The Harsin effect
Yesterday we wrote an article about Texas' defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and Texas Tech's offensive coordinator Neal Brown being two very good coordinators who happen to be young as well. The inbox ([email protected]) received more than a few notes saying that it was wrong to leave Texas' co-offensive coordinators Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite out of that conversation (both of whom have yet to turn 35).
Hard to argue with the stats and productivity that Harsin (who is calling the plays) and Applewhite are getting from their squad which features a bunch of young guys (the following starters are all freshmen: WR, RB, QB, C, LT) and they have 3 other Sophomores starting as well.
This season, the Longhorns are running the football again, averaging nearly 220 yards per game on the ground (and their doing it primarily with two freshmen running the ball against defenses that know that the freshman QB isn't likely to hurt them too badly through the air. Texas is 17th in the nation in rushing offense but only 90th in passing. They are 40th in scoring whereas they ranked 82nd last year.
We noticed that Texas only had 57 runs of 10 or more yards all of least season (12 games). This year they already have 55 through 7 games...even though everybody is jamming the box. Impressive improvement under Harsin and Applewhite.
Saturday Texas takes on Texas Tech which has given up a large number of long rushing plays and it 114th in the nation in rushing defense. It will be interesting to see how Harsin and Applewhite try to attack Tech's defense and control the clock (and the game).
Winning creates huge value for the University
We saw a good article this morning by Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World which spoke about the tremendous impact that the winning football program at Oklahoma State is having on the University overall.
For anyone out there pleading with administrators over financial support for your team, you'll probably want to read Haisten's article.
Oklahoma State University's director of marketing (for the school, not the football program) said, "At this point, every measurable is spiking for Oklahoma State...Merchandise, apparel, publicity, admission applications - everything is up for OSU."
Season ticket sales of 48,425 have easily set a record. Four of the eight largest crowds in OSU history have been for home games this season. The 3,900 freshman this year represents the largest freshman class at OSU in 30 years. Of those, 22% come from the state of Texas.
Success on the field converting to success for the University.
And it never hurts to have a coach willing to dance.
Thursday TV (3 games tonight!)
3 games on TV tonight. I don't know what we did to deserve this; but thank you.
All times Eastern.
Akron at Miami (OH) - 7:30 - ESPNU
Florida State at Boston College - 8pm - ESPN
Tulsa at Central Florida - 8pm - CBSSN
Pretty sure you've never seen this before
Last night most folks turned on the NIU / Toledo game in the second half...and it was a great second half. The first half wasn't bad either, featuring back to back kickoff returns for 6 by the same guy.
But, for those that tuned in early, and yes we're talking pre-game, you might have seen something that we've never seen before.
As captured in the animated gif below, before the game, an NIU player deliberately ran into at least one (and it looks like two) member of the Toledo band. What?
Northern Illinois has suspended the player involved #6 (he's on the far right of the picture) for next week's game against Bowling Green. He was a starting linebacker who had over 50 tackles on the season.
Intentionally running into a band member???
Tonight at 8, Ohio takes on Temple on ESPN2, and the Bobcats plan to "blackout" the stadium.
The Owls have found some success on the ground so far this year, ranking 9th in the nation in rushing.
Likewise, the Bobcats will be bringing in an offense that can run the football having rushed for over 200 yards in five of their eight games this season.
The Temple defense may be the story of the game though, ranking in the top ten in pass efficiency (#8), total defense (#5), rushing defense (#10), and scoring defense (#2 behind only Alabama).
We expect points to be scored and a great game; but 63-60 seems like an unreasonable expectation for tonight's game.
Here's a video of the Ohio players seeing their new black uniforms for the first time. If you've never seen this video, take the time, it's a classic.
Earning his money
Defensively, the Michigan Wolverines (7-1 overall) have allowed opponents to score on just 15 of 25 trips to the red zone through 8 games. The 60% mark is the best in the country. 25 attempts in 8 games, thus they are allowing an average of 3.1 trips into the red zone per game.
Last season the Wolverine defense allowed 57 trips to the red zone, and opponents put points on the board on 49 of those trips, that's 86% of the time. 57 trips in 12 games last season, thus they were allowing 4.75 trips per game last season.
So, not only have they improved in red zone percentage 86% down to 60%, which is impressive, they also are allowing 1.5 less trips into the red zone per game this season.
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison deserves some man love from Brady Hoke and all of the dollars they wisely decided to invest in him.
Great stat; but we're calling the breakout
Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network came out with some interesting stats today related to Big Ten teams. One related to Minnesota struck us as newsworthy.
The last time the Golden Gophers broke a run for more than 40 yards was in 2008, 1,355 carries ago to be exact (easily the longest drought in the country).
The next closest team is Michigan State with 530 carries without hitting the 40 yard mark.
Coincidentally, Minnesota and Michigan State meet this weekend in East Lansing at noon on the Big Ten Network. You heard it here first, we're calling breakout runs by both teams.
One other nugget from Revsine, Michigan State has put up an average of 36 points this season when playing at home...yet only 8 points per game on the road. That's a head scratcher (or good defenses you're playing...Notre Dame, Ohio State and Nebraska in this case).
Post game Update> Unfortunately, it appears that both coaching staffs thought we were calling for breakout pass plays not running plays (each team had a reception of over 60 yards in the game). The long rush for Michigan State was 35 yards and for Minnesota it was 19. There's always next week...
A first for Joe Pa (hard to believe)
Saturday's game between Illinois and Penn State marked a career first for Joe Paterno.
In Paterno's 285 home games, he has never taken the Nittany Lions into the half tied at 0. 46 years at the school...and he's never went into the half with a scoreless tie.
It's hard to believe that after all of Paterno's years at Penn State there is still uncharted territory to conquer.
The Nittany Lions have a bye week this week before taking on Nebraska next weekend in Happy Valley.
As a small reminder, Joe Pa's squad is 8-1.