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How good is Sonny Cumbie? A deep analysis of the TCU offense vs Baylor, part 2

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HawkeyedFrog returns from hibernation to write way too many words about TCU’s offense.

Run for it, Max!
How much do you put on Cumbie, and how much was just Freshmen being Freshmen?
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So here we are back again for part two of “Hawk wrote too much about one football game”, where we take a deep look play by play to see where the issues lay in the offense last season. In Part 1 we saw a good but not great effort where TCU’s offense consistently got into Baylor territory but couldn’t accomplish much once the field shortened. Now with a 9-3 lead after a Baylor drive to start the second half, all the Frogs efforts in the first half have been reduced to a one score game. The second half will be particularly interesting for charting purposes as the old adage of “No plan survives first contact with the enemy” or the slightly updated “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” quote from Mike Tyson applies. Both coordinators will have felt each other out a bit and have seen where the matchup issues are on both sides of the ball and will do their bests to make adjustments, a process that on the defensive side has been one of the greatest contributors to coach Patterson becoming the winningest coach in TCU history. Let’s see how Cumbie does in the second half.

Play 40: 1st and 10, TCU 5. TCU double tight, receiver right, back right. Baylor 3-3-5 stack.

A penalty on the kickoff return buries the frogs deep, so they come out in the beef formation. TCU runs a playfake, but it’s well covered and Duggan has to throw it away. I like the aggression, but not the design, particularly as both the TE and H back are attempting to block downfield, so this could have been offensive-PI. Play -1, Execution -1.

Play 41: 2nd and 10, TCU 5. TCU even spread, back right. Baylor 3-3-5 wide stack.

With Baylor spread this wide, this would honestly be the perfect time for a zone read. Instead it’s a straight drop back and a levels concept up top that pops a receiver open for a first down and some breathing room. Play +1, Execution +1.

Play 42: 1st and 10, TCU 19. TCU trips left TE right, back left. Baylor 3-3-5 stack.

This time we do get the zone read, and Duggan makes the right read to keep. The Baylor DE is athletic enough to make Duggan have to take it wide though, and he ends up making the tackle himself as Duggan falls forward for two. Baylor’s DL is not making this easy, a shame they made the terrible life choice to be educated in Waco. Play +0, Execution +0.

Play 43: 2nd and 8, TCU 21. TCU twins left, upback receiver right, pistol back. Baylor 3-3-5 stack.

Dropback that Duggan turns into a rollout as TCU runs a flood concept to the right, Baylor sends three rushers and TCU keeps six in for pass protection, so the coverage is tight. Anderson leaks out of the backfield as the safety valve and would have a fairly clear lane for at least six yards if Duggan puts it on him in stride. Instead Duggan throws high and behind Anderson, so even if DA was able to make the catch, he would’ve lost his momentum and the chasing linebacker would likely make the tackle at the LOS. As it is the throw is very off and incomplete, but not a bad design and a good adjustment to keep a bit more in line help to give Duggan protection. Play +1, Execution -1.

Play 44: 3rd and 8, TCU 21. TCU trips left, back right. Baylor 3-3-5 super wide DEs.

The advantage of having an NT that can’t be handled one on one is apparent in this, as Baylor spreads out the DL to pass rush, counting on the nose to get their DEs one on one with TCU’s tackles and try and keep Duggan in the pocket. Straight dropback, TCU runs a smash concept to the trips side but the coverage is tight across the board. Still, the tackles did well and Duggan has time before having to step up and book it, special shout out to the WR whose number I can’t see for getting back to block, as it lets Duggan keep his angle right at the down marker for a fresh set of downs. Ugly, but effective. Play +0, Execution +1.

Play 45: 1st and 10, TCU 31. TCU double tight, tight twin receivers right, pistol back. Baylor 3-4.

Both teams bring in a bit of beef as a change up, and it’s outside zone to Anderson, the majority of the blocks are solid, but the LG can’t get over to take over the LT’s block, but also doesn’t look downfield to engage the linebacker who sneaks through the line virtually untouched. Anderson had a great lane outside, but no time to get there and he gets swallowed up in the backfield. Poor DA, TCU’s main backs are both a lot better than they’re getting the opportunity to show. Play +1, Execution -2.

Play 46: 2nd and 12, TCU 29. TCU wide trips left, back right. Baylor 3-2-6.

Straight dropback, Duggan reads left to right before turning back to fire to his checkdown, DA in the backfield. The throw is again very high and Anderson has to leave his feet to snag it, leaving him totally exposed to the Baylor safety who comes down and just clobbers him. Throwing it like that not only makes it next to impossible to get a gain, but it’s what we call a “hospital ball”, and a hit that will be on Baylor’s hype reel for a while to come. Poor DA. Play +0, Execution -2

Play 47: 3rd and 12, TCU 29. TCU trips right (with motion) back left. Baylor 3-3-5 backers back.

TCU motions one of the trips receivers across and fakes outside zone to him, but it’s a bit of a lazy fake by Duggan as he immediately turns to square up and throw to the screen on the other side. The catch isn’t made, the block isn’t made and Baylor wasn’t fooled. Honestly, I like the play design quite a lot, but this was not a play that was going to fool a defense that is playing as far off as Baylor has been on third down. If this had been the first down play I’d give it a +2, but calling it here makes it a bust on both ends. Play -2, Execution -2.

Woof, not great to start the second half, but a good deal of that is on a few line miscues and Duggan throwing poorly. Still, it’s hardly the explosion you’d like to see out of the half and early returns are Baylor making the superior adjustments.

Play 48: 1st and 10, TCU 9. TCU even spread, back right. Baylor 3-3-5 LB bookends.

TCU’s OL is going to wider splits here, which pushes the LBs out wide and is an interesting tweak. It’s an outside zone read and Duggan makes the handoff. The blocking is solid, particularly from Reagor who gets in the right position to block one bear into another and allow Sewo to turn the corner and pick up a nice chunk. Play +1, Execution +1

Play 49: 2nd and 3, TCU 16. TCU twins left, upback right pistol back. Baylor 3-3-5 “46”.

This is sort of a modern 46 front from Baylor (for those who remember that one Chicage Bears super bowl team) with the DL all in tight either head up the guards or just outside shade. This essentially forces TCU to block each one on one to run inside, and given the game so far, that’s not happening. It looks like it was supposed to be a zone read, but with the guards having someone head up on them there’s no read man and Duggan just hands off to Sewo to mash into the wall of bodies. He probably should’ve kept, but Baylor definitely was ready for this. Play -1, Execution +0.

Play 50: 3rd and 2, TCU 17. TCU TE left, upback right, RB right. Baylor 4-4.

Both teams bring in the beef on third and short and it’s basic inside zone. TCU’s OL gets pushed back on the initial surge, so Sewo cuts away toward an unblocked but slightly unbalanced Baylor LB setting the edge to the right, and it pays off as Sewo churns his legs and forces forward for the first. It’s a tough situation to be in when their DL is just kind of better than your OL, basic playcall but this is what Sewo was made for. Play +1, Execution +1.

Play 51: 1st and 10, TCU 19. TCU even spread, RB right. Baylor 3-3-5 “46”.

Straight dropback and the OL does a better job here as Duggan gets plenty of time in the pocket but doesn’t see anything he likes and bugs out when things finally break down, instead of stepping up where the OL has numbers. Pursued by the NT, Duggan throws off his back foot, it’s high off the hands of the WR and picked off. This is 100% Duggan, as this ball needs to be thrown away- best case scenario it’s a hospital ball for three yards, worst case scenario you give Baylor first and goal. Play +0, Execution -3.

Play 52: 1st and 10, TCU 25. TCU TE right, H back left, back right. Baylor 3-3-5 stack.

Up by just 3 now, the Frogs need to get things going back in the right direction. The Frogs run the mesh concept, but the Baylor LBs are playing deep so Duggan needs to recognize and deliver right at the mesh point to pick up an easy 4 yards, instead he sees an LB coming on a delayed blitz and freezes for a split second and the window closes, meaning he has to bug out again, throwing wildly off balance to Anderson who backed a bit too far up and steps out of bounds while attempting to set up the shake and cut, as he has zero time or space. Poor DA. Play +1, Execution -2.

Play 53: 2nd and 11, TCU 24. TCU even spread, back left. Baylor 3-3-5 wide DL and LBs.

Baylor is screaming “run straight up the guts” with this formation, instead TCU runs mesh again, but Duggan never really looks at the crossing point, he locks onto Reagor right away and the ball is batted down at the line. I really don’t like running the same concept back to back, even if this one had some tweaks, but the bigger fault was on Duggan for never coming off of a (covered) first read. Play +0, Execution -1.

Play 54: 3rd and 11, TCU 24. TCU trips left, back left. Baylor 6 up, 1 deep.

Baylor is showing they’re coming on this one and they do, but the Frogs actually do a good job of picking it up and giving Duggan time here. Duggan is reading middle of the field all the way here, as it’s the only intermediate range option and delivers a nice fastball, but Wells drops it. Play +1, Execution -1

This drive hurt in a lot of ways, but I can’t really put too much blame on Cumbie here, this is maybe 10% playcalling, 70% freshman QB play and 20% catch the dang ball, but whatever the blame apportioning is, it’s a three and out at a stage in the game where TCU can ill afford it. Some sort of audible option on second and 11 to run straight ahead or even a zone read would have been excellent, but at this point it seems Duggan either isn’t trusted to make that adjustment or simply failed to do so. Fortunately TCU’s defense forces and excellent three and out of their own and the Frogs are back in business still with a three point lead.

Play 55: 1st and 10, TCU 35. TCU Twins and H back right, pistol back. Baylor 3-3-5 wide DL.

Play action formation, but for the first time in my memory it’s an actual run play! Zone read with the H crossing to lead block for the QB keep, and as the DE crashes down Duggan makes the right read and pulls, finding an excellent crease and he cuts up to make a good play a great one. Excellent getting away from tendencies there, and Duggan has been very effective on the ground. Play +2, Execution +1.

Play 56: 1st and 10, TCU 50. TCU twins and H back left, pistol back. Baylor 3-3-5 stack.

This would be the perfect time to pull the pin on a play action, but instead it’s an outside zone to the short side of the field, which is essentially a slightly more modern equivalent of the old Schultz special “short side option”. You’re running a play that needs space with a player that thrives in space to the smallest possible field width. Again the LG fails to either reach the DE or climb toward the linebacker, so Anderson has to break his first tackle two yards behind the LOS. To his credit, he does, but it slows him up so he gets wrapped up by the H-back’s blocking assignment, who he generally would have cut inside of. I don’t like the spacing on that side of the field, but I suppose that’s more personal preference than an actual playcalling sin. Play +0, Execution -1.

Play 57: 2nd and 9, Baylor 49. TCU trips right, back left. Baylor 3-3-5 wide DL.

Straight dropback, Duggan looks at a switch route to his right but doesn’t like the look and massages the ball when he really should either be making a second read or running straight up the middle for an easy 6 yards. Instead he eventually bugs out and has to throw it away. Take what’s there, kid. Play +1, Execution -1.

Play 58: 3rd and 9, Baylor 49. TCU even spread, back right. Baylor 6 up, 1 deep.

Once again in third and long in potential four down territory, Baylor shows heat to attempt to snuff out the drive. Instead they bring four against token play action from the Frogs and that pain in the butt NT knifes through to wrap up Duggan almost immediately. Duggan makes the decision to chuck it to his check down again, which shows guts if nothing else considering the last time he was under duress. Again the ball is high, but fortunately this time Sewo is both uncovered and not near the sideline and he shows impressive patience to cut across the field before beginning his upfield surge to the first down marker. No chance to look at what the design was supposed to be because the NT just killed it and Sewo bailed the Frogs (especially Duggan) out. Play ???, Execution +0 (-1 for Duggan, +1 for Sewo)

Play 59: 1st and 10, Baylor 37. TCU TE and twins right, back right. Baylor 3-3-5 wide DE.

Zone read/bubble combo this time, but the TE blocks the read man, leaving the linebacker that side to set an edge and then follow the handoff to get to Sewo before he gets that downhill momentum going. Running the same run play out of different fronts isn’t bad, but you need to make sure each player knows their job in each situation. Play +0, Execution -1.

Play 60: 2nd and 8, Baylor 35. TCU Twins left, upback right, pistol back. Baylor 3-3-5 wide DE

It’s an inside zone here, but TCU’s OL is just not able to win straight up against that NT and Sewo has to cut wide and leap over a tackle attempt and further lose his momentum before flailing forward for a half a yard. By this point in the game you should know you are not going to win that one on one block against the NT, so plays where that is the design are going to get pinged. Play -1, Execution +0.

Play 61: 3rd and 8, Baylor 35. TCU even spread, back left. Baylor 6 up, 1 deep.

Baylor brings 5 against a token playfake from the Frogs, the RG gets lost, not working his way back inside after passing his man to the tackle and Anderson overcommits to a spot on his pass pro duties, allowing Baylor to envelop Duggan in less than three seconds. There looked like a decent opening on a corner route to Duggan’s left, but he didn’t have time to progress that far. Again, Baylor brings heat to attempt to kill a drive on potential four down territory and TCU failed to adjust. Play +0, Execution -2.

So yeah, things aren’t great at this point. Baylor’s game plan of not giving up big plays and forcing TCU to execute over and over to move the chains is exactly what you’d expect against a freshman quarterback, and while there may be ways to scheme around that, it helps if your running game isn’t getting whooped as often as not due to poor guard play. Still, TCU’s defense commits a quick penalty before forcing Baylor’s offense into several more and forcing a punt from the end zone. The Frogs have the ball and a three point lead with five minutes to play, we need a touchdown (or at least points) and to take some time off. Lets see how we go.

Play 62: 1st and 10, Baylor 45. TCU even spread, back left. Baylor 3-3-5 Wide backers.

On paper, this is a front you want to run at, as there are gaps aplenty and the linebackers are far enough back for a back to get a good line of sight, momentum and set up blockers. The fact that Baylor would go to this front in this situation, with this amount of time left in the game is as harsh a statement as you could imagine on how TCU’s run game has been producing so far. This is where Cumbie breaks out something new though- the GT counter that is a staple of Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma offense, and the Frogs actually pull it off exceedingly well, with the left side guard and tackle pulling around as the right side blocks down and Anderson follows the mass of bodies for six yards. A great weapon to bust out here, particularly since Baylor hadn’t played OU yet, so might not have been as versed in defending the GT counter as they would be after a week of prep. Play +2, Execution +1

Play 63: 2nd and 4, Baylor 39. TCU TE and twins left, back right. Baylor 3-3-5 wide DEs.

The Frogs stay on the ground on second down, going back to the inside zone, but despite the numbers advantage (six blockers on 5 bears in the box), who is being double teamed is not well communicated and the NT pops into the gap Darius was heading toward, and as the DE that side pops around, Anderson has no choice but to lower his head and get what he can- back to the line of scrimmage. I don’t care much for it, get a read, build the numbers advantage because the basic straight ahead Baylors DL simply beats. Play -1, Execution -1

Play 64: 3rd and 4, Baylor 39. TCU TE left, H and twin receivers right, back left. Baylor 3-4.

This is a play that could decide the game one way or another, so I expect something interesting. It’s a bootleg concept, but the RG totally whiffs his block, to the point where I think he was expecting the RT to double team initially before moving downfield, so there’s blame for both of them. Under duress, Duggan has a limited time frame to find his man (who is open), but Duggan needed to throw it sooner and the ground he gave up having to avoid the bear DE who came through unchecked means that the throw is late getting there and the DB is able to get to the wideout and break it up. Good play, essentially a run pass option, but the TCU OL just completely blew it. Play +2, Execution -3

I know coach P is a defensive guy at heart, and wants to make the bears drive the length of the field. I also know the offense hasn’t been spectacular today, so the thought of “can we make four yards?” is… call a 33% chance. Even with those odds, I take that chance here. Both teams have three time outs, but with a first down you can not only remove those from Baylor, but also get into quite plausible field goal range. I want to be aggressive as the underdog and go for the win. Instead the Frogs punt and Baylor takes over at the 12. 27 yards of field position, of which the Frogs the give up 26 on the first play, and Baylor goes on a penalty filled march down the field to successfully kick a long field goal. 36 Seconds left, three time outs, all tied up. Hero time?

Play 65: 1st and 10, TCU 25. TCU even spread, back left. Baylor 3-3-5 wide everyone.

It’s GT counter again. I am 99% sure an order for a running play comes from a certain someone hitching up his pants and tying his shoes on the sideline, so I won’t score Cumbie on it. There’s time, though, and three time outs. Boo.

36 plays in the second half and a big fat goose egg on the scoreboard for those two key quarters. Not great, but somehow the Frogs are still in it with a chance heading into over time. How do we explain all that ugliness though?

Play total: +8. Eight +1s and three +2s against four -1s and one -2.

So despite a fairly comparable number of plays, two things stand out on the playcall side. First, the number of plays where the playcall made a substantial difference in my opinion is way down from 29 in the first half to 16 in the second half. This doesn’t bode particularly well for the second half execution scores, because it means that Baylor essentially neutralized Cumbie. The second is that the number of very successful play calls (+2 or +3) are only a third of what we saw in the first half- there were no big plays and few opportunities for there to even be a big play. Second half play calling is a D+, sure it’s positive, but it’s something where the teacher asks “Were you really applying yourself?”

Execution total: -18. Six +1s against eight -1s, five -2s and two -3s.

Ouch. Freshman quarterbacks make mistakes, and in this likely extended offseason I hope that Duggan has been drilled very hard on not sailing that ball when on the run, but the OL is just getting manhandled. Execution is an F for the second half.

And now with another almost four thousand words in the bank, we move to Overtime, winning time, and a series of short field scenarios that the Frogs have struggled with all game. How did Cumbie do in setting up the Frogs with a chance to win in the winner take all periods? Pop back in tomorrow to check out part three where I break down the final periods and give my final impressions on both Cumbie and the 2019 offense.

Frog on, Hawk out.