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OU Football Film Study - Texas Tech (1st Half)

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Honestly, I can't believe I'm about to do this to myself or you all for that matter.  I debated whether or not I wanted to do this or whether you'd even want to read it.  It isn't a quick process to put this together if you know what I mean, so this may not be as in-depth as some have been in the past (fair warning).  Though I may not be able to help myself on some of the stuff we're about to see.  I'm very, very reluctantly about to hit play so if you're up for it here is another edition of Film Study.

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* This pic and my crude drawing doesn't really do this five yard wide crease our kick coverage team has kindly opened up for the return man. Was awfully nice of our guys though to open up the game with a "this is exactly how you do not defend a kick off" display.

* Much to my surprise, we actually opened up in a four man front.  I really expected them to play a lot of that 3-2-6 that Venables seemed to fall in love with and that I hate with the passion of a thousand burning fires.

* I'm still stunned that they lose their starting center on the second play from scrimmage, have snap issues all night, and we fail to exploit it even one single time.  Just unreal.

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* Here you can see what is about to be the first of two Tech TDs of a very simple slip screen pass.  Sure some of this is terrible defense, but give Tech credit for a perfectly executed play.  You can see all four OU lineman get way too far upfield and have effectively taken themselves out of the play.  They have no less than six guys either already blocking someone our out in front to pick up a defender down field.  Both safeties get taken out by offensive lineman at least 15 yards down field, take a sec to appreciate that, and the first of many poor plays by Gabe Lynn who totally overruns the play giving Torres an easy cutback lane.  The rest is just academic.  0-7 Tech in all of 68 seconds.

* I'm not sure Finch is the answer at KO return, but he can't be any worse than Trey Franks.  Who (Franks) once again trips over his own feet later on in this game on a return.  Seriously, how can you not know how to run at this stage in your life?!?

* OU's first play from scrimmage and it's a perfect illustration of why we have all been calling for more Roy Finch.  He takes what should have been a simple five yard gain and instead turns it into 55.  He's just never goes down easy and here he spins out of a cluster of defenders to cut his run back across the field where there is nothing but green grass in front of him.  Truthfully, it wasn't even really blocked all that well but the kid just has moves on top of moves. He's not an every down back at his size, but as a change of pace to Whaley he could be something really special IMO.

* This game will not be going on the personal highlight reel of one Lane Johnson.

* Outside of Finch's run, this is about the only other highlight of the first half for our Sooners.  Landry has ALL DAY to throw and the DB is about 15 yards off Kenny Stills.  There is some token play action, but I think I could have thrown this TD pass.  7-7, all tied up for now.

* Hindsight being 20/20, as easy as that was I'm sure it only added to their overconfidence.

* 3rd and 5 Tech from inside their own 25.  The first of god knows how many missed tackles by our defense.  Both inside WRs run crossing routes, one designed to pick the other's defender, but Travis Lewis reads it and is right there on the Tech guy who makes the catch.  Unfortunately, he misses the tackle quite poorly and what would have been a three and out (and who knows what happens then) now turns into a way too easy first down and the drive continues.

* I'm assuming a lot of you noticed what I did that night and this replay has only reinforced, Tech held all night long.  And I mean blatantly held.  Guys getting spun around they're being held so bad and yet no flags almost the entire night.

* 10:28 1st Qtr, 3rd and 2 OU.  The first of four drops for Jaz Reynolds.  It's just a quick screen, hits him right in the hands, and falls to the ground.  Pretty sure he doesn't get the first down anyway as a block is missed on his defender so he's right there waiting for him.  But if he catches it, at least he has a chance.  With the drop, that's not even a possibility.  Three and out for OU, about to be a recurring theme.

* 8:09 1st Qtr, 2nd and 10 Tech.  A simple draw play, OU hits #32 at basically the line of scrimmage.  He runs through that arm tackle and amazingly there is no one there to make the tackle on the now off balance runner.  So he regains his balance and casually picks up another 10 yards after breaking yet another tackle.  

* 6:10 1st Qtr, 2nd and 3 OU.  Given my and a good portion of Sooner Nation's opinion on Brennan Clay, he probably gets unfairly blamed for this six yard loss.  It's a swing pass to him out of the backfield, but Ryan Broyles very badly and uncharacteristically misses his block which totally hangs Clay out to dry.

* So on the following third down play, the first of at least a couple times I can remember where a WR runs a route short of the first down marker.  This time it's Kenny Stills who, even if he had caught the ball, wasn't getting the first down.  On this play, Landry has a mini freak out, stepping up into the pocket, and in his rush to get rid of the ball before being hit, he locks in on Stills (the guy directly in front of him) and misses a WIDE open #85 in the middle of the field.  This is the issue the Landry "haters" have with him in these types of situations.

* 4:47 1st Qtr, 3rd and 7 Tech.  I have no clue what the OU defense was trying to do on this play.  Tech only fails to convert because of a drop, but the intended receiver could not have been more wide open.  I mean five yards at least, you can barely even see an OU defender in the picture.

* Random Note - Something I've started to notice, our o-line routinely leaves guys on the backside of run plays totally unblocked.  Not all of them are quick enough to make a play, even if they're unblocked, but this is already the second or third time I can recall this strategy not working.  As poorly as we run the ball, I'm not sure I understand the logic of purposely letting a guy go unblocked.

* 2:16 1st Qtr, 2nd and 10 OU.  The shovel pass makes a glorious return!  Seriously, why do we not run this more?  Especially with Finch.  #22 catches it and immediately gets it up field in a hurry and actually gets hit a good three to four yards before the first down line, but runs through a tackle and fights his way for a third down.  He was incredibly good in this game and it's a shame because with the end result his performance is going to be easily forgotten and it really shouldn't.

* Stephen Good wasn't much better than Lane Johnson.

* Again, something I think I've picked up on.  How many times, if ever, can you recall #85 call for a sub or pulling himself out of a game?  About zero?  Because that's what I'm thinking.  Kenny Stills, not so much the same way.  I know he was a little dinged up last week in the KU game, but I kind of feel like he subs him self out a little too often.

* Opening play of the 2nd quarter, still 7-7 and Hunnicutt pulls a 39-yarder.  Again, pure speculation on my part but it's hard not to think what could have been if he makes this kick.  Sure it's only a three point lead, but it's a little bit of a momentum boost instead of the total deflater it feels like now.

* 13:29 2nd Qtr, 3rd and 7 Tech.  Joseph Ibiloye is subbed on late for Jefferson who limps off the field just barely before the snap.  Ibiloye is lined up over the slot WR and to call what he is giving a cushion would be an insult to cushion coverage.  It might have been the easiest pass and catch for a first down on third and long that I've ever seen in my life.  You watch that play and it's like they don't even want to try and get a stop.  Pathetic doesn't even do it justice.  Again, you get that stop there, they go three and out, and you get the ball right back.  Instead, this happens.

* 11:21 2nd Qtr, 4th and goal Tech.  The first of several ballsy calls by Tuberville.  They didn't all work, though this one does, but it showed they were playing to win as opposed to OU who were clearly playing not to lose.  On this play, it's a simple read option play with Doege which I would have to think was not something the Sooners prepared for (the guy isn't exactly a running threat).  Both Frank Alexander and Kellen Jones are in position to make the play, but key on the RB which Doege recognizes and pulls the ball back.  First though, WTF is Jones doing in the game in this spot?!?  Maybe there is an excuse to be made somewhere else on the field for Jaydan Bird not being in, the theory was that he's a liability in pass coverage, and maybe that's fair.  But here?  Down on the goal line?  IMO, this is a TURRIBLE personnel decision by Venables.  Jones is a true freshman, with zero experience at LB in this system in live game situations, compared to a kid like Bird who is in his third year.  Can someone help me understand how in the world this makes any sense?!?  Anyway, like I was saying both Alexander and Jones crash down the line on the RB as Doege calmly pulls the ball back.  To be fair, Alexander and Jones might have done this because Doege bobbled the snap about 17 times before finally getting control of the ball and running to his left or right to the spot that Jones vacated (see pic below).  7-14 Tech

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* 11:08 2nd Qtr, 1st and 10 OU.  Our first play after the Tech TD and it's a big gainer to Broyles before he fumbles giving the ball right back.  Honestly, this might be where the game was lost.  A pretty good return by Franks (this is the one where he amazingly trips over his own feet yet again) and this play would have put us at the Tech 30 in the blink of an eye.  Instead, our undermanned defense has to come right back out on the field.  This play was a sign, we just couldn't (or more likely didn't want to) see it at the time.

* 9:06 2nd Qtr, 2nd and 21 Tech.  After an intentional ground penalty, it would appear the OU defense is in pretty good shape here.  Unless of course Tech were to call that simple slip screen again, which is apparently a play we've never seen before even though Tech runs it ALL THE TIME!  OU defends it even worse this time around, when you consider the down and distance, allowing Torres to waltz into the end zone untouched yet again.  To be fair, Tech got away with another blatant penalty (about the 232nd time that's happened so far) with a more than obvious block in the back that literally happens no more than three feet from a zebra.  7-21 Tech.

* OU runs about a minute off the clock managing yet another three and out.  They look frustrated and completely dejected as the camera shows them walking off the field.  

* Tech would get a field goal (must be nice) before the end of the half to make it 7-24 Tech at the break.  We discussed on the podcast Sunday night just how god awful that second quarter was.  Outscored 17-0, less than 50 yards for the OU offense, and a turnover.  For this fan personally, it was the first half of football I can ever remember witnessing in my lifetime as an OU fan.  The Sooners were inept in every sense of the word in every facet of the game.  Brutal, absolutely brutal.