I’m going to break up the format of the react today, for no good reason at all. Let’s just talk about the good and the bad. Contrry to what you might think,, there’s plenty of both. We’ll get the ad out of the way first.
What I didn’t like…
- Play-calling: I like Ed Warinner. I think he’s a creative offensive mind and he’s got balls; both are imperative when coordinating an offense. But he’s missing what’s right in front of him. Just like Tech did, Texas forced Todd to stay in the pocket and counted on enough of a push to not give him lanes for either throwing or running. And again, we let them. The easiest way to help both Todd and his line would be to roll him out. And yet it just didn’t happen. This was also the case with the running game. Sure, Texas is plenty fast that we can’t expect to get the edge all game, but we’re a lot better in space when we have to beat one man than inside where we have to beat four. It’s hard to complain here because the sample size was too small as we only had about 15 – 20 designed runs, but I can’t shake the feeling that we still haven’t accepted that we don’t run the ball well inside.
- Fumbles: Angus was running hard yesterday – always great to see. That hit he put on Gideon was pure gold. But hold onto the damn ball. On a day where mistakes had to be kept to a minimum, Quigley fumbled twice inside our own 40, both of which ended the only two drives other than our score where we actually seemed to have Muschamp off balance. That can’t happen.
- Officiating: This wasn’t Freeman Johns all over again. And in all likelihood, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. But there were four calls made and a decision made that undeniably played a huge part. The first was the 3rd down PI call on Patterson. While I don’t think he was early and it was an easy no call, I can live with that one – Texas would go on to score. The second was the awful chop block call on Jocques Crawford in which the defender was never engaged – inexcusable and it would back KU up to 2nd and 25 and ultimately lead to them punting. The third was the PI call on Thornton down the east sideline – you can’t play defense much better than that – Texas would go on to score and make it 14-0. And the last was the other 3rd down PI call on Thornton in which he and Crosby pressed for five yards, and released even before Colt threw the eight yard route out of bounds – Texas would go on to score and make it 28-7. Obviously shit happens and you’ve got to play through it – it’s just amazing that all four judgment calls went their way. And I’m still dumbfounded as to how Texas’ coaches can hold up play for several minutes arguing Angus’ first fumble (initially ruled down) and yet they never had to take a timeout or actually challenge the play. Yet it was reviewed and overturned.
- Missed opportunities: When you’re down 7-0 and you are given a gift of a fumble in Texas’ territory, you have to capitalize. Instead, we took over at their 46 and moved it to the 25 for 3rd & 1 and ran the option to the short side of the field, lost a yard and threw incomplete on 4th and 2. On Texas’ very next possession, we force a quick punt that is shanked out of bounds and we take over at their 47. Sal gets a false start, we pick up 14 yards and throw incomplete on 4th & 1. This game very easily could have been 14-14 at half and yet we went in without even crossing the threshold of the red zone. It’s 21-7, we’ve moved into Texas territory and have all the momentum we could ask for; and we have three straight incompletions leading to a punt that nets us all of 22 yards. You’re playing the #3 team in the nation that’s better than you in every aspect of the game and not only are you wasting opportunities, but you aren’t playing with enough balls to try and take advantage of one of your first drives moving the ball.
- Fake FG: The play itself was a great call and better execution - holy shit can Shipley jump! What upsets me is that two weeks in a row our defense has got an important second half stop only to have the drive extended on a fake FG being converted. They made a helluva play and you tip your cap to that, but it doesn't take away much of the sting.
- Line play: I won’t harp on it, because we knew they’d be overmatched. But it really goes without saying at this point that line play on both sides of the ball is the single biggest disappointment this year.
What I liked…
- The fire on defense: I’m pretty comfortable saying that was our best defensive effort of the year. Colt is probably the best quarterback in the country and while we by no means stifled him, we certainly held him in check through the entire first half. Of their six possessions, our defense dominated on four of them and allowed scores on two others – though both were aided by the aforementioned PI calls. We were pretty much out-manned at every position on the field and our defense gave us a plenty big window to make a game of this. If they can play that well in two weeks, an upset is increasingly possible.
- Dezmon Briscoe: 9 for 115. What a stud. Muschamp had a safety inching over to help Beasley all game and it just didn’t matter. Give him another year and All-American consideration is not out of the question. It was plenty apparent last year that he had the talent and now we can definitely see that he had the drive and the head to go with it. It’s not too early to start calling him the best receiver in Kansas history, which is a little embarrassing, but still no slight against him.
- Corners: This goes back to #1, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that our new corners are our best two. Both Patterson and Thornton looked the part, rarely were beaten, and Daymond even made a break on a ball. If we can ever generate any sort of a pass rush, our defense will take a gigantic leap forward, because our back four are plenty capable.
- Texas’ team: While I was obviously hoping they’d play awful, I can still tip my cap to a good team and a great quarterback. I hate pretty much all things Texas, but I can’t help but like how this team plays. I’m not sure they’re the best team in the country or even the league, but they come to play week in and week out.
And finally, something completely different. I have no idea if there is any substance at all to this, but I found it a little thought provoking all the same. I really can't even explain my reaction, for a variety of reasons. But I'd be very curious to see what you all think?