Alright, I hit a little road block with this post and I was kind of expecting this. There isn't full game footage out there on YouTube for this game, so I don't have film to work with to do gifs for all three plays. I've only got Tech's highlight videos they released to work with and the video on Texas Tech TV just won't work with trying to make gifs or grab screenshots where you can see anything. Plus, we all could use a little optimism after this game going forward. Let's get to it.
We're going to start with a play that was an outstanding effort from one player, Tevin Madison.
The defensive call is a zone blitz but Tech had more players in coverage than Central Arkansas put out on routes. The Bears call a max protection play, sending only two receivers out, with eight staying in to block. Tech brings five on the blitz, but doesn't provide enough pressure to really alter this play. I'm sure the Bear QB saw man coverage on the outside with his tall receiver and decided that was where he was going to go before the snap. Madison was ready to run with the receiver from the get go and was reading the throw the whole time. He times his jump perfectly and separates the ball from the receiver. Just an outstanding play from a true freshman corner early in his first start.
Next up, another defensive highlight.
So this is a variation of the zone read where an inside defensive lineman is left unblocked and read instead of the end defender on the line. This time, it's Jackson Richards that's let go and read by the QB. Richards knifes through, reads the handoff and takes down the running back, where he is joined by Branden Jackson and Kenny Williams. However, the QB keeps the ball and heads to his right behind a full back and a tightend that is kind of obscured at the beginning of the play (which is former Texas Tech player Joe Carmical as the H-back/TE). Keland McElrath and Pete Robertson are on that side of the defensive line. McElrath fights off his tackle, Robertson gets double-teamed for a second before the RT heads upfield, but McElrath tracks down the QB, meets him and doesn't let him go. This is a solid play by a JUCO newcomer in that he fights off a block, meets the ball carrier the backfield and doesn't let him go (which happened a few other times throughout the night). If McElrath doesn't make that play, the only other guy left that's available to do anything is Justis Nelson.
On this next play, we're going to be looking at the run blocking.
It's a sweep play to the right and I want to isolate three blocks. One is from RT Reshod Fortenberry, one is from IR Jakeem Grant and the other is from WR Dylan Cantrell. First, Fortenberry. He quickly elevates to the linebackers and seals his man off. He stays with him, not allowing him to close down the running lane. Grant initially misses his man, but is able to recover, lock on and drive him back. This is probably the most impressive of the three considering it was Grant driving a defender backwards and allowing Deandre Washington to follow him. And finally, take a look at Cantrell's block. He does something similar to Fortenberry in that he locks up his defender and seals him off to the outside. Being able to seal off defenders and open up running lanes, especially with receivers doing the blocking is what is going to allow the Tech running backs to break off larger chunks on the ground. Honorable mention: Jordan Davis for his attempt at the cut block there towards the beginning and rerouting his defender enough (he locks up his defender pretty well on Justin Stockton's touchdown run).
And because long scoring plays are fun:
Central Arkansas is running a three-man front with a dime look behind. They are in Cover 3 here, with a bunch of underneath zones (five to be exact) to try to stop Tech's intermediate passing game. Well, Marquez is running a deeper crossing route between the shallow and deep zones. Tech runs three receivers deep and two underneath, dump off options. Interestingly enough, of the three deep running receivers, Marquez was the one with the tightest coverage around him. Both DJ Polite-Bray and Reginald Davis have created enough room to make a catch for a first down, but Webb throws Marquez open. He's deeper than the linebackers and between two of their zones. Those two linebackers are side stepping to close that gap once they read Webb's eyes, but Marquez is moving much quicker. From there, Polite-Bray bumps the deep safety and the nearside corner doesn't have a chance.
If games won't be uploaded to YouTube going forward, I'm going to have to rework this series. I expect I may run into a problem with the UTEP game, but the conference games should end up on there.