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An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

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An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby Jason » Sun Sep 24, 2000 8:11 pm

Okay, this might get a bit long winded, so hold your breath Image.

First, an analysis of the mustangs, and some ideas of what is going wrong and how to fix it. I will start with the offensive line. Since the Death Penalty, there has only been one year in which the stangs looked like they had a good offensive line. That was the first year of Cavan, when we had the winning record. If you recall that year, we had several 200 yard rushing performances as a team. That is what we all remember, so we all expect the o-line to be on the upswing, right? well, "not so fast my friends (sorry Corso)". If you remember that year, we started off horribly. We couldnt run the ball at all. Then what did we do? We put ramon in, had a shotgun formation, forced everyone to back off the line, then ran the ball all over the place. We spread things out a bit. Even when we ran up the middle, we put a whole slew of recievers out there so we spread the D out. This is how you compensate for a weaker offensive line from a running standpoint. It also allows your QB to scramble a bit. Now, I am a big fan of the style of offense that cavan likes, grind it out, no mistakes, pass when you have to, because I LOVE defensive, smash mouth football. HOWEVER, you have to adjust to weaknesses. Now, granted I went to the first game and have only listened to pieces of the last two, but after the first game I made the observation that we had a LOT of trouble running the ball out of normal formations. Our O-Line just isnt strong enough. We need to spread things out and be a little wacky- that is what the offense did right in the first game- big runs were out of spread formations, and these crazy formations helped the passing game. We need to turn it up a notch and be a lot more aggressive in the passing game. This will help the running game out a lot. When you spread things out and run out of a shotgun, you also slow down blitz packages. The reason freeman does well right now and briggs does not, is that with a weak offensive line, you cant get anything up the middle, but with speed you can allways break a long one every once in a while to the outside. Now, will that work 25 times a game- no. You can't rely on that offensively because you will have one touchdown and then 8 drives of nothing. So you go in a shotgun formation, open things up, and run out of that formation with briggs and freeman. This gives the offensive line less people to block and will let briggs have a couple of holes to run through. Spreading out the field also helps a small team use great teem speed. So my solution on offense- make the team grow up fast and take the bull by the horns. Lets throw first, pass second. Sure, our D might be on the field more, and we will possibly turn the ball over a little more, but it will give our offense some real experience, some confidense on the way, and possibly make us more effective on that side of the ball.

Now for the defense. As I pointed out early on in the season, Pratt and ALdridge ARE TOO SMALL. They are really athletic and I love that! But they are not getting enough pressure on the QB. Well, let me re-phrase that. What we need right now are GREAT DEs because right now, our secondary is bad enough that 1) you have to force the QB to throw early, and 2) you only have about 3 seconds to get the guy to throw the ball instead of 5, because by 5 seconds our guys are burnt. But, this has happened the last two years!!! Both of the last two years, our defensive coordinator has worked with a young secondary. He tries to teach them defense for the first few games, and plays them in zones to try and help their confidence out (geting beat man-to-man is a lot more draining that forgetting a zone assignment or having a QB pick apart a zone). Then, they mess up the zones, it leads to a big play. This is worse now because if our safteys, who are young, also mess up, then we give up an even bigger play. But every year the defense comes up with a scheme that works for the second half of the year, that either hides the weaknesses of the defense, or the corners grow in confidence and experience so that they let them play man-to-man. Just watch, One of these games the defense is going to grow up, have a pretty strong game, and for the rest of the season we are going to be okay.

Remember, to start the season, we all knew our defense would struggle. We new we had to rely on our offense. The offense is learning a new scheme and JUST ISNT THERE YET. Give it a little bit of time, and by the end of the season we will put up some points and be playing better defense. The skill is there, but the experience isnt- and experience is everything in college football. Just watch NC state when they have to go against a good defense- they are gonna get wolloped, trust me. You can win for a while with athleticism, but in the long run a great expereinced defense will shut you down.

Okay, now about Houston. I live in austin and was unable to miss a couple of days this weekend (due to work), so I went to the UT game instad of heading up to dallas (will be there for San Jose State though!). UT killed Houston 48-0. But that score is VERY misleading. Houston has a great defense that kept the horns in check all day. Major and Simms had awful days, and UT couldnt run either. UT's defense won that game. So Houston is very good on defense. BUT, UT never went in shotgun sets to spread the field out. Offensively, Houston's QBs make a lot of mistakes. They have a good amount of skills, and some atheletes on the team. However, this will be an interesting game to see if the Mustangs can capitalize on the mistakes that Houston is definately going to make on offense. The turnovers are there if we can grab em.
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby ALL4SMU » Sun Sep 24, 2000 9:35 pm

Great analysis, Jason...I will comment more on it in a little while. It was a lot to read, I have to soak it in.
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby SMUPonyFan » Sun Sep 24, 2000 11:29 pm

Thanks for that insite into U of H. I am sorry you could not make it to the game, we could have used all the fans we could get. It was a lousy showing of the fans.

Go Red, Go Blue, Go Mustangs, S M U
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby ALL4SMU » Mon Sep 25, 2000 1:16 am

I think for SMU to be sucessfull against Houston, they are going to have to get Johnnie Freeman more involved. He only touched the ball 8 times against Tulane. 2 receptions and 6 rushes...Granted he rushed for 106 yards on those 6 attempts...I think a two-pronged attack will really work for the mustangs. Look at lightning and thunder for the Giants(well not this week). If we were to have Briggs and Freeman in the backfield, it would really add some spark to our struggling offense. Sometimes send Freeman into the flats as a reciever, other times Let him carry the ball.

Just my 2 cents.

By the way, I think one of the reasons we are not seeing more numbers put up by the Comet is because this year teams are keying on him. They see him as our only weapon, so to combat this, they concentrate their effort on stopping him. I think when we develop more of a running game, you will se the Comet make some big plays. He just has not had the chances yet........<B>YET</B>

[This message has been edited by ALL4SMU (edited 09-24-2000).]
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby Joyous » Mon Sep 25, 2000 8:41 am

ALL4SMU - forgive me but I need for you to help me understand. You say "Need to get Freeman more involved in the game". Now don't get me wrong, I like Johnnie Freeman, but how move involved in the game can they make him? We recorded the game and came home yesterday and watched it. Now I did not watch the entire game on television but it was almost like a one-man game. If they would put Johnnie back where he belongs I think things would be a lot better. I don't think it makes him feel good to have missed over 10 passess that the majority of them could have been touchdowns. But you are correct that Comet's numbers aren't looking good - but it is the fact of the way they are using him. ALL WRONG. If they would just let Cody and Chris go for those long passes I guarantee you we would be 3-1 now. But I'm sorry to say if this way continues we might not win another game. Just my opinion.
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby Red+BlueDude » Mon Sep 25, 2000 11:05 am

Let's hope Kris Briggs and Johnnie Freeman are better than the Giants' "Thunder & Lightning" backfield - because the Redskins made them look foolish this week.
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby jettison » Mon Sep 25, 2000 11:31 am

Joyous, it's certainly great to hear you say exactly what you just said!! Aware that you MIGHT have some insight into your son's roommate's feelings on the subject...

After Tulane, is there any doubt where Freeman belongs? I believe by the time someone is a sophomore in college, it might be a little too late to learn the fundamentals of catching a football, unless it just comes natural, which has obviously not been the case on long fly patterns. Johnnie is a natural runner, and amazes me with his ability to make people miss. Give him the ball, but hand it to him. I think with Cody and Chris on the outside or slot, Hampton, Ford and Brown in the middle, also giving McDearman a shot as well as Riddle when he recovers from his broken collarbone... there are plenty of weapons in the receiving positions. And who's to say we can't utilize our running backs more in the passing game? Anyone ever heard of Marshall Faulk?
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby FWMustang » Mon Sep 25, 2000 1:40 pm

Does it seem like there are an inordinate number of players that Cavan has recruited that are playing different positions than what they were recruited for? It's like they don't have a postion accounted for so they'll turn so-in-so into one.

I compiled a list from rosters from 1998-2000 of player position changes. Most of these are starters or big contributors:

Kevin Aldridge: LB-->DE *where's that speed of which he likes to tell us?
Brian Bischoff: DB-->LB *actually paying off!!
Marcus Carter: QB -->WR *Has not looked competent yet.
Roy Coats: RB--> LB *gone, loved to hit
Rafiq Cooper: WR-->S *gone, but was receiver with size
Wes Danaher: RB-->DB *gone
David Ellen: LB-->TE *gone; Supposedly brutal hitting LB like Bordano or Viloria
Billy Ford: S-->LB --> TE *down in the history books; where's he been last 3 games
Johnny Freeman: RB -->WR *if he could only catch the ball, he can RUN!!
Kevin Garrett: WR-->DB *can't argue with that change
Trent Hrncir: LB-->TE-->DL *not seen in game so far
Chase Schavrda: DT-->TE-->DT *better at DL than TE
B.J. Williams: DB-->LB

I know there have been others. But this just seems like we have people at positions that they A) have never played B)aren't comfortable with yet or C) have no business playing.

Seems like the little boy in Holland is running out of fingers.
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby THE ROCK » Mon Sep 25, 2000 3:46 pm


I could not agree with you more. They need to let Cody and Comet, in particular Comet, run! They need to let him do what he does best. If they would just do that, then we would have some serious game breaking potentual. But........

Oh yeah, and Johnnie needs to be at RB!
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Re: An analysis of the Mustangs and of Houston

Postby MustangMom » Mon Sep 25, 2000 11:58 pm


I agree! Let the Comet get the ball! He will be gone in a flash - and boy do we need TD's.

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