Month: November 2009

Oklahoma Game Thoughts

Before I get to this week’s write up I should first tell me about my trip to Soonerland.  10 of us took the AmTrak up from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City on Friday evening.  About 30 minutes into the trip we got our own private car for everyone’s sake because were congregating in the aisles.  I think they realized we were professional drinkers and it was best to separate us from Gen Pop.  If you’ve never taken an AmTrak I strongly recommend the journey from Fort Worth to OKC.  It’s about 4 hours long dumping you right off in Bricktown.  Get you a good group of people and make that trip.  Lots of fun.

 

Anyway, on Saturday we all loaded up in a 15 passenger van and made the short jaunt from OKC to Norman.  The end result of a loss was what I expected but how it played out was not what I expected.  I expected OU to simply grind it out and wear us down pulling away in the late 3rd quarter.  What happened was OU wound up pulling away in the 2nd quarter thanks to our mistakes.  This caused our group of 11 people (a few hard core Aggie fans) to agree that leaving after the band and finding a bar was a very reasonable course of action.  This is what we did.

 

I’m changing the format of how I write this up because the game was such a debacle.

 

1st Quarter:

We won the first quarter hands down from a performance standpoint.  We were moving the ball on the ground and hitting some passes here and there.  Christine fumbled and OU jumped on the board first which put us in a hole which had me worried but something similar happened in Lubbock so I thought we might be okay.  OU jumped out 14-0 off a nifty reverse by a great athlete but we clawed back to 14-10 and then all hell broke loose.

 

Offense:

  • I don’t know what to say.  I really don’t but I’ll try.
  • JJ had a bad game plain and simple.  Even early on when the offense was moving the ball he was missing short passes.  He had 2-3 plays where he could have hit his guys but missed.  After the 1st quarter he started running for his life and he just can’t pass like that.  He can scramble but he can’t throw running to his right.  He just can’t.
  • Something else I noticed about Jerrod was on two 3rd down plays in the first quarter he was scrambling up the field to the sideline but simply stepped out of bounds 3 yards from the stick.  He made no effort to get the first down.  3 yards is a long ways but at least break down and try to get up field.  He was completely avoiding contact there.  Maybe it’s for the best when your QB does that but when defenses start picking up on that they’ll give him running room on third and long only to force him out short of the stick.  A good DC picks up on that and tells his defense to watch for it.  When he runs, sell out to flush him out of bounds because he’ll avoid contact.
  • On the fumble JJ made no move for the loose ball and made no move to tackle the defender picking it up.  I understand the QB protecting himself but in instances like that you have to go for the ball and even make a play on the defender.  He just stood there not knowing what to do and not wanting to make contact.  Now, I think a QB has to be more careful than what McGee used to do but JJ should occasionally want to mix it up but he didn’t on Saturday night.  He’s great on shedding defenders in the pocket but I was kind of surprised to see him shying away from so much contact on Saturday night.
  • Cyrus made a few good cuts as did Christine.  I think they’re solid backs (Christine especially) but they can only do so much when it all falls apart.
  • The offensive line did a decent job of creating holes to move the ball in the 1st but that all fell apart when we had to play from behind because we can’t pass block.  OU pinned their ears back and the route was on.
  • Jeff Fuller made a fine TD catch.  He’s going to be a great pro.  He’s just a baller.
  • I saw Bradley Stephens make a couple decent runs in the 3rd quarter on TV at the bar but it’s hard to tell what was really going on.
  • We left the bar in the 4th so I don’t know what else happened.

 

Defense:

  • This is such a hard unit to gauge because they’re so different from the start of the game until the end of the game.  They ALWAYS start off strong but then falter in the end depending on offensive turnovers or ineptitude.
  • In OUs first six possessions our defense only gave up one TD and forced either a punt or interception.  That ain’t bad.
  • However, the next possessions were the complete opposite as OU scored TDs in the next five possessions and the defense didn’t force a punt or get a turnover the rest of the game.  I just don’t know what to say.  This defense is a like a person with low self-esteem.  You can talk them up and give them some confidence and they’ll do really good but when the bad stuff they’re used to surfaces again they go into their shell like a turtle.
  • Von Miller is not ready for the NFL.  If NFL talent evaluators watch him against NFL level tackles they’ll realize he needs more work.  He’s a freak but he’s only dominating against lesser opponents where his speed throws them off.  Not saying he won’t ever be great but it’s clear he needs another season to truly learn more moves as a pass rusher.  Now, if he thinks he’ll go in the first round then I don’t blame him for leaving.  It’s just clear he’s not ready for the next level right now.  He tried all night to run around Trent Williams and couldn’t get to Landry Jones.  When he did try and make a move on Williams, Williams wouldn’t bite.  You could tell Von was getting very frustrated because he’s not used to that.
  • We’re still much better against the pass than the run.  Not sure if that means anything as we’re not great against the pass but we’re better.
  • Our freshman LBs have hit a wall.
  • Garrick Williams is probably our best overall defender including Von.

 

Special Teams:

  • Jeebus where to begin here.
  • I think at one point in the game OU kicked the ball (punt or kickoff) five times and five straight times we botched the handling of the ball.  Unreal.
  • The wind was blowing decently during the game but not so much that it made catching the ball impossible.
  • If I remember correctly T-Fred dropped a punt in the 1st quarter but was able to pick it up because no one was around him because OU was kicking with the wind at it’s back and coverage wasn’t there.  At that point I knew that when we turned around and the OU guy was kicking into the wind something bad was going to happen and it did.  I heard we got screwed on the punt they ruled a fumble but the reality is we were trying to catch the ball but couldn’t.  That’s the only problem with being at the game is you don’t get to see multiple replay angles.
  • I won’t berate the point we have issues with punts anymore as we all know it but if I’m Sherman I tell Doll that we do nothing but fair catches from here on out.  I’m not kidding.  I don’t want to see a punt attempted to be returned the rest of the season.  Wave your hand and learn to catch the ball first.  You can earn the right to return the ball next season.
  • Kirk Doll needs to be fired.  Someone needs to be held accountable for this and it’s on him.  If you don’t have confidence in your guys then you have to scheme to help them even it means telling them to fair catch.  Hell, tell your returner you’re going after the ball every time so if they don’t fair catch then they’re not going anywhere anyway and they might even get their head ripped off if they don’t fair catch.  Sometimes the fear of decapitation does wonders.  It worked in Europe for centuries and it could work for the 2009 Aggie special teams.

 

Rest of the Season:

  • Feels strange to say that the Baylor game is Mike Sherman’s most pivotal game in his first two years but it is.  We don’t make a bowl game while losing to Baylor will make this program implode worse than it is now.  You’ll see 4-5 of our biggest recruits likely jump ship before signing day.
  • I’ve said it all along and it’s unfortunate but if Sherman gets to a bowl game then he deserves another year.  I think it’s become painfully obvious he’s never going to get us to where we want to be.  The sample set is getting bigger and his win over Tech appears to be the outlier and not the turning point.  Remember Tech’s season last year?  That’s the absolute best we can expect with Sherman I believe.  I don’t ever see us as a consistent Top 25 program with Sherman.  Maybe I’m wrong but great coaches don’t get embarrassed as many times as he has in two years.
  • I’m really interested to see how we do against Baylor.  As bad as we’ve been there’s no reason to think we can’t do to Baylor what they did to us last year.  Art Briles had his team cranked up to play us to essentially save their season and Mike Sherman needs to do the same for his team this year.  He needs a throttling of Baylor at home to get to a bowl and keep momentum going.
  • The other interesting thing about Baylor is we got worse as the season went on last year mainly because I don’t think Sherm adjusted offensively and other teams picked up on it.  If I were Baylor I would load up back side support and force JJ out of the pocket running right.  He’s simply not accurate rolling right and it’s his Achilles heal.  It’ll be interesting to see if Baylor can figure this out and execute it.
  • Kirk Doll needs to go as already discussed.
  • As much as it pains me to say this Joe Kines needs to go.  I think he gets a bad rap as a horrible DC but he’s not.  He’s pretty decent but when our offense can’t move the ball then we have no shot as our defense just gets gashed in the second half.  Some of it’s on talent and some of it’s on him.  Most importantly though I want Kines gone to see what Sherman does with the hire.  Remember when Fran fired Burt Reynolds and hired Gary Busey?  That was a HUGE indicator of what Fran was like.  Well, it’s time to see what Sherm does when he has to make a big hire.  It looks like a guy like Jon Tenuta will be available.  Would Sherman go after him or would he tap his NFL circle, try and talk someone not in demand to take the reigns, promote someone from within, or make a splash hire like Mack did with Muschamp?  If Sherm is going to hang around we need to see what he’s learned from a staff standpoint in 2 years of the college game.  We need to find out.  If it means Kines gets sacrificed then I’m fine with it although I’ll miss his quotes and gravely voice.
  • Wow, that last bullet hurt.  I love Joe Kines but we must make sacrifices.  Did you know that Joe Kines was born on a train?  Seriously.  Since I took my first train trip this past weekend I feel like I’ve come full circle with Joe and can cut the ties.  Doesn’t make it right and doesn’t make it easy, but it must be done.

 

 

Aggies 34 – Bears 24

 

That’s right folks, get on your bowling shoes!!!

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