Author Topic: Utah game thread  (Read 4841 times)

Offline oman

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #120 on: October 12, 2013, 09:34:56 pm »
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I'm not necessarily against passing, but I feel like there needs to be a run fake involved. There wasn't with either. That's poor tactics.

Yeah, I need to go to bed, because I am getting madder and madder about this.

By the way, enjoyed Dallas Lloyd's run.   

Offline Farm93

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #121 on: October 12, 2013, 09:42:19 pm »
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Ordinarily nothing cures the blues better than watching the UCBers get run off the field.  And today would be a great example because UCB is getting killed.  Sadly, their opponent is Stanford's next opponent, and I wish that UCLA would get a tougher challenge.  Just can't win today.   :(
....

Not exactly getting run off the field, at least in the first half. kal looks horrible. But UCLA looks ragged too, drawing more fouls than Washington did last week (8 in the first half). I'm pretty sure UCLA will expand on the 14 point margin at the half.

For a real butt kicking, there's the ASU-Colorado game. 47-6 at the half.
They looked good for the first 5 minutes, but have really decided to play at UCB's level.  UCLA is a top 15 team, so just goes to show that it can be hard to play at that top tier pre-NFL level every game.

Offline scorecard

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #122 on: October 12, 2013, 10:01:04 pm »
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I'm going to try to look for a silver lining here, which is hard because this week we were on the wrong end of the last minute drive that failed. 

So far this year we seem to be playing not to lose, rather than playing to win.  In some games, we've played to protect a lead, rather than to put down the hammer.  We seem almost content to play the close game, knowing that we usually manage to pull those out.  But that's the risk of playing this way, and the 2 turnovers in the second half made us play from behind which we aren't well built to do. 

The coaching has seemed tight.  Substitutions have been sparse, almost like they are so scared of losing that they won't put the younger guys in the game, but this is wearing down our defense at ends of games.  (I think the loss of Henry Anderson hurts more than outsiders realize for this reason.)  It seems like we've been holding back parts of the offensive playbook, maybe to avoid showing our hand to teams like Oregon and UCLA.   

I'm hoping that having this loss means that we play loose from here on out.  The season's not over, and as goofy as it sounds after a loss like this, we still control our destiny in the Pac-12.  If we want to be a national title contender, it was always going to have to go through Oregon, who looks like the best team in the country to me.  Maybe we can be that loose team again like last year with the swarming D that had something to prove, and the O that was just plucky enough to get it done. 

Online OutsiderFan

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #123 on: October 13, 2013, 04:41:34 am »
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Having not seen the game, I can't really comment too much on the specifics of the Utah game, but it does seem emblematic of the season for the most part.

After watching Oregon overwhelm Washington with relentless aggressiveness, the contrast between Stanford and Oregon never looked greater.  Even though Oregon goes faster and plays a different offensive scheme, you never know what they are going to do with the ball on offense.  Ever.  Unless they have a 4+ TD lead on the last drive of the game.  They always have everything at their disposal and they never let up, no matter who the opponent. 

Stanford clearly didn't try as hard or open up the playbook until ASU, and then they put it away for large portions of the game after doing what got them the lead.  They did a pretty good job against WSU, but WSU just isn't very good.  When it came to Washington, the team assumed the fetal position on offense in the 4th quarter and had to hang on for victory.  In other words, while Oregon is being conditioned to be relentless and unpredictable all the time, Stanford tries to turn it on and off, and assumes extremely predictable plays.  I understand respecting Army and not wanting to embarrass them, but Stanford could have scored 50 on that team.  Not doing so prevented the team from developing that relentlessness that breeds confidence, and created a lot of predictability in the offense.

They also aren't involving the TEs in the passing game.  Honestly, if Kaumatule is going to be such a non-factor as a receiver, may as well move him back to DE.  I've seen several true Frosh TEs playing this year (Henry at Ark, Butt at Mich, Mundt at Ore, and Duarte at UCLA) and for the life of me can't understand how Hooper can't get on the field, or even Dudchock for that matter.  Barry Sanders is a difference making talent, yet he doesn't get hardly any chances.  If the playbook is so complicated that you can't get the best talents playing, the playbook is too complicated.  Maybe a less complicated playbook would allow for shorter play calls, fewer late snaps, delays and wasted timeouts too.

And again, the greatest irony is that the one time being predictable seemed justified, on 3rd and 4th and 2, from the Utah 6 with a minute to go, trailing by 6, they go away from their methodical, iron willed identity, with a RB averaging 7YPC in the game.  Utah seemed exhausted against the run and was likely thanking Stanford for throwing.  Maybe had Shaw not let up for large portions of the game against SJSU, Army, ASU, and UW, the team wouldn't have needed a last minute TD to avoid defeat at Utah.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 05:27:44 am by OutsiderFan »

Offline JPRI

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #124 on: October 13, 2013, 06:19:42 am »
+2
I would have run the ball too, but if we had and got stuffed. you never would have heard the end of the "Shaw is way too conservative; didn't he learn anything from last year's ND game" posts.

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #125 on: October 13, 2013, 07:57:21 am »
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They also aren't involving the TEs in the passing game.  Honestly, if Kaumatule is going to be such a non-factor as a receiver, may as well move him back to DE.  I've seen several true Frosh TEs playing this year (Henry at Ark, Butt at Mich, Mundt at Ore, and Duarte at UCLA) and for the life of me can't understand how Hooper can't get on the field, or even Dudchock for that matter.  Barry Sanders is a difference making talent, yet he doesn't get hardly any chances.  If the playbook is so complicated that you can't get the best talents playing, the playbook is too complicated.  Maybe a less complicated playbook would allow for shorter play calls, fewer late snaps, delays and wasted timeouts too.

And again, the greatest irony is that the one time being predictable seemed justified, on 3rd and 4th and 2, from the Utah 6 with a minute to go, trailing by 6, they go away from their methodical, iron willed identity, with a RB averaging 7YPC in the game.  Utah seemed exhausted against the run and was likely thanking Stanford for throwing.  Maybe had Shaw not let up for large portions of the game against SJSU, Army, ASU, and UW, the team wouldn't have needed a last minute TD to avoid defeat at Utah.

Rewatched the final set of downs as painful as it was and a few things stood out. 

First down, pick up 6 yards doing nothing special, just good push from o-line.  Do it again, I say!

Second down, run some kind of reverse bootleg but Hewitt goes with Hogan as a receiver but Hewitt is covered.  Hogan's bootleg path takes him 8 yards into the backfield before he finally turns it up for 2 yards.  Reminds me a bit of the 3rd and 1 play against Washington again where Hogan runs away from the line of scrimmage.  Just don't like that play that much, but okay fine.

Third down, Hopkins is the TE and runs a corner type route.  From the end zone cam, you can see there is one safety back in the area.  The route he is running will take him behind the safety, but he keeps running right into the coverage, and gets covered up by the safety.  I think Hogan expects him to, and maybe a more experienced route runner does this, settle into the open area a bit because he would have been wide open if he just runs straight up the field.  Hogan zings it in his direction and it is well behind Hopkins because Hopkins is running away from it and into coverage.  But I think this may have been on Hopkins rather than Hogan.  If we had a natural pass-catching TE, maybe this works.  Ertz was Hogan's go-to-guy last year, and we don't have anything remotely close to that this year.  Our TE's this year are getting about as much usage as an "I'm under 18, Exit" button at the entrance to an adult website, and this is killing our offense.

Fourth down, pressure is immediately in Hogan's face which blows up the play from an untouched blitzing linebacker, but rather than at least keep the ball in play, he somehow panics (or flaps as 76lsjumb wrote in another thread) and sails a truly uncatchable ball through the back of the end zone.  "Do anything but that", I'm screaming at the TV.  Maybe if he puts it in play, Cajuste can make a play or get a pass interference call, but alas, game over.  The route design also seems questionable because Kaumatule and Cajuste run right to the same area bringing their two defenders with them, and not sure that this play works anyway.   

Even the prior TD in the red zone in the fourth quarter was not pretty either, running 2 straight fade routes to Cajuste who really has to make a remarkable catch on the sideline to bring us within 6. 

I agree with JPRI, we never would have heard the end of it if Shaw ran 4 straight run plays, but with the push we were getting, it's hard NOT to second guess that.  It's not like we were running against the University of Dead Fake Girlfriends with 2 first round NFL DT's or even Will Sutton at ASU.  We got too cute for our own good there at the end.

Another aside: our deep passing game this year has made some big plays, but has also shown that Hogan's pocket presence is a bit lacking.  Whereas Luck had this amazing ability to slide away from pressure, Hogan seems to be staring downfield, and doesn't quite see where the pressure is coming from, sometimes drifting right into it as the play is waiting to develop.  I think that may be why he seemed more decisive last year, because if the intermediate TE routes weren't there, he just tucked it and ran. 

Offline deepred

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #126 on: October 13, 2013, 08:45:56 am »
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Even though Oregon goes faster and plays a different offensive scheme, you never know what they are going to do with the ball on offense.

I miss the way we used to do multiple pre-snap shifts to throw off the opponent.

Offline 81alum

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #127 on: October 13, 2013, 09:13:25 am »
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Is it time to ask questions about Mike Bloomgren?  We seem to have an under-achieving offense just now, and it is the offensive coordinator's job to get the most out of the talent.

Personally, I know nothing about Bloomgren other than that he was the offensive line coach.  Does Shaw call all the plays?  What has Bloomgren done differently than Pep Hamilton did?  (Other than feature wideouts more than tight ends.)

Offline Yvonne

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #128 on: October 13, 2013, 09:18:44 am »
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Frankly, I've felt uncomfortable about the whole process of not hiring new coaches but combining positions and promoting assistants. The coaching brain trust has shrunk as coaches have gone to new jobs.
Stanford: It's not the University of Phoenix with a golf course!

Offline washingtonismoney

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #129 on: October 13, 2013, 06:20:58 pm »
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Honestly, I'm not really sure there's a huge problem on offense. Jordan Williamson and a couple of fumbles prevented it from being a solid game. Now, if small errors continue to accumulate it's a problem, but it's not clear to me there's a huge problem on offense.

Defense, to me, was the more worrying and disturbing side of the ball by far.

Online stupac2

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #130 on: October 13, 2013, 07:00:03 pm »
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Honestly, I'm not really sure there's a huge problem on offense. Jordan Williamson and a couple of fumbles prevented it from being a solid game. Now, if small errors continue to accumulate it's a problem, but it's not clear to me there's a huge problem on offense.

Defense, to me, was the more worrying and disturbing side of the ball by far.

The defense gave up 6 points in the second half, both off of turnovers that left them defending a short field. They weren't great in the first half, but really, our offense ought to be able to score more 14 points per half. Had they done that we win by two scores.

Offline washingtonismoney

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #131 on: October 13, 2013, 07:05:53 pm »
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The defense gave up 6 points in the second half, both off of turnovers that left them defending a short field. They weren't great in the first half, but really, our offense ought to be able to score more 14 points per half. Had they done that we win by two scores.

Points scored can be a volatile measure. There's skill in finishing (or not finishing) drives, but a small error can ruin an otherwise-good drive for you. And ultimately, what's important is the ability to have lots more good plays than bad. That's why I like yards per play as an underlying metric -- with Stanford's 6.9 being excellent (to 5.6 being not so much).

What's most disturbing to me is that Stanford's defense keeps on being victimized by the same play -- motioning a man out of the backfield onto the flanks. We've seen this motion extensively since the UCLA game and have nothing to combat it. This is disturbing. Whatever you might say about the offense, but the errors aren't generally conceptual. Moreover, the problems with last year's offense -- a lack of deep threat, too many sacks -- have been addressed and ameliorated. Things aren't great or perfect, by any means, but I think things are moving in the right direction. That's not the case with the defense, where we've been unable to deal with a specific kind of play, where most of the players seem to have stagnated or regressed, and where there's a lack of trustworthy defensive linemen.

Offline fullmetal

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #132 on: October 13, 2013, 07:14:52 pm »
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I don't think the missed FG mattered--Utah was sticking to its game plan no matter what, and to good effect.  But I lump the FG in with the offensive problems.  We don't have to kick a FG if we are moving the chains.  (And I realized "we" are not the team, but I'm getting lazy.)

Here's why the offense is a huge problem: 3 three-and-outs, 2 drive-killing fumbles, a turnover on downs, a long drive that ended in a punt after consecutive 5 yd penalties, and a missed FG.  On the plus side, one touchdown scored early, and one touchdown scored late.  Ten drives, two touchdowns, and nothing else produced.  Is that not a clear problem when only two drives score points?  Yes, fumbles are part of this offensive problem.  So are penalties and three-and-outs.  What elite teams only need to score on 20% of their drives?

The defense gave up 27 pts, which is certainly an issue--they looked very unready for Utah's speed and didn't look like they were getting off their blocks quickly enough (holding?  ahem) to make tackles.  The party in the backfield was neutralized by lots of man in motion swing passes used to great effect.  You could say our defensive strength was schemed out of the picture.  But in the second half, the defense comes up with an INT, holds Utah to two FGs, and forces 2 three-and-outs.  Defense stepped up after getting beaten in the first half.  Offense never really got it going.

Drive chart: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/ncaa/gameflash/2013/10/12/53905/index.html#drivechart

Offline washingtonismoney

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #133 on: October 13, 2013, 07:20:30 pm »
+1
I don't think the missed FG mattered

Of course the missed FG mattered. If Williamson hits the FG:

1) we go up 17-7 and the momentum is much different.

2) But if we hit the FG and everything else proceeds the same way (which it wouldn't, but assume with me), instead of going for it on fourth-and-two, we have an opportunity to kick the FG for the tie and go to OT.

Yes, obviously you'd prefer to score touchdowns than field goals. But sometimes you're going to stall, and in those sometimes I'd prefer to have 3 points than 0.

Again, I recognize that there were a number of unsightly problems on offense, but the picture on a play-by-play basis is not so bad. Moreover, it doesn't appear to me that there's a persistent strategic or personnel problem on offense. Defensively, however, we've been exploited by the exact same play for two seasons now; you'd think the defensive coaches -- who, by the way, have been virtually untouched by attrition -- would be able to figure out a counter to a simple play outflanking them. That they have no answer is a damning indictment. (To say nothing of their inability to develop another defensive lineman.)

Online stupac2

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Re: Utah game thread
« Reply #134 on: October 13, 2013, 07:34:42 pm »
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I don't think the missed FG mattered

Of course the missed FG mattered. If Williamson hits the FG:

1) we go up 17-7 and the momentum is much different.

2) But if we hit the FG and everything else proceeds the same way (which it wouldn't, but assume with me), instead of going for it on fourth-and-two, we have an opportunity to kick the FG for the tie and go to OT.

Yes, obviously you'd prefer to score touchdowns than field goals. But sometimes you're going to stall, and in those sometimes I'd prefer to have 3 points than 0.

Again, I recognize that there were a number of unsightly problems on offense, but the picture on a play-by-play basis is not so bad. Moreover, it doesn't appear to me that there's a persistent strategic or personnel problem on offense. Defensively, however, we've been exploited by the exact same play for two seasons now; you'd think the defensive coaches -- who, by the way, have been virtually untouched by attrition -- would be able to figure out a counter to a simple play outflanking them. That they have no answer is a damning indictment. (To say nothing of their inability to develop another defensive lineman.)

I don't really understand why you're so on this. If that was such a glaring weakness, why was Utah's YPP a "not so excellent" 5.6? It seems to me that you're trying to have this both ways, that the offense is fine because it's YPP was good, but we got unlucky with swingy things (turnovers, missed FG, etc) while the defense was bad because we didn't do well on some plays, despite yielding a decent YPP. Which is it, is YPP a good statistic or a bad one?