Preview Versus West Texas A&M-5 questions.

October 14, 2015


West Texas A&M. They had been the cream of the LSC crop in Football for almost a decade. They won Championships, made large runs in playoff situations, and almost always won the big games. Since Carthel and Crew moved from the South Plains to the Blackland Prairies, they have really fallen off. This is going to be a big game, especially since we have not won in Canyon in………well a very long time. So let’s get to the five thing to think about.

  1. Is their offense really that……………….bland? WT has been known as a team that puts up big points via the air or ground, but it looks like they really have had a hard time putting up the points they have been used to putting up, especially against good defenses. Now, they still have a pretty good passing game and with our secondary being suspect at times, that is something you can bet the Buffs are going to go after if they can, their running game is not even at 1,000 yard rushing while the Lions have almost 1600 yards rushing offense alone. If this is what the silver bullet is for the defense but putting pressure on the WT backfield and dropping everyone else, the passing defense should be better.
  2. How well can we play so far away? Canyon is 405 agonizing miles away in an area of Texas that has some of the best people and worst elements you can think of.  Wind, hostile fans, there is a lot that can take a good team and give them a loss on the road in Canyon. Just ask the former #2 team in the country, Colorado State-Pueblo, who left Canyon without their top ten ranking.
  3. Can we keep up the balance on offense? One of the reasons our offense has been so hard to stop is because of how the offense can move the ball so quickly and with such balance. This might be the fastest overall group we have had in the Carthel era. Speed and good athletes are there, but making sure the execution is there is important, the last thing we need to be at this point is to become one dimensional.
  4. How good is Preston Rabb compared to Harrison Stewart? I know that so many like to compare the two because they are both two strong armed tall pocket passers, and just big guys overall. However, it will be important to see how much more mature Stewart is as a starter and his one season as a red-shirt learning to be the leader of an offense, and compare it to Rabb and how he has to go trial by fire with the Buff offense. Will be curious to see.
  5. Finally, it has been two years, but I still wonder if HC Carthel still would find it fun to give the Buffs a good tail kicking. I said it last year,and I will say it again, if I had been in his shoes, where my Father was lied about and tossed out like yesterday’s garbage, I would keep that chip on my shoulder and let them know I forgive but I won’t forget. That is coming to fruition. Colby is a good and moral man, but like the song says, human pride sings a vengeful song, and if you have ever had a loved one put through the mud like Don Carthel was, it would be personal to me too. Very personal. That said, I have never seen Coach Carthel run up the score on anyone, so I doubt that as much as he might like to, if he gets that chance, he will do the right, and tough thing.

Texas A&M-Commerce 38, Angelo State Rams 35-Post Mortem

October 11, 2015


Overall Opining-In a game where you are playing the only team that most people have said are better than you, and you beat them, that is reason to celebrate. What I have a hard time swallowing is that this could have been a much more potent win in so many ways. I have always said that my analysis is based on facts and I try to use stats to confirm those facts, but at the end of the day my opinion is just that, opinion. Some of what I say is not going to be all sunshine and roses, and many would ask why would I speak in any negative light regarding a win against a team that many thought we would lose to? My answer is simple, we are the vastly better team and we played like it for the first half and the second half decided to sit on a lead and let our defense carry the entire load. I will get into this later, but first grade time.

Offense- B. 

Our offense performed well last night when they were allowed to actually play. Harrison Stewart had another good night going 17/27 for 212 yards and one TD toss to Seth Smith. He really showed how much better his touch on the deep ball is and his arm strength was a big key to moving the ball last night. Now, two knocks on Harrison. First, he took way too many sacks that he had could have easily avoided by just throwing the ball away, and this is not what he usually does. In the past if he does find a guy open he lets it fly where either his intended receiver can catch it or it is going out of bounds, very uncharacteristic of him, and his line did not help the cause by making him run for life on many of those sacks, but unlike a previous QB we had that need not be mentioned, I believe he will work to break that and learn to roll out and if a play breaks down just hit some fat guy in the east side stands with his pass and die another down. The second thing is that he needs to learn to trust his arm on the short screens that he throws into the ground. His arm is so strong I think he tries to compensate for it by under throwing it when he just needs to just fire it in there. He can throw it a mile with good touch so don’t tell me he can’t throw a catch-able ball 10 yards away. Overall though, he was very efficient and when he did get sacked, he held onto the ball. The running backs both played very well but when the speed sweeps and off tackle lead plays were working, why were we forcing the issue up the middle when that was not working? Cooper and Theo did what they do, gashed and moved the chains. The receivers also played very well, no drops and they did get open. Lance Evans had a great catch to set up the first offensive score of the game.

Defense-B Plus  A Minus. 

I would have given this group an A, especially when you shut down a Harlon Hill candidate winner. The defense made life very uncomfortable for Kyle Washington and ASU did not run the ball well on us at all, it was all through the air. Also, the D-Line was constantly putting the pressure on Washington as well and forcing him to make quick throws. The reason I cannot give an A out is simply due to this… cannot give up two late scores, and what makes it worse is that is not their fault. The offense was going three and out or 4 and out and the defense was having to go back out there after maybe about 2-3 mins of rest and putting the load on them. If the legs had been fresh, that would not have happened. Again, this was on the coaching staff by sitting on a lead and making the defense so tired they gave up two scores. This was against the best offense in the country. They hit hard, hit fast and punished ASU. Oh what the heck, give these guys an A. Pick six, fumble recovery, and you held one of the best players in the nation at bay. That is an A effort and an A performance. I do grade on a curve.

Special Teams- A Plus

Oh special teams, I have to give this group an A. Forced two huge turnovers, gave us good field position on punts and kickoffs, played amazing coverage and Chase Thrasher was under pressure all night long and his punts just got bigger and better the more he was out there. They went full speed ahead on the coverage delivered some serious hits, and Kris Martinez was 5 for 5 on PAT’s and hit a chip shot FG that proved to be the game winner. This game was won because of special teams. and their exceptional play, and the return for a TD was much needed.

Coaching- C

I only gave a C because we won, and HC Carthel did a great job of preparing this group to make a statement on national TV. The play calling at the end of the game was horrendous and could have easily cost us the game. I have no idea if there were circumstances that were forcing us to play so conservatively, but if this was plan to get a lead and then do nothing on offense, I do not like that. Forget that, keep the foot on the gas and fire everything you have at them. You have an efficient and good QB, fast and explosive receivers, a line that blocks well, and two great backs. Why would you not trust them to keep scoring when all season that is what they have done? Also, if you are going to run, why not the run the plays that were getting you the yards? The timing of the play calling was also head scratching. I hate to question the game plan of a very good staff, probably the best in the conference, but I just have to ask those questions.



Richard Cooper and Darby Smith for Co-MVP’s. Cooper did his thing getting the chains moving, and Darby Smith caught 7 of Stewart’s completions. They were both equally important and neither made mistakes.


The entire defensive line. They kept ASU from getting anything going on the ground offensively and with the exception of one or two Washington runs, they whipped ASU’s O line and made life very unpleasant for the ASU backfield.

Special Teams-

Chase Thrasher. ASU tried their best to come after him on punts and every time they did, just would outdo himself on his previous punt by knocking them high and long. He needed those and he delivered, I have no reservation had he not kicked the ball as well as he did and avoided the blitzes to block him we probably would not have won.

Final- # 15 Texas A&M-Commerce 38, # 16 Angelo state Rams 35

October 11, 2015
Drama.....that's all.

Drama…..that’s all.

if you have a flair for the dramatic, this was the game for you. If not, just be glad we beat a very good Football team. Grades, MVP’s and very strong opinions coming up in the post mortem tomorrow. Great win!

Gameday Open Thread- Vs. Angelo State

October 10, 2015
ESPN is in Commerce, America for a big time game.

ESPN is in Commerce, America for a big time game.

So, here are the keys to the game tonight. I will be leaving shortly, so here are the 5 things we MUST do to win this thing tonight.

  1. Crowd has to be a factor. Last year, the crowd was not a factor because there was not much of a crowd due to many of the students having end of the semester events and it just being an absolutely miserable day for Football, cold, wet, and windy. It is a beautiful day today and having the crowd amped up will be a factor. Home field advantage means something.
  2. Offense has to execute. We have no idea how well ASU will shut down the any facet of the offense, but we do know if one is down, we must have one humming in order to force respect for the other. The Rams know we are coming after them to run the ball, but we have to have a reliable passing attack if they are eating our run up.
  3. Defense has to continue to play at a high level. Tackle, wrap up, don’t try to hit or make a big play. Just make routine plays that are sound and fundamental, and that will get ASU and Kyle Washington off the field.
  4. Force Kyle Washington to make mistakes. If that happens, this ball game is ours. He made two critical mistakes that gave MSU the game last week. Keep an eye on him, and on third and long, it is important that our linemen and backers play sound assignment defense. He killed us last year on third and long.
  5. Special teams. It is going to come down who capitalizes and makes the fewest mistakes. If we have to settle for field goals, make them count. If we have to punt, make sure the kicks are quality and the coverage is good. Last year, our win against ASU came because we blocked two ASU field goals, and we almost lost because jumped off-sides on the first attempt. It comes down to a game of inches and near misses, mistake free football is near impossible, but big mistake free Football is necessary to win this game.

Preview-Angelo State Rams @ Texas A&M-Commerce Lions

October 6, 2015
This picture accurately portrays how close Texas A&M-Commerce and Angelo State are in terms of being the best DII team in Texas and in the LSC.

This picture accurately portrays how close Texas A&M-Commerce and Angelo State are in terms of being the best DII team in Texas and in the LSC.

Well, we knew that this would be the biggest of just about every game we would have on the schedule, and no disrespect to Delta State, but this game is HUGE. National TV audience, both teams with identical records, one showing it can just run all over opponents and the other showed that their offense is indeed played by humans. It is going to be a great game. I will get into the stats and previews later, but I think that the first thing I need to address is this.

There is ZERO reservation or doubt in my mind that we should have gotten the playoff spot for the LSC. When you take a look at the entire body of work that was last season, we could have contended for a national championship. We got a Bowl, which was good in that it gave us 9 wins and one more trophy to put on the shelf, but we should have been in the playoffs. I have no idea who agreed to the silly arrangement that we have now where you can finish 4th in the conference but get to the playoffs if you win a tournament. Football should not be decided by tournaments. Most of the time is hard enough to beat a team once, let alone twice. What good is a conference championship if it gets you nowhere in the long run of competing for a national championship? Long story short, yes, we want to beat Angelo and show them we are the better team this year.

Many Angelo fans are waving the fact they got the better of us in our faces, but that is something the fans should take and not the players. A good coach is not going to get caught up in the silly antics of who got what favorable or unfavorable position somebody got. Coach Carthel I am sure was disappointed that he did not get his team into the playoffs last year, but looking at the bigger picture, he saw that he had a chance to put on a show against an over-matched East Central team and put to bed any doubts we should have been in the Division II playoffs and that is what happened.

This game gives many Division II players a chance they never get. National attention, a televised audience, playing against a quality team, and a hyped up campus all rolled into one big chance to define a season. There is no chance for redemption, last year is just that, last year. However it can help define this new season and give us the confidence booster going into tough end of season games against West Texas A&M in Canyon and a very dangerous Midwestern State team to finish the season.

I will discuss this in greater detail later in the week, but there are questions we have to answer to beat Angelo State. How do you get Kyle Washington to make mistakes? How do you make sure their offense does not eat us up like they did last year in open field? What has to be done to ensure a fast start on offense? Those are some questions that need answers and they will be discussed in a couple of days.

Vs. Tarleton State- Post Mortem

October 5, 2015
HC Colby Carthel Continues his domination of Tarleton State.

HC Colby Carthel Continues his domination of Tarleton State

Time to hand out report cards and trophy’s for one of the most lopsided wins in recent history against an LSC team.

  1. Offense-A Minus. Penalties killed us, but other than that, the running game continues to show how very good it is and very hard to stop. The passing game was in sync all game long, and the offenisve line just whipped Tarleton’s line the whole game. Harrison Stewart was extremely efficient passing the ball and was in complete control. One thing I believe I have to say is that averted a near disaster as he was about to get sacked, he held onto the Football when he heard foot steps and didn’t try to be a hero. Cooper and Wofford just kept doing what they have been doing all season long, and the Receivers caught what was thrown to them. They executed, just remedy the penalties and right now, it looks like the offense is unstoppable.
  2. Defense-A Plus-It is hard to shut out a team, especially one that has the same amount of players and is somewhat talented. It gets even more difficult when you remove your 1st and 2nd string players, because a lot of times, the first stringers for the other team are on the field hoping to get some points and not get totally humiliated. That did not happen Saturday as even as Colby and Deason dug deep into the roster, they got guys who wanted the shut out, and they got it.
  3. Special teams-Going to have to give them a B on this. Kris Martinez was great on his extra points, and Thrasher did well on punts, but Thrasher is getting into a bad habit that needs to be corrected, and he has booted 3 kick offs out of bounds in the past 2 games and that is a mistake that is easily correctable, but one that has to be corrected. Little thinefensegs like that can cost you a game. Thrasher never has had this problem before, so I am trying to figure out what could be causing the kicks to slice or hook, but if that does not happen, the unit gets an A again, but not until then.
  4. Coaching– A Plus- Another masterful preparation for a big game by Carthel and Crew. The one thing I absolutely love about Coach Carthel that he does in these blowout wins is that he NEVER runs up the score, and makes it a point to play everyone on the dress roster. That shows the kind of man he is as well as the kind of coach he is.

OK, MVP Time.

Offense-The Offensive Line. These guys do not get the appreciation they deserve. The rushing attack and success of the passing game is all on them. Congrats men, you all deserve this as a unit.

Defense-The entire unit. I cannot pick just one. It takes all 11 guys the entire game to shut out a team. Everyone of those guys who played deserve it.

Special teams-Buck Wilson. He continues to be a dangerous return man and he recovered a muffed kickoff in the end zone while on defense. This kid is special.

Final-Texas A&M-Commerce Lions 63, Tarleton State 0

October 4, 2015
The President's Cup stays in Commerce in completely dominating fashion.

The President’s Cup stays in Commerce in completely dominating fashion.

The Photo above is from two years ago, and my gosh does this one feel good. Write up coming up tomorrow and a HUGE preview coming up for next week’s nationally televised game vs. Angelo State.


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