I will finish up with my first in-depth look at Earl Thomas tomorrow, but first we need to slog through a couple drives that Thomas wasn't too involved with. Hey, it all counts. Kinda.
The second drive was run out of Oklahoma's futility package. Am I the only one that wonders if coaches often do more damage than good? It's something that's been on my mind recently. Maybe I'll call it the Clancy Pendergast Principle.
1. 1st and 10 at OKLA 27 Chris Brown rush for 2 yards to the Okla 29.
Thomas is playing over the left slot and breaks on a screen pass when his receiver fades towards the left sideline. It is in fact a run right.
2. 2nd and 8 at OKLA 29 Texas penalty 15 yard roughing passer accepted, no play.
Cut to the play already in progress. Bradford throws away. Roughing, iffy - badly officiated game.
3. 1st and 10 at OKLA 44 Chris Brown rush for 4 yards to the Okla 48.
Thomas is again over left slot. His receiver immediately breaks into a run block and Thomas reacts by tracking the ball carrier and closing. He piles on.
4. 2nd and 6 at OKLA 48 Sam Bradford sacked, fumbled, recovered by Okla Phil Loadholt at the Okla 40, Phil Loadholt for 5 yards, to the Okla 45.
Brian Orakpo strip sacks Bradford before the play can develop. Loadholt, the man to blame (apart from Bradford, who does not sense the pressure and hangs the ball out just as Orakpo is arriving) Big Play Babs the fumble.
Thomas is playing deep center, out of the frame. He runs up to contain, but does not otherwise factor.
6. 4th and 6 at OKLA 48 Mike Knall rush for 5 yards to the Texas 47.
Only noteworthy because it's a fake, Thomas is initially lost in the scrum rushing off right edge, but recovers enough to take a bad angle behind the punter.
(Short field and another bogus penalty give the Longhorns a gimme field goal to go ahead.)
1. 1st and 10 at OKLA 24 Mossis Madu rush for no gain to the Okla 24.
Oh hell yes, the futility package: Bradford is under center. Run. Longhorns sell out run; pulverize Madu. Thomas contains the outside but does not factor.
Back to shotgun. ET is over left slot. Bradford finds Johnson running a quick out for a quick six. Thomas DNF.
Thomas is deep center. Gresham burns Gideon on a ten yard out. First down. Thomas DNF.
4. 1st and 10 at OKLA 40 Sam Bradford pass incomplete.
Thomas is over right slot. He picks up his man, good cover.
5. 2nd and 10 at OKLA 40 Mossis Madu rush for 3 yards to the Okla 43.
A new wrinkle: Oklahoma audibles into its futility package. Thomas is over right slot, ten deep. Sooners run. DNF. (Three yards on second and ten is bad, Bob Stoops.)
Thomas is over right slot. He does not factor into a screen pass to Madu.
(The punter falls because of an apparent cramp in his calf.)
(This becomes a penalty.)
(A bogus penalty.)
7. 4th and 4 at OKLA 46 Texas penalty 5 yard roughing the kicker accepted.
8. 1st and 10 at TEX 49 Chris Brown rush for 13 yards to the Texas 36 for a 1ST down.
Shots of Mike Knall stretching his calf on the sideline preempts the game. We cut to the play already in progress.
Thomas crashes from the third level towards the line. Brown is following his blockers right. The play is somewhat contained until Thomas attempts to shoot towards Brown, combines a bad angle with bad tackling and rolls off behind him. Brown breaks right and up the sideline for the first.
9. 1st and 10 at TEX 36 Chris Brown rush for 1 yard to the Texas 35.
Futility package: run. Failed run. Futility. Thomas DNF.
10. 2nd and 9 at TEX 35 Jermaine Gresham rush for 5 yards to the Texas 30.
Futility package: reverse to Gresham. It's twice nearly stopped for a loss, but Gresham outmaneuvers and overpowers for five. Thomas flies in late to contain.
11. 3rd and 4 at TEX 30 Oklahoma penalty 10 yard holding accepted, no play.
Futility package: holding. DNF. FP this drive: five runs, -1 yard.
Here's why I don't like Madden: A small handful of plays work. When I used to play, I would vary my play calling to simulate fun, but when the chips were down, I always called the good plays. I once started a game of 08 and simplified my playbook to just two plays. Sometime in the third quarter, ahead ~60, the computer began cheating to adapt. I quit and never played again.
Stoops calls up a good play: 2 WR (left-right), RB (left), shotgun. Texas: 4-2. Thomas is over the left slot, ten deep. This creates a critical weakness. Chykie Brown is covering Iglesias but has no help over the middle. Iglesias shakes, sprints, runs a skinny post. Thomas breaks towards the left flat. The middle is wide open. Brown is close but trailing. Bradford finds him in stride for 26. I won't fault Thomas, but a safety in the middle probably prevents this completion.
(Offsides allows a free play.)
Futility package payoff: Bradford is under center and throws it. Big stuff. He play-fakes then rolls right. Johnson has Brown burned, and Brown can hardly turn his head before the pass is squeezed in to Johnson for the score. Thomas DNF.