Coach V’s Grades: Big 12 Championship

Sam Cosmi (Will Gallagher/IT)

Sam Cosmi (Will Gallagher/IT)

The chips were on the line in Arlington this time. We had some rise to the occasion. We had some that allowed the magnitude of the game affect their performance. We still scored 27 points but fell far short of the time of possession domination we needed to influence the game as a positive in our direction. We shot ourselves with penalties to kill drives. We trick played our way into other drive killers. It wasn’t our finest performance—players and play-callers alike.

We missed two wide ass open receivers on our first drive. We still scored. Sometimes stuff like that happens. We evidently didn’t feel we could pound our RB’s down their throat—their normal workload was cut to the bone. I still think it’s a shame we don’t use the QB keep off the zones and counters—we limit his carries to powers and scrambles (draw). Keeping defenses honest sparks positive production in most games.

The short answer is they scored more punches than we did. They hit us more in the mouth than we hit them. It wasn’t a majority decision but it was definitely different than our first encounter this season. Some might say we got away from what brought us to the dance. I think that’s fair but won’t be convinced it would have been a bunch different regardless—they played with their hair on fire for 60 minutes. We played very good in spurts but lacked enough consistency to counterbalance their effort.

Here are the grades:

11—Sam—B+

5—Watson—B+

26—Ingram—B

6—Duvernay—A-

9—Johnson—A-

84—Humphrey—A-

47—Beck—B

52—Cosmi—B

56—Shack—B-

66—Anderson—B+

72—Rodriguez—B-

77—Vahe—B-

Young (32) had a good block.

Heard (13) had one good catch.

Eagles (82) had a good block.

Brewer (80) had two good blocks.

That’s it for the backups.

Sam (11) missed a couple of snowbirds and a really bad read on a corner blitz (safety) but overall gutted his way thru a winning performance.

Watson (5) had one fumble (not loss of possession) but otherwise ran well when he got the chance,

Ingram (26) needs more carries period. He damn sure doesn’t need any more passing attempts.

Devin (6) has been one consistent performer the last half of the season. Blocking and catching (every opportunity) has been top shelf.

LJH has been targeted with combo coverages and he still finds ways to produce.

Beck (47) had one good catch/run with several excellent blocks. He also had a couple of misses and penalties that hurt.

Cosmi (52) had one off balance pass block turn into a sack. Sam’s run blocking varied from terrific to a couple of “dammits” where he allowed escapes to make tackles.

Shack (56) had a tough go with blitzing backers. Snaps were very good and he held his own in the ground game but it wasn’t his best game.

Anderson (66) had a very nice game. Lost a couple of run blocks but overall was our best OL this week.

Rodriguez (72) had two penalties and three beats—not his best game this week.

Vahe (77) still has problems in the passing game. He had some excellent run blocks but blitzing backers are still a foreign language to him.

We did a bunch of good things but this wasn’t our “A game”. Maybe we will bounce back in whatever bowl game we get invited

We did a few things different this time around. We also did a few things exactly the same way. Some of what we did was very good. Unfortunately, we didn’t do enough of those good things to slow down their express. I will limit my negative takeaways to just three situations because I have spent 12 weeks bitching about missed tackles and ugly angle taking. By the way, we held them to 39 so we improved a full point from our October encounter. So, there’s that.

I really wanted to believe we wouldn’t allow any receivers behind us in the deep middle this time. Any defense that usually aligns two safeties as deep as we normally do should have deep middle covered, one would think. Well, OU decided to test our ass again and we failed miserably once again. We may have the best DB’s (safeties) recruited but one things for sure—12 games ain’t enough to teach/learn them stay as deep as the deepest receiver. I realize we work on all those fancy coverages but can’t seem to find time to drive home that point—I guess it’s a good thing every middle school in Texas starts out with that cardinal rule and works back to the LOS from there.

I was definitely surprised to find out we had decided to limit our pressure against their passing game. I have seen playing “piggy-piggy” to contain a punt/kickoff returner (even did it a time or two myself) but never have I seen it as opposed to actually rushing the passer like we did yesterday. In all my time watching this game I learned something new—instead of attempting to get upfield (pressure) simply slide with your dance partner as a way to help curtail their QB’s ability to scramble. Of course, the downside is he might take a lunch break while picking out his choice of targets while your coverage guys run gassers chasing their guys.

My last wtf is just how much we learned about our/their speed concerning our decision making from the first meeting this year. We must really believe we are very fast because I keep seeing our pursuit flat as hell and yet we come up short so often one would think we have misjudged own abilities. I keep hearing we are a very fast defense (our own DC) and yet all I see is those OU guys pulling away from us time after time. Are we playing as fast as our ability/talent should allow us to play?

Here are the grades:

90—Omenihu—B+

44—Hager—C+

91—Chisholm—B-

97—Nelson—B

94—Wilbon—B

32—Roach—B+

55—Christmas—B-

23—McCulloch—C+

33—Johnson—B+

45—Wheeler—B-

2—Boyd—C

7—Sterns—C+

11—Locke—C

15—Brown—B-

18—Davis—C+

19—Jones—B-

25—Foster—B-

29—Thompson—C-

Johnson (33) played well period.

Omenihu (90) wasn’t able to produce any big plays but held his ground well against a very good OT.

Jones (19) was very active against the run but coverage was lacking at times.

Foster (25) is a much better player the closer to the LOS and blitzing seven ways from sundown.

Brown (15) played well in a sub role for (7).

Roach (32) played well—he play the game very fast/hard.

Nelson (97) had a tough opponent (C) but fought the good fight.

Speed kills and they had more of it against our big play guys. We missed so many tackles. We didn’t bring our A game in too many areas. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat—we weren’t good enough to beat them with the number of breakdowns we suffered. Once you add that we had too many individuals that are not fast enough to play average against their speed you have a losing proposition over a full game.

Bowl game left but after that we need our S&C guy to get hold of this group—strength builds speed and this bunch needs to build both in my opinion