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OU vs. FSU - Film Study (1st Half)

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17:  EJ Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles runs the ball against the Oklahoma Sooners at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: EJ Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles runs the ball against the Oklahoma Sooners at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Ed. Note - This was originally going to be a single post, but as I kept writing, and writing, and writing I decided to do you all a favor and split it up.  Sorry, I think I got a little carried away ;)

Definitely the biggest game, so far anyway, that we've had to do our Film Study on, so there will be plenty of things that we're paying attention to.  Just some of those will include: the FSU d-line vs. the OU o-line, Tom Wort's performance, some of Landry's throws, the what happened to the OU run game between their first and last drives, and more.  If you're not already familiar with this post, what we do is re-watch the game and break it down from a much more detailed perspective than our typical recaps.  I always fear that it won't make for the most entertaining read, but it allows for a much more in-depth take on the game that you might not get watching it live or even after one or two more viewings.  So hopefully you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.  We'll expound on some points as we find necessary, but some may just be simple points that stand out as we watch.

Pressing the "play" button on the DVR now.

* Found it pretty funny that Bob clearly wanted nothing to do with Erin Andrews in that stupid pregame interview they always insist on doing.  Never understood the point of it.  They never say anything of substance and always look put out by it.

* Opening kickoff almost goes out of the back of the end zone.  Man, that would be nice.  I'll speak to this more on one he actually gets to return, but they might need to look at putting somebody else besides Trey Franks back on kick returns.

* Preemptive warning - this opening drive might be even more in-depth than normal since it was so dominant.

* 14:48 1st Qtr - 2nd play of the game after an opening six yard catch by K.Stills to put OU at 2nd and 4.  I-formation with Landry under center.  Stretch play to the offense's left.  FSU brings LB Christian Jones on a run blitz and he gets absolutely taken out of the play on a fantastic lead block from Trey Millard.  The left side of the o-line destroys the FSU defenders opening up a huge hole, Stephenson releases and swallows up an FSU LB.  Great seal block on the back side from Tyler Evans as well that probably gets lose since the play wasn't ran to his side.  Clay shows a good burst through hole for a solid nine yard gain.

* Random note - I found it very odd that we really never went hurry up for the whole game (except for our 2nd possession I believe).  Even in this first drive, they seem to be taking their time which was the exact opposite of last year.

* 13:50 1st Qtr - The first of several times in this game FSU appears to either jump offsides or line up in the neutral zone only to have nothing called.  Brandon Jenkins has an outstanding first step, but he's not superhuman.  OU in the pistol and throw a swing pass to Broyles, gain of only five thanks to a below average block from Stills on Greg Reid.  This was actually the play Reid got hurt.  I know he took some crap in our game thread at the time, but it looked ugly on the replay.  No Von "Crampmaster" Miller here IMO.

* Trey Millard has been instrumental in the drive already and we're just past midfield.  Damn, this kid is really good.  I know Mizzou doesn't use a fullback and that's their excuse for supposedly not caring about losing this kid from their own backyard, but this is a guy you find a position for.  Big miss by Pinkel and his staff.

* 12:23 1st Qtr - 2nd and 8 for OU from the FSU 47.  Apparent offsides #2 for FSU, no call of course.  FSU in zone coverage and Broyles just runs a 10 yard option route, easy pitch and catch for RB and Landry.  12 yard gain.  FSU defenders look give a little shove before he can get up, which is a sign of things to come in the form of personal foul penalties.

* 10: 54 1st Qtr - Whaley's first appearance in the backfield.  Singleback set and they run another stretch play to the left, almost every run this drive has been over the left side.  FSU's Jenkins gets a huge push up the field forcing Whaley to take the run all the way to the sideline.  He displays that same strength and balance we saw against in Tulsa in running through the tackle of a d-lineman for what would have been maybe a two yard gain at best and is able to stay in bounds and turn it up field for six yards.

* 10:11 1st Qtr - 3rd and 3 from the FSU 18.  Another in the infinite supply of examples of just how great #85 is as he catches a swing pass one yard behind the line, fights through the tackle of the FSU safety who meets him a yard short of the 1st down marker, and he casually reaches the ball past said marker for an OU 1st down.  Just a brilliant play and a true display of his football IQ.

* 9:51 1st Qtr - One of a handful of plays (at best) that Roy Finch is actually on the field.  I'll try and keep track of this and update as we move along.  He's in at slot WR on this play, but OU is forced to call a timeout as the play clock runs down and when we come back from commercial, no more Roy Finch.  They come back in a power I-formation and run a little counter play, again to the left.  Whaley once again gets positive yards (three) out of a play that could have easily been stopped for no gain.  

* 9:00 1st Qtr - 2nd and 6 from the FSU 10.  First sighting of the triangle, er diamond.  Interesting twist on it though with Millard to Landry's left, Hanna to his right, and Whaley as the deep back.  From RG Evans down, the line crashes hard left and both Millard and Hanna sprint to fill in the gap that's left.  Both meet their defender in the hole created and get great blocks.  Whaley runs perfectly off their blocks and is stopped just barely short of the goal line by FSU's Lamarcus Joyner.  Great call, great blocking, great run.  Why did Heupel get away from stuff like this?!?

* Landry sneaks it in on the very next play as he follows Habern into the end zone.  A truly dominant and statement making opening drive.  Just as good on the replay as it was watching live.  7-0 OU.

* 8:31 1st Qtr - FSU's first possession and Tom Wort's first presence announcing play.  The play looks like it's going right, he reads this and looks to shuffle in that direction.  The FSU RB cuts the play back, Wort recognizes this, doesn't over run the play, fills the hole, and absolutely stands the RB up.  I can almost guarantee you that's a play he overruns and take himself out of last year.  This however was just an absolutely perfect play by a MLB.

* 7:48 1st Qtr - First time of several I remember that Fleming isn't quite himself in coverage.  Little bit of a double move by the FSU wideout and Fleming bites on it as he's looking back at Manuel instead of his man.  Eight yard gain and a first down for FSU.  I can appreciate the aggressiveness, the same can be said for Javon Harris, but you've got to be sharper than that.

* 5:55 1st Qtr - 3rd and 4 from FSU's own 46.  This is one of the few plays where Wort wasn't great.  FSU tight end comes on a short crossing route, which they used ALL NIGHT LONG fyi, and Wort has him lined up a good two yards short of the marker.  Unfortunately, he doesn't wrap up (or even use his arms really) and the kid is able to keep his legs and fight for the first down.  You can tell on the replay, from his reaction, that he is not happy with himself.  Great game for Wort no doubt, but that's a play you need to make.  If he does, FSU is forced to punt and with OU coming off that first drive who knows how things might have played out.

* 3:15 1st Qtr - 3rd and 10 for FSU from the OU 24.  Wort redeems himself here, sharing a sack with Corey Nelson.  And you have to see this play to truly appreciate it because I'm sure my description won't do it justice.  Wort comes on the blitz off the defense's right edge, one-on-one with the FSU right tackle.  He stutter steps and then pulls an absolutely sick 'Dwight Freeney' esque spin move and Manuel does him a big favor by rolling out right into his pressure.  The other thing very much on display here is Nelson's closing speed.  Manuel briefly gets away from Wort, but Nelson comes from out of nowhere to close on him in an instant.  Manuel tries to duck his tackle, but at this point Wort has closed on the backside and finishes him off.  OU's first sack and the picture of a swarming defense.

* Normally, that sack would take a team out of field goal range.  But when you've got a guy that can drill a 53-yarder, not so much.  Again, wouldn't that be nice. 7-3 OU.

* Okay, the kick return deal.  Franks gets a chance to run this one back and as I feel he tends to do, runs into the back of Brennan Clay, tripping himself over his own teammate.  Naturally, the FSU guys go berserk like they just took his head off or something.  Only makes it back to the 17.  I know the guy is a former stud track guy, but he doesn't seem to have the vision on this run backs.  How about if you can't find a way to get Finch the ball on offense (why again exactly?), you put him back there to run kicks back?  Just a thought.

* OU gets the ball back for the second time and to the best of my memory, this is really the only drive where they run the hurry up as we've come to know it.  Seems to be working, a couple nice throws to Stills for consecutive first downs.  Then Stills gets open again, but loses his footing and it falls incomplete putting OU behind the sticks.  Clay gets a couple on 2nd down giving OU 3rd and 7 from their own 47.

* This is Landry's first INT.  The FSU DE (Dawkins) beats RT Lane Johnson pretty badly forcing Landry to roll left.  Unfortunately for him, FSU has brought a delayed blitz on that side in the form of Joyner.  Landry double clutches what should have been either a throw away while he still had the time or a tuck and simply eat the sack.  Sadly, you all know neither of those happen and Joyner drills him while he's trying to throw, the ball flutters in the air, and the FSU defender is able to make a diving catch before it hits the ground.

* 0:40 1st Qtr - After a lucky play for OU where Manuel had open man downfield, but missed him high and behind, FSU has a 2nd and 10 from the OU 45.  A perfect play call for FSU as OU brings a blitz with Colvin, something they did a ton that night, and the play goes right where he blitzed from.  The FSU RB has a blocker in front, the RT I think, who tries to line up Wort.  He, pretty easily actually, side steps his lunging attempt at a block and makes a great open field tackle for what could have been a much bigger gain.  As it is, it's a gain of seven and the end of the first quarter.

End of 1st, OU up 7-3.

* 13:55 2nd Qtr - 2nd and 8 for FSU from the OU 28.  And here is the play the FSU fans can't stop talking about.  Seam route for their WR Shaw, who catches it at about the four yard line, and is almost immediately sandwiched by Wort and Harris at the two yard line.  You know what happens so I won't bore you with the description, but what you aren't watching live and the advantage of replay provides is just how long the delay is before the ref's flag comes out. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I just did a full 5 Mississippi count from the time Shaw hits the ground to when you see the flag fly.  Clearly, this was a direct result of the kid clearly being out cold and nothing to do with the actual hit itself.  Which, unless they've rewritten the rules for the refs to take emotion into account on their calls, is not what determines a penalty.  It's still scary on the replay, but also CLEARLY evident that neither Wort or Harris lead with their helmet or even (at least from the angles provided) really even made contact with Shaw's helmet.  I definitely think it was the shock of the impact from both sides that knocked him out and not really anything violent with respect to contact towards his head.  What is clear in the replay is that it should have been ruled a catch and fumble IMO.  I think it's pretty obvious actually. 

* 12:45 2nd Qtr - 2nd and 16 for FSU from the OU 18 after a FSU holding penalty.  Here comes the Wort INT.  If you heard Venables after the game Saturday night, he credited Wort (and rightfully so) for recognizing the TE screen FSU called because it was something they had not seen them do on film in their prep for the game.  Which just makes this play all the more impressive.  Manuel does a decent enough job setting it up, but Wort is not fooled at all and watching it I'm not sure Manuel even looked his direction before releasing the ball.  Even on the replay, it's hard to truly appreciate just how good a play this was.  He tips the ball up in the air to himself and manages to run under it and haul it in.  The other thing is it's not like he was thrown into his numbers and he just bobbled it, but he had to really leap just to tip it before bringing it in.  I can tell you if Wort doesn't make that play and the pass is completed, it might be a TD because the FSU TE had nothing but green in front of him and a blocker to escort him.  Seeing that, it's even a bigger play than I originally had thought.  Unfortunately, OU does nothing with it and goes three and out.

* 9:51 2nd Qtr - FSU 2nd and 6 from their own 19.  Another great play (actually just bad, or non-existent blocking by FSU) by two of the many stars on the OU defense this night in Wort and Colvin.  FSU in a single back set with a run right up the middle.  Colvin comes up on a run blitz and both he and Wort meet the RB in the backfield completely unblocked.  Not sure how FSU misses both those two guys, but they do and lose three yards because of it.

* 8:17 2nd Qtr - OU gets the ball back and his it 1st and 10 from their own 33.  Single back set with Whaley, OU runs play action, as Stills runs a fly pattern down the left sideline.  A great throw by Landry as he places it perfectly between two defenders right into the waiting hands of Stills as he slides to make the catch.  Maybe the best part is Mushberger completely blowing the call saying it's incomplete praising the FSU safety for breaking it up. FSU's Joyner comes across and absolutely throws a forearm to Stills' face.  It's a bang-bang play so I think it would be quite presumptuous to say it was intentional, but either way it certainly should have been a penalty.

* 7:26 2nd Qtr - 2nd and 7 from the FSU 26.  Great call here by Heupel.  Play action to Millard out in the flat, makes a very smooth catch for a FB (or at least an ordinary FB anyway), and turns it up field for a nice 17-yard gain.  Nice block downfield by Austin Haywood to get him an extra five yards.

* 6:34 2nd Qtr - OU's first goal line failure.  Originally 1st and goal from the 9, OU runs with Whaley who gets drilled for a four yard loss by the German FSU DE.  Fortunately, the first of two (I believe) PF calls on #13 Bradham for FSU makes it 1st and goal from the 6.  So, 1st down play is a run up the middle for one yard.  2nd down play is another run up the middle, but Whaley bounces it outside left tackle and meets two FSU defenders at the two yard line.  3rd down play is, amazingly, another run up the middle!  The FSU LB shoots the gap between Evans and Johnson, completely untouched, to blow the play up in the backfield.  Three straight runs, welcome back KW!  OU 10-3.

* 2:43 2nd Qtr - FSU ball, 3rd and 1 from their 46.  The first of at least two that I can specifically remember wheere the refs don't even to measure for an FSU first down.  Manuel sneaks for the first and doesn't get much of a push.  The refs run in to spot the ball, which according to the t.v. 1st down line would have been short and thus 4th down.  And yeah, spare me the whole "the t.v. line isn't 100% accurate, blah, blah, blah."  While true, it's close enough that if it appears short on t.v. the refs should probably measure rather than just wave the markers forward for the home team. I'm just sayin'.  It took them all of five seconds to just wave them forward, didn't even glance at the sideline to try and eyeball it.  You can actually see Frank Alexander at one point walking away, shaking his head, which I can only assume is for the exact reason I'm talking about.

* 1:33 2nd Qtr - FSU ball, 3rd and 7 from the 50.  Manuel's 2nd INT.  This is one of those where you don't really know whether or not to put it on the QB or the TE.  On the replay you can clearly see Manuel thought he was going one way and the TE thought the other, leaving Harris with one of the easier INTs he'll probably ever get.  Nice run back, but sitting here today would have been so much nicer if he could have ran it all the way back.

* 1:19 2nd Qtr - 1st and goal OU from the FSU 3.  OU's second goal line failure.  1st down, they try to go back to the play action FB in the flat well.  Landry throws it about 15 rows up.  Millard was kind of covered, so I suppose it's good that he throws it away rather than trying to force it, but man did that look bad.  Also not sure why you call that play and only send one guy out into the route?  2nd down, run up the middle.  Weird!  3rd down, they finally try a running play other than up the backs of their o-linemen.  A pitch play to Whaley, but for some stupid (IMO) reason they run it to the short side of the field effectively giving FSU and extra defender in the form of the sideline (I freaking hate when they do this and believe me when I tell you they do it all the time!!!).  Decent blocking, but Whaley leaves his feet to jump over Millard and is met by a defender crashing down the line, well short of the end zone.  Holding on OU, so even if he would have gotten in it was coming back.  Surprisingly, FSU accepts the penalty giving OU another chance at the end zone from the 13.  IMO, Jones misreads the pocket collapsing and rolls outside the pocket.  He winds up having to throw it away with Werner bearing down on him, but it looked like he had Franks uncovered in the back of the end zone.  13-3 OU.  Halftime.