THE RESULT | Tough | That was the toughest game that I think this team has played in ages. Ages. It was glorious on one hand and brutal on the other, but any time that you can get a 10 point win with everything that happened, I'll take it every day. That danged defense played as tough a game as I can remember, faulting with just a touchdown just once. And when you walk into work and you're whistling because your happy, don't let any one tarnish a Big 12 win. Yeah, the offense wasn't great, but I've been telling you all summer that TCU has a danged good defense, should be one of the best two by the end of the year.
And I'm not going to talk about the officials or penalties. It was awful, but I'd rather spend the time that I have talking about the actual play on the field. This is my acknowledgement that the officiating was painful.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | LT Le'Raven Clark held Devonte Fields to minimal impact, 3 tackles and 2 sacks. Those numbers don't really speak to how much Fields was neutralized by Clark or how Fields was completely non-aggressive on certain plays. Still, what Clark did was fantastic and we hardly ever get to mention one of the linemen, but he earned it last night
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | This has to be LB Terrance Bullitt, right? He was terrific defensively, both supporting the rung and against the pass. Just a terrific effort. You coudl throw Tre' POrter in there again, but Bullitt was just terrific in all facets of the game. Just really beautiful to watch.
Lanes | When Co-DC Matt Wallerstedt talked earlier this week, he mentioned that the defense needed to stay in their lanes against TCU. I really brushed this off as coach-speak, but at some point in the first quarter, it became crystal clear that the defense was doing exactly what was asked of them. Not just rushing up the field, but creating certain pockets in certain passing situations for TCU or when slanting and every danged player staying in their lane to either take on an offensive lineman or make the play. If you have the opportunity to go back and watch it, I cannot recommend enough that you watch that defensive line and linebackers and how they flow into a play or rush Boykin. Just a phenomenal job of coaching and a phenomenal job of the players taking what they learned and applying that on the field.
Mayfield and Webb | I think that it is real easy to take for granted how good defensively TCU was. Some people are going to question QB Baker Mayfield's performance tonight, and rightfully so, it was rough. But TCU will have one of the best Big 12 defenses this year. You can mark it down. Gary Patterson and Dick Bumpas can coach defense like few others in the country. Watching this game reminded me of watching Missouri and Graham Harrell. The Tigers had Harrell's number as they dropped a ton of players in to coverage and were able to really limit the spacing and windows available. Think back to how tough of games Harrell had against those Missouri teams. Heck, think back to when Harrell played TCU and couldn't get ANYTHING going. Nothing. But Mayfield got something going in the first half. TCU fans love pointing to that 12-3 win in Ft. Worth in 2006 where Harrell couldn't do anything offensively. But I don't know if Webb would have survived the first three quarters and I say that somewhat jokingly, but knowing Webb's propensity to hold onto the ball for such long periods of time, I think it would have been even more problematic.
I don't think that Mayfield is capable of shrinking. He'll have tough nights this year if he is the guy going forward because that is what freshmen do. This is a team effort though, and other parts of the team will need to pick things up. Mayfield has come too far to doubt himself, I can promise you that he's still got it and I think he'll still be the guy going forward.
But Webb was fantastic in a short period of time. Almost every play call was one that didn't require much decision making on his part. Screen to DeAndre Washington and toss to Bradley Marquez. Webb was asked to throw the ball to spots in that game, I think, while Mayfield was still making more decisions through the majority of the game. And this isn't a knock on Webb, just where he is on the decision making process.
Finish the Run | I will be shocked if these players don't take a touchdown pass or touchdown run and hand the ball to the official for the rest of Kingsbury's tenure. That's needs to stop.
Is This Real | It's just been three games, but what a fantastic three games that Kingsbury has been a part of as the head coach. Coach Bro is so danged good it's almost scary. Like Mayfield, Kingsbury will faulter at some point, but son of a gun, what he's shown us thus far should make you think that starting out his career with just three wins isn't a mistake or luck or happenstance. Those screen calls were terrific when they were called, with a defense attacking either Mayfield or Webb and not allowing any receivers to do much at all down the field, calling a screen in those situations allowed huge gains, touchdowns and almost-touchdowns.
Kingsbury is going to be as dedicated to the cause as you'll ever see.
You can hold out your chest even more this morning knowing that you might have one of the best young head coaches in college football with just a three game resume.
That Secondary | The secondary isn't going to get a lot of play because the defensive line and linebackers played so well that the seconary was almost an afterthought. But Bruce Jones, J.J. Gaines and Tre' Porter were absolutely fantastic this game. An considering that Ola Falemi was just okay says a lot about how this defense has played this year. Think about the secondary and think about how many times that the defense has been beat over the top? I can't reall that happening this year, a tribute to Porter and Gaines, who got his first interception during the year. Jones was terrific in press coverage and even though it is clear that Falemi isn't as good as Jones, Falemi is still really darned good. Granted, TCU isn't exactly a passing team, but those plays on the ball weren't fake and last year the secondary gave up over 300 yards passing to Boyking.
- A fox. A damned fox. Weird things happen in Lubbock.
- I don't know how to address the fair catch that wasn't supposed to be a fair catch, but there are things that swing a certain way in a game and you have to bounce back. The first thing that Gary Patterson talked about after the game was that he couldn't comment about the officials. The officiating was bad on both sides of the ball and both teams had a touchdown taken away. DeAndre Washington's touchdown was taken away and the camera was squarely focused on Patterson with his hands up for what felt like 30 seconds celebrating. You don't celebrate officiating calls, you keep coaching and you get your team focused.
- TE Jace Amaro had, statisically, a good night, but he couldln't break any big gains. Again, that's really a credit to TCU and the defense that they play.
- The announcers said it, but Dartwan Bush had the best game that I can ever remember him playing. He finished with 1 sack, 4 tackles and 2 QB hurries.
- The running backs had a rough night. Again, for me, I think a lot of it has to do with TCU. I'm still pretty confident that this team is going to be able to run the ball when needed, but I don't think that Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington are going to lead the Big 12 in rushing. I'm okay with that as I care more about wins than anything else.
- WR Eric Ward didn't register a catch, but there was no way that TCU was going to let Ward catch 3 touchdowns like he did last year. Kingsbury, Mayfield and Webb all found other ways to exploit TCU enough.
- I'd also feel a bit remiss if I didn't mention how well Will Smith and Sam Eguavoen also played. Smith finished with 9 tackles while Eguavoen finished with 8. They really did a fantastic job of filling those lanes and generally limiting TCU to very little.
- WR Bradley Marquez's ability to beat his man and make catches in the endzone is going to be one of those things that happens all too often this year and you might take it for granted. If you listen to the presser, Marquez was dealing with a cold all game, but he didn't let that stop him. Marquez is incredibly underrated.