Last week, I wrote about how it all starts up front. I was right about that. I also wrote that we wouldn't learn much from the trip to Lawrence. I was wrong about that. After the jump, let's delve into this mess for the last time. It'll be cathartic. I hope.
For some reason, I decided to chart this game, and did so up until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. Looking back over my game notes, I see several recurring themes. The first thing that jumps out is Tech's inability to get pressure with four rushers. If you can't get pressure with four, that likely leads to bringing additional rushers. When that happens, you run into the next recurring theme from my notes: weakness against screens and draws. Kansas was very willing to invite five or six pass rushers up field, only to run right by them with draw plays, or render them irrelevant to the play with screens to backs and receivers.
There were several issues with tackling, and a costly roughing the passer penalty on a 3rd down in the fourth quarter (no doubt an expression of frustration), but the biggest problem, and one that may rear its head all year, is the inability to get pressure with four pass rushers. I'm not of the opinion that talent is the issue, or that the scheme is the issue. Saturday's problems were the result of a lack of focus, and lack of effort.
The same holds true for the offense. Stephen Hill dropped multiple passes, one of which would have been a TD, are symptomatic of a lack of focus. I only see one sack given up in my game notes, but the glaring thing is that I wrote "OL standing around". Lack of effort, plain and simple. The same lack of focus and effort manifested itself on the third down play of the possession preceding Kansas' last score, which was a botched snap. Coach Johnson was visibly disappointed in this play, and he let Bedford know about it as he came back to the sideline.
The upshot of all of this is that these problems are fixable. There were some drives that the offense looked crisp, and the blocking looked sound. The counter option was a viable play most of the afternoon, Anthony Allen had some good runs, particularly in the first half. There were a couple of new wrinkles, or at least what looked like new wrinkles. On the fourth Tech possession, Roddy Jones was motioned from left A back out into the right slot, and the ensuing play was a pass to (I believe) the B back in the right flat. I don't recall seeing that before, but it was effective, and it's certainly low risk.
I realize that a lot of things went wrong, but I think that most of them can be fixed. I've heard through the grapevine that the coaches have put in some long hours following the return from Lawrence, and I expect that the effort we see this coming Saturday will be vastly improved.