We are just going to do this really simple-like. Breakdown each position, first on the offense then the defense, and give a letter grade at the end. I am copying this off of Burnt Orange Nation, although mine won't be as good as his is. I mean, he actually got to watch the game, I had the game described to me by Bob frickin' Davis. So, before making any more exscuses, let's get t his rigamaroll started.
I didn't want Todd Reesing to be our quarterback coming into the season. I thougt that Meier was a more talented QB, plus he has had more experience. Still, Mangino went with Reesing, and obviously he knows better than me. Reesing played practically flawlessly, completing 17 of 25 passes for 252 yards and 4 TD's. He also established his favorite targets, finding Derek Fine and Marcus Henry time and time again, but he also spread the ball around enough to get the job done. He won't play that well all year long, but it would be nice if he can play consistent football. Kerry Meier played pretty well in relief, but it is clear that this is Reesing's team, and I hope it stays that way.
Carmon Boyd-Anderson didn't have a great debut, 3 carries for 7 yards, but we still had a wildly successful running game. Our backs ran for a combined 242 yards, all for a combined 5.8 average. If we are that successful on the ground every game, we have a chance at going undefeated. It is hard to beat a team that runs for almost 250 yards on the ground, even if it is split between 3 or 4 players. Brandon McAnderson really impressed me (15 carries 109 yards) and is clearly option #1 in this offense. He was the main runner the first couple drives, and he had picked up a solid 5 or 6 carries before Sharp even came into the game. Speaking of Jake Sharp, he had quite a season debut, running for 117 yards in 16 carries. Yes, I realize that Sharp carried the ball more, but plenty of that was in the second half. McAnderson is option #1, but Sharp is a pretty good #2, with the X-Factor being Boyd-Anderson.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:
It is hard to grade out WR's not being able to watch them, because I'm not sure how much of their production is due to bad defense, great routes, great QB play, etc. Dezmon Brsicoe opened up his college career with quite a catch, causing quite a reaction from Bob Davis. Apparently, he was drilled as he caught the ball, in the endzone, but held on, which is good beacuse there is nothing I hate more than a WR that drops the football. Marcus Henry (7 catches 103 yards 1 TD) is clearly the top option in the passing game, with Derek Fine (3 catches 20 yards 1 TD) probably sitting at #2. Marcus Herford and Dexton Fields both had decent games, specifically Fields, but they are clearly back-up options compared to Henry and, to a lesser extent, Fine. Aqib Talib got in on the action, catching a 49 yard pass and a screen pass that went for 4 yards. I don't mind getting him involved, you can never have too many playmakers, just as long as we don't get too carried away. He needs to hold our secondary on his back, and it will be harder to do that if he is worn out from running 49 yards down the field to score a TD. I am probably just overreacting though.
Our mostly-new offensive line played tremendous yesterday, at least from what I heard on the radio. They created big, big holes for BMac and Sharp, along with giving Reesing all the time he needed to complete a couple of deep passes. We all knew that Anthony Collins and Cesar Rodriguez were solid tackles, but the interior play of Ryan Cantrell, Chet Harley and Adrian Hayes (he had a phenomenal game, from what I read/heard) was completely unexpected on my part. I didn't expect them to play like the Chiefs offensive line, of course, but I figured that it would take awhile before we get to the same level as last season. So, of course right off the bat they absolutely dominate the opposing defensive line, and prove to be the real difference maker in the game. I know, we outplayed them plenty of places but nowhere as much as our offensive line vs. their defensive line, and they gave our entire offense time.
I was impressed with Ed Warriner, he didn't rely on either the run or pass game too much. Balance is the key to success, just ask Herm Edwards, and Warriner did a good job in splitting carries between Sharp and McAnderson as well. I didn't actually see the play-calling, but Warriner seemed like he did a solid job, hopefully that is the offense we see all year long.
I'll recap the defense tomorrow, along with taking a look at the rest of the Big 12.