Thursday September 24th, 20098:19pm
Ag Football Preview: Alabama-BirminghamThe Blazers started the season with two CUSA conference games and then squeezed in a game against Troy last weekend before heading down to Aggieland this weekend. I would hate to start the season against a conference opponent.
They completely lit Rice up. Actually, their QB Joe Webb, completely lit Rice up. He accounted for 417 of their 516 yards and four of their six touchdowns.
Webb is as much of a threat on the ground as he is through the air. He led the team in rushing in 2008 with 1,021 and 11 TDs and the threw for 2367 yards with 10 TDs (16 INTs). He's doing the same thing this season with 367 yards and 3 TDs on the ground and 561 yards and 5 TDs through the air. On the season he has accounted for 73% of their TDs and 74% of their offensive yardage.UAB 2008 v. Rice v. SMU @ Troy 2009 ========== ======= ====== ====== ========== Rush O 168.9 (39) 295 222 176 231.0 (18) Pass O 197.3 (76) 221 226 109 185.3 (89) Tot O 366.2 (56) 516 448 285 416.3 (42) Scor 0 22.8 (86) 44 33 14 30.3 (46) Rush D 167.0 (88) 156 84 138 126.0 (57) Pass D 262.9 (108) 235 353 413 333.7 (118) Tot D 429.9 (106) 391 437 551 459.7 (110) Scor D 31.3 (95) 24 35 27 28.7 (90)
Since the opener against Rice, things have been glum for the Fire Breathers. The next week the stumbed against mighty SMU and Webb threw 4 INTs and had a fumble.
Webb leads the team in rushing, by a long shot, but Dexter Barnett and David Isabelle have split the majority of other carries out of the RB position with 15 for 58 yards and 10 for 75 yards, respectively.
Webb's top two targets are WR Frantrell Forrest (10 receptions for 165 yards and 3 TDs) and TE Jeffery Anderson (9 for 136 and 2).
On the defensive side of the ball Terrell Springs (SO/DB; 17 tackles and 4 PBU), Chase Daniel (SO/S; 15 tackles & 3 INT), and Brandon Carlisle (SR/DB; 15 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PBU) are their top 3 defenders. All defensive backs.
Basically, this is a game we should win. We need to be careful of their QB.
BTHO UAB! WHOOP!
| Where are you?
Monday September 21st, 20098:19pm
Arkansas Game Time AnnouncedWe got word today that the A&M v. Arkansas game on October 3rd will be broadcast on ESPN2 and will kickoff at 6:30pm.
| Where are you?
Ol' Bear was Wise
I was reading an old SI article by Bear Bryant and a paragraph jumped out at me....I read that and all I could think was that sentence summed up Coach Fran in a nutshell. We just tried to luck ourselves into wins because we didn't have the defensive talent to win consistently.When I went out to Texas A&M I heard a lot about the aerial circus in that league, how wonderful it was, and we hardly threw a pass that first year, hanging in there, getting beat every game by a couple points or a touchdown. People started saying, why don't you throw, why don't you open up? I said, because if we throw we're liable to get beat 50-0. The weaker you are the more conservative you play. You try to make fewer mistakes, and maybe then you'll luck into a win. You try to make your team do something they're not capable of and you get murdered.
| Where are you?
Sunday September 20th, 200911:06pm
Ag Football Recap: A&M Holds off Utah State, 38-30
Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees: Roddy Osborne, Greg Hill, John Roper, & Quentin Coryatt (l to r)
I certainly don't feel as good after this week's game as I did before it.
I think it's safe to say that our defense's weakness was exploited....we struggled mightily against the run. At some point in the second quarter they mysteriously went away from the run. They were gashing us and all of a sudden - "Hey let's throw the ball." Thank you Utah State.
Let's back it up a bit. Saturday morning my father came over and we started work on putting down some Pergo in our formal living room, which we are in the middle of remodeling into a study. We got about 60% of the room done in 2-1/2 hours before calling it quits so we could shower and get up to College Station for 3pm.
The reason we were shooting for 3pm is because the athletes who were inducted into the A&M Hall of Fame were signing autographs. This group included Greg Hill, Quentin Coryatt, Roddy Osborne (c/o '57), and Winston Crite (basketball legend from the 80s). As it turns out they weren't signing until 4pm so our pre-game Wing-N-More ritual kinda got squeezed out because we had to kill some time on campus while we were waiting for 4pm.
Ok, back to the field.
After struggling in the 1st quarter we took charge in the second and really broke the game open in the third quarter. I think the big turning point was when we were out on defense. Matt Featherston completely blew up the Utah State running back on a zone read play where their QB kept the handoff - and we stuffed the QB as well. We picked up a big sack after that and forced a punt. It was that play, I think, that really shook the fog out and we started to roll.
You probably noticed that the title of this recap said "Holds Off" so you would imagine that there was a swing the other direction - and there was. With 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter we were sitting on a 21 point lead. We had the ball on Utah State's 27 yard line and JJ hit Ryan Tannehill at the three yard line. The play was called back on an offensive PI from a WR that wasn't even in on the play. We went 3-and-out from there and had to punt.
Utah State started on their own 4 yard line and drove the entire field against our 2nd/3rd team defense and scored bringing it to a 15 point game (I noted to Sean that we had only 2 upperclassmen on the field for almost every snap). We missed a long FG and Utah State got the ball back and marched the field again to make it an 8 point game.
THEN they recovered an on-side kick and my stomach started to turn. I've seen this before.
Thankfully, we had brought our first team defense back into the game on the previous drive once they got into the redzone and we were able to force two incomplete passes on this final drive and then Von Miller forced a sack and fumble that we recovered to wrap up the win.
Von had another three sacks bringing his total to six in two games.
Initially, I thought that their starting field position was a big factor but after I got home and looked at the box score I realized it really wasn't. Our special team defense was pretty terrible and they had a handful of big returns or decent returns that were aided by penalties. They started with the ball at their 40 or better on four different occasions but only scored 3 points on those 4 drives. They actually had two TD drives of 94 and 96 yards.
Penalties were a factor. A big factor.
I didn't mention after the first game because part of me thought, "Eh, why rain on the parade?" and then another part of me though, "Eh, it was the first game of the year." After two weeks of it, it needs to be mentioned - we have a big problem with penalties.
Against New Mexico we were flagged 14 times for 123 yards and then against Utah State we were flagged for another 16 times for 147 yards. We're not good enough on either side of the ball to be giving up that kind of yardage. We are officially the most penalized team in the nation.
I also thought we tackled MUCH more poorly than we did in week 1. We gave up over 520 yards of defense. It looked like 2008 again.
Jerrod Johnson had another big game statistically. He threw for 322 yards and 4 TDs on 21-of-41 passing and again didn't turn the ball over. It was his fourth career 300+ yard performance, which is a school record.
Even with those great numbers, JJ wasn't his sharpest. Made a couple of bad decisions - one on the first drive of the game throwing into triple coverage down field on a 3rd & long when he had someone wide open closer in. Looking at the box score in this game doesn't give the whole story because his throws weren't as accurate as you'd like, having our receivers having to stop routes or to leave the ground or turn around to make the catch. He had good numbers but just looking at them isn't going to give you an accurate picture.
If we had our WR corps from two years ago we would have ended up with 60% of the passing yardage because the talent of the WRs has increased exponentially and we're making great plays while the ball is in the air.
Speaking of that....true freshman Uzoma Nwachukwu (EZ) had a game of a lifetime type night with 3 TD receptions, 101 yards receiving and a 39 yard TD run on an end around. Four touches with four TDs. I've been VERY impressed with him.
Some more bad news....we got hit by the injury bug. Jeff Fuller broke his fibula (leg) and is supposedly out 6-8 weeks or might take a redshirt for the year. Lee Grimes (no surprise - the guy is a walking bruise) hurt his ribs and Christine Michael came out in the 3rd quarter with a calf strain.
The injury to Michael just kept him from reaching the 100 yard plateau once again as he finished with 94 yards. He has played essentially 3 quarters in each game and has finished just a touch under 100 yards in each. He is going to be great.
All in all, I just want to win, and style points don't really matter when you're looking for a bowl bid. Honestly, this was more like what I was expecting for us to look like but after looking so good against New Mexico I raised my expectations - dangerous.
I do have a funny story from after the game that I'm sure my brother is thrilled for me to share. Sean, his roommate, and I were walking to the south-east corner of the Bright Complex to meet our Dad (it was the pre-determined meeting point). He was sitting on the steps waiting for us and must not have seen us coming so Sean thought it would be funny to run up and startle him. Sean took off, circled around and made a bee-line at our old man. Unfortunately, at full speed, Sean didn't realize that there was a curb about 4 feet in front of the steps and his left foot caught the curb and he hurtled through the air into Dad's lap.
He actually looked about as smooth as someone could when they trip but that didn't help the fact that he broke his big toe and had to hop from Kyle Field back to his house. He probably won't laugh about it when he reads this, but he will in a couple of months. Maybe he can get a handicap pass and we can get some sort of wicked parking at Jerry-World for the Arkansas game!?!
| Where are you?