First off, let me shoot it to you straight; I didn't finish the game. I showed up late, was watching the game on DVR, was eager to watch some live college football. Once Michael Crabtree took the screen on 3rd-and-Goal from the fifteen-or-so to make the score 42-14, I turned the TV off in dusgust. Well, that isn't entirely true; I simply pressed 'EXIT' and went on my merry way watching some other college football, including some kickass finishes between Michigan-Michigan State, Virginia-Georgia Tech and USF-Louisville.
And for that, I suppose I apologize. I still fully intend to watch the game, obviously, it's just slid down the priority chart. However, I think the action I saw provides me with sufficient evidence to analyze our problems; we can't exactly stop the pass. Like, at all. Like, our secondary is so putrid we are playing true freshman slot receivers at corner. It would have been nice to at least get a pick somewhere along the lines, maybe even force a three-and-out off of three incompletions. Anything. And yet, no matter what we did, they still ended up scoring 6, kicking the extra point and tacking another TD into Graham Harrell's Heisman profile and, more importantly, the scoreboard.
When hiphop from over at KJ-IBT claimed that this was Kansas' worst loss in the school's history, he wasn't far off. In fact, given our status as favorites against a Top 10 team (#8, to be exact) and the importance it contained over our national perception and all of that fun stuff, expectations were countless. We were expected to perform, and in a big way, whether we lost or won. As the week of the game wore on, I began to have mixed feelings regarding the game. Some of the time, I was incredibly confident, considering our homefield advantage and that one QB we have. And others, I was sure we would lose, considering our porous pass defense and, well, the fact that the Red Raiders were ranked #8 in the entire freakin' country. But were we to lose, I wouldn't be devastated. Of course not. I mean, I just explained that Tech is the better team, and most of us knew that coming in. But all of us, even including Texas Tech fans, fully expected a close, offensively-enthused shootout. Excitment was to abound.
Uhh, no. Not so much. The Red Raiders showed up to the game; I'm not so sure our defense actually did. Honestly, did you see a BCS-conference D out there? Sure, we have plenty of D-1 talent. At least I'm pretty sure we do. But it is painfully obvious that we are desperately thin in the defensive secondary, with only one good corner (Chris Harris), while Kendrick Harper most likely isn't 100%, because he isn't nearly the player he was last year or this year prior to his injury. And our trio of young, raw freshmen aren't near ready enough to play. I think Corrigan Powell could be a big-time stud in the future, but he isn't Texas Tech-ready yet; not by a longshot.
Let's just consider that the first, incredibly obvious bullet point to discuss. Here are the rest of them, all of them much shorter than the four-paragraph-opening discussion on our porous pass defense.
- Jake Sharp was the lone bright spot in Saturday's game. I mean, where was he the first four games of the season? I'm not complaining or nothing, but he looks entirely different and has for the past couple of games. Even way better than last season. Hopefully he can bring this for 12 games next year, and with some better athletes, potentially, a more-experienced overall team, we can have some big-time success. Yeah, that-a-way, let's already look towards next season. My oh my, what a single, blowout loss can do to a fan's psyche.
- This ties in with the whole cant-stop-the-pass thing, but we desperately need some pass rush. What seemed to be some breakout performances from Laptad and Onyegbule against Iowa State and Colorado has quickly turned into a decent game against OU and an absolutely terrible game against the Red Raiders. I realize that the Texas Tech's offensive line is ridiculous, but it would be nice to at least force Harrell to have to scamper away. Oh, and yes, I do realize that we got two late sacks. Congratulations. Not to be a bitch about it, but it doesn't quite mean as much when the score is so out-of-reach. Means a helluva lot less. Don't get me wrong, I sincerely hope that they can emerge as legitimate pass-rush threats. I'm just not holding my breath.
- Clint Bowen isn't the only one to blame. Of course, I also defended Mike Solari in his first year as the Chiefs' Offensive Coordinator, but I tend to ere on the side of caution as far as giving coordinators time. However, sticking with the Mike Solari angle, there seems to be plenty of similarities. Both were 'company men' who were promoted to a job they had zero experience in from within the organization, with the effort to 'stay consistent' with the respective schemes. Of course, Solari proved he was entirely incompetent as an Offensive Coordinator and Bowen has yet to really prove he can be a Defensive Coordinator. I am entirely willing to give him the rest of the year, but he better start showing some stuff, and the sooner the better.
- One last thing. I am actually worried about this game. Kansas State didn't completely roll-over-and-die like I expected against Boomer Sooner this past Saturday, and J-Free has looked like, oh, I dunno, a legitimate college QB. He isn't making many mistakes and is efficiently running their offense. And if we lose to the Powercats, at home, then it will almost be like 2007 never even happened, and we'll be right back to the any-bowl-makes-me-happy attitude. An attitude I hate, by the way. Ugh.
Honestly, I couldn't have even imagined one single loss could have demoralized me so much. Coming into the Texas Tech game, I almost expected a loss. And it wouldn't hurt us too bad, as long as we beat K-State and the Cornhuskers. But the way we lost, with our complete inability to stop any ball that left Graham Harrell's hand, has completely ruined my faith in the majority of our team, but more specifically the defensive secondary.
We've just gotta bea thte Powercats.