Category Archives: eMAWgazine

An open letter to

An open letter to,

While my husband, and Staff Writer, Scotch McAngus takes great care in constructing an in-depth analysis for each and every KU sporting event, he felt the poetry of goEMAW’s editorial required a more feminine response. With great respect and thanks to Earnest Thayer, please enjoy.

Carson at the Pass

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Wildcat fans that day;
The score stood 7 to 0, with but mere minutes more to play,
And when Jordan Webb fumbled, and James Sims did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only Carson could but get off just a pass—
We’d put up even money now, with Carson on the grass.”

But Jake Laptad blitzed Carson, as did also Justin Springer,
And the former was a hulk, while the latter was a ringer;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy hung;
For there seemed but little chance of Carson getting the ball flung.

But then Kendall threw a cut block, to the wonderment of all,
And Thomas, the magnificent, managed to hang on to the ball;
And when the pile had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
The Wildcats had gained a yard, and the down was only third.

Then from five or ten Wildcat faithful there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the hill,
For Carson, mighty Carson, had another opportunity still.

There was ease in Carson’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Carson’s bearing and a smile lit Carson’s face.
And when he took his position, left hand on his center’s nuts,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt, man that kid had guts.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he as he barked out another play.
Five thousand tongues applauded drowning out what he had to say.
Then while the defensive line was biting at the bit,
Defiance flashed in Carsons eye, a sneer curled Carson’s lip.

And now the pig-skin ball came hurtling through the air,
And Carson stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy receiver the ball unheeded sped —
“Mother fu-,” uttered Carson. “Incomplete pass!” the field judge said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Fourth down! Fourth Down!” shouted someone in the crowd;
And the Jayhawk fans all celebrated, they need only hold for one more down.

With a smile of Christian charity great Carson’s visage shone;
He called another play; he bade the game go on;
He barked out the cadence, a lineman jumped off-side;
Yellow flags filled the air, and Carson beamed with pride.

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!”
But one scornful look from Turner and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that his team wouldn’t jump off-sides again.

The sneer has fled from Carson’s lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
He steps up under center, ready to seal the Jayhawks fate.
And now the young man holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Springer’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Manhattan — mighty Carson’s been knocked out.
– Ginger L. McAngus
October 13, 2010

_FANalysis – NU Aftermath and KU

Defensive Focus: Speed, Zone Read, and Run Fits.

This week’s focus will look entirely on the 6 plays NU scored on last week, and how those 6 plays highlight the problems we had defensively as well as giving credit to NU for a very well designed gameplan offensively.  We all knew going in that Martinez would be a huge threat, especially considering the problems we had with the QB run game through our first 4 games.  NU was able to exploit that very well with some creative wrinkles, but they were helped on each play by K-State defenders missing opportunities to make plays and taking poor angles to run fits.

Play 1: Martinez 14 yard run; QB power lead.

NU’s first play score capped a nice drive, but could have easily been stopped for no gain.  With a back offset to the left in shotgun, NU ran a fairly simple QB power lead, leading with the back and pulling the backside guard for a power O look.  K-State had numbers at the point of attack, causing Martinez to cutback off a double team on our NG Guidry.  This is where the breakdown started to take place; Guidry was able to split the double team but failed to make a tackle in space.  Then behind, both ILBs had their own troubles, Hrebec was play-side and over-pursued the play, giving a NU OL an angle to block him as Martinez cutback.  Slaughter was able to get off of his block and had a lane to run through to Martinez, but came late.  Finally, Lamur was in position to run down anything over the top, but over-pursued to the play-side before the cutback and then had no angle to attack Martinez before he scored.

Play 2: Martinez 35 yard run – Stretch Zone Read.

This was truly a unique look and Nebraska deserves a ton of credit for this scheme.  First, this wasn’t the typical zone read look where the offensive line zone blocks one way, the QB reads the backside DE as he and the RB split, and pulls or gives based on what that DE does.  On this play the QB run lane and the RB run lane were to the same side of the field, with the QB off tackle and the RB stretching wide.  In addition, NU pulled their backside guard for an additional blocker at the point of attack.  Terrell at DE was caught in a bind as he essentially ended up playing both the QB and RB, and took the RB because that appeared to be his responsibility.  This left Slaughter to scrape to QB, and he did that initially well as the pulling NU lineman missed him on the block, but he stayed too far inside the running lane allowing the crease for Martinez.  Then again Lamur took a bad angle and also got inside the running, allowing what then should’ve been an 8 yard gain to turn into another long touchdown run.

Play 3: Martinez 80 yard run; QB Delay Draw.

NU was in 3rd and long, so K-State essentually played a 3-3 look with Lamur spying Martinez.  We were in 12 coverage, playing man on the underneath 4 recievers with 2 high safties.  NU ran the perfect play call against this defense.  We had 2 DEs and a NG, so essentually 2 gaps were free from the TE to the C and NU was able to get blockers off to the 2nd level.  The OT picked up the contain DE, the RG and RB kicked Lamur (who was essentially the ILB) out, and the backside OG was able to get off onto Ferguson, our 2nd ILB in this look.  Then Butler had man coverage on the TE and by the time he read run, it was too late for him to be part of the play.  Again, we had 2 deep safeties, one of which ran into the umpire with his pursuit angle, the other got blocked by NU’s 2nd reciever to the playside, thus Martinez was off and the infamous “Techmo Bowl” pic was born.

Play 4: Helu 68 yard run; Zone Read Cutback

Again, NU devised a much more creative version of the traditional zone read with Helu’s running lane being inside.  Martinez was reading the DE as usual, who played Martinez well.  At the point of attack, NU’s C and play-side OG absolutely whipped our DT and their OT was able to widen out DE creating a huge cutback running lane.  Slaughter again was too tight in his run fit, causing him to get caught inside the double team and unable to be part of the play.  Finally, Hartman should have been reading Slaughter and when he saw his inside run fit took an outside angle to fill.  Instead, he filled right behind Slaughter and when he finally saw the cutback it was too late and he had no angle to make the play.

Play 5: Reed 79 yard pass from Martinez – Zone Read Play Action.

This was set up by the previous play (and the run success all night), and something you knew NU would run at some point.  Exploiting Lamur’s agressiveness, he got caught looking at the zone read action leaving Reed wide-open over the top.  Only a slightly underthrown throw by Martinez made it look like K-State had a chance to run Reed down from behind.  And we didn’t.

Play 6: Martinez 41 yard run – Stretch Zone Read.

Once again, NU used a creative wrinkle with their zone read.  Similar to the earlier play, the RB was on an outside/stretch run path which Hartman fit up to well.  However, NU left Guidry unblocked at the LOS and released their OG to the LB.  Again, Guidry was unable to make a potential tackle for no gain, NU was able to get blocks on both LBs, and the safety took a poor angle to knock it down from over the top.

6 plays.  6 TDs.  317 yards.  None was terribly defended scheme-wise, several could’ve been knocked down for very little gain, and in the least all the runs should’ve been knocked down at 10-15 yards and you make NU snap the ball  again.  To an extent, many of the issues are fixable, and at some point you need players to make plays.  And all exploited poor pursuit, both overpursuit, mainly by our LBs and Lamur, or underpursuit, mainly by our other safeties.

How this relates to KU

Fortunately for us, not a whole lot from this game translates to issues KU can create for us.  Now, this isn’t to say there aren’t things KU will do to exploit the same issues that NU did, they absolutely will.  But, they do not possess a legitimate run threat at QB (Webb has rushed for 27 yards on 36 carries), nor do they possess the team offensive speed that NU does.  That said, Sims will be a challenge in the backfield and he appears to be a very good young back.  And on the outside, they do a lot of things with Patterson, probably their most dynamic offensive player.  They also try to get the ball to Beshears at RB, their TE Biere, and McDougald and Wilson at WR.  And KU’s offensive line is no where near what NU brought to Manhattan.

Its not going to take some extroidanary improvement to limit KU.  By no means am I saying we will shut them down, but just a bit of improvement from our LBs and safeties, plus a bit better play from our defensive line, and we should be able to hold KU to 21 points or less.  The questions then become a) will Coffman and Thomas be able to move the offense much better than we’ve shown the past two weeks b) will we win the special teams battle and c) how will we react to our first true road game.

_FANalysis – Central Florida

Offensive focus; Game Planning, Establishing the Line of Scrimmage, and Handling Speed

This week’s focus from the close win over Central Florida will look at how Saturday’s storm delayed game really showed us what happens when teams are able to win the battle of the line of scrimmage against K-State’s offense.  It certainly makes for an ugly performance, but fortunately for us Central Florida made enough mistakes and the Wildcats finally made enough plays to pull out a victory.  You never apologize for a victory, even this ugly, but the lessons taken away will be huge for the rest of this season.

It appeared to me the K-State coaching staff game planned as you would expect against a speed team; run right at it with the power running game (pulling backside offensive linemen) and inside zone, utilize the quick passing game, try to exploit over pursuit with option and misdirection, and eventually try to get the ball vertical in the passing game.  All of this is to create vertical creases somewhere in the defense.  You must hit these creases quickly because while speed teams will often get themselves out of position, when those creases close without being exploited it can lead to a long game for the offense. Granted, coming into this game UCF had done a very good job not allowing this by their opponents, but we thought we had the size up front and athletes at the skill positions to get it done.  Unfortunately outside of a few plays (that we badly needed) we failed to create much of this.

Throughout the game our formation of choice for the running game seemed to be 1 back, 1 tight end, 3 receiver sets, usually a trips formation.  This allowed us to isolate CFU’s stud DE against our TE and OT on the short side of the field.  The mentality was that we could run right at him, getting a push with a double team, and then handle their 2 young DTs one on one, allowing us to pull backside offensive linemen and get numbers at the point of attack.  Unfortunately this rarely worked because the DE blew up the double team, the young DTs defeated one on one blocks and got penetration, or we missed blocks out in space on the LBs and safety.  Simply put, for nearly three quarters of the game we got whipped up front, especially by CFU’s two DTs, and I don’t think we saw this coming.  As the game progressed we tried to utilize Wilson a bit to provide an extra blocker in the backfield so we could double team the DTs more, but still we struggled to find creases and maintain blocks.  This also created problems in the passing game, as early in the game UCF’s DTs created a bunch of pressure, and then as the game went along the DEs made some plays as well, specifically batting down several passes and getting pressure on Coffman several times flushing from the pocket or making him throw sooner than he wanted.  This was then compounded by some poor play in the passing game by Coffman in the first half and early in the 2nd, namely a couple misses to Smith and the interception off of play action.  The interesting thing about the INT is that earlier that same series we ran the same play; play action off of lead zone to Thomas, and after looking deep to the TE, Coffman checked off underneath to Wilson for a nice gain.  I’m fairly certain on the 2nd throw when Coffman went deep that he anticipated the safety to help double on Smith, leaving the one on one match-up with a TE on a LB, which is likely what happened on the first throw.  The check down throw to Wilson also wasn’t there the 2nd time as a CFU defender picked him up out of the backfield.

We eventually did get some offense going, gaining 213 yards on 23 plays on the last 4 possessions leading to our 17 points.  Granted, we again saw Thomas’ biggest weakness when we really didn’t need to; a propensity to not keep the ball protected in traffic.  Fortunately the defense held to a FG leading to the Coffman-led game winning drive.  The success started initially by getting enough protection to find those vertical creases in the passing game.  Both the big throw to Thompson to set up the FG, and the Quarles touchdown to tie the game, were set up only because the offensive line gave Coffman enough time to find the open vertical route. These looks were likely there all game considering the numbers UCF kept committing to the box to stop Thomas, but only when we got protection and Coffman made the correct throw and read could we take advantage.  Then finally the last drive saw us play the type of football we likely expected the entire game, some nice running lanes for Thomas utilizing the game plan we had the entire game, power run game and inside zone.  Add to that the two nice throws on 3rd down by Coffman, first the throw back to the TE that exploited UCF’s over pursuit of the roll out passing game, and then the bootleg pass, with Coffman showing incredible patience in the face of great pursuit to get the ball to Smith.  Finally we ended the game with a well executed version of the “modern era triple option”; utilizing a great Coffman decision to not throw the shovel pass to Thomas, nor throw the pitch/bubble to Thompson, but to keep the ball himself for the score.

Overall there is a lot for the offense to learn, namely to not underestimate or handle UCF’s defensive tackles.  Not doing that really created a ton of problems for us, as it was apparent that was the game plan for Saturday’s game.  Perhaps some of this was caused because we gave CFU’s two DEs too much respect, and thus not effectively accounting for what their young DTs could do.  Fortunately the defense did enough to avoid an insurmountable deficit which allowed the offense to make enough plays to win the game.  And that’s good enough to get the Cats to 4-0, in what was likely one of the toughest ( if not the toughest) opening 4 game stretches to open a season for any Bill Snyder coached team.