I'll update this later tonight with my take on the game from my seat, but for now, here's a few choice quotes:
Rice Head Coach David Bailiff:
On what prompted the offense's false starts: It was a lot louder than it was at Vanderbilt and louder than we tried to simulate in practice. It was a great venue for a football game, and I think that had a lot to do with it more than anything. The one fourth down at the 50 where we had the bad snap...that was crowd noise.
You can make a difference, Texas. Be freaking loud.
Colt "Baby Tebow" McCoy:
On surpassing Major Applewhite on the all-time TD passes list: It was awesome. I think that he [Major Applewhite] actually called the play. I honestly didn't think about it until after the game. It's a blessing, but we still have a long season ahead of us, and I hope we get to throw a lot more.
You don't say?
Sergio "Freakin" Kindle:
On whether or not Coach Will Muschamp let the pass rushers have a little more freedom in the second half: He basically just told us whoever could get there, get there. In the second half, we knew we weren't getting to the quarterback and he was completing passes, so we knew we had to get there and slow down his rhythm.
Chase Clement will sit straight up in bed tonight in a cold sweat when he remembers what Kindle whispered in his ear.
Cedric "Socrates" Dockery:
On the offense's performance on the season so far: I think we're doing well. The sky is the limit for us. We can do a lot better. We still had some mistakes in the protection, but other than that, I thought we played well.
I think the O-line gave up one, nearly two sacks and would have given up a safety if anyone academically eligible to play at Rice was also athletically elligible to tackle Vondrell McGee. So yeah, you can do better. This is better.
Your thoughts while you wait?
[Note by Horn Brain, 09/21/08 1:34 AM CDT ] Read my full Brain's Game post after the break.
It appears that 54b was off by a factor of two in predicting that the Nerd Herd would 3.141592654...-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust their way to a final tally of 3.141592654... points. They actually averaged 6.3 ypa passing, almost exactly 2*pi. Perhaps if you transformed their play diagrams into radial coordinates they would find the endzone a few more times, but I doubt that the change would do much to alleviate the effects of the Owls' low offensive and high defensive Knudsen numbers. Plus, our dudes are like, way bigger than theirs.
The recap starts with Colt. What a difference a year makes, eh? This time last year we were wondering if Colt had hit his ceiling, should we put in Chiles and build for next year, has anyone ever seen Chiles throw a pass, I don't care because he's obviously better than Colt. Today I heard the same sorts of fans who were leading the "Colt sucks" charge last year screaming "put Colt back in!" during Chiles' series. How about his rush TD? He bowled over two guys and didn't fumble. While I'd really rather Colt slide and let Cody Johnson do the bowling, you've got to get just a little pumped as a team when your QB runs over two defenders on the goal line. Colt has been as close to perfect as we could ask for so far this season, and, knock on wood, that continues indefinitely.
For Colt's shredding of opposing teams to continue in the realm of BCS conference teams, the offensive line has to be more consistent in keeping bad guys out of our backfield. I realize that Rice blitzed more than their tendencies against us, Greg, but they're still Rice, which means that we should not have Colt sacked once and nearly twice, nor should it take Mcgee breaking an easy tackle for a non-Rice LB to avoid a safety. You saw the effects of poor OL play on two straight plays in the first quarter: First, McGee was swallowed before he could take a step in the backfield after the shotgun handoff, then we had Colt 2007 reappear for a moment and chuck a duck after running for his life from the OMG UNBLOCKABLE RICE D! Naturally, we dominated them for much, much more of the game than we showed weakness, but I fear that those kinds of plays could be frequent enough against OU, Mizzou and the like to kill drives or cause turnovers. Consistently good to be great, Mack.
Cody Johnson was your most impressive rusher by a wide margin today. The asterisk that must be placed beside that statement is that CoJo played almost exclusively in the second half, long after Rice had dried up into crispy little Quaker cakes with cinnamon sugar. The fact that he's been so consistently effect in the role of "bludgeoning club" makes me want to see him get a chance against a fresh defense. He would make the shotgun triple option very deadly by forcing the defense to stop for a moment and consider that Colt may have just handed the ball to a 255 pound cudgel with wheels. Meanwhile, Colt and Fozzy are debating over which one of them is going to score this TD.
Blaine Irby was absolutely maimed on the drive that would yield Colt's record-breaking TD pass to Cosby. I think that the reason he was injured was not simply because of the low tackle, as I think that's the only way I've seen a TE tackled for the past two years, but rather because he dropped the pass. I think he has a routine in his mind that's something like: Catch and secure football, defend against knee-splosion, ..., Heisman. Unfortunately, step one took longer than expected, and he didn't have time to protect his knee from a hit that he's taken at least three or four times already this season. Result? Carnage. We may not have a TE receiving threat this year, unless they want to move over one of our big guys from WR or throw passes to a 295 pound converted tackle. This is a big loss for us this year and we all hope Irby's career isn't over at Texas.
All I can say about the receivers is that either Greg Davis needs to quit whimpering about that INT Buckner gave up at UTEP and call some real plays for the young guys or Colt needs to get them together and run some serious drills to build some chemistry. We are not going to have 200 yards passing if our whole attack is Shipley and Cosby and running backs against OU. Hooray! Shipley, adversity, Cosby, consistency. We need a serious playmaker at WR.
Flea flicker? Seriously? That crap only works in Tecmo Bowl (Pass 2! Pass 2!). I think the point of that play is to open up the running game by forcing the safeties to at least consider their assignments before selling out against the run. I don't know that it would have worked against OU, however, as our running game hasn't shown the ability to strike fear into any DB with more than one schollie offer yet. If a team decides to clamp down on our running game, however, we now have a few ways to hurt them. This is a new development, please stay tuned for updates as events warrant.
According to Kindle (above) and also at least one other DL, Muschamp unleashed the pass rush in the second half to great effect. Why the hell don't we do this more? Whatever, I'm not going to second guess a guy who can hold anybody out of the endzone for 12 plays from inside the 5. That was very, very encouraging to see. Last year we would have said "Aw, screw this" and let them score after three plays. Then Lokey and Okam would go study for their LSAT on the offense's next drive.
The defensive back play was all over the place. Earl Thomas can't tackle and looks lost in pass coverage on occasion, Blake Gideon continues to disappear for long stretches (I can't tell if that's really good or really bad with these guys, but I'll go with good since I like what I've seen so far from Blake), Chykie Brown tackles like a freaking linebacker (not a 5'11" dude from Texas, either), and I'm completely fine with him starting over Beasley now, and Palmer alternates between making smart plays and getting juked out of his jock by a quarterback. Chykie is my new favorite DB, simply because of the way he mans up for the tackle.
Kindle is the most athletic linebacker, Muckelroy is the smartest, and Bobino has the least reason to be out there. I saw Sam Acho outrun him and he's too freakin' short to matter at the line when he gets blocked on one of his patented kamikaze blitzes. Norton may not be much of an immediate improvement, but he at least has the potential to be not a black hole of suck sitting right in the middle of our D. Keenan Robinson had a play where he tackled Clement by simply throwing a tackle or a TE into him. Want.
The crowd was good on third and fourth downs, but that was about it. Two most annoying things: Yelling TEXAS! literally twenty times and getting no reply whatsoever, and killing a good round of TEXAS! FIGHT! because we stopped to boo Rice when they came in. Sheer idiocy. You'd think AT&T made more money than FSN during the game with the amount of cell phone usage. "Overheard"-style quote of the game?
Girl 1: "So why do you even come to the games?"
Girl 2: " Well, I like 'em, but I need a really good game, you know? Like when we won the Rose Bowl in the Bowl Game (?), that was f***ing awesome, but I just get bored at the other ones."
Girl 2 may be waiting quite a while for a good game, in that case.
Final note: the Godzillatron played a cool intro video with James Street highlights and no one knew what was going on. Girl 2 asked why we used to wear more red "back then". Whills is rolling over in his grave... er, bed.