Coach V’s Grades: Texas 17, ISU 7

Todd Orlando (Will Gallagher/IT)

Todd Orlando (Will Gallagher/IT)

There are times when I strongly wish two platoon football was still in vogue. It would be nice if we could take the heart and desire of our defensive personnel into the offensive huddle but that’s foolishness at best. I am going out on a limb and say our huddle actually knows their assignments and are being coached successfully. I’m not convinced either (players-staff) fully understand the desired effort it takes to fulfill those assignments. The alternative is ugly and sad.

It’s easy to blame youth, injuries, or mistakes for a poor performance. The first look should be the effort level across the board. The staff is paid to make those evaluations. We have our share of guys busting their guts in this opinion but it’s definitely not 100% of the offensive starters. It’s time to find 11 that will sell out with effort regardless of youth, experience, or talent level.

OFFENSE

Maybe we are guilty of teaching the wrong schemes and techniques that don’t feature the best talents of the talents on hand but that shouldn’t have any bearing on the effort given by the individual player. I don’t particularly like the offense the OC has chosen nor do I care for the selection of play calls that seldom build off any previous success. We appear to just call plays. We don’t anticipate adjustments. We don’t have a defined adjustment to any deviation in the opponents game-plan.

Still….these guys are D-1 ships that need to be able to block assuming they understand their assignments. They owe that much to their team and teammates. It’s called sacrificing your body for the good cause. We have several that are fighting the good fight. Too many are feeling their way into possible contact and that’s a killer. If you are building your fortress on toughness it must be both ways. It’s time to make a statement on the offensive side of the ball. It’s time to cut bait on at least four snap-takers that aren’t willing to sacrifice that body.

There were some fun things to watch on our offense yesterday. Maybe you agree…maybe you don’t.

I appreciated Lil’ Jordan and Cade Brewer for their H-back/TE blocking efforts…it may not be their best talent but they came off the snap-count with intent to harm on their mind.

Shane offered his best imitation of a RB on the power sweeps in short yardage. Good effort all night from a gamer except on those 12 second indecisions when they rushed three.

Toneil Carter and Derek Kerstetter for injecting enthusiasm in tough situations. Dorian Leonard for a quality effort to get a first down—same for Reggie Hemphill Mapps.

Patrick, Shack, and Jake for providing stability inside with a minimum of mistakes. Zach’s snaps were much better this week.

Finally, a huge thank you Lorenzo Joe for being the ultimate teammate and brother.

Here are the grades:

7—Buechele—B___(Pass)

21—Porter—B-___(Fail)

25—Warren—B-___(Fail)

30—Carter—A-___(Pass)

1—Burt—C+___(Fail)

3—Foreman—C+___(Fail)

6—Duvernay—B___(Pass)

8—Leonard—B+___(Pass)

9—Johnson—B____(Fail)

13—Heard—B+___(Pass)

14—Joe—B___(Pass)

17—Hemphill-Mapps—B+___(Pass)

80—Brewer—B___(Pass)

77—Vahe—B___(Pass)

56—Shackelford—B___(Pass)

64—McMillon—B___(Pass)

75–Nickelson—C___(Fail)

68—Kerstetter—C+___(Fail)

DEFENSE

It’s so much easier to write the easy one first. I watched the defensive series with so much more energy than the other side of the ball. Why? I guess it’s because I appreciate viewing this game played with passion. We sell out on defense—we still don’t have all 11 positions bringing that bacon home but it’s with great satisfaction I can honestly say the last two are making progress. I smile big-time when I see the “specialists” exhibit the same intensity as the starters when they get their chance—they don’t waste one damn ounce either. You can take that to the bank.

Coaching makes a tremendous difference with our current personnel. We went from a cast of characters that were stuck on Gilligan’s Island to a hungry bunch of big dogs in a very timely fashion. One spring made them aware—fall camp honed a backbone of mindset. Three games convinced these guys of the difference between the old versus the new. My hat is off to the defensive staff and the pride they have instilled back into defensive football—Texas style.

We win the LOS every down. We cover receivers instead of grass. We always have one more defender available on the few occasions that we miss a first hit tackle. We pursue the ball with an ugly disposition. Best of all we hit every thing dressed in opposite color with football vigor. Smile if you re-wind defensive plays several times this season and sadly recall fast-forwarding all too often in the past several years.

We still miss tackles. We still take occasional bad angles. We still lose contain with poor decisions. We still can’t play solid underneath zone coverage. We still make bad reads. If you are paying attention the best part of all these ills is the fact that we are reducing the overall numbers in each of the bad habits mentioned.

Starters no longer are worn out in crunch time. We are getting tremendous production from a variety of non-starters at all three levels on our defense. We are trusting snaps to seldom seen defenders from years past. They are providing instant accountability. Thank you defensive staff.

Here are a few mentions that were just fun to watch for me. Sign of the new times if you will.

Boyd’s interception—Brandon Jones and Malcolm Roach going the extra mile.

Jeffery McCulloch on several pass rushes—he’s coming on.

The effort from MJ once he’s made a mistake in judgement—bullet faster than speeding.

DeShon Elliott defending end zone pass—he’s turning into a true “enforcer’ in every definition of the word.

Boyd and Hill don’t even resemble the corners they were a year ago.

Best for last—I love Omenihu, Roach, and Nelson because they are old time throwbacks and don’t know the meaning of quit but I just gotta say Poona Ford is my favorite grunter and a real winner in every aspect of the word.

Here are the grades:

32—Roach—A-___(Pass)

90—Omenihu—A-___(Pass)

97—Nelson—A-___(Pass)

95—Ford—A-___(Pass)

94—Wilbon—B+___(Pass)

40—Hughes—B+___(Pass)

44—Hager—B+___(Pass)

45—Wheeler—B___(Pass)

46—Jefferson—A-___(Pass)

23—McCulloch—A-___(Pass)

33—Johnson—B+___(Pass)

2—Boyd–A-___(Pass)

4—Elliott—A-___(Pass)

5—Hill—A-___(Pass)

11—Locke—B+___(Pass)

24–Bonney—B+___(Pass)

19—Jones—B+___(Pass)