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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