It was bound to happen somewhere along the line. Playing hard has been covering for a multitude of less than smart football decisions by our usually scrappy defenders. We found out going around 90% isn’t enough against a team that outworks our effort. Give Kansas credit—they came to play 60 minutes. We took some really poor angles, covered the hell out of grass instead of playing the ball, and left our pass rush desire at the front door entrance.
We made several outstanding individual plays as we worked our way through the game. Antwuan Davis had two terrific oskies—one scored a td and the other prevented a score. He added a fumble recovery and two big hit tackles in a huge night for the senior. Jason Hall had one oskie that set us up in the red zone—he also provided four drive killing efforts with hustle plays that secured a big night for the senior.
Poona Ford once again took center stage as the rock for our front line defense. Malik had another salty game. Gary had a good night till he hit an off center blow on the RB—it had all the makings of a “stinger” the common handle football players use when describing that burning sensation we all came to hate with a passion. DeShon Elliott had the prized carrot of a form tackle along with several big plays that saved our bacon. Hager was Hager.
It’s very possible that many will disagree with me on my last positive. I know he fumbled a kickoff return and was charged with a BS interference call but Kris Boyd had a super night minus those two plays. It’s extremely difficult to take on a blocker against the hitch screen and maintain a strong presence on the boundary—Kris held up contain wise very well indeed. Kris made plays—being in proper position helps other defenders have an easier time with their individual assignments.
Davante Davis and Brandon Jones had uneven results but never lacked effort. Davante looked a little rusty (and rightly so) with his point of attack skills and had a couple of bad angles along with several nice corner plays. Brandon is losing the fight with taking “sound” angles in reactionary situations and still has “round ‘em” problems attacking the ball in the air. They will both have a big time chance to prove their worth the next two weeks because our last two opponents have figured out that dang ol’ ball don’t weigh much so they will sling it around without a second thought. Bombs away.
Here are the grades:
We scored 28 first quarter points. Sounds like an offensive domination/explosion to a stranger. Not so fast…we hit a 50 yard bomb on the game’s first scrimmage play. Our defense provided the next score with an interception return for 6. Our defense provided another short field with another oskie and return inside the plus 10. We had exactly one “drive” where our two young backs stuck it up in there with conviction for five straight attempts at providing ground game excitement. That pretty much was the name of that tune.
The Oline just doesn’t play with the same desire that our Dline sets as an example. That’s about as nice as I can type without hurling at my own words. Maybe they are hurting—who knows? All except one act like they know their assignments but their effort at getting the job done lacks a certain amount of persuasive conviction. Jake McMillon was by far the best performance on this night. The next best effort was by (shock) Terrell Cuney and it’s not even close after that.
Derek Kerstetter is passable until he is assigned to pass block on the island against a good pass rusher. I don’t fault his effort nor do I see him turn down the opportunity to strike a lick for justice. He definitely needs more lead in his pencil and a couple of thousand reps kick-starting his first step into a quicker version of good feet. He might be out of position at RT—he’s definitely too light in the poot to make his youth strike fear to defenders.
Denzel Okafor is miscast as a LT but you can see glimmers of hope that he will be an asset before he’s finished. His feet are temporarily stuck in quicksand but still have hope he finds his way before becoming too discouraged—long arms just aren’t enough to play OT on an island.
Kansas has two terrific DL’s and they pretty much had their way against our last two OLine members. That’s about as nice as I can be. It’s that bad on our left side.
Lorenzo Joe continues to impress. He may not have the dazzle that others sometimes show but he is the most dependable performer in that position group. LJ Humphrey has that knack of always exciting when he touches the ball. John Burt has come back from the lost and forgotten to make plays every chance he gets. No fault with Duvernay’s effort attempting to score.
Here are the grades: