Deadly Defensive Disposition

Joseph Yeager turns in his notes from the Red Raiders victory against the No. 24 Horned Frogs on Thursday.

Deadly Defensive Disposition: As many had expected, Matt Wallerstedt's approach to slippery Trevone Boykin was not to pressure him, but to contain him. Toward that end, the Red Raiders ran three- and four-man fronts all night long, and the blitz was scarce if present at all. But although the Red Raiders weren't throwing the kitchen sink at Boykin, they were still extremely aggressive. Tech defenders, particularly players such as Terrance Bullitt and Tre Porter, were shooting gaps forcefully on a regular basis, and this approach thoroughly disrupted TCU's running game until much later when the Red Raider defense got fatigued. Wallerstedt devised a great scheme, and his players executed it to near perfection.


Electronic Billboard? I suppose that massive Jumbotron cost a lot of money. How else to explain it being used more as an electronic billboard than as a mechanism to keep fans informed entertained by the actual football game. Again and again, the Jumbotron ran ads for various game sponsors, or focused on fan shenanigans in the stands rather than showing instant replays of critical plays that had just occurred. Most egregious was the decision to run a series of ads after Kenny Williams' 50-yard touchdown catch rather than show an instant replay. Unless you were watching ESPN on your phone, you didn't see a replay Tech's opening touchdown until late in the game, and that is inexcusable.


Sure Hands SaDale: Late in the first quarter, on the punt prior to the drive that netted Tech a 40-yard field goal, SaDale Foster ran at a full sprint, dove and snagged a short punt. It was a dangerous but amazing play that saved Tech probably 20 yards of field position. Unfortunately, Carlos Thompson had notions of emulating Foster late in the game and had the ball bounce off of him, which could have resulted in a game-losing turnover. Now we understand why, despite his amazing open-field running ability, Thompson is not the primary punt returner. Ball security comes first.


Field Position Does Matter: One key to Tech's victory was undoubtedly the field position battle. In the first half, when the Red Raiders built a 10-point lead, Tech's average starting field position was their own 36 yard line, while TCU's average starting position was their own 20. Kudos to Tech's kick coverage units here. In the second half, when TCU basically played Tech evenly, the Red Raiders still enjoyed a field position advantage, but it was not as decisive. Hence, Tech's average starting position was its own 39 yard line and the Frogs, on average, started their drives on their own 29.


Targeting a Non-Factor? When the NCAA rules committee announced the new targeting rule and the penalty—including suspension of offending players—that accompanies it, much hot methane was expelled regarding how this innovation would alter the complexion of the game for the worse. Well, so far this rule is a non-issue. I've watched as much college football as I possibly could the last two and a half weeks, and have yet to see a player called for targeting. One of two things has happened. Either the penalty is so severe that officials are afraid to call it, or it is so severe that it has deterred players from targeting. If the former, then this initiative is a failure. If the latter, it is a success.


Kleen-up for Kliff: As under Mike Leach, penalties have been a colossal problem for the Red Raiders under the new regime. The Red Raiders committed 10 infractions for 89 yards against the Frogs. If TCU hadn't been even more miserable in this category, Tech may well have lost the game. But one Red Raider penalty was particularly costly. Hence, on 3rd-and-seven from the TCU 33 yard line, Baker Mayfield was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled 25 yards to the Horned Frog eight. The Red Raiders were set up for a surefire field goal, and probably a touchdown. But hold on. Rashad Fortenberry was whistled for a holding penalty and Tech ultimately had to punt. Making matters worse, the penalty was entirely unnecessary—Mayfield had cleared the pocket before the infraction took place, thus the hold had no effect on the play.


Running Back Disappearance and Resurgence: Over the course of Tech's first 12 drives the running backs carried the football a grand total of five times. But in Tech's final two drives (excluding the final "victory formation" drive), Red Raider backs carried it eight times. That comes out to .4 carries per drive throughout the bulk of the game and four carries per drive at the very end.

Raider Power Top Stories