Gabriel's Horn

A terribly biased view of sports through the Eyes of Texas.

Archive for the ‘game observations’ Category

Want a Slice?

Posted by TxHny on November 2, 2007

I’ve recently made the argument to friends, colleagues and anyone else that will stand around while I yammer that Texas, Texas A&M and OU cannot all be good at the same time. And like most, I’m sure right now you are saying, “Txhny, but what about the game in ____, when ____ and ____ were both in the top 10 and….” Yeah, I know. I also hear your argument, “but Texas is soooo big. There are so many great players – isn’t there enough to go around?” No. There isn’t. There are only a few dynamite players per year — Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, Cedric Benson, Jamaal Charles, etc. etc.

My point is simple: Texas is awesome and everyone would like some of the sugary Texas pie. However, no matter how tasty and talented, there is only so much to go around. Let me explain.

texas_pie.jpg
Pie a la tacklin’ fuel.

I salute Texas High School football programs (prioritized right above TAKS scores), coaches, robustly funded athletic programs and all the teachers who fudge grades for the greater good of footballdom.

greatergood.jpg
The greater good.

Their work produces finely tuned athletes for both college and professional football, and now with an even butterier crust! And who vies for the largest slices? Texas, Texas A&M and OU. One major talent base, three programs seeking to be a power-house. Whoever gets the biggest slice wins.

“Txhny, you are seriously off your rocker. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You can’t just pull whatever you want out of your cute white shiny ass and call it logic.”

And you’re right. Gentlemen, I give you numbers, statistics, fancy charts and several hours of my time cursing at Excel.

The method of my madness: Several weeks ago, billyzane of BON fame did an analysis of games 2001-2006 to determine which factors are the best predictors of success in college football games. This article and his other Football by the Numbers pieces are outstanding. You can read this particular one here. To make my point clear, I took the predictors of success identified by billyzane, and then did comparison charts with numbers from Texas, Texas A&M and OU over the span of 9 years. We’re in “year 10” and I’ll do another post or two with predictions and then a final sum up.

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(You’ll have to click to see it big, but you can get the gist. Red: OU, Orange: TX, Maroon: TAMU)

This particular factor was not listed by billyzane. And if you hate Rivals – please feel free to take it up with them. This is just what I used as a sort of overall indicator. As you can clearly see, Texas is opposite of OU and Texas A&M.

Next, let’s look at total wins per season. Okay, this is also not a billyzane predictor – but again – just another overall success indicator. What do we care about? Wins! Bowl Games! image002.gif
In particular, look at years 2000, 2003 and 2005. In 2000, OU won the national championship and in 2005, Vince Young won. After 2000, OU sort of evens out. Championships win recruits. Texas was also on the upswing. At this point we see Texas A&M make a pretty significant dip. After 2003, the OU dip in wins coincides with a slight upswing at Texas A&M. (And yes, I realize that this relationship is perhaps affected by the fact that they are all in the Big 12 South. I’m not saying this is perfect, I’m saying it is interesting.)

And on to predictors of success, as defined by billyzane. First up, Net Rush Offense. This chart is actually a bit surprising.image003.gif
It shouldn’t be a huge shock to you that large numbers of rush yards equals success. However, I find it really interesting that in this particular subject all three tend the same. And please note the Cedric Benson/Vince Young factor in 200-2005. Also note the steeeeep drop back to reality in 2006. (A little Texas bragging — in 2004 Ced had 1800 rushing yards by himself, almost as many as Texas A&M had as an entire team.)

Next, let’s look at total offensive yards. Again, shouldn’t be a shocker that this is a big indicator of success. Yards = TDs = wins. image004.gif
Again, look at the areas of huge upswing – OU in 1998, 2001-2003, Texas in 2003-2005. Those are areas of big success for those programs. And they coincide with a big drop for someone else.

First Downs per season is also another good indicator of success. Keep in mind on all of these charts, that the year after is likely quite influenced by the year before.image006.gif

This is a nice chart to illustrate my point.
image007.gif
I couldn’t find statistics for OU in this category – so we’ll this is simplified by comparing only Texas and texas A&M. One goes up, the other comes down.

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And total pass offense. Not as in line as the rush offense, but expected since there was a disparity in total offence. However, notice the high peaks and the low peaks.

Anyway – perhaps this doesn’t solidly reinforce my point – but I think it is food for thought. I’m working on getting some other stats as far as number of Texas players per season and working some of that up.

Any approval or dissent regarding the above, discuss in the comments.

-txhny

Posted in Big 12, game observations, meat and taters, Oklahoma, random babble, Texas, Texas A&M, txhny | 3 Comments »

Post OU Post

Posted by dahorns on October 9, 2007

Yay Beer!

1. Colt looked a lot better this game than at any other point in the season. I know he missed some open receivers, I know he double clutched and took sacks when he really didn’t need to, but he looked like Colt again for the most part. He didn’t play well enough to win us the game, but he certainly didn’t lose it for us.

2. Norton laid one of the best hits the entire game and stuffed an OU RB (Demurray I think? I can’t remember if it was before or after he took over) at the goal line. They still scored that drive, but that was AWESOME. The guy was running with a pretty good head of steam and Norton stuffed him one on one. He didn’t gain one inch after contact.

3. Nate Jones and Quan Cosby continue to impress. Nate has been Mr. Clutch for us all season long, getting open and converting third downs. Quan has been absolutely unstoppable no matter where he is on the field. His touchdown was a beauty. Colt just threw it up to him and Quan, with two defenders surrounding him, stole the ball out of the air. He is also one of the most consistent kick returners I’ve ever seen. Come hell or high water he is getting to the 40 yard line… he just needs to work on getting past that last guy. He’ll break a couple before the year is over.

4. Finley was our best weapon against OU. He abused them over the middle time and time again. It didn’t matter who was covering him, they couldn’t come close to stopping him or bringing him down. Too bad we decided to stop throwing his way in the second half. I mean… they were triple covering him in the 2nd quarter and we still threw his way, it isn’t like they could have put more people on him in the second half.

5. Beasley held his own for most the game. He got burned a few times, but was much improved from earlier in the season. Foster shut down his man. Palmer gets burned, but hits hard and doesn’t allow much after the catch. I know OU put up some yards through the air, but I really can’t blame it on the secondary. They played a really good game. If the linebackers (Derry, Bobino, Kill) could have done anything in the middle of the field, or if the D-line could have pretended to bring some pressure, you’d hear a lot of compliments for our secondary in the media.

6. D-line in run stopping mode. They didn’t get a pass rush, but they pretty much clogged the running lanes all game long. It just so happened that if the RB got past them, our Linebackers probably weren’t going to make the play.

Double Fisting is for Moral Victories

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1. Jamaal Charles needs to sit. Look, I love Charles. I think he is one of the most talented players to come to Texas during the Mack Brown era. If our line could run-block he’d be tearing it up this year. But you CANNOT fumble the ball in the red zone. You can’t do it and play. Period. Who the hell is telling him to hold the ball 3 feet to his side? I’m pretty sure he either A) thinks the ball is radioactive, B) thinks the ball is a 5’x5′ box, or C) is under the impression that he is confusing his opponents to his actual location. Jamaal killed two big drives for us against OU. Sure the pass to him could have been better, but he needs to make that play. It hit him in the hands. At the very least he could have batted it down. I’m not saying he shouldn’t play, only that he shouldn’t start and should have to earn back his carries.

2. Sweed is out for the season. I’ll be honest, I was mad at him for his performance (before I learned of the injury). He didn’t look like he was trying. I also thought that a WR that wants to be considered an ELITE WR needs to make that catch at the end of the game. It was under thrown, but it was also the type of play Limas is born to make. 6’5” and a leaper. It was his play and we needed it. It appears however that the injury to his wrist was much more serious than was made known. Maybe all his drops this year have been attributed to it. I wish him well. He was a great Horn. He will always be remembered fondly for his catch against OSU. Get well Limas! Hope we get to watch you in the pros for many years!

3. Why are we not playing at least one of Muckleroy, Norton, or Kindle on every snap? I understand there is something to be said for experience. I understand that Mack wants to give all our players time to shine, and I understand that they love him for it. I don’t understand leaving an ineffective unit on the field. It isn’t that Bobino, Derry, and Killebrew are all bad. They’ve all made plays to help this team win games. But they are bad TOGETHER. They can’t cover for each other’s deficiencies and the result is teams abusing them.

Norton is the best LBer on this team and HAS to be in the game at critical situations. Muck is fighting him for second. Why not, instead of doing a complete unit rotation like we have been, we mix up our units so that we consistently field an effective set of LBers without wearing a single unit out? Is Norton, Derry, Kill and Muck, Bobino, and Kindle not a better set than what we currently do? Sure, I’d like to have Norton, Muck, and Kindle out there 90% of the time, but I understand that won’t happen for various reasons. We certainly can come up with something better than we have and that will still allow our seniors playing time.

4. Aaron Lewis went down. He is my favorite defensive player for the horns this year. He has been everywhere and he hit HARD. Hope you get well soon. Without him our non-existent pass rush against OU might become a season long affair.

5. Why does it seem like every year one of OU’s players goes down with an injury… and then his backup kicks our ass? Kudos to you Demurray.

CONCLUSION:

Horns played their best game of the year and came up short. Why did it take us so long to put together a relatively complete performance? If we see the same type of fire and play that we saw from the team this weekend, we have a shot at going unbeaten the rest of the way. I know OU lost to Colorado, but this was still a very good team that this Texas team took on for 4 quarters. 4 Weeks ago would you have really thought the game would be this close? Moral victories suck, and I would never use them. This was first and foremost a LOSS. That being said, there were some good things to take from this weekend, but we have to convert them to wins the rest of the season.

Posted in balls, dahorns, game observations | Leave a Comment »

Things I Think You Should Think

Posted by dahorns on September 25, 2007

Glass Half Full:

Yay Beer!

1. Our offense finally seemed to get together. It is nice to have at least one game where I’m not worried about going into sudden cardiac arrest.

2. The O-line was pushing people around and creating holes. We didn’t run Charles a lot, but I have no doubt he could have broken 150 given a few more carries.

3. Limas Sweed is back. He has had a quiet year until now. It is nice to see that he and Colt have finally seemed to find that chemistry that they had last year.

4. Our D-line is by far one of the best in the nation. They were all over rice today. Holding a team to negative rushing yards, no matter how much better you are than them, is a difficult task.

5. Muckleroy, Norton, Kindle. This is a group of Linebackers I can get behind. They are disruptive, they flow to the ball, and they hit hard.

6. McGee and Chiles looked very impressive. Rice was tired and over matched, but it is nice to see us move the ball so easily. Chiles and Colt will be on the field at the same time for at least a few plays per Greg Davis. I hope these plays work out better than the one we ran against Rice (seriously, why was Colt the one to head out to the Slot?), but this sounds promising. McGee ran hard and deserves carries at Charles expense (especially if he keeps fumbling). I would like to see a 10-20 split.

Drinking is still nice:

beers

1. I know Txhny loves him, but Beasley is a liability when on the field. He has plenty of talent. His speed allows him to recover when his poor technique gets him all turned around, but he is basically constantly recovering. He gets lost and his receiver gets open. Hopefully he’ll eventually “get it”, but he should see only limited playing time as long as Foster can play.

2. PLEASE BE OK FOSTER!

3. Colt still isn’t right. He missed on several throws that he made consistently last year. Perhaps he is thinking too much, or perhaps he still isn’t accustomed to his extra strength Whatever it is, he doesn’t have the touch he did last year. His bad decisions continue. Should have thrown another interception again this week… but at least the mistakes were limited in comparison to previous weeks.

4. Charles, stop fumbling. Seriously… anytime now… I mean, we have duct tape, we have super glue. Why Charles seems to prefer baby oil, I can’t fathom.

5. Even Baylor scored 42 against Rice.

Posted in balls, dahorns, game observations | 2 Comments »

Some testosterone (Or at least hopefully less estrogen)

Posted by dahorns on September 18, 2007

[This marks the first of at least weekly columns from the only male contributor at Gabriel’s Horn. He’ll be handling our ‘game wrap-ups’ so to speak, and your lovely editors are excited to have him on board! – Eds.]

First things first. I’m proud to come on board as the first and only male contributor to this blog. Thanks to the girls at Gabriel’s Horn for giving me my blog debut.

Ok, on to game observations.

GLASS HALF FULL:

Yay Beer!

1. We won! Yay Texas! Texas fight, Texas fight, Yay Texas fight!

2. Jamaal Charles is a much stronger runner this year. He now has 3 games over 100 yards rushing and has been consistently averaging over 4 yards a carry (over 6 the last two games). And let’s be fair, the line hasn’t exactly been opening gaping holes (or even not so gaping ones). Jamaal is earning all his yards on his own. See USC v. Nebraska for an example of what good run blocking looks like. (see #2 below for the big “but”)

3. Pittman, Shipley, Melton, and Kindle are back! Pittman and Shipley should hopefully give our passing offense the explosive element it so desperately needs. Nate Jones has filled in admirably for Billy, but Billy has more of a knack than anyone else in our WR core for getting open in space. Melton might not add anything, but I certainly fail to see how adding a 260 pound RB/DE could possibly hurt. Kindle should improve a LBer core that has played out of position and has been unable to finish plays.

4. Brandon Foster and Ryan Palmer have both been improving dramatically. Palmer is still a liability in coverage, but he has made substantial progress in that area and he is a solid tackler. Foster has been everywhere in our last three games and might be Akina’s next Thorpe winner.

5. No one is as experienced as we are at recovering onside kicks in a game situation. Woohoo! (RUN TO THE GODDAMN BALL, DON’T LET IT COME TO YOU!)

EVEN HALF EMPTY GLASSES ARE GOOD FOR DRINKING

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1. I like field goals as much as the next guy, but occasionally going all the way would be nice. Kudos to Bailey, he was our player of the game (or should be), but if we don’t start getting in the end zone this will be a very long year.

2. Jamaal Charles can’t fumble. He is our best weapon this year, and we need to be able to rely on him.

3. O-line stands for olay-line. Ok, the passing blocking hasn’t been that bad, especially considering our personal shortage due to injury, but our run blocking has been about as close to non-existent as it can possibly get. It is great that Charles can break a couple of tackles or reverse field to gain yards, but I swear the next time I see our line get to the second level it will be the first. Part of the blame is offensive play calling, but we also aren’t getting any push. We seldom pull anyone anywhere, and when we do we let someone in completely untouched. Again, watch USC-Nebraska, West Virginia v. Anyone, hell watch Rutgers blocking for Ray Rice and you’ll see what an o-line should be doing.

4 . Be okay Limas… for the love of god.

5. DKR doesn’t serve alcohol for the majority of us.

And for the real reason why the game wasn’t so great:

I hate to admit it, but I’m the cause of our lackluster play on Saturday. You see, I had a ticket to the game, but I failed to procure a plane ticket and was thus forced to give away my game ticket (To Kathy of Hornfans fame). I’ve never done anything like that before and I can’t help but feel somewhat responsible. I promise I just won’t let it happen again.

Hook’em!

Posted in balls, dahorns, game observations | 3 Comments »