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.