I got a surprising and appreciated reprieve from work this saturday afternoon so I was able to watch the game after all. And what did I do with this gift of no work on the weekend? I took copious notes on the game. After a while though, it ended up feeling like work so I stopped at some point in the second half, but as I look back over them, I think I can pull out a few storylines from the game that we should perhaps be talking about this coming week and beyond.
*The O-line did a very good job this week of protecting colt. I don't remember one time where he was knocked down other than when he did that ridiculous break-dance spin move and then recovered and threw to a wide-open Nate Jones for a TD. But you can't put that on the O-line. It remains to be seen whether this was an improvement or whether ISU is just terrible (my guess is a little bit of the former and a whole lot of the latter).
*Somewhat relatedly, Colt seems much more comfortable rolling out than he does in the pocket. It may just be that Colt has happy feet in the pocket because he keeps getting the crap beat out of him when he stays, but I can't count the number of times Colt unnecessarily rolled out. He seems to throw better on the run too.
*Continuing on this same explanatory thread, the Texas offense is better on broken plays than on called plays. When Colt and the receivers improvise, good things happen. Case in point: the first offensive play of the game. I wrote in my notes: "Shipley wide the fuck open on an unnecessary colt rollout....ISU safety crept up thinking colt was running." Effectively what happened was Colt got happy feet and rolled out when he didn't have to. Which of course killed the called play. But then the Colt rollout caused the safety to creep up to stop a Colt run, but the CB was playing a zone and had let shipley behind him, thinking he still had safety help. It was a broken play, but Colt and his receivers have the type of chemistry that really works on broken plays. 11 seconds and 58 yards later, it was 7-0 Texas.
*Extrapolating on this, I know the tendency will be to blame this on Greg Davis being a terrible play-caller and any broken play works better than whatever bullshit GD called. Perhaps there's something to that. But perhaps, instead, Colt is just a playmaker. We have a tendency to put Colt in this category of "game manager" because he looks like one. He's a coach's son; he's smart; he's not incredibly physically gifted; he's white; etc. We tend to think he's built to run a structured offensive system. But I'm beginning to think the kid's a playmaker, not a game manager. Remember when VY struggled within the offensive system that was put in place for him (rollout QB in the Ell Roberson mold - remember Ell Roberson? Anyone?)? Then the coaches took the reigns off of Vince and gave him more freedom to improvise and he became the greatest college football player ever. You can't expect the same level of results with Colt, but maybe it's time to think about letting Colt improvise more. Not just call his own audibles, etc (which GD thinks led to a lot of Colt's struggles the first half of the year and I have no reason to doubt is true), but actually simplifying the offense and letting Colt and his receivers do what they do best: improvise on broken plays.
*Brandon Foster isn't terrible! Hooray! He had a couple of good pass breakups, especially the one in the endzone on Blythe, who has like 6 inches on him. He did exactly what a short guy is supposed to do in that situation: stay in front and grab the arms of the receiver when you can't reach the ball. Excellent play. And the pick-6 was excellent anticipation. I'm not sure whether it was based on his reading of the QB or something he picked up earlier in the game, but he jumped that route like he saw it coming a mile away.
*Bobino and Killebrew are still terrible. From my notes, early in the game: "Foster makes a tackle on a run twice. Where are the LB’s???" and "ISU run up middle. LB’s nowhere to be found. Jackson makes a leg tackle." Terrible.
*Despite ISU being terrible, the D-line didn't get a whole lot of pressure on Meyer. ISU double-teamed Orakpo all day long, it seemed, which they were doing on the one play on which Texas got a sack (by Lamarr Houston, from the other side). For how good out D-Line allegedly is, we haven't been getting a lot of sacks or even very much pressure on opposing QB's. No one's talking about this, but it's a problem. Some of it undoubtedly falls on the blitzing LB's because Bobino seemingly hasn't even sniffed a QB all season, but at the least, he should be taking up a blocker, allowing the d-line to get to the QB faster. But no. Nothing.
*Does anyone still want Chiles running meaningful drives? I guess some of you probably do, but I'm not in that camp. Chiles might be great at some point. At some point maybe we should think about giving him drives to run on his own. But right now? Um, he's a true freshman and he showed it yesterday. He had to call a timeout because the play clock was running down (actually, the sideline had to call a timeout for him because he didn't realize it was running down). He ran a nice option with Oggie, ran downfield looking for someone to block, and then ran right past the defender who ended up tackling Oggie. Then he overthrew his receiver by 5 yards down the sideline. I think there's a place for him in the offense, but he should not be running meaningful drives by himself at this point. He's just not ready. [By the way, what was with the Chiles drive being nothing but second-stringers playing for Texas? Something to make Chiles feel more comfortable (playing with the same guys he does in practice)? It was like the Orange-White game out there.]
*The offense really bought into the "pass to set up the run" theory of play-calling. And it worked to perfection. Texas didn't run the ball once until midway through the second drive, passing relentlessly and effectively. And then on the 4th drive (after the weird spring-scrimmage-style drive), Jamaal got his first carries and ran brilliantly, as ISU was scared to death of the play action. If you're counting, and I most certainly am, that's two consecutive well-called games by Greg Davis. I'm just saying.....