Game 1 (W) - Texas 45 vs La Tech 14

Published by David Macias

Yesterday, I focused on Safety Chris Brown, so today I'm providing a few high level thoughts on the game and a breakdown of a couple of plays. All in all, it was a great win, and felt like a win from the "good ol' days". The line was -19.5 and we beat them by 31... niceeeeeee.

To the GIF mobile!

Running behind the left side of the line.
As I mentioned in my preview of the season, I suspected our running game would follow our best o-lineman, #52 Sam Cosmi. Against Georgia, the majority of big runs and goal line carries went to the right when he was playing RT. While this appears to be somewhat of a zone run allowing Ingram the freedom to use his vision and find a hole, it was good to see Cosmi completely take his man out of the picture. Additionally, left guard Angilau (a new starter), does a great job of getting to the next level - springing Keontay for a big gain.

Depth on the d-line.

(Quick note - their RT is not a future NFLer). Even though CB Josh Thompson makes the tackle, it's great seeing backup d-lineman Bimage #42 and Omojo #98 converging on the tackle as well. You should never lose a game where you're able to defend the run with 4 players. Don't expect that luxury vs. los tigres de LSU.

CJ playing like a man.
I cut this GIF just short of his fumble. However, this play was right after Epps was dominated at the line by the same smaller La Tech CB. He's young, he'll learn. CJ laughs in the face of press coverage. Remember, there was chirping before the game about how our WRs couldn't handle press coverage. The CB got bailed out by the LB's forced fumble on this one. CJ, what a beast - now just hold on to the ball.

What the what?!
I love this look by our D. Only one actual d-lineman, Roach, is in the game on this play. This blitz consisted of 1 DL, 1 LB, 2 S, and 1 CB. Fun. Overshown ends up getting credited with the sack, but this is a great design/call by Orlando. Furthermore, Chris Brown - who I wrote exclusively about yesterday - and Ossai are the first two defenders to the QB, allowing Overshown to clean it up.

Running left again. And again, with success.
Pretty much text book, inclusive of the running back. He had 14 touches (11 runs, 3 receptions) for 121 yards and a touchdown. Keep this guy healthy, and he's going to have a BIG year.

This is why I love football.
Great play design, and timely call. This route combination by 2 WRs with seemingly 3 guys covering them is fantastic. On this half of the field, you have the CB (covering #13 Eagles) with the assignment of "deep outside".  CB #1, who's over the slot, basically has "deep middle" on that half of the field. #10 has any short routes on that side of the field. This isn't uncommon - I played CB in high school, and we were almost exclusively man-to-man coverage unless there were trips to a side, then that side defaulted to zone while the other side stayed in man. Also, you can see they're in zone by looking at where #1 is looking - he's looking at the QB the entire play.

(Note all 3 defenders looking in at the QB, and even the outside CB shading to Eagles outside.)

(Same play, different angle below) Sam is reading #1 on this play. If he bails out and covers deep, he throws the underneath route to #6 Duvernay, which you could imagine would be wide open as well. You can pretty much assume the outside corner would still do what he does in this play as it's hard to not follow a player who crosses your face. By having Duvernay deke that he's attacking the middle of the field and cross #1's face, he pulls #1 with him. Sam sees this. Because the outside corner is "covering" the deep outside zone, he's out of position for the deep post from the outside WR. Again, regardless of what #1 does here, this play was going to be successful against this defensive scheme (assuming QB and WR hold up the pitch and catch part).

This is why football is so great. Not taking anything away from the players, but the execution of the play was actually the easiest part of the equation. Strategy, play design, timeliness of the play call - all factors that led to the seemingly easy TD pass that was still executed very well.

On the flip side...
This is improvisation and excellent coordination by a supreme 6'6" athlete. My favorite play of the game. Why? Because the catch CJ makes is one that every kid has practiced +1000 times growing up, hoping to make it in a real game. This play and the play before really showcase why football is so much greater than what most people see on the surface - the two sides of the strategy/playcall vs. improvisation spectrum.

I'm really glad there was a concerted effort to get him the ball in space via short passes.

Great win as should be expected when you're a #10 in the country playing against an overmatched foe.

So what to expect against LSU? Admittedly, I haven't done enough research on LSU to provide any great insights. However, whenever you have two pretty evenly matched teams, I think two things come in to play. 1) Don't give the game away (I'll explain in a second), and 2) home field advantage. We have the second, but regarding the first, my high school coach used to emphasize 4 things when playing a worthy opponent:

- Don't turn the ball over
- No stupid penalties
- Win special teams
- Limit big plays

These four things seem pretty obvious, but basically what it means is - if we don't "gift" the game to them, we'll come out victorious. Make them have long sustained drive's on offense, and don't give them extra possessions or great field position. As long as UT plays good sound football on Saturday, the strategy, preparation, and execution by our talented team will lead us to victory.

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Game 1 - Player of the Game: S Chris Brown

Published by David Macias

First off, what a win! Great way to go into LSU with the exception of the Jordan Whittington injury. I plan to provide a recap tomorrow, but for today, I wanted to focus on the player of the game (not named Sam) - Safety, Chris Brown #15.

Chris Brown was all over the place on Saturday. He's the classic definition of a "gamer" - the dude just makes plays. He's by far the least heralded of our 5 safeties who played a significant amount against La Tech, and yet his gameplay tells a different story.

(Recruiting ratings according to 247 sports)
Caden Sterns - 5 stars - .9886 rating
BJ Foster - 5 stars - .9865 rating
Brandon Jones - 4 stars - .9794 rating
DeMarvion Overshown - 4 stars - .9737 rating
Chris Brown - 3 stars - .8767 rating

Don't sleep on 3 star recruits. Other notable 3 stars just from the class of 2016 (thank you for leaving us with some goodies, Charlie):
Lil' Jordan Humphrey - .8808
Malcolm Roach - .8619
Zach Shackleford - .8408

Suffice it to say, hitting on a 3 star can have just the same (inverse) effect as missing on a 5 star (think Colt McCoy and Garrett Gilbert, respectively).

Chris Brown's highlights!

Play 1 - Playing defensive end
Obviously, Chris Brown isn't playing defensive end here, but for all intents and purposes, he's one-on-one with the right tackle. It's pretty silly how easily he beats the RT to the inside. Brown going to the inside and Ossai #46 going to the outside is a pretty standard blitz, but to be able to do it with a safety and LB is a luxury. Their quick pressure forces the QB into a bad throw and subsequently, third and long.

Play 2 - Tackle for loss
I don't doubt other safeties on the team would've made the same play given the same situation, but either way, he made the play when the opportunity was presented.

Play 3 - Stands up RB right before fumble
I didn't notice this until rewatching the game. Sure, Jacoby Jones gets the forced fumble, but who stands up the running back after the Ayodele missed tackle? #15. Brown would have stopped him short of the line on 3rd down and effectively ended the drive had the fumble not occurred.

Play 4 - Chris Brown the defensive end
He's listed at 5'11" 195 going up against a RT. Just as d-lineman are taught - if you don't get to the quarterback, get your hands up.

Play 5 - Tackle in space
Decent gain by the O, and nothing too special here. Just wanted to showcase another tackle by Brown.

Play 6 - A third down stop
At first glance, I thought Brown was lagging on the play and got lucky that the QB decided to keep it (It appears the WR might actually outrun Ossai if the QB hands the ball off to him). However, watching Ossai closely will show that his assignment is the jetsweep, which would then leave Brown to do exactly what he did. Great aggressive tackling technique by Brown. He plays bigger than he is.

Play 7 - A fourth down stop!
Play recognition. Check. Proper angle. Check. Perfect tackle. Check.

Play 8 - La Tech... (face palm emoji)
Same play, same result.

Come back tomorrow for more GIFs and a brief recap on the game. Also, follow me on twitter  to get my posts directly.

2019 Texas Football Preview-ish

Published by David Macias

Football’s back. We’re baaaaaaaaaack. This blog is back. 

Ok, 1 of those 3 things is not like the other. Regardless, I’ve come back from a mid-2018 season hiatus to bring you fulfillment and remind you why life is worth living, or something of the like. I won't blame you for just scrolling down to the GIFs... I'm just happy you're here (fist bump emoji).

It’s 2019, Texas beat #5 Georgia handily in their last game, and our QB - our leader - is back. I won’t be making any record or end of season predictions, but per usual, I’ll be providing GIFs to show you why I think our ceiling is the highest since right before Colt left the Rose Bowl with a shoulder injury.

In short, things are good...

I’m going to start with a quick breakdown of the roster. There’s several great pieces out there about the recently released depth chart. I recommend reading all of them. If you see the simple chart below, you’ll see I’ve posted last year’s (game 1) depth chart vs. this year’s (game 1) depth chart. I’ve mainly listed starters and “key backups”, which are rotation players who will likely get some PT on a semi-regular basis. Example - Sam will be playing all snaps at QB as long as he’s healthy, but the WRs and D-line will be rotating in backups occasionally during most games.

A couple things to note. 
  1. If it’s a returning starter, I gave them a +1. Ideally, a player will improve from one year to the next.
  2. Some players were starters last year and this year, but in a different role (ex. Cosmi), so I’m measuring them against the person they’re replacing

Agree to disagree or just agree. These are just my opinions. And if you don't like math, my numbers add up to us being better on both sides of the ball. 

On the whole, I feel like the O is going to better. First off, Sam’s 3rd year as a college QB and in this system. Second, the only real key loss to me is Lil’ J, however, I think the young guys we’ll be rotating in such as Epps, Woodard, and especially true freshman/speedster Jake Smith will make the unit better overall. While we’re a little thin at RB, I thought Keontay was better than Tre, but it’ll be interesting to see how Whittington picks up RB, especially if he’s suddenly thrust into a primary role. Lastly, our best OL is moving from RT to LT - Cosmi is better than Anderson was. This unit might have a couple growing pains, but I think by end of season, they’ll be better than last year’s unit.

We lost several starters on D, more than the O. In some cases though, I think it will be addition by subtraction. Hager was a great personality, but I won’t miss him on the field. Similarly, Locke was a great leader, but Foster is a future NFLer (and potentially stud NFL player), hence the "+2". I’ll truly miss Gary Johnson and his speed in the middle, but hey, Ossai led the team in tackles in the Georgia game and McCulloch has plenty of experience. My main worry is corner, but I think Boyd and Davis were great physical corners (playing against run and wr screens), but not the best cover corners. I’m not much of a Kobe Boyce fan based on his limited experience last year, but I think the rest of the crew brings more speed and better cover skills.

All in all, I think the team has more depth than the last couple of years and definitely more speed.

To the GIFs. I pulled plays from the win over Georgia - the last game these guys played that mattered. There are plenty of returning guys who were key all year last year, and some guys who really came on late last year.

Let's start with the...


Ta'Quan Graham #49: This forced fumble by Graham was obviously a pivotal play in the game, even if it was early in the contest. I expect an all-around solid performance from him this year in that he'll be a quality pass rusher and equally good run defender (as seen on this play).

Malcolm Roach #32: He's had an up and down career so far in burnt orange. He's kind of an odd build of a player who the coaches experimented with at LB, which was clearly a failed experiment. I still think he's a great athlete who fits better at DE. He may not be your quintessential pass rushing DE, but I think he'll show a nose for the ball and be an upgrade from Hager. Watch here as he gets off the double team to keep Fromm's scramble to a mere 1 yard gain.

Keondre Coburn #99: I'm about to show you 2 plays where Coburn doesn't make the play, but stick with me here. This is the new starter on the defensive side that I'm most excited about. I have pretty high hopes for him - I really think he could end up being a bigger and better Poona Ford, potentially drafted in the first 3 rounds. There's not a lot of game tape on him, but look at his power on both of these plays. He WILL be a force. I didn't necessarily put him as an upgrade over Nelson. Nelson was solid last year, and I think we'll see Coburn's growth over the course of the season. Also, he'll be a sophomore this year while Nelson was a senior. Nonetheless, the potential is there. If the RB stutter steps for a fraction of a second longer in the backfield, Coburn would have pushed the RT right into him.

Coburn pushing the right guard into the QB. Lucky for Georgia this wasn't a play with deep routes that required more time. Coburn's strength/explosiveness in the middle is impressive.

(Brief aside on Ossai (hey that kinda rhymes), I don't have a GIF for him, but as previously mentioned, the dude led the team in tackles against Georgia and was all over place - he's right there in the Graham forced fumble GIF I showed. He has a lot to offer especially as a pass rusher from the LB spot.)

Jeffrey McCulloch #23: I wouldn't say McCulloch is a star, but I think he's quite solid. I think he can and will be better than Wheeler. No, he doesn't get any pressure on this play, and yes, Fromm likely would have been stopped by either of the other two guys, but it was still #23 who never quit on the play and made the tackle to end the drive.

BJ Foster #25: This guy has "it". I know early last year the talk was more about Caden Sterns, but as you'll see in the next 2 plays, this guy can do it all on the defensive side. I feel like if you had 11 BJ Fosters on defense, you'd absolutely dominate (obviously not true, but you get what I'm saying). The upgrade from PJ Locker to BJ Foster is going to pay huge dividends. Watch here as he pushes the right guard back a yard, and then explodes to force Fromm into a throwaway - he definitely didn't anticipate how quickly Foster would get to him.

Foster play 2. Textbook. Recognizes the fake WR screen, and plays the ball at the perfect time. He is going to be our equivalent of Sam on the defensive side. Playmaker. Beast.


Colin Johnson #9: Isn't it nice when you can just throw the ball up to you're 6'6" wr and know he's going to come down with it? The Georgia corner has CJ covered about as well as you can cover him on a go route, but the ball is perfectly placed, and alas, he's no match for number 9. I know we'll have some more speedy weapons out there this year, but I really hope CJ can take it to the next level - partly to make up for the loss of LJH, but also for the sake of his draft stock.

Devin Duvernay #6: There's nothing to fancy about this route or play, but one thing I've always liked about Duv is his toughness after the catch. He always seems to know where the line to gain is and finishes the play falling forward. I definitely don't expect LJH-type production from him, but he might become a security blanket while still providing more speed out of the slot than Lil J did. Speaking of speed, Jake Smith. Get to know him. Watch his YouTube/Hudl stuff.

Sam Cosmi #52: While rewatching the Georgia game, I noticed most of the goal line runs and big runs were to the right. The gameplay was simple - run behind your best lineman. The DE helps Cosmi on this play by stunting inside on the snap, but it was still a textbook block at the point of attack and the result was a TD.

Cosmi's 2nd nice block. This is an interesting play design. (It may be more common than I think, but then again I've never played OL and thus don't focus on them as much as I could.) I love how he gets his hands on the DE quickly, almost baits him to think the run will be inside of him, then moves his feet really well to get outside leverage allowing Tre to easily get the first down. Good blocks all around, but especially by #52. Suffice it to say, our best o-lineman is moving to the most important position on the line - the one that protects the QB's (insert lame Sandra Bullock joke) blindside. He's moving RT to LT if you're not aware.

Sam Ehlinger #11 (in your playbook, but #1 in your heart.): You know, the comparisons to Tebow are starting to beat me down, but at the same time, if his career ends with two rings like Tebow's... then bring the comparisons all f'n day for all I care. Sam may never win some offseason quarterback camp accuracy challenge, but does it matter as long as he keeps doing this on third and long? Me thinks not.

This last GIF really encapsulates what kind of player Sam is, and how this team will achieve success this year. Anyway, I'll stop with the words.... it's time.