Archive for September, 2014

Staring into the Abyss

Posted by    |    September 30th, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Charlie Weis is a Flat Circle

He’s been down this road before; he’s sat in this exact spot, his experience tells him he should have seen this coming. Yet somehow, even after this many visits, it still caught him off-guard. “You know what they’re going to say,” he thinks to himself, “They always say the same thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re early or late, if you’re alone or with your staff..the answer to your questions is always the same.” This didn’t sit well with the coach.

Disappointment clouding his thoughts, Charlie Weis pondered his next move. Should he object? Should he plead his case? Should he quietly accept it? No. NO. There was a contract between the two parties, an agreement that both sides should honor. Charlie kept up his end of the bargain – or so he thought – it’s only right that they hold up their end of this treatise. You can’t promise something and not deliver.

This thought angered Charlie, ratcheting up the pressure in his own head. “They PROMISED”, he muttered as the increasing annoyance began to accelerate his heart rate. He wiped the burgeoning sweat off his brow with a spare Benjamin Franklin languishing in his pocket, tossing it onto the ground while anger rose in the back of his throat.  They PROMISED.

Maybe a change of scenery would provide clarity, he considered. Charlie detached himself from his seat, slowly ambling to the restroom. Entering the restroom, the cold air blowing on his face provided momentary relief from the smog of frustration in the other room. As he entered the handicapped stall, loosened the drawstring on his sweats, and placed himself on the reinforced porcelain throne, he couldn’t help but be drawn back into thoughts of this quandary. “Was there something I missed in the language of the deal?” he asked himself between heaving grunts of exertion. “Could I have read it wrong?” he pondered amongst labored wheezing, “Have I misunderstood this the whole time?”  Charlie finished his duties, grabbed three more Benjamins, and wadded them up on the end of his carbon fiber wiping stick. He cleaned himself rigorously while lost in thought, finally working himself back onto his feet as this conundrum continued to increase his annoyance to the point of anger. This isn’t RIGHT; people should honor their word if they have ANY sense of HONOR. People should have a CODE” he growled to himself, glaring at his reflection in the restroom mirror while wiping his hands on his tattered hoodie. It’s settled in Charlie’s mind; when he gets back to the table, he’s demanding satisfaction.

Charlie came back to an empty table and astonishment immediately exploded into anger. They cleaned him out while he was on the shitter?! They knew he was still here. They had to know, his belabored evening constitutionals are as loud as they are prodigious. This was intentional, they’re exploiting a loophole to get him out of there. This passive-aggressive behavior sent him over the edge. Charlie has had enough; his eyes darted around, looking for the nearest person to blame for this travesty. But there was no one; the place was empty this late at night. Anger melted into acceptance, acceptance into depression. Utterly defeated, Charlie wobbled to the front door for his journey home. At the door, he finally spotted a hostess. Unable to arouse the venom that filled his mouth moments earlier, Charlie meekly grabbed a peppermint, glanced at the teenager, and mumbled “Endless sopapillas, my ass” as he exited the buffet.

Time for a Chat: Steve Patterson Speaks (Live)

Posted by    |    September 29th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

AD Steve Patterson sits down with Texas Monthly for a public conversation about the state of Texas athletics and the future of the program. Join us at 6pm Central for a liveblog.

Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson speaks as part of Texas Monthly’s “TM Talks” series, beginning at 6pm. Check back here for live coverage, or if you’re in Austin, join the event at the AT&T Conference Center on campus.

5:39pm – So far it’s me, some sleeping undergrads, a local sports writer and some dudes whose main interest appears to be the possibility of winning a free Yeti cooler from a sponsor drawing.

5:47pm – Update: it’s a very small Yeti cooler. I’d expect more from a purveyor of high-end Hill Country real estate.

5:53pm – The AT&T Conference Center has free Wi-Fi. And mints. And pens and notepads. Which is all you look for in a conference center, really.

Las Vegas Gambling Odds: Baylor Bears Currently -16 Over Texas Longhorns in Austin

Posted by    |    September 29th, 2014 at 3:23 pm

The line opened at Baylor -12 or -13 in Las Vegas and quickly rocketed to -16 in the same day.

Here’s one example of the quick rise…


Total
1st Half 2nd Half
Date Time Fav Dog Fav Dog Over Under Fav Dog Fav Dog
09/28 6:25pm BAYLOR-12 -110 TEXAS+12 -110
09/28 7:37pm BAYLOR-13 -110 TEXAS+13 -110
09/28 7:55pm BAYLOR-13.5 -110 TEXAS+13.5 -110
09/28 10:15pm BAYLOR-14 -115 TEXAS+14 -105
09/29 1:45am BAYLORXX XX TEXASXX XX
09/29 12:52pm BAYLOR-15 -115 TEXAS+15 -105
09/29 12:53pm BAYLOR-16 -110

TEXAS+16 -110

Charlie Strong Monday Press Conference – Baylor Week

Posted by    |    September 29th, 2014 at 11:34 am

A live blog of Charlie’s take on last Saturday and this week against Baylor.

Strong was about as candid as it gets.  Particularly on the offense.

  • Baylor generates points like a video game
  • We’ll have to play above our heads to get it done
  • We can take pressure off of our OL with the passing game
  • We’re a 14 point underdog.  At home
  • Baylor is winning outside – Petty let’s it go quickly and the receivers have excellent speed
  • Charlie offered no update on Daje or Desmond
  • Losing Espinosa and Ash together was the critical blow to the offense
  • Perkins is not a natural tackle – playing there because he has to
  • The RBs can’t get it going because we’re not winning up front.  We’re not always getting a body on defenders
  • Baylor can’t be matched score for score.  The defense has to be resilient – can’t allow a big play to allow another big play
  • Have to deny either the run or pass – if Baylor can do both, it’s over
  • Petty’s strength is that he doesn’t take sacks and knows exactly where to go with the ball – reminds Charlie of Danny Wuerffel
  • Sometimes Baylor’s backside receivers barely even run routes – they rest and wait to get their number called the next time
  • Our issue on offense is not what we’re running.  Our issue is the personnel running it
  • Baylor doesn’t play down to their level of competition – they blow them out
  • We blew the speed options because we didn’t check to the correct side of the field (Swoopes)
  • Baylor runs the same plays over and over if you show you can’t stop it
  • Strong spoke with the NFL reps about character development.  The NFL is getting some players with bad character and then they’re giving them a bunch of money.  That’s a bad combo.  All players seek discipline and order – if you protect the bad 5%, you lose respect from the good 95%
  • Offense has to win on 1st down.  Baylor has 18 sacks
  • In-state recruiting – some guys who still haven’t decided – we just need to close out
  • Caleb Bluiett is an unbelievable athlete – well-suited to hybrid DE/OLB role
  • We have to throw the ball deep. DBs are sitting down on routes.  We had three open shots Saturday
  • Swoopes is flushing when he has no reason to flush
  • Jordan Hicks is playing extremely hard – clearly the leader of the front 7.  Indispensable player

Texas Longhorns – Kansas Jayhawks Football Offensive Postmortem

Posted by    |    September 28th, 2014 at 4:58 pm

This is a bad offense and it’s not getting better anytime soon unless we can shore up center, both OT spots, move Perkins inside to replace #66, get Daje Johnson on the field and see significantly more progress from Tyrone Swoopes. That’s a long post-it note To Do list.  Texas couldn’t get push against the KU front and the plays that presented themselves in the passing game downfield were blown, largely because Swoopes can’t function in the pocket.  When it’s there, that is.

Scheme

Wickson tried to turn the Playbook to page 2 and Swoopes wasn’t quite ready to flip the page.  I don’t blame him a bit – he’s just not ready.  We had more play action, single read max protect, which I predicted we’d see last week and it looked good at times, but no conversions.  We also installed an ineffectual option play (it’s actually meant to be an extended toss sweep – we’re using Swoopes to try to neutralize the play side DE or LB to allow fits outside) but the one time it was blocked well, Swoopes didn’t pull the trigger on the pitch.  The others were awful looking and blown up from the start.  I’m not sure why the coaches think the play side LB or DE will honor Tyrone’s running ability.

We largely avoided the HUNH because if we’re trying to expand the playbook and get Swoopes a diversity of throws, those are currently mutually exclusive notions given our QB and OL experience level.  I have mixed feelings about this – Swoopes has to grow into a real offense and we need to figure out what we have in him, but the HUNH is also where he demonstrates the most comfort.  Unfortunately, figuring out our current HUNH variety would take about a quarter of observation.

We schemed 2-3 wide open deep throws – one of them to Johnson that was easy money, the other a medium difficulty shot to Shipley on the sideline, but Swoopes demonstrated little feel.  If we’d hit them, perhaps everything opens up. But we didn’t – so we’re left looking at 3 yards and a cloud of rust.

The idea that we can keep rolling Swoopes to the same side all season throwing 8 yard stop routes intermixed with the slant/run package is pretty delusional – growth is the only real option.  An ugly, painful one.

QB

Swoopes made some very nice throws on the short roll and puts great zip on short routes outside the hash that allowed his receivers to turn and run.  He put the ball on John Harris and Shipley beautifully several times- NFL throws, really.  He also took care of the ball.  That fits the profile of what he’s already shown against BYU and UCLA and we want to build on.

He didn’t show much ability to hang in the pocket when he did get protection (the Case McCoy self-pressure was in full effect) and he tends to drop his eyes when he feels any defender around him – even when they’re blocked or their momentum is just allowing a passing hand to graze him.  Instead of taking a step forward and scanning, he’s trying to “create” by breaking the pocket.  He can’t create in that context.  He still hasn’t come to grips with his actual athletic ability level vis a vis college competition.

He also didn’t show much touch outside of his established comfort zone. Predicting when and if Swoopes progresses to the next level is tough to do. It could happen against Baylor.  It may never.  Until then, this offense is on training wheels and devoid of any explosive elements.

OL

I thought Doyle played the best of the group.  He makes contact and keeps his feet moving.  Flowers got schooled by penetration on a half dozen snaps, Raulerson has to have a double team to hang in and had an errant snap that caused a turnover, Perkins is not a natural tackle yet and James and Hutchins struggled outside, though I have to credit Marcus with rapid improvement.  I believe these guys are trying their best.  I also noticed that when they did a nice job of protection or run blocking, the skill players did little to reward it.  That’s an ugly Catch 22 in any offense.

RB

Gray put the ball on the carpet again and had a motion penalty.  No broken tackles.  Brown had as many YAC as I did.

I judge our backs within the context of what’s available to them on the play.  So I may applaud them for getting a hard 2 when everyone else is angry at them and I will excoriate them if they have a clean hole and one man to beat and go down easily to a leg graze.  I don’t just look at their stat line – good or bad.  Or generalize: “Well, our OL is bad so anything they do is fine.”  I just watch the play.  What was available to them?  Did they add value, detract or break even?

Right now our RBs aren’t maximizing anything.  The few times there was something there, they did zero to make KU pay.  Special or even pretty good RBs turn 7 into 17 and sometimes 70.

As long as I’ve written about football, I’ve been of the “Few Backs Are Special, Most Are Commodities Reliant On Other Factors” camp. Over time, I think most NFL GMs have come over to my camp (and learned the hard way).  I’ve seen special backs at Texas mind you  – Campbell, Metcalf, Williams, Charles…maybe Cedric Benson – and I can assure you that our guys are safely outside of that category, no matter how bad the OL is from play to play.  We don’t have bell cows we can build an offense around.

WR

I think they’re the brightest spot on the offense, but they have so many governors on their engine, it’s tough to assess their true value.  Harris, Johnson and Shipley are a pretty good college trio and it’s clear we’re trying to bring Joe and Foreman along.  The value we extract here will be in direct relationship to how the QB and OL develop.

Conclusion

In terms of pure importance and replacement value, the four most important players on our offense were Ash, Espinosa, Estelle and Harrison. Daje Johnson was our biggest X factor.  Losing all five pretty much guarantees what we’re seeing now.

The way out of it is going to be a brutal hard slog.  And it’s not guaranteed.