Thursday, October 3, 2013

2004 Here We Come?

We're only 4 games in and I'm already tired of losing.

What have we learned since we were last together?  Well, unfortunately we've learned a lot and none of it is that good (save for Lockett being unstoppable).

First, let me amend my original formula of:

 (Waters+Sams) x Snyder = Wins

What we currently have is:

[(Waters Running and Passing) +
Sams Running Only)] x Vanilla Offensive Play Calling 
/ Locker Room Angst =  Losses

When what we really need is:

[(Waters Passing and Not Running)
+ (Sams Running and Passing) x (The Mad Wizard Snyder)] x A Dose of Confidence = Wins

You all are sick of reading about it and so am I: why we are four games into the season and have not unleashed any creativity in our offense, and that includes Sams passing, while trying to run Waters. He's not THAT slow (Coffman), but he's not shifty (Manziel), not big enough to run over people (Klein), not fast (Roberson), and not really physical (Bishop).

And look, I love Waters. A student of the game.  A winner.  A film room junkie. A quiet leader. A brilliant passer.  I support him as our starting QB.

But so far running him to achieve balance is just not working.  Whether it's the O-line's fault or not, it's hard to say, but Snyder's insistence or running the ball with Waters (not Hubert or any other RB's for that matter) has been absolutely frustrating to watch.  Too many times we are running the ball only to gain 1 or 2 yards where last year we were gaining at least 5 with the potential for a lot more if Klein hit a seam.  

I'm not calling for Sams to start. I'm not calling for Sams to come out and throw 20 times a game.  But we need to establish an offensive identity around the strengths of our QBs, and not try and run Waters over and over again.  Honestly, I don't want Waters running at all.

If we are on goal line and need a TD in an important conference game on the road again and he doesn't bring Sams in to run that thing in, I'm going to lose it.

Here's a list of plays I wish we would run because apparently none of these are currently in our offensive playcalling capablities:
  • A pass to a TE.  ANY TE but preferrably the one we have on our roster that's a giant and could probably just put his hands up and catch pretty much anything.
  • A bubble screen to Lockett breaking into the middle of the field like Morgan used to do for about a bazillion yards per catch.
  • A pass from Sams to anyone.
  • A pass from an RB back across the field to a waiting QB.
  • A triple option where the QB ACTUALLY PULLS IT DOWN AND THROWS IT.
  • An option NOT to the short side of the field.
  • Puttings Sams into the game when we hit the redzone and letting him run it in for a TD which he has a knack for doing.
  • Using our younger RB's who have a quicker burst than Hubert and shown more energy.
  • A flea flicker.  Just one.  To Lockett.  Seriously have we EVER done one.  Ever.
  • Putting 5-WR's into the game at once with no FB or RB.
  • Putting Sams and Waters into the game at the same time.
Yes, I was at the game.

The UT fans were nice.  The tailgating was great.  The free tickets were fantastic. 

Our crew before the game.  At this point we believe we have a chance to win.
This also contributed to our thinking we had a chance to win.
This was my original view but decided there were too many UT fans around.
See what I mean.  I think this is them praying for Mack Brown to lose.
This was my 2nd-4th quarter view.  Their big screen is > our big screen in Manhattan.
Even though I moved we still lost.
No, I'm not comparing stats this week. I'm doing everything I can to have faith and I'm afraid if I look at the stats and how we compare with OSU I'll get depressed. So we're taking a break from that.
So, onward to (or should I say, back to) 2004.

That was the year we came off a BigXII Championship and took a step back so far we pretty much fell off the cliff.  That was a year when the team had plenty of returning talent and just didn't execute, took things for granted, and never recovered from an early season, devestating home loss.    

Sound familiar?

We shockingly lost to Fresno (NDSU) in our 2nd (1st) game, and went on the road and lost to A&M (Texas) in our 4th.

We were starting a new dual-QB system with Dylan Meier (Waters) and Allen Webb (Sams).

We returned a record breaking RB in Sproles (Hubert I know he's not as good as Sproles, which makes this comparison more depressing).  (Here's the rest of the 2004 Roster if you're interested.)

We lost a lot of games, finished 4-7, and didn't make it to a bowl.  

All that being said, last week will go a long way in determining this season. I think we're better than 2-2.  I think we could actually be 4-0 right now without a lot of additional tweaks to what we've done or the way the ball has bounced. 

But unfortunately, this team has very little margin for error.  They have very little room to commit turnovers, make mistakes, create penalties, and generally not execute.  The margin between winning and losing for our little Wildcats is razor thin this year, just as it was in 2004.  

Let's hope this team has healed from its internal strife.  Let's hope some leadership has emerged.  Let's hope they begin to buy into what Snyder is preaching.  And let's hope we find an offense that's more than just throwing to Lockett.  Let's hope we get a break or two in Stillwater and pull off the win, which I think we can.  Let's hope for an epic run of wins that only Bill Snyder could conjour up.

Let's hope.

<< Thanks to everyone reading ... took a little over a year to eclipse 10,000 unique page views so I'm excited about that. I hope you continue to enjoy the Koolaid .. obviously it's a lot more fun when we are, you know, winning! >>

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Most Wonderful Week of the Year

It's Texas week, ya'll.

And yes, I know. The Longhorns are due to beat K-State. 

It's a matter of odds, after all.

Sure, UT has only beaten KSU twice since the inception of the Big XII, by a combined total of 7 points (with 7 losses by 129 combined points, but who's counting), but come on.  This is UT we are talking about.

This it the mighty longhorns.  With an athletic budget that is #1 in the country ...
The Longhorns took in a little more than $150 million in 2010-11, the most recent year for which public schools' filings with the NCAA are available. That outdistanced second-place Ohio State by $18.5 million. The 'Horns' outlay for football and 19 other varsity sports was $133.7 million, almost $11.5 million more than Ohio State put into its 36 teams.
(That's close to 3x that of Kansas State, coming in with a paltry $58 million for 2013)

... and recruiting classes that KSU can only dream of.

And yet, somehow UT is one of only three schools the Cats hold an all-time winning conference record against (joining Baylor and West Virginia):

So yes, we have looked forward to this week, every time, since the "rivalry" began.  

Sure, it's not really a rivalry.  After all, OU holds the distinguished rival tag with UT, and certainly the Aggies did until they moved away. But while Texas would never admit it, it's there. Knowing that the Longhorns can't seem to solve the Snyder puzzle has made this game an intriguing one for over a decade.  

Will the trend continue this year for Snyder and his Wildcats? Very tough to say. 

Both defenses are struggling. Both offenses are looking for identity. Both schools feature embarrassing losses on the resume. Both still have plenty to prove. Both need this win for some validity. Both will be on the outside looking in of the BigXII race with a loss.  

One needs this game FAR more than the other.  And with the pressure mounting in Austin, Brown must find a defense in the next week or he may be facing a very serious alumni base looking to make some very dramatic changes.

The Bleacher Report addressed their 2012 defense this summer, chalking up most of the drop off from their #11 ranked 2011 squad to injuries:
Defensively, Texas would finish 2012 ranked 90th against the rush and 68th in total defense, far cries from what it was merely a season before. Littered with underclassmen, the Longhorns suffered throughout the season with the hopes that the experience gained will pay huge dividends in 2013.
 So far it hasn't.
Hey, remember the stats comparisons from last year you love so much?  

Well, I've brought it back since now we've started conference play, and man, does it ever tell us everything we need to know about these two teams:

In reality, this tells us nothing.

Yes, KSU is dominate in special teams, that much is obvious.  We lead the Big XII in Punt Returns and Kickoff Returns. Why?  Doesn't UT have fast, athletic guys, too?  Yes they do.  They just don't practice it into a lethal killing machine like KSU does.  Snyder has always prided himself on exceptional Special Teams and this year will prove to be no different. We should finish the year atop this category as well.

Two big weapons we have UT doesn't:  Thompson is your current Punt Return National Leader at 19.75 yards per return (ridiculous) and Lockett is currently #3 in Kickoff Returns at 32.76 (equally ridiculous).

Hey look at that, a Tramaine video from KSTATEHD talking about his role in the special teams (with highlights):

The rest of it? Not much disparity.

Yes they have us in TFL and a couple other worthless stats like Net Punting.  And their Passing Offense is slightly better.  But most these stats won't mean much until we get about 4 conference games under our belt.  And even then I'm not sure how valuable it is to look at them but its fun anyway.
Last year's BigXII Championship highlights over Texas never get old. 

(By the way, if you are viewing this via email or your phone, there's about a 100% chance these YouTube videos will not show up. You'll need to come straight to the site to view these in the best possible format.)


This is a great video by ProtectEMAW that's equally as good to get you ready:

Here are some awesome BSFS pics:

This guy has always been hilarious after a KSU/UT win.  He's hilarious ANYTIME UT loses.  CowboyTD is a very knowledgeable, passionate fan who, by the way, I can commiserate with. When the Koolaid runs deep, losing is not fun.

Anyway, check out this string of videos from:

1) Predicting the Horns to win the BigXII to 
2) Reacting to the BYU loss to 
3) Reacting to the Ole Miss loss 

Bottom line: this game will be tough for the Cats to pull out.

We will of course unleash Sams.

We will open up another 10% of the playbook.

We will make the UT QB's look bad:
But will it be enough? If Snyder has anything to say about it, it will be plenty.
Care to see what my tax dollars are going to?  

Putting my daughter in Aggie gear, that's what.  

I demanded a refund for the 2013-2014 school year from Sydney's 3rd grade class due to propaganda being pushed onto my unsuspecting, sweet, innocent, little girl in the Texas public "school" system.

More like a place of Texas brainwashing, I say.

The school district will pay as soon as I can prove she's damaged psychologically.  I mean, look how devastated she is in that picture.
"Dad, you're just worried I'll like the Aggies so much I won't like K-State anymore, aren't you?"

"Whaaat? No, no, no.  That's not it all.  It's actu--, actually, yes. That's exactly it."

"I know, I know. But don't worry. I won't stop cheering for K-State because I looooove K-State.  I just like their little dog.  He's so cute!"

"Yes, I get that.  But we have Willie!  He's fun and cute, too."

"No, he's not.  He's just a guy with a big weird head."

And so it begins.