Sep 22, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein (7) scrambles against Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Corey Nelson (7) in the first quarter at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Ed. note - As I usually do, this was supposed to be split up 1st Half & 2nd Half but I was about midway thru the first quarter and pushing 2,000 words. So for your sanity (and mine), I decided to break it up by quarter. I get that may be even too in-depth for a lot of you, so my apologies for that. Obviously one of the the goals here is to bring in readers not turn them away, but I can't help to feel as if this game warrants an even more in-depth than usual approach.
I sincerely doubt I have to be the one to tell you this isn't going to be pretty (or fun for me). However, I'm anything but a quitter so if we're doing this for the wins we damn sure have to do it for the losses. After all, I think many are of the opinion that much more can be learned from a loss than a victory. So we might as well just go ahead and get this thing started.
Going to pay a lot of attention to the play of Landry Jones (obviously), how effective the run game was before Heupel abandoned it, and the defensive front seven.
* KSU opens in a three wide set on the first play of the game, so rather than the 4-3 we were all expecting OU lines up in their more customary 4-2-5. Interestingly, Chuka Ndulue starts the game over R.J. Washington and this first play was an example of how the rest of his (meaning Ndulue) night would go. He gets absolutely dominated by the KSU tight end, who completely seals the left side of the line and it's easy seven yard pick up for Klein on the keeper.
* Very next play, and again KSU attacks the left side and Ndulue. This proved to be a very clear strategy on their part, continually running to the opposite side of which David King was playing on. It was also clear (with hindsight being 20/20 of course) that KSU's plan was to run multiple wide receiver sets to both get OU in that 4-2-5 set and spread them out simply to run the ball with Klein. We're only two snaps into this one, but we'll keep an eye out to see if Mike Stoops makes any adjustments for that. My assumption is he will not. Anyway, Ndulue crashes down, takes himself out of the play, and Klein has the corner untouched with a lead blocker. Tom Wort overruns the play in space, allowing Klein to gain another six or seven yards, total gain of 13 yards.
* 1st & 10 KSU from the OU 45. First time the OU defense is in a 4-3 and Aaron Franklin is that third LB. Again, KSU runs over the left side and given how badly they destroy the OU defensive line I'm amazed this play only gained four yards. I mean they destroyed the d-line. It's a little slow to develop though which allows Tony Jefferson (who was outstanding in this game) to come up and make a play even after being cut blocked. Franklin also made a pretty good play chasing it down all the way from the backside. Still though, it was demoralizing to watch how badly the OU d-line just got obliterated on that play.
* 1st Q, 12:42, 3rd & 6 KSU from the OU 41. It's abundantly clear the OU defense has no clue what they're doing as KSU prepares to snap the ball. Which would lead to the first of three, THREE, timeouts this Oklahoma team would take with their defense on the field. Allow me a minute here if you will. I know there are people who say these are necessary assuming it prevents the defense from allowing a big play by being out of position or not knowing the call they're in. And I'll admit, those people have a valid point. But three timeouts on defense in one game?!? I'm sorry, but that's just inexcusable. Okay, rant over.
* So we're back from the timeout, same down and distance. KSU lines up in a five wide set with Klein in the shotgun, so M.Stoops responds with a 3-2-5 formation. Yes, the three man d-line which never, ever worked under Brent Venables makes its not so illustrious return. Klein recognizes how spread thin the defense is and checks to a QB run call. Once again, it's over the left side which has, once again, completely crashed down on the OU d-line and it initially looks like Klein has an easy first down. However, to Corey Nelson's credit (hey, a LB almost made a play!) he displays what I assume we've been hearing about all week. He attacks his gap, takes on his blocker, then as Klein runs by him, he spins off his block, and attempts to tackle Klein, but does so up around the shoulders which Klein pretty easily runs right through. Fortunately, Nelson slows him down just enough and Julian Wilson, who read the play very well, is there to tackle Klein just short of the first down marker setting up a fourth and about one and a half. At the time I thought this was a huge mistake by Snyder not to go for it here, with Klein and how easy they were already gaining yards on the ground, but that obviously proved to be irrelevant as things would play out.
* K-State ran six plays on that drive, five of them were runs. Every single one of those was over the left side. David King was on the right side for every one of those plays. I sense this will become a theme.
* 1st Q, 11:51, 1st & 10 OU from their own 9. In a sign of things to come, as well as things we've seen all too often already, Landry immediately locks onto Stills from the second he receives the snap. Another thing I can't help but point out is his lack of pocket presence here. He's not really under any pressure, but he hops around in the pocket as if he were. As a result the following happens which I'll do my best to describe, but if you have a chance go back and watch this play because it perfectly encapsulates every complaint we fans have about Jones. So, back to the play itself. (1) He makes this throw as he's shuffling to his left. (2) He throws it off balance and off one foot. (3) He forces it to Stills, who he's been staring down the entire time, with a defender draped all over him. (4) It's complete for a six yard gain, so some of you might be saying "What are you complaining about, jerk?" and that's fine, but if you can't see the problems even with that completion then you might as well just stop reading here. Keep in mind, this is the first play of the game, he has not been touched by the KSU defense, and yet he appears to already be gun shy in the face of what he believes is pressure (but not really pressure).
* 1st Q, 10:44, 1st & 10 OU from their own 20. I have to mention this here, because with Heupel's play calling I might not get another chance. I thought Whaley looked good in what little chance he was given Saturday night. Here, on what appears to be a new play (yippie!), he takes a draw play for 10 yards on what was a strong run and a really well executed play by the OU offense.
* It's become pretty clear OU's offense is only ever truly comfortable and/or effective when they are in the hurry up, NOT the hurry up and wait. This is not a good thing. For a bunch of reasons I won't go into now, but primarily because they (and by they I mean specifically Josh Heupel) seem hesitant to employ it on even a semi-regular basis. I think it was something Kevin Wilson did, and had success with, and something Heupel has never been a fan of so he's been resistant to doing it on a consistent basis. The results, welp, they speak for themselves.
* Woah, a 1st quarter sighting of Roy Finch! He gains 11 yards on (gets a great block from Whaley that deserves recognition) an exciting carry. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, he never touches the ball again for the rest of the game. Brilliant!!!
* I'd ask if Trey Millard played Saturday night, but I just saw a screen pass to him, for no gain, so I have my answer. That said, aside from the two passes he caught and one carry he received the guy was non-existent. To be perfectly clear, I'm not blaming that on him. I know I can't be the only one who is sick and tired of hearing the coaches tell us time and again how he's one of the best players on the team and yet we watch game after game where they make no effort to make him a part of the offense. If you're one of those sick and tired people, like myself, and you're ever in the vicinity of an OU coach who is telling you how great a player they believe Millard to be, and you don't immediately punch said coach square in his face, you lose your OU fan card. I've got your bail money ready and waiting, the rest is now up to you.
* 1st Q, 8:15, 3rd & 5 OU from the KSU 42. If I'm going to point out the negative, and we're going to be doing a lot of that, it's only fair that I point out the positive as well. OU is facing a big third down here and one they convert, but it was not easy. At the snap, Lane Johnson is destroyed by the KSU defensive end coming off the edge. To Landry's credit (or maybe not, can he feel a pass rush?), he hangs in the pocket even with the hit coming and delivers the ball to Stills for a first down. Now the pass is definitely behind him and Stills has to make a really nice play to come back for the ball, but that could easily be due to the fact that Landry is taking the hit as he releases the ball. To be fair, they can't all be perfect and that was a nice play on both the part of Landry and Stills.
* Very next play, Bad Landry on display once again. Another instance where he pretty clearly makes up his mind where he's going with the ball before he even gets the snap. The KSU defense has already picked up on this and so despite Stills being in the middle of not one, not two, not three, but four defenders Landry goes ahead and forces that throw right on in there. Granted it's three feet over his head and a tad behind him, but those are just what we've come to not so affectionately know as Bad Landry "throwaways."
* I think we're all excited about Stills' development as a legit No. 1 threat, but Landry's obvious over dependence on him is a serious problem for this offense, as weird as that may sound.
* 1st Q, 7:10, 1st & goal OU from the KSU 9. I cannot even describe to you how bad a throw this is from Jones. For context, this is the play where Brannon Green is wide open in the end zone and Bad Landry throws it a foot behind him. His hands might be better than we thought coming in, but they're not that good. And they shouldn't have to be! This could not be an easier throw for Landry to make. The play action works to absolute perfection, there could not e a more clear passing lane from Jones to Green. Actually, watching the replay, Stills raises his hands in premature celebration because even he can see how wide open Green is on the play. Worth noting that there is no pressure on Jones, so this is 100% on him as just a really, really poor throw.
* It's 1000% speculation on my part, but who knows how this game plays out if that pass is a completion. Landry seems to have a really hard time letting plays like that go, so it's hard for me not to think that one was in his head for the rest of the night. Now don't take anything away from K-State, because as I said last night they were/are clearly the better team, but it's hard not to imagine "what if" with that last throw.
* 1st Q, 6:29, 3rd and goal OU from the KSU 11. I know this is painfully long already and we're still in the 1st quarter, but I simply have to point this out. Here, KSU initially defends the play very well and after several seconds the pocket starts to collapse to Jones rolls out to his right. He has Metoyer coming across the field matched up with a KSU linebacker. If Jones leads him on the pass, maybe he creates enough separation to sneak into the corner of the end zone. Instead, Jones fixates on Stills in the back corner of the end zone and essentially throws it away thus forcing OU to settle for a field goal. One of the biggest issues with Bad Landry is that he consistently fails to check down and take the simple pass, like that one to Metoyer, instead trying to force to ball into spots he should never try in the first place.
* Aaron Colvin and Tony Jefferson are so damn good. That is all.
* 2:04 remaining in the first quarter. K-State with two offensive possessions. They have run the ball eight times. Every single attempt has been over the left side. The opposite side of the David King is playing on. Mike Stoops has made zero attempt to adjust by switching King or putting an extra defender on the left side. Offered without comment.
* Again, it's only the 1st quarter but seeing as we know what happens. Major credit to the KSU punter for completely taking Justin Brown out of the game. Side note - Do you remember when Tress Way used to be a really good punter?