Monday, September 10, 2007

UTEP Game Recap

Texas Tech 45

Well I might be the only one that says this...but the score made this game look a lot closer than it really was. UTEP took advantage of a few turnovers in the 1st quarter and the Tech defense decided to wait until almost halftime to show up at Jones. That being said...the offense looked great again...poor Rice is about to take a severe beating this week!!! Now onto the grades...

Quarterbacks (A) - Graham Harrell was the only one to play in this one and he put out another outstanding performance. He set a record for completions at 48 and had another 400+ yd performance and minimized his mistakes (75% completion). He did throw 1 INT but it seemed like 1) he was trying to throw it to a spot that only Crabtree (if anybody at all) could reach it. It's debateable as to whether or not MC even saw the pass so I'll let this one go as an unusual circumstance once the game was all but over.

Running Backs (C+) - For future reference...the C+ grade will mean average. You did nothing to hurt the team but nothing that stood out and made a difference in the game. That's what we saw from Shannon Woods and Kobey Lewis on Saturday. 5 yds/carry is nice but there wasn't a single explosive run. Woods had 5 catches for 10 yards but 1 of those catches was for 9 yards.

Wide Receivers (A) - Overall, we saw improvement from this group vs last week. There were amazing catches (L.A. Reed going Superman for 29 yards), outsanding performances (Crabtree with 15 catches and constantly making guys miss), and guys (Amendola, Morris, and Britton) getting the tough yards across the middle to keep moving the chains.

Offensive Line (B+) - Another solid performance and for the most part they kept Graham free from punishment. While it would be hard to duplicate last week's performance in terms of pass protection, it was another admirable job by this inexperienced group. They still have room to improve in the running game though. They need to do a better job of holding their blocks longer to give the backs a better opportunity to get to the 2nd level.

Defensive Line (D+) - F in the first half...C in the 2nd half. UTEP put up just shy of 300 yards IN THE FIRST HALF!!! Vittatoe was able to find receivers and scramble at will with no pressure from the front four. These games are supposed to be prepare the team for Big 12 play but this game was a huge step backwards for this group. They started stunting some in the 2nd half and I felt this change helped slow down UTEP in the 2nd. It worked for now...but it's not going to surprise a good Big 12 OL.

Linebackers (C-) - Their play was definitely below average...but as I've said beore I don't think it's entirely because of their lack of ability. No they aren't the fastest guys out there but they do a good job of tackling once they make contact. However, SOMETHING needs to be done to create pressure on the QB. I know I'm probably beating a dead horse because the Def Coord (Setencich) isn't going to start calling a lot of blitzes but geez...1 blitz per drive would be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Ok...enough of that rant for this game. Tillman and Paul Williams made some stand out plays when needed.

Defensive Backs (C+) - Their above average play and hard hitting throughout most of the game offsets the coverage breakdowns and poor tackling that plagued them in the first half. There is no excuse at all for a 5 yd hitch route to go for a TD (1st Quarter) or for 35+ yd gains (3rd Quarter) when you have a defender in the area of the pass. The TD was the result of the DB giving too much cushion (see Setencich mini-rant) and the other long pass was because McBath couldn't quite break up a pass on a dive. Other than that though, McBath and Garcia had solid (not great) games and did a good job of minimizing the damage in the 2nd half.

Special Teams (A) - Another solid game for Alex Trlica, including a 45 yd FG that could've cleared much more than that. E-Mo had a nice punt return and L.A. Reed was again a stud on special teams with a nice kick return and consistently being the 1st one down on punts/kickoffs.

Overall Grade...B-

Misc Thoughts
- Great crowd and great weather. Attendance was 52,403...just a few hundred people short of the opening game record of 52,991 vs USC in 1979.

- Seeing the students surrounding the Double T in the north endzone was an awesome sight.

- Great to see the Western L.L. recognized at halftime. They received autographed Mike Leach footballs and a great response from the crowd.

- I voiced displeasure with last week's unis but I really liked the black top/white pant combo. It certainly wasn't a traditional look but I thought it looked great. Definitely ok with seeing them wear that again.

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