opposing player that was as clean as the day is long.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | LB Will Smith had 18 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, that included a sack. Of those 18 tackles, 13 were unassisted.
What’s the Deal With Brewer? | I get this question a lot with my friends. They just don’t understand and neither do I. I don’t understand the situation. I really thought that QB Michael Brewer was going to start and at the very least I was glad he played. I’m still a fan and part of me really hates to even insinuate a player wanting to leave or anything like that. I really don’t want Brewer to leave and I do believe what I wrote in this week’s Iconography post. It is a repetition thing with Brewer, or the lack thereof. The offense did look completely different the minute he stepped into the game. Completing passes for some good yardage and getting the ball down the field. And, well, throwing the only touchdown for the day to TE Jace Amaro, Brwer squeezed that pass in a tight window. What do I think will happen? I’m not sure. I hope like heck he stays and starts in game number one next year. I know that I probably have my head in the sand on this, but I’m still a fan and I still want things to happen despite the evidence being quite contrary to what I want to have happen.
And Brewer wasn’t perfect, and much of what plagued QB Baker Mayfield, a porous offensive line, also got to Brewer without any real opportunity to create a different result. Mayfield’s rough day wasn’t just on him. A large part of it was, for sure, but the offensive line had serious problems last night.
So About That Line | It’s amazing how one guy can be the keystone and I do believe that with Beau Carpenter at right guard. We talked about the offensive line being thin during the spring and when you start a true freshman at right guard, you’re limited to what you can do offensively. And really, Baylen Brown wasn’t a huge problem, you can really lay blame along the offensive line. The problem is that it starts up front, the offensive line is problematic because it’s about effectiveness.
The line isn’t able to spring the running backs really at all, and it was clearly evident when Mayfield was at quarterback. When Texas knew that they could essentially shut down any semblance of a running game, they knew that they would be able to just go after Mayfield when he threw the ball. Knowing that a part of the offense isn’t even so much as a threat, at least not over the past handful of games, that is the problem.
Yes, the quarterbacks are a problem, but if a team can’t effectively run, it’s just not going to work anywhere else. This is the difference between other "spread" teams, like Baylor and Oklahoma St., there’s very much the threat of a running game. If I could ask for one Christmas wish, it would be this. To ask for a real deal legitimate running game. The unfortunate part is that this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take time. Those two programs have had years of being able to recruit an offensive line to suit what they want to do and offensive line coaches that are staples of those respective programs. I hope that the turnaround for the offensive line happens overnight, or during the spring, with some transfers and recruits and true freshmen growing up quickly.
The more I think about it, if you want the offense to be significantly better next year, I think wish for a better offensive line and a more involved running game.
Penalties, or Lack Thereof | I don’t write about penalties in Post Game Thoughts. I just don’t.
Penalties and Turnovers Are Funny Like a Clown | Another embarrassing number of penalties and losing the turnover battle yet again. I don’t have any answers right now, it’s almost comical if anything. In that Joe Pesci sort of way, where I don’t think that we’re going to be cracking jokes about it and if you were to ask any of us about the turnovers and the penalties, you’d probably get the response, "So you think this is funny? Like a clown?" Then we just throw down our beer bottle and walk away with our head down.
What to Do With Special Teams | Earlier this week, in the weekly conversation with SARR, he asked me about the special teams and I unintentionally ignored the question. I just overlooked it, but my response would have been to fire everyone. It’s scary when the offense only scores 9 points for an entire game, and I know that we’re not talking about the offense here, but the special teams did produce a touchdown, but a mistake on a punt was the dagger that put any thought of a potential comeback was quickly put to bed when Austin Stewart touched the ball, and I do think he touched the ball. Texas was able to then just put the entire thing away.
The problem with hiring a special teams coach means you have to fire one of the coaches already on staff. You’re limited to the number of coaches that you have on staff. You can have graduate assistants and chiefs of staff and directors of personnel, but it’s clear that something has to happen with the special teams to get it better and I’m not sure I can think of a workable solution right now. Other than what I wrote last week, which was to have guys that are older and more aware of what’s happening, that could be a benefit. Overall, these guys have to figure it out. I wrote earlier in the year that I’d guess that Trey Haverty gets the special teams turned around and he didn’t do that this year. I still don’t want to bet against Haverty and if I had to guess, he’ll figure something out in the offseason. It’s just like any of us, needing to learn how to do something and figuring it out on the go, it can be problematic and it was problematic this year.
Haven’t Even Mentioned the Defense | I don’t think I’m crazy to think that I thought the defense played all that poorly. Oh yeah, sure, Texas ended up scoring 40 points and running for over 281 yards, but maybe it’s about expectations for the defense versus the offense. I have these expectations that the offense is going to be able to put up more than 9 points in a game and help the defense out a bit. Texas, a running team, got in 81 plays over the course of the game, which is 1 more than Texas Tech. Yes, the defense just couldn’t get a stop on a consistent basis and only forced 5 punts, but Texas Tech had 12 of their 15 drives be unproductive, i.e. drives that didn’t produce any points. On the other hand, Texas had 8 unproductive drives out of 15. To me, I still go back to the offense not doing much of anything and at some point, the defense is going to break.
I also go back to field position every Iconography post and looking back at that over the past few weeks, it seems as if the opposing team has had an average starting field position of the 37 yard line, while Texas Tech’s average drive started at their own 24. This seems completely inconsequential, but if you multiply that out over the course of those 15 drives, that’s almost 200 yards of offense or additional yards that you really don’t see, but it makes a difference. A significant difference over the course of a game. Helping out that average is the Stewart special teams mistake, but you get the idea. That plays into the equation.
No matter how I feel, the defense just didn’t do enough, they gave up big running plays, through the entire game and the Texas running game was like taking 61 body blows during a prize fight and expecting it to have zero effect. It did have an effect.
I am still very thankful that Bruce Jones is okay.