Revelation within the words

My after-the-game routine normally involves examining the official quotes from the game. In lieu of actually being there in the locker room asking questions, these are the closest you can get to both the stated spin and the unstated responsibilities.

This is my first diary here (be kind, please) and I want to delve into something that was obvious from the game and yet not really discussed here to this point. (And forgive me if I just missed relative statements, but I think I've read everything here since last night.)

I go about this as an autopsy. Indeed, most written sports stories about events are autopsies even if the corpus is still warm. This particular story is, ironically, about a corpus of extremes, that is, both too hot at a critical time and too cold when it should have been hot. Mystery? Or a mirage?

Mack's comments are always the key focus, and, sometimes those of the opposing coaches as well. Always shrouded in coachspeak - that particular diplomatic language for players, fans, other coaches and the bosses - especially the bosses. Remember, while we chew the fat here, the others can chew some real asses. They're always in the equation even though any direct comment is out of the question, there's always something for them when the performance is not up to expectations.

All block quotes from: MackBrown-TexasFootball. All added emphasis is my own.

We lost our rhythm a little bit right before the half, and part of it was probably my fault because, they [ASU] were staying on the field so much and that is who they are. They've been averaging 33 minutes per game through last season, and we felt like we were scoring
really fast
and our defense was staying out there forever, and we weren't stopping them with three-and-outs. We felt the heat, it's a hot night, and we tried to slow it down a little bit and we did.

Late in the second quarter we'd only scored two TDs. That's not scoring at much of a fast rate. Three drives, 13 plays, 14 points and a pooch punt. What I think he meant was that the offense wasn't taking time off the clock long enough to suit him.

So he (or he and GD) changed the offense because the defense was in danger of tiring, or in coachspeak, at the rate they were staying on the field, they would have been very tired in the second half. See, part of the decision was a projection in the future. I'm sure the snarky response would be the D would have had more rest during the kickoffs after the fast-scoring offense had racked up more TDs. The coaches didn't seem concerned that ASU's defense would be tiring from running up and down the field and that would later facilitate our offensive production.

Sometimes we were in such a rhythm there, I'm not sure we didn't score to[o] easy and score too quickly. And then we went into the game wanting to make ourselves run the ball, and they were blitzing so much we probably should have kept throwing it.

Duh, you think? So, coach, do we respond to what the defense is doing on the field or do we respond to what you ideally would like to do? One is a game reactive response, one is for scrimmages where you have real control.

And this concept of "make ourselves run the ball" - as twisted as the language is - would perhaps be "chose to run" or "chose to feature the running game" as to the way it is said, which implies that we really pass and have to go out of our way to run. I don't pick on this to expose the convoluted language but to point out the thought process.

No offense to the coach, but the spread is a running offense (and my source is a direct conversation with Emory Bellard who knew a little about running and a lot about taking advantage of any situation which benefited running; after he retired he lived in my town and we talked a lot). The pass sets up the run, you play the accordion, that is squeezing and expanding the field, and run into the open areas you set up. I'm confused by what Mack is saying. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm the only one confused.

I suspect there is an identity problem, which is usually solved by asking: What do we do well? Where do we excel? Where are we weak?

Tactical football is about featuring your strengths and hiding your weaknesses, not exposing your weaknesses and hiding your strengths. Unless, of course, you need a lot of teaching film. As PB has duly noted, the last three games last season would start a mini-library.

They were blitzing a whole lot and taking a bunch of chances. The thing you have in a game like this, just like App State, they've got nothing to lose. They can blitz every play, and if they get beat by 50 or seven, it's all the same. They're coming in with everything to gain and nothing to lose.

This is for the bosses and the Monday morning QBs. That may have been true the first half of the game, but was increasing less credible the second half. Again, do you react to what is happening on the field? Or do you let the puppies chew your toes off cause they're just so cute and cuddly? Are they leading TCU into a trap where they think they can run blitz, too, and we won't pick them apart? That's like saying they're holding back for OU, when, in fact, I have seldom ever seen them holding back for OU in nearly 50 years of watching the RRS. Texas does play vanilla at the start of the season and sometimes I get the feeling they would do that all season long if they didn't have to. And I've saw DRK do that for years (like 65-67, to be exact), but, then, he had a real defense.

On the offensive line:

I do want to see why people ran through as much as they did on their blitzes.I want to see why, I don't know why unlike you all, I just watched and listened and I couldn't figure it out.

I would have asked an assistant coach and if he didn't know, then I certainly would have had some serious concerns. So, where did this 'couldn't figure it out' and the change of the offense decision occur? I find this rather bizarre and confusing. Sorta, they're everywhere, they're everywhere - let's run into the run blitzes. I'm not a head coach nor have I played one anywhere above the Little League level, so what do I know.

We made our red zone defense the most important thing all camp, and they really stepped up tonight.

This showed up well on the field. The Horns pushed them back and made key sacks; most consistent play I saw all night.

Colt's take on the night:

We worked on a lot of stuff, but it's hard during the first game to figure out what they're really doing. They threw a lot of different stuff at us, and that's a matter of us handling it and us fixing it.

Using the third person obscures a lot of definitive responsibility. Did Colt not figure out what they were doing or the coaches? Or both. No new staff on the O side. Was the team not prepared even if they worked on a 'lot of stuff?' Just a curious comment in light of an on-the-field switch in the offensive emphasis. (And a note: not pickin' on Colt per se; no need to beat him up. This goes to coaching.)

Tony Hills, snark of the night:

We learned that there is a lot of parity in college football.
We left some points on the field...

And finally, from the opposing QB:

It was the first game of the season, and we came into a hostile crowd. I did not think they were going to be that loud, they gave us a lot of trouble with how loud they got.

He should have been talking about our defense, but this is what impressed him.

This has grown long while most diaries are much shorter. Those quotes are what the media will be mining for the coming week's build-up. Sure, it makes much of what will be written anti-climatic but there are real things hidden between the lines.  

My point is that Texas deliberately changed the offensive scheme. It was 91 degrees at kick-off, humid, so it was hot. Considering that the weather pattern had been the same all week, that was all forseeable. Plus, Texas had the shade side, which helped a little. 'Scoring too fast' can play a real role in stretching out your defense, of keeping it on the field too long; I've seen that happen.

So can going three-and-out. But all this points to a defensive problem, not necessarily an offensive one. The Horns could put up 35 by halftime and let everyone play and not be concerned by the heat. And this Horns offense could have done that if it continued at the first quarter pace.

But they changed on purpose and I can't quite firgure out why they did so.

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