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October 30, 2012
Kansas State Post-Mortem
When you play one of the top teams in the country and you give up 24 points off three turnovers and a shanked punt, you've done about as good a job of beating yourself as you can. I'm disappointed with the loss, but I'm not down on this team being capable of finishing strong and having a great season.
I can't complain about the offense. The only time Kansas State stopped Texas Tech was when the team wearing white made errors of the self-destructive nature. Other than that, the Red Raiders moved the ball efficiently and put up a season high in points and yards against a good defense. I thought Neal Brown called a really good game. If Tech can move the ball on the Wildcats, they'll be able to move it on any team remaining on the schedule.
For the most part, I felt Seth Doege played pretty well except for the two costly turnovers, which were entirely on him.
I don't really think Kenny Williams resembles much of a Cadillac. More like a Mack. Kennimack Williams, that's his new nickname. Kennimack ran with authority to lead the team in rushing with 81 yards on 15 carries. SaDale Foster had a really nice touchdown run to cut the lead to 10 in the third quarter. Eric Stephens looked as close to back to form on a 14-yard run in the 2nd quarter. Overall, they did a good job with their vision and patience racking up 22 carries for 113 yards.
You really felt the wind get sucked out of the Red Raiders' sails on the fumble by Eric Ward, which clouded what was otherwise, an outstanding effort. Darrin Moore, Austin Zouzalik and Alex Torres did their part to keep the chains moving.
These guys actually played much, much better this week compared to last despite the scoreboard. Their technique was largely sound across the board and they got a good push in the run. Le'Raven Clark and Beau Carpenter hammered Arthur Brown in the run game and made him look human. Well done overall, and the negative plays weren't necessarily their fault. Despite the overall numbers, Texas still has the most talented defensive line in the conference, so the Red Raiders will need a great effort this week.
The Kansas State offense isn't really an impose-your-will style unit. I would describe them more of a test your discipline on every play for four quarters. The first quarter couldn't have been scripted any better for the Tech defense and forced KSU to go airborne, which they did with proficiency. As a matter of fact, it was a similar type proficiency that the Red Raiders use in our passing game. Find a fast slot receiver matched up with a safety playing inside leverage and run an out route beating him to the spot. Throw to a big-bodied wide receiver facing a small cornerback and let him use his body for a slant route. Nothing real fancy or things that you can alter your gameplan to stop. Just executing cleanly in the passing game.
As the game wore on, and constantly faced with bad field position, the wheels began to come off. Kerry Hyder and Delvon Simmons dominated early, but the Wildcats adjusted to gameplan around them and started attacking the Red Raiders' run game weaknesses at linebacker and defensive end. This was somewhat of a concern of mine in the Pre-Mortem.
Other than Hyder getting fooled on a ball fake and losing gap integrity on one of Collin Klein's touchdowns, he was his same magnificent self. Simmons is probably the most under-appreciated player on the defense right now. Simmons made several nice plays that won't show on the stat sheet including the two really amazing plays that did. Dennell Wesley and Leon Mackey did a good job at holding their ground in relief.
Dartwan Bush had a big sack early that nearly caused a fumble. However, Bush and Jackson Richards each had a couple of plays where they got moved three yards off the line against double teams and the Wildcats sprang big running plays. Pete Robertson brings a level of athlete at the end position, who is capable of making plays the team's other guys can't. I think his play this week certainly warrants more snaps against Texas. Robertson held his ground and got off blockers well to cross gaps and chase down plays. Branden Jackson was solid for the most part, but lost leverage on one outside running play.
Overall, I'm not down on this group as a unit and they will continue to improve over their careers. They are the strength of the team's defense and it's not always an easy position to find answers. Tech has several of them.
If you want to find a group that had a really rough day, this is the place to look. Sam Eguavoen began the game like he wanted to win Defensive MVP, but was later exploited by John Hubert. Eguavoen was certainly the brightest spot in the unit and wasn't bad overall. Will Smith struggled with eye discipline on zone read plays and vacated the field too early. Smith was also slow reacting to plays in which he had outside contain. Terrance Bullitt was awfully quiet, and for the most part, they served as blocking surfaces. Blake Dees didn't play much this week. I assume it's largely due to the increase in competition as to why this group's play has eroded from early in the season and they seem to struggle with two dimensional teams.
The 19 of 26 for 233 yards and two touchdowns doesn't really indicate how bad of a day this group had. The Red Raiders wanted to stop the run game early, which they did, and play coverage. Klein then proceeded to slice them up with accurate, timely passing. Cody Davis and D.J. Johnson had tough assignments and were largely beaten to a spot on the field. Johnson got beat on a double move for a touchdown as well. This was the first game an opponent has really been able to exploit Tech's lack of range at safety. Eugene Neboh got beat on a deep ball and, while Bruce Jones had good coverage, he just couldn't quite dislodge a ball from Chris Harper. Overall, they just never made any big plays in the passing game to get off the field or set up a favorable down and distance. Maybe David Ash will be the cure for that.
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