No, but seriously... The defense was solid, especially in the second half. If you take two plays away, one where TCU decided to not tackle and one where Tech made an unbelievable throw in the back corner of the endzone, TCU probably wins, even with a horrible offensive performance.
Jason Verrett is awesome. Kevin White is about 75% of the way there. The defensive line is as good as expected, when healthy, and the running back group has consistently impressed.
Another credit in this game goes to punter Ethan Perry... That guy is amazing. You never think about him, you just think hey, this punt is going to be awesome, because it is Ethan Perry.
Also a good: Tech fans... In the stadium. Apart from the student section, I heard a lot of positive comments about/from Tech fans and how they treated TCU during our visit. Kudos to a normally ugly fan base for not, you know... Being totally ridiculous.
Let's start with the officiating. Forget it. It happened, these things happen, and if TCU had been on the other end but won we wouldn't be talking about it today. The human element is present in sports, it is just too bad it killed TCU on this specific night.
One thing that is true, the refs wouldn't have been much of a story if TCU had taken care of their shit. That fact has been and will always be true. Don't let the refs or the clock break your game, take care of business first and control your destiny.
The play calling... You know, I am going to take a slightly different position. Jarrett Anderson had to plan for two quarterbacks, then lost one... Then, the offensive line sucked really bad. Then, he had to combine all of those elements on the road, at night, in Lubbock. Really, I don't care what your game plan is, this is already a losing formula.
So let's start with those points... The offensive line was awful. They seem to be playing soft, making a ton of mental errors and penalties, and simply not growing up as a group. It doesn't seem to matter who is playing or what combination we go with, they just can't get it together. Now, to their credit they do have some occasional positive plays or drives, but nothing close to a game.... Or even a half.
The quarterback, Trevone Boykin, isn't growing up either. The offense seems too complex for him, running around regardless of pressure and never making it through his progression. The horizontal run game seems to work sometimes, but you certainly cannot rely on it as a long term solution. I am not calling for Tyler Matthews, as putting a freshman QB behind our O-Line is a recipe for a disaster, but Boykin must get better to make this a moot point.
Quick note: Brandon Carter, want to have a future at TCU? Grow up, now.
Which brings us back to the play calling. The game plan is probably well rehearsed, well thought out, but with this player set and with this skill set, I am afraid it will not get it done. So, what changes need to be made? More on that in a second, but the point is there... Why didn't we adjust in the second half? That was the part that never made sense to me... You see a successful run game in the first half with no downfield passing game... Why not retool? Why not put together some different play sets? Why not, do... Something? Anything?
For me, the offensive fix is simple: More set run plays, more horizontal runs or sprints from the shotgun formation, and more set throws and play action passes for Boykin. This, and only this, is the solution. Eat up clock and keep your defense rested so they can do their job. Sure, it is boring. But this is about winning right? The only this team wins, unless they grow up a tremendous amount between now and the future, is if they trim down the total # of offensive plays for the other team. If they control the game, they have a shot. If not...
Oh ya, and there is this...
Word out there is that a number of starters, including Devonte Fields, Garrett Gilbert, Cam White and Ladarius Brown could be looking at injuries that would affect their participation in upcoming games. No official word on any of them, but all had major ?s going in and coming out of the Texas Tech game. I expect on Tuesday we will learn more on each persons status... Or not
The defense was solid, holding a high powered Tech offense to under 350 total yards and forcing three turnovers. That's a good enough performance to win in any conference, but in the Big 12 it's sensational. When TCU bothered to run power and the zone read, the TCU o-line responded by overpowering the lightweight Texas Tech defense, resulting in big gains and TCU's only touchdown of the night. Also kudos to Oberkrom for kicking touchback after touchback. Yes, the good section is short today.
We'll get the minor bits out of the way first. Brandon Carter, you're electric, but catch the damn ball first- I don't want to see another punt slide through your arms all year. Ethan Perry had a bad night as TCU had consistently poor field position and he couldn't reverse the field with a long punt of just 44 yards- I expect much more from Perry.
Now we get to the offense. I wasn't ever on the Jarrett Anderson bandwagon, as I remember only one time last year thinking "That was a great play call"- a play action pass off of a fake handoff to Catalon that had gashed the defense the two previous times it had been run. I've done a good bit of reading on different offenses this offseason, but the most interesting thing I read was an interview with Michigan Offensive Coordinator Al Borges (Part 1 and Part 2).
The most interesting part to me was talking about the value of failed plays- plays that the defense overplays, which lets you hit them with the counter to those plays later in the game- a play action pass off of your dive, an inverted zone where your quarterback is the inside guy and your running back is the outside threat. If a play prompts a certain response from your opponent, you can use that response against them down the line- that's good play calling. TCU does not have good play calling. In the fourth quarter, when the frogs are absolutely gashing Tech on runs, the Frogs get the ball back down 7 with 3:48 remaining.
To me, this is the perfect time for the four minute offense. You've found something that works, time is not a big issue but you have to have 7 points to tie the game and force overtime or 8 to pull a TCU/Boise State and sneak out with the win. The two good options before you are to run the ball straight at them, as they've shown they can't stop you, milk the clock and shoot for a win in overtime/on the two point conversion or to run the ball then hit them with play action on second and medium or third and short when your offense is screaming run. What does Anderson do, after struggling the entire game to find something that works? Three straight drop back passes.
This is idiocy of the highest caliber, as not only do you force yourself into a position where you can't help but punt (I know stopping Tech looks dicey at this point, and a lot of you are still sore that we didn't go for it in the LSU game when it looked like the momentum was shifting, but fourth and 2 and fourth and 15 are entirely different ballgames) and hope that you can hold Tech to nothing so that it doesn't become a two possession game- if it does the strength of your offense goes out the window and you're left hoping Boykin can sling it downfield and you can get an onside kick with enough time to go for the win. This is lunacy, and yet, this is what Anderson put out on the field on Thursday night in front of the nation and all of the high quality recruits we're hoping to bring in. Patterson has talked about the move to the Big 12 being a five year plan, but if Jarrett Anderson is calling plays past year 2 we aren't going to be happy with the results.
Was bad. Really, really bad. It went both ways, but in the crunch it went consistently against the Frogs, which was very frustrating. Do I think the officiating screwed us out of a win? Not really, the play calling did that all on its own. What the officiating did was make a likely defeat a certain one, which is frustrating, but it's something we can live with. I'm glad we have a bye week to let the team blow off some steam before SMU, because if there has ever been a must win to stop the bleeding, this next game is it.