Typically I'll take 1,000 words and recount my experience in Ames from this past weekend, but I'm going to spare everyone that nonsense for two very good reasons:
1. I attended only the first half of the spring game
2. Paul Rhoads has made such a mockery of the game and the fan experience that there's nothing to evaluate outside of individual performances.
So instead of typing a bunch of words and trying to convince myself that the linebackers won't be the worst unit on the field; I'm going to just type some words and complement them with GIFs.
I spare you my writing, you spare yourselves the hype train, and we all tuck football in to the deepest recesses of our minds until August.
The positive thing about the defense is that Demond Tucker brings much needed bulk and athleticism to the front four, and ends Darius White, Dale Pierson, Trent Taylor, and Gabe Luna looked capable of playing in the Big XII on Saturday. Unfortunately the talent behind them is thin. Jordan Harris was making the plays one would expect of a starting Big XII linebacker, including blowing up a pass that turned in to a pick six for Darian Cotton.
Outside of Harris there isn't a single linebacker that played on Saturday that looked like they should be starting on Saturdays this fall. The back four might be one of the deepest groups in the conference, but if the men in the middle aren't stopping a nosebleed then we're all in for a long fall.
Sam's stat line isn't going to wow anyone: 11-23, 145 yards, one touchdown, and one interception off an Allen Lazard tip. Fact is to anyone watching the play calling could tell there was a clear distinction between the throws Sam was making and the throws Grant Rohach and Joel Lanning were making.
Sam was tasked with working Quenton Bundrage back in to the line up and was throwing a myriad of out and comeback routes that stretch the field. Some of these were behind the receivers, especially early on, but there were at least four drops between Bundrage and Lazard that would have made Sam's stats look a hell of a lot better.
Grant and Joel were throwing underneath the entire time, running almost the exact same plays, and were quite obviously in the middle of the back up quarterback competition.
So if anyone tells you that Rohach should be starting just tell them to r-e-l-a-x.
The length of the GIF is roughly the same length as Joel's throwing motion, which isn't a knock on him per say, but is a clear reason why he's third on the depth chart. I have no idea if he'll be able to work himself into a limited package this fall or not, but if he's going to be the man that takes over for Richardson next season then he has to make that throwing motion more compact.
The Running Game
Mike Warren and Tyler Brown looked like they belonged on the field Saturday, but after that things looked dicey. Granted, the offensive line was missing a few starters and contributors, and the defense should know what's coming, but the fact the offense goes three and out to start with Warren losing a yard on the play brings back flashbacks of last year.
I'm a big believer that running out of the shotgun is just as much formation related as it is execution related, and until Mark Mangino varies his formations more the running game will struggle with consistency.
Do we finally have the little white receiver who could? Maybe! Or it's just our defense is prone to making everyone look like a superstar.
Paul, we need to talk.
At the end of the first half it's commendable for you to send your first string back out there to try and score after previously stalling at midfield. I even understand that you're trying to run a drill with no timeouts. But come on, all you did was allow you offense to drive to the 20, take no shots at the end zone, and settle for a field goal. You've said it before Paul, but field goals don't win games in the Big 12.
That killer instinct a team needs to become great? You're not letting them learn it.
That's the spring game folks, where one group looks like a set of All Big 12 performers and the other one looks decidedly average. On the bright side, we actually won a game!