If you ever think "Man I wish I had that HawkeyedFrog's job", remind yourself that I had to watch this fumble a dozen times. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
Welcome to the Frogs O' War Video Rewind, where I look over the game film of the latest TCU game and highlight (with pictures) what went right, what went wrong, and how Casey fumbled. Hopefully that last part won't be a recurring theme for this feature, but it will certainly be covered in detail in this one. Additionally on Friday we'll be looking at some photos from the Virginia/Georgia Tech game from last week and breaking down some of the breakdowns in Virginia's defensive scheme in their loss. Sound good? Good. Make the jump and let's learn.
What went wrong #1: Fumble the first
The frogs are lined up in the shotgun with two receivers on each side and Waymon James as the tailback on the Kansas 9 yard line. It's second down and four
The fumble is attributed to Casey, because the snap is technically made, you can see how low it is and Casey tries to get reach down and grab it without having to go too far down and blow the play.
But the snap is even lower than he anticipated and the ball slides right through his legs unimpeded. James has his eyes upfield since he's in protection on this play and doesn't even know that something is wrong.
A lot of the blame is heaped on Casey for the fumbles, but it really seems more that he has a 3 by his name in the fumbled category on the stat sheet, rather than him being directly responsible for all three. In this instance the snap and the fact that Kansas' defensive ends were able to get quick penetration was the culprit. Look at how badly our left tackle, Tayo Fabuluje is beaten by #95 Josh Williams of the Jayhawks, and that's the man who comes up with the ball. They're five yards down the field and Tayo is about to lose him completely.
This is where Casey commits his error on the play, in attempting to fall on the ball but misjudging it and missing entirely. Keep your eye on #95 Josh Williams at the bottom of the screen. Where's his blocker? Five yards behind him now. Get it together, Tayo.
With Casey missing on the fall and nobody in white within yards of Williams it's easy for him to scoop up the ball and rumble with it a ways. (Tayo has finally started moving and will get there just in time to be a part of the pile at the end).
What went Wrong #2: Pounding the Rock (Chalk Jayhawk)
I won't diagram all of the Jayhawk run plays in the first half, because they depress me, but this one was a pretty big one and shows breakdowns on a couple of levels. Here Kansas lines up in a double tight formation with two wideouts and a running back, while TCU is in the usual 4-2-5 and not bringing pressure.
The handoff is made to KU running back Taylor Cox, and the TCU D-line is getting decent penetration, but aren't minding their gap responsibility. This will either mean a tackle in the backfield due to the penetration, or there will be a hole for Cox to run through.
Our DT #57, Pierson, is more or less in position to clog things up if the run had developed to his side, but #96 Lewis got out of his lane and is now sealed off by two KU linemen and Fields (the top defensive linemean) is left unblocked, but is fulfilling his role and can't make the play. The Kansas left Tackle left fields to get his mitts on Kenny Cain, so the linebacker cleanup isn't there to make the play and look how much green is in front of the Cox here.
As a result Elisha Olabode has to come up and attempt to make the tackle, but Cox spins out of it and gets another ten yards as a result. If you're going to try to wrap a leg, you'd better hang on so tight that if he spins out he's one legged for the rest of the possession, Elisha.
This is a good illustration that penetration does not necessarily mean good defensive line play. It's easy to get carried away with aggressive play when you're on the defensive line, especially when you're on a team with a couple of fire breathing defensive coaches like Patterson and Bumpas, but in many cases it can set up your teammates for disaster if you aren't staying in your lane and with your assigned gap.
What went wrong #3: Fumble the second
TCU lines up in the spread with Tucker in the backfield, but motions him out to the flat before the ball is snapped. Keep your eye on our left tackle Tayo Fabuluje at the bottom of the screen once again as the play develops.
The TCU offensive line fans out and Tayo is one on one against speed rusher Bradley McDougald #24. It's not a pretty sight, as you can see while Tayo is a large and powerful man who will make sure you stay blocked if he blocks you, it's getting both hands on rushers to the outside that can vex him- and McDougald is a blur. Casey is looking downfield at the moment, and the Jayhawk coverage is decent enough to stop a quick release.
Now the Jayhawk pass rush is starting to close in, but the coverage is still good- Casey sees #35 starting to beat his man and decides to move to his right. Meanwhile Tayo does not have both hands on McDougald and trouble is brewing in Casey's blind spot.
Casey is on the move and is in the process of throwing to his checkdown- Matthew Tucker in the flat, when McDougald catches him from behind, is able to get his hand directly on the bal and jerks down hard- right as casey starts to throw. The ball comes out.
Again, I wouldn't really call this one Casey's fault. When a quarterback's throwing motion is disrupted on the arm from behind it will be a fumble nine times out of ten, and this was no exception. Credit the blocking mismatch on his blindside and a bit of bad luck that we weren't able to recover this one.
What went right #1: Sam Carter's interception
Kansas had little luck with non-play action passing all game and the TCU secondary as a whole played an excellent game, but this play had a play fake so the coverage on it in particular was excellent. Kansas lined up in its double tight, two wide and one back formation against the 4-2-5, again with no blitz. Before the snap Kansas shifted over the receiver to Crist's left to the right side of the field.
Kansas runs the play action to the left side away from its receivers and the Kansas line blocks down that way as well, while Dayne Crist turns back with the ball on a bootleg to the right where his receivers are.
Stansly Maponga isn't fooled however and he approaches Crist from the front, letting him know that he has to get rid of the ball fast. Maponga approaches with his arms held high to hopefully bat down any pass that comes out low, so as a result Crist throws high over him.
That is not how you want your arm to look as you're passing, and as a result it floats for an extra second or so in the air, giving Sam Carter enough time to adjust to it and jump, and it looks like a Pachall pass to the other Carter.
The only player who could have caught that ball was Carter thanks to a good play by Maponga, and happily for us Carter came down with it.
What went right #2: Pachall is on the money and Brandon Carter is a strong man
TCU's first touchdown of the game, and the one that would give it all the points they needed to beat Kansas was the perfect combination of an incredible throw by Casey Pachall and a fantastic route by Brandon Carter. TCU lined up with an empty backfield, Boyce, Carter and Dawson to the left, Brown and James to the right. Kansas is in a nickel with a linebacker moved out toward the three wide side.
Casey drops back and Carter draws some contact from the defender in front of him but stays resolutely on course. Kansas' coverage is solid and everyone is in range to make a play on the ball if Casey throws too soon. You'll also see on Casey's blindside that Fabuluje has his hands on #35 for Kansas, and as a result there is no backside pressure.
Carter is running a slant and stays with it despite the coverage, you can see him starting to slant in at the very edge of the shot, and Casey sees him- but also sees the corner behind Carter and Powell, the linebacker who took a short drop and will be in the way of Carter's route if he doesn't time it just right.
Casey being Casey, he puts it in the perfect place for Carter to be able to catch it. The window is tiny though, and it sails just over the fingers of the KU linebacker Powell and into Carter's hands... but also a hand of Casey's enemy from the second fumble, McDougald.
Carter has it in his hands though and he smartly rolls forward, wrenching the ball into a position where McDougald can't follow.
Offensively we'll call it a wrap there, as TCU was able to pretty much do what they wanted to Kansas all game long, as long as they held onto the ball. I will show how TCU adjusted to shut down Kansas' running game in the second half though and turned Crist into a highly ineffectual air raid quarterback.
What went right #3: Jon Lewis clogs the KU O-Line
The Kansas running game had been gashing the TCU defense for the first half, despite the D-line getting decent penetration as illustrated above. In the second half the DTs controlled their impulse to get upfield and get guided out of the play and got low. This is one of the key plays that led Weis to abandon the running game, and Kansas lines up in an ace set with two receivers to Crist's left and a tight end and wide receiver to his right. TCU is in the 4-2-5 and doesn't bring anyone.
The key man on this play is our DT #98 Jon Lewis, lined up on the weak side and instead of trying to run by the Kansas opposition he gets low and does exactly what you want your tackle to do on plays like this- take up space and blockers and funnel the run in to the linebackers. You can see the linebackers start to react to the run as Lewis forces his way into a double team from the center and the guard.
The center is actually supposed to get downfield and lock up one of the linebackers, which is what you saw him do in the big run Kansas had earlier. In this instance he can't because of Lewis' excellent position and leverage- he is exactly where he needs to be to let Kenny Cain fill the gap. He's getting shoved down because he's stayed low, but even down he's still entangled both linemen and delayed the center's release for too long.
As a result by the time the Kansas center is able to get his hands on Cain, Cain already has his hands on the running back, and it is difficult to find a more sure tackler in the Big 12 than Kenny Cain.
The entire defense holds to its responsibility and as a result those runs that ate us up and gave Kansas second and five after second and four dried up- and Weis feels he has to throw to win the game. This does not work out for him, and TCU wins despite two more fumbles (arrgh) and a possible injury to Waymon James (arrrrrrrrrgggggh!). Look forward to Friday when I look at TCU's next opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers, and keep checking back with Frogs O' War.