Monday, October 22, 2007

Mizzou Game Diary

As promised...I did write a running diary during the Missouri game. Unfortunately, I won't have internet at home until November 3rd when my new AT&T U-Verse is I'm just now having the opportunity to post it. So in 3400 words or are my thoughts on the game:

2:30 – Just finished watching the ABC preview show…ready for the game to start. It’s not going to be in HD…so I’m not happy…but we’ll get through this

2:32 – What the hell???? ABC is showing us the Ohio State/Mich State game!!! I called DISH and they said they can’t do anything about it!!! This is NOT good...

2:37 – Ok…breathe easy…the game is on now. Tech to kickoff…we’re wearing the lovely white tops/red pants combo (note to self...send e-mail to TTU Ath Dept that these should NEVER be worn for a TV game again!) . Glad to see Trlica put the opening kick through the endzone. Time to step up defense and not let Chase Daniel beat you with his legs early in the game.

2:39 – It only took two plays to see just how big of an impact Martin Rucker can have in this game. Man those fences sure are close to the sidelines. Is this a 1A high school stadium???

2:41 – Wes Welker introducing the TT starting lineups. As he just said, “If they (Mizzou) punt twice, we will win.” Just as I finish writing that, Chase Daniel overthrows a receiver and the Tigers are forced to punt. Fake punt...fumble…Mizzou recovers??? I see a Tech guy coming up with the ball. Oh well…replay shows ground caused fumble!

2:43 – Nice play by Colby Whitlock getting a sack and forcing Daniel to fumble. Daniel saw the sack coming but sure didn’t try to protect the ball. Too bad he got it back. Another big play by the defense to bat down a pass at the line. 3 and 4 man attacks are getting pressure on Daniel early. This is a good sign. Punt goes into the endzone…Tech starts on their 20 yd line.

2:45 – Is Wes Welker drugged??? Maybe he’s just not used to talking into the cameras because it sure seems like he’s never seen the script that he’s reading.

2:49 – Back from injury timeout. Graham sneaks ahead for a first down on 3rd and inches. I love seeing our offense have success with that type of play after the debacle that occurred last season against Texas. I don’t want to hear about “the great wall of Lubbock” all day from these announcers.

2:50 – Holy !@#*!@...if that’s not Déjà vu I don’t know what is. Graham’s passed is knocked WAYYYYYY up in the air by a defender (this time a defensive back) and Mizzou catches it and runs it back for a touchdown. Graham didn’t quit on the play and cut the defenders legs at the goal line as he was going in for the TD. Now it’s time to see the offense rebound and go right down the field. Let’s go Raiders!!!

2:57 – Don’t like seeing Shawn Byrnes limping off like that. That could be a bad injury. Nice catch by Crabtree to convert on 3rd down. Didn’t I read something from Scouts Inc saying that MC struggles with passes thrown above his head???

2:58 – My heart stopped for a second when that pass was batted into the air…fortunately it fell incomplete. 4th and 2 now at Mizzou 39…will Leach go for it??? Yes but Amendola can’t hold onto it. 7:01 left in the 1st quarter.

3:00 – In other news…Brown is in a nail biter against Cornell and they lead 31-28 late in the 4th quarter. Does it seem like Chase Daniel lines up REALLY deep behind center? He’s starting 8-9 yards behind the LOS.

3:09 – That was a new wrinkle seeing Martin Rucker lined up as the QB in an empty backfield. Sure hope that the Mizzou player isn’t hurt as that could be a a serious loss to them. 2nd buzzer malfunction on the replay pager.

3:10 - Lovely…3rd and goal at the 1 yd line. Tech misses the deep sack on Daniel but still stops him for a 3 yard loss. 21 yard FG is good. 10-0 Mizzou with 2 left in the 1st quarter. Defensive line continuing to get good pressure up front. We’re going to need that for 4 quarters today.

3:15 – Great kick return from EB. Also liked seeing Graham check down to a Woods run when Mizzou audibled their coverage. GH showing good poise in the pocket with the Tigers dropping 7 and 8 guys on a consistent basis.

--------Missouri 10 Texas Tech 0, End of 1st----------

3:20 – According to the announcers…Shawn Byrnes is out for the game. Not too big of a surprise considering how bad he was walking off. Well…we got through 1 quarter without a penalty before Vasquez moved early.

3:21 – Announcers worried about MC not getting the ball enough. It’s obvious that they don’t understand the TT system. Give it time…it will create opportunities for him during the course of the game. The backup center can’t hear GH calling for the snap and it’s a delay of game. The Zoo is rockin today…

3:23 – Update…Byrnes was carted off the field…but now he just walked back out on his own power and may be back in. Seriously…somebody tell them we don’t wanna hear about the great wall of Lubbock. Trlica’s 49 yard FG is way right….

3:27 – Mizzour WR Jeremy Maclin is back out on the field. We’ll have to see how effective he is though since the word is that he can’t raise his arm very well. YEAH!!! 3rd sack for the D-Line today!!!!!! 3 and out for the Tigers…punt goes into the endzone for a touchback.

3:32 – MC’s 2nd catch of the game gives him the NCAA record for receiving yards in a season by a freshman, surpassing the 1265 yards from USC’s Mike Williams in 2002. He follows it up with a 3rd catch right after that. Now the announcers seem to have newfound love for Crabs. Maybe there is a market for the “I Love Crabs” shirt that I designed before the SMU game.

3:34 – Danny Amendola with a HUGE catch in traffic to convert a 3rd and long and move the ball into Tiger territory. MC follows with a 6 yard catch across the middle. He takes a HUGE hit and fights for another 2 yards after that. He came up with some serious intensity. That is just another example of how much he loves to play the game!

3:38 – Graham goes down on 4th and 4 from the Mizzou 38. They did bring a 5th man and finally got some pressure on Harrell. 3rd time now that a drive has stalled inside the Mizzou 40.

3:46 – I know that Ruffin is telling these guys to make a play on defense. Keep playing hard and doing what you know best. Sure enough…they flush Daniel out of the pocket and Jamar Wall gets the INT in the endzone!!! WAY TO GO DEFENSE!!!

3:49 – Don’t forget about Ed Britton!!! Graham sees an opportunity with man coverage on the outside and no safety help…and he finds Britton for a 68 yd TD strike on a deep ball. Great job staying in bounds. I think I may have disturbed the old couple that lives downstairs with my yelling and jumping around. Hopefully I don’t have Dallas PD at my door in the near future!

3:52 – I’m glad this game isn’t coming in 5.1 Dolby Digital…because I don’t want to hear that damn electronic Tiger growl EVERY time that Mizzou has a big gain. The muffled sound I’m hearing now is more than enough. 3 plays…and Mizzou has taken the ball down to the TT 2 yd line. 1st and goal…2 short runs and the Tigers have a TD. 17-7 now with 5 minutes left in the 2nd…

3:56 – Thanks for the inspirational commercial from TT. I wonder if that’s why we don’t have the game in HD…because the school commercial isn’t in HD. Hmm…have to check on that.

3:56 part 2 – Shawn Byrnes has returned at center for the Raiders. Good news indeed as this will change the OL matchups and not require a double team in the middle. More Great Wall of Lubbock talk…has anybody else heard that nickname for the OL yet??? Maybe I just missed the boat there…

3:59 – Every time we have a 3rd down…I think their announcer is saying “3rdddddd Dowwwwwwwwn Fuuuuurrry.” Kinda reminds me of “3rd Down Thunder” at SMU earlier this year. Nice catch by E-Mo at the marker to get a first down and move the ball into Tiger territory again.

4:02 – Whoa…crazy play. Graham throws an INT on a confused play…but an OL guy (Vasquez??) knocks the ball out of Brown’s hands and Danny Amendola catches it. Tech ball back at the Mizzou 45 with a minute left in the 1st half.

4:05 – There sure seems to be a lot of confusion between GH and the inside receivers on their routes today. That’s the 3rd or 4th pass where there was nobody near the ball. Looks like some confusion on option routes between what the receivers and GH are seeing in Mizzou’s coverage.

4:07 – Alex Trlica hits a 45-yd FG with 22 seconds left before halftime. As bad as his first kick looked…glad to see him recover

-----------Missouri 17 Texas Tech 10, Halftime------------

4:25 – Whew…coming back down to reality. Tito’s sure helped out with that a little bit. Thoughts on the first half:
- (As Leach said on his way to the locker room) We didn’t execute offensively. Missouri didn’t do anything spectacular, we just failed to execute.
- The loss of Shawn Byrnes definitely hurt the offense. It required us to look at different blocking schemes and also caused problems with the snap.
- We saw some signs of life from the offense on the last drive (other than the misread by GH on 3rd down) and I expect that to translate into results in the 2nd half.
- I’m glad that Mizzou took a knee at the end of the half because it gave our defense a break. Poor Tigers…they don’t yet know to not let Ruffin have too much time to coach up these guys. I imagine that his speech went something like this, “We hit them in the mouth…and they went down…but they aren’t out. They came right back at us before halftime and kept throwing haymakers. We took the blows…survived…and now it’s time for us to own the field for 30 minutes!!! Let’s go back out there and OWN THE FIELD!!!”
- Graham looks calm warming up on the sidelines. This is important to me since he looked frustrated throughout most of the first half.
- Big stat of the first half…Mizzou was only 1 of 5 on 3rd down conversions.

Here comes the 3rd quarter…Tech gets the ball first…WRECK ‘EM TECH!!!

4:34 – Whoa…Tech goes old school. Graham under center, toss play to the short side of the field and Woods gains 5 or so yards for a first down. That’s a “wrinkle” from the Air Raid offense.

4:35 – Is Ed Britton going to be the unsung hero of this game? While going largely unnoticed in the first few games, he had a great game against A&M and now has a TD and a few clutch catches to move the chains on 3rd down.

4:39 – 3 times we turn it over on 4th down between the Mizzou 35 and 40. What is the problem for the offense in that area??? I think I like the idea of throwing deep past the area instead. Let’s try that again. Somebody tell this announcer to take his panties off and/or read up on the team’s that he’s going to be announcing a game for. I’m glad James Hasty is putting him in his place about why Tech will go for it on 4th down in those situations.

4:43 – The d-line have that explosion off the ball that we saw in the first half. That needs to change…and change now!!!

4:44 – Just showed the rushing stats. Tech has 19 yards on the ground…or less than 2 yds per carry. I know it’s still early in the 3rd, but why not abandon the run at this point and make them stop the pass.

4:46 – I’m not sure…but I think we got hosed on that fumble call. The refs did a piss poor job getting to the bottom of the pile and instead were trying to separate players that were diving onto the pile late. That’s the end of my officiating rant…and anybody that knows me knows I’m not one to rant about officials. That said…first and goal Mizzou. Make a play (again) defense!!!

4:51 – The defense is playing their heart out. Keep it up guys!!! Time for the Air Raid to move it and put another one in the endzone!!! Geez I wish my internet wasn’t down. I need something to distract me for a few seconds during TV breaks.

4:53 – Clearly a late hit on Missouri on the kick…correct call by the officials. Mizzou player down briefly.

4:55 – It took until the middle of the 3rrd quarter…but Tech finally used the “run offense” by throwing a swing pass out to Shannon Woods for a 7 yd gain.

4:56 – Ed Britton drops a sure first down on 3rd and 2 at the Mizzou 35…frustration ensues. KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE!!!

4:57 – It took 4 attempts…but we FINALLY convert a 4th down inside the Mizzou 40. Nice play E-Mo!

4:59 – Did we send any fans to this game??? I’m guessing they’re on the TV side because I’ve yet to see a section of red.

4:59 part 2 – Tech going for it on 4th and 4 at the Mizzou 24…pass deflected away…intended for Crabs. It still hit him in the hands…but that was only because it was deflected back behind him. The defense needs to stop the Tigers NOW!!!

5:06 – And now the Tech defense has panicked and forgotten how to tackle. Williams has the RB dead behind the LOS but tries to tackle him high…and instead the back gets 12 yards because nobody is there to help him. 3rd and 5 at the 1 for tigers at the end of 3.

-------------Missouri 24 Texas Tech 10, End of 3rd----------

5:11 – We got owned Mike…we got owned…

5:12 – Mizzou is already milking down the clock and it’s the start of the 4th…two plays took a full minute off the clock for them to punch it in for another touchdown. 31-10 now…and considering our offense's inability to throw and catch with any regularity…this one is over!

5:14 – In other news…Notre Dame has now given up on the blue and gold. They are wearing kelly green jerseys with mustard yellow pants. Sorry Charlie…it doesn’t matter…your team still sucks this year.

5:17- I flipped over to the Kansas/Colorado game briefly…it looks like their main game camera is coming from either Pike’s Peak or the Goodyear blimp. You can see 20 yards back and 30 yards past the LOS. Weird…just weird…

5:20 – With 13 minutes left in the game…I think this one is effectively over. Mizzou has been dropping into a deep zone all day to prevent the big play and now that’s all they have to do to walk away with a very convincing win.

5:21 – Going for it on 4th and 4 from our own 32…Amendola with a phenomenal catch right on the sideline at the 45 yardline.

5:23 – Oh well…it doesn’t matter…see my comment from 5:11 for further explanation of what is happening to our OL. There are 3 guys looking forward for someone to block while Harrell is being taken to the ground. And another sack…it’s now something like 4th and 40 for the offense…this is a downright pathetic showing by the offensive line in the 2nd half.

5:25 – Lovely…even when our special teams forces a fumble…we still can’t land on top of the ball and recover it. We’re able to salvage a personal foul on the tigers but that doesn’t matter one damn bit at this point.

5:28 – Our defense has quit…and we’re back to tackling forward again. Why we’re not commiting even a 5th guy to the run…I have no idea. TD tigers…yay…

5:30 – I’m going to go out on a limb and say that our offense is going to put up a meaningless TD or 2 now to make it look respectable when in reality their performance was nothing short of depressing. All it will do is give MC better receiving stats for the record books.

5:33 – Worst thing I’ve ever seen. I flip over to the end of the OSU game…only to see a girl (along with a guy) dressed like Animal and Warrior of WWF fame. The broad shoulders and braided her just did me in. I hope she was drunk or lost a bet…a BIG bet…

5:35 – Here’s a glaring stat…Texas Tech is now 1-10 in their last 11 games against ranked teams including today’s ass whooping by Missouri.

5:36 – Even though they aren’t throwing to him lately…glad to see MC still doing his part in blocking for Woods on these last two short catches. Wow…you know it’s bad when E-Mo is dropping wide open balls across the middle.

5:37 – And just as I say that…MC makes a half ass attempt at catching a pass on 3rd down and it gets picked off after Crabs tipped it into the air.

5:40 – Wow…that’s a crappy call on Tech. I’m with James Hasty on this one…the defender makes a legit hit (really a push of the shoulders) on Daniel that forces him to pitch the ball and he gets flagged for an illegal hit. Sad times indeed…

5:48 – Crabtree with a drop on a wide open pass over the middle. I had this thought after the Okie Lite game…but does MC not have the best hands in the game? His abilities are starting to remind me of Terrell Owens. Once you get the ball in his hands…he’s as deadly as anybody in the country because of his strength and athleticism.

5:49 – Glad to see Abilene High product Lyle Leong make two great catches on back-to-back plays to move the offense down the field.

5:50 – Wow….ANOTHER pick thrown by Harrell…his 4th of the day. These passes aren’t even pretty that he’s throwing.

As this game finishes up…I’m gonna make a few parting comments:

- The defense again outplayed the offense. That doesn’t need to be said…but I’m going to state the obvious there. They played really well for 3 quarters…and then frustration sets in when they realize that no matter how hard they try that the offense can’t get out of their own way.
- A pathetic Missouri defense owned Tech today. They gave 3 different looks today. The standard look was 4 down linemen with 2 LB’s playing spy/zone across the middle while every receiver was manned up in the secondary. In “pressure situations” (aka whenever Tech had 3rd or 4th and short in Mizzou territory) they lined up in Cover 0 and brought 6 or 7 guys every time. The 3rd look was the occasional blitz from outside while the DL would stunt inside to close the Tech OL spreads.
- Offensively, the receivers had a severe case of the drops. Missouri tempted Tech to throw the intermediate routes across the middle and we weren’t able to hang on to the ball…whether there was a hit delivered after the catch or not.
- Graham Harrell was frustrated with poor communication in the first half…and in the second half he spent most of the time playing with only 2 or 3 OL guys blocking for him. When he wasn’t getting violated in the backfield…he was unable to connect with his receivers. When he found an open man, there were many a dropped ball to be had. Offensively, this felt a lot like the TCU game…but with slightly better production. We moved the ball into striking distance but then there was absolutely no execution once the ball went into Mizzou territory.
3,300 + words…and there’s still not an answer for the performance we saw today. Maybe it was something that Mizzou did…but I tend to agree with Leach’s halftime comments when he said we failed to execute…plain and simple.

I must leave you now and pull it together…time for a steak, a cold beer…and then time out on the town with friends for the evening as I try to put this one aside. At least I have the Red Sox game to watch tonight…and a friend from Boston that’s here to root along with me!!!

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