It starts or ends with a barely executed play-action fake. It starts but it's aborted. It ends with Sam Bradford scrambling.
I am scouting Earl Thomas, but I have used this same tape to scout Bradford, Lamarr Houston and Colt McCoy. I've used it to take notes on Gerald McCoy, Brian Orakpo, Juaquin Iglesias, Trent Williams, Phil Loadholt, Duke Robinson, Jordan Shipley, Chris Ogbonnaya and Roddrick Muckelroy. Then, there are players I only appreciated as a fan: Jermaine Gresham, Nic Harris, Manuel Johnson, Roy Miller, Henry Melton, Keenan Clayton, Dominique Franks and Quan Cosby. Has there ever been a more talent-packed college football game? This is scouting gold: Good talent, great matchups, high stakes and hard fought.
Thomas has two very nice plays, quite a few steady, active plays, but it's Bradford that stands out. Not Bradford but Bradford as piece in the OU offense: One read and go.
1. 1st and 10 at OKLA 26 DeMarco Murray rush for 1 yard to the Okla 27.
Thomas is outside left tackle, ten yards deep. The play is a wide run off right end. Thomas shades and contains but does not get into the action. It's over quick. Houston stands up his blocker and shuffles into the right flat; squaring and stopping Murray after one.
2. 2nd and 9 at OKLA 27 Sam Bradford rush for no gain to the Okla 27.
Sooners split two wide on the left. Kindle is playing over the left slot receiver and Thomas over Kindle, again outside left tackle, ten yards deep. Kindle jams the receiver off the line and then releases into the left flat. Thomas picks him up and plays over coverage. Bradford scrambles.
3. 3rd and 9 at OKLA 27 Sam Bradford pass complete to Juaquin Iglesias for 1 yard to the Okla 28.
Oklahoma is split three wide receivers left and Thomas is aligned over the inside receiver, ten yards off. Thomas plays deep and defensive back Chykie Brown plays underneath. Longhorns saturate the secondary but do not pressure Bradford. Bradford looks and looks and finally outlets on a slow developing drag route by Iglesias. He hits him in stride, but Iglesias is dragged down almost immediately.
(Semi-long but unproductive drive by Texas)
1. 1st and 10 at OKLA 20 Sam Bradford rush for 4 yards to the Okla 24.
It starts or ends with a barely executed play-action fake. Thomas is over the offensive right and blankets Ryan Broyles. Broyles is eventually squeezed out of bounds. Bradford fades towards the right sideline. He's locked onto one receiver and is gesturing for him to break route and improvise. Get open. The play never gets started. A Longhorn defender breaks shallow coverage and sprints towards Bradford. Bradford breaks up the right sideline for four.
2. 2nd and 6 at OKLA 24 Sam Bradford pass incomplete.
Quick snap. Pocket rolls left. Thomas is playing the deep middle, shaded towards the offensive left. He reads Bradford's eyes and closes on the receiver. The tackle and pass arrive in tandem and Thomas is able to time the hit and force the incomplete.
3. 3rd and 6 at OKLA 24 Oklahoma penalty 5 yard delay of game accepted.
3a. 3rd and 11 at OKLA 19 Sam Bradford rush for 2 yards to the Okla 21.
After the delay of game, we get a look at the mind of Sam Bradford: two coaches gesticulating wildly on the sideline. One makes a gesture in which he interlocks his fingers. This perhaps tips something, because Thomas and then the rest of the Longhorns secondary imitate the motion while adjusting the coverage. Thomas is eight deep and over the right tight end. Texas rushes four. Orakpo gets a jump on Loadholt but is pushed over attempting to turn the corner. Pressure is neutralized, but not in Bradford's head. He gets jumpy and again attempts to scramble. Bradford rushes for two.