Yes, let’s get defensive.
Who’s up for some superfluous and seemingly meaningful awards? Us neither, but here we go. We present the All-SWC Offensive Team for 2018.
D’Eriq King (Houston) - Quarterback
We could’ve gone either way on this one with King or North Texas’ Mason Fine. Ultimately we went with King for a couple of reasons. First, he finished second in the NCAA in TDs accounted for (50) behind Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins (51) in spite of playing in two fewer games. He finished with the eighth most yards per game, the seventh best QB rating, fifth most TD passes, and sixth most yards per play in the FBS.
Trayveon Williams (Texas A&M) - Running back
The only SWC back to rush for over 1,000 yards (where hath all the great rushers gone?) took his stellar career to another level with 1,524 yards rushing and fifteen scores for the Aggies this season. He carried the Aggie offense down the stretch.
James Proche (SMU) - Receiver
Proche put together a stellar season, catching the fourth most passes in the FBS with 93 with twelve touchdowns. Proche was at his best against SMU best competition, averaging eleven catches per game against ranked opponents and eight catches per game against teams with a winning record.
Antoine Wesley (Texas Tech) - Receiver
Wesley made electric catches every week, highlight reel stuff. He finished the season with 88 catches and averaged 117.5 receiving yards per game. Wesley added eight touchdown catches as well.
Lil’Jordan Humphrey (Texas) - Receiver
When Sam Ehlinger needed a big play, a conversion, or just a security blanket he found Lil’Jordan Humphrey. The junior from Southlake Carroll caught 79 passes for nine touchdowns. Most impressive was his seventeen yard average on third down catches.
Keenen Brown (Texas State) - Tight End
Meet the revelation among the destruction that is Keenen Brown. The Oklahoma State transfer caught 51 passes for the Bobcats with five scores. He also added 9.8 yards per carry and scored twice rushing the football.
Sam Cosmi (Texas) - Tackle
The Atascosita redshirt freshman hit the ground running, starting by the second game of the season and earning Honorable Mention All-Big 12 accolades. Cosmi is a long, rangy lineman who moves well and has the frame to become the next big time Longhorn lineman.
Jack Anderson (Texas Tech) - Guard
The sophomore guard has started every game since showing up on campus two springs ago. This season Anderson made second-team All-Big 12 and turned his game up another notch for Tech’s high powered offense.
Sosaia Mose (North Texas) - Center
The Euless Trinity and Tyler JC product continued to act as a pillar in the middle of North Texas’ offensive line. Lining up next to his brother Manase, the Mose’s give the Mean Green a physical punch inside.
ZacH ShackeLford (Texas) - Guard/Center
The third-year starter for the Horns started his 26th game as a Horn and in spite of missing several starts due to injury makes the list. Shackelford showed up as a mauler, and his reputation continues to grow. Texas offense is much better with him in the middle.
Lucas Niang (TCU) - Tackle
TCU went way up to New Canaan, Connecticut to find Niang who made his 20th career start for the Horned Frogs and helped ease the transition of a rebuilding offensive line by anchoring the right side.
Crack open a Schlitz.
Here we go again.
Let’s get dirty.
Shutting them down.
A real shocker.
Chasing big game.
The weekly Dirty Work segment is back after a week off, making it bi-weekly? Whatever, our near-weekly look at blocking and tackling is back, and we’ve got three fun ones for you. Let’s start with a little double team pile up and a fullback lead from UTSA.
UTSA fans will be surprised to know it wasn’t all bad news on Saturday night; the offense did execute a few plays. Here’s one:
This is a counter; the line blocks down, Roundup Hero Halen Steward moves across the action to kick out the outside linebacker and bang, a seventeen-yard scamper through the crater. The left guard and tackle double down on the defensive end and crush him. Brenden Brady runs counteraction to get the Eagles flowing to wrong way, and Steward knocks the stuffing out of his man on the lead.
Gap control from SMU
Rewatching the Tulane game, SMU’s defense is showing significant improvement. New defensive coordinator, Kevin Kane’s unit, is attacking and disciplined.
When we use the term gap control or run fit, we’re talking about how a team dispenses responsibility for stopping a run game. If you divide an offensive line into gaps, between the center and guard and guard and tackle on either side, a defense must account for those gaps.
On each snap, a defender will have a gap, sometimes two, they’ll need to cover. Run fits are probably best described a defender defends that gap. Generally, you want defenders to work inside out, protecting the inside of the gap, setting an edge, and pursuing out from that locked down position.
Here’s SMU defensive tackle Demerick Gary doing just that against Tulane on Saturday afternoon.
First things first, the line of scrimmage is won by "get off," a players ability to beat his opposite number to the punch or point of attack. Notice how Gary explodes with his hips, gets his hands inside the frame of the guard and controls him. The best thing Gary does though is he keeps his gap integrity, he doesn’t get upfield and create space. Instead, he buries his forearm into the guard’s chest, “sets” and works inside out.
Treat a Running Back Like a Running Back
Last one, this is UTEP’s great newcomer linebacker A.J. Hotckins against Louisiana Tech.
Finding running backs that can protect in pass pro is a difficult task. If you can do it well, chances are you’ll get a shot in the NFL. Most college backs struggle to add much to pass protection, so much that a lot of college schemes will send backs into routes rather than keep them in to protect. Blitzers then become the responsibility of the quarterback to check down and get rid of the ball quickly.
As a defender, if a back wants to step in and protect, the best path is through their chest. See if they’ve got enough sand in their ass to stop you. Hotchkins takes that approach and blows up the play, right where quarterbacks hate pressure, down Main street.
Of note, defensive end Mike Sota is having a sneaky good year for the Miners. He pummeled the tackle on Saturday at Louisiana Tech, more importantly, he’s a real two-way defender. He’s able to deal with the run and also get after the passer.
A few bright spots.
Getting past a brutal September.
McKenzie Milton Alert.
Graphs. So many graphs.
Has Tech arrived?
The more things change…
Mids and Mustangs
New sheriff in town.