Neal Brown Was Smart
That’s a tough pill to swallow when a team does nothing for 50 of the 60 minutes of a game, minus two drives, but hear me out. This defense is very good. It might be 2010 good. So what do you do when your best unit is a top 10 level defense? You play to your strength and that sometimes means not taking chances. Most of us don’t like that. We saw that with Don Nehlen in the ‘80s and ‘90s when the conservative offense seemed to be run, run, draw, punt, repeat. I personally loved the Rich Rod and Dana Holgorsen offenses with big splash plays and big runs but playing so fast can take a toll on the defense. I have the Facebook memories of how much I disliked the 2010 team but the fact is that sometimes you don’t put them in position to have to win games, just put your defense in a position where they can do what they do well.
I Still Don’t Like The Offense
I may understand what the coaching staff is doing but that doesn’t mean I actually like it. I watched that game and just kept waiting for someone to do something. Too many times the receivers ran routes short of the first down marker, which is extremely frustrating. I saw that the routes continued to look for a cleared out crosser but no one would clear out the linebacker so as the drag came across there was someone there to take away the YAC yards. I saw an offensive line that could not protect its quarterback for a second straight game.
The Running Game Is Better But...
Its not fixed...yet. Leddie Brown is absolutely a stud and in two weeks he is going to break his 2019 total. He’s already at 320 yards. I’m not ready to say its completely fixed when the passing game is still so broken. Teams are going to start putting more and more pressure. Before they didn’t need to worry about the run game because it was awful. Now they will start run blitzing more. Baylor started it and Brown finished under 4 yards per carry. The offensive line is a concern overall.
The West Virginia Mountaineers had the ball at their own 1-yard line (more on that) and 4 minutes on the clock. This is exactly when you need to lean on your improved running game and be able to bleed the clock. The Mountaineers generated one first down and took two minutes off the clock. If this running game truly is better, you’ve got to be able to lean on it during that time and not need double-overtime.
The Passing Game
Sigh. I dont like our passing game and Jarret Doege is part of it. Is he better than Austin Kendall? Absolutely. 100%. Is he better than Garret Greene? Most likely. He has more experience, right. It is not Doege’s fault he isn’t very mobile. That isn’t his game. And I’ve seen plenty of hall-of-fame NFL quarterbacks like Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees get rattled when a pass rush continues to hit them and fluster them. It is nothing new. Not the first or last time it happens. Still, Doege has got to find a way to keep the offense on rhythm and ahead of the sticks. That appears to be our offense this year. Run the ball effectively and hit timely passes. They won’t be big passes but they must work. You must hit that 6 yard curl or that quick slant or whatever it takes to make each down manageable. Especially after Kansas when teams start stacking the box to take away Leddie Brown.
The defense has a chance to finish top 10 statistically. They are that good. The front 3 or 4 is dominant and we saw it Saturday. Saturday Darius and Dante Stills ate and ate and ate. Ahkeem Mesidor ate. Nicktroy Fortune was all over people Josh Chandler took away the middle. This defense is good and when it got tested when Baylor had the ball at our one-yard line, they stood firm. They deserved to be rewarded. They got reward when Tykee Smith picked off Charlie Brewer in the endzone in double overtime. Appreciate this defense guys. Its damn good.