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Kansas Film Review

Ryan Bridges

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Well, I count this among the most pointless things I've ever done.




I don't know why this play made the Big 12's highlights, but until the full game is uploaded, this is all we have to work with.




I've never seen Texas run this zone blitz before, but I'm extremely confident that Anthony Wheeler and Jeffrey McCulloch were not meant to rush the same gap. If Wheeler goes through the A gap, he likely recognizes that the back is preparing to catch the ball and stops the play dead. Just kidding. But he might discourage the pitch. I also strongly suspect that DeShon Elliott's instructions included getting his eyes back to the quarterback and not blindly chasing the X receiver downfield. Kris Boyd should not have been the first player to make contact with the ballcarrier. Does this look like a well-coached team?


Another reminder that I didn't pick the highlights.




My suspicion, again, is that Charlie Strong didn't design this blitz with three guys coming off the edge. Wheeler very likely was supposed to squeeze inside the left tackle, aka the B gap. Guess where the ball went. The other linebackers, Breckyn Hager and McCulloch, calmly wait for the blockers to come to them. The result is even more space to run through. I spent way more time than necessary last week watching West Virginia because it was so cool to see good linebacker play. This isn't it.


This was Kansas' only offensive touchdown.




It's very hard to get stops in short-yardage situations without penetration. A couple of guys get it, but then you have true freshman defensive tackle De'Andre Christmas. He tries to read and react instead of fighting through the blocks to create disruption. That isn't going to cut it.


Here's the two-point conversion.




Pretty obvious what went wrong here. Dylan Haines recognized what Kansas was trying to do but lacked the athleticism to defend it. His first priority was not to lose the edge; his second priority was to force a throw or make the tackle. In his effort to accomplish priority two, he failed at priority one.




This is as simple as it gets.




The weakside linebacker has the unenviable task of taking away the quick throw to the slot receiver while also filling the B gap in the event of a run play. So Texas called both plays at once — inside zone with a hitch route. The linebacker can't be right, but the safety can still make the tackle and minimize the gain. This was not Fish Smithson's finest hour.


We can fit the other two Texas touchdowns in one gif.




First play: Caleb Bluiett and D'Onta Foreman did good things. Brandon Hodges and Elijiah Rodriguez did bad things. The good was enough to overcome the bad. No doubt Texas missed Jake McMillon and Zach Shackelford, but in a game like this, it shouldn't matter because you're playing Kansas.


Second play: Split zone. The defensive line is pinching, which helped Hodges smash the end down inside. Kansas has a sophomore, backup linebacker in, and he goes the wrong way. You can't make mistakes like that against Foreman at the one-yard line.


I'm still pretty sure Shane Buechele had a concussion in this game. He was playing like it.




Texas runs the same route concept to both sides: basically a slant/flat. Kansas is in man coverage, and the hope is a defender will get rubbed. If the quarterback targets the wrong receiver, though, then it's as if the receiver got rubbed. This doesn't excuse it, but in Buechele's defense, Hodges was beaten so badly that he couldn't have gotten the ball to Jake Oliver even if he'd tried.


Finally, the play that did Texas in.




Buechele wanted to go to Andrew Beck on the out route, but between the linebacker and cornerback, it's bracketed. The coverage was well-disguised so I can't fault a true freshman for that. Also, the route was really bad, and it would have resulted in an interception if the ball had been thrown. Devin Duvernay will eventually be open behind the linebackers, but the pressure is a problem, as is the fact the defense is able to disrupt his route and slow him down. So after the incorrect pre-snap read, Buechele did a lot of things right — didn't throw a bad pass, eluded the pressure, extended the play and found an open man — but his throw sailed.


I don't think Buechele should have been in the game at all after his injury. And it's not a hot take to say there was no excuse for Foreman having 52 touches. They needed to work Kyle Porter in earlier in the game — two carries is inexcusable. Potential concussions and extreme fatigue lead to mistakes like bad throws and fumbles. It's on the players, but they shouldn't have been put in those positions in the first place. And that is on the coaches. 

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Good analysis Ryan. On the positive side, the defense looked good overall until the last 10 minutes or so. If I'm adding things up correctly, the defense gave up 158 yards in the first 49:30 of the game. They gave up 157 in the last 10:30 of regulation. However, it seems to be a recurring theme with Charlie: fix one issue, and 2 more pop up.


Here's my theory regarding D'Onta's carries: it seem to me that Sterlin's gameplan was to run nothing but D'Onta in the first half, (hopefully) get out to a 3-4 score lead, then run Porter the rest of the game. When the offense started to stall, he felt like he had no choice but to keep D'Onta in the game. And then, obviously, the 4th quarter with a tenuous 11-point lead is not the time to be benching your #1 player. Did you get the same impression?

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