41 Comments

  1. System Poster

    Being consistently recognizable as the same person in photos and videos on a day to day basis:

    Big edge: Riley

  2. Ryan

    Thoughtful and well structured analysis, I appreciate you answering my question with this level of insight.

    I think you have a lot of very fair critiques of the fledgling Riley era. The defense and culture are two things I am deeply concerned with moving forward. I actually think the culture will drive the defense and that is a concern with Wiley.

    It is fantastic to get great talent on defense but Caleb Kelly is currently a case study on talent must be developed and utilized appropriately. To some degree, Steven Parker and the maligned Jordan Thomas are both warnings of development gaps.

    Thanks again and would love to see you collaborate with Allen Kenney of blatanthomerism on something OUTX related

    • ianaboyd

      We’ve done some stuff together before so I imagine that’s not out of the question. Maybe some podcasting.

    • Matt

      Caleb Kelly was just a bad fit at OLB in OU’s scheme. He’s not big and/or physical enough to line up and go toe to toe with really physical TE’s (case study: Kelly vs Blazevich, Rose Bowl 2018) and he’s not athletic enough to be used in the way OU had to use him due to their poor DB depth last year. That spot will probably be replaced by Bookie this year and hopefully will no longer be asked to set the edge in the run game. Kelly on the other hand should be a really good fit at ILB. His athleticism will be a plus there. As Boyd likes to point out, Beal was a pretty good athlete (running a 4.4 40) BUT he had a terrible shuttle time for an ILB (somewhere in the 4.7s) which is arguably more important for an ILB and tackling in space. The task Kelly faces inside is learning to read his keys while O-line are coming downhill at him. If he can get a decent handle on that quickly, I think he’ll be an improvement over Beal.

      • ianaboyd

        Good chance though that Kelly doesn’t find the maze of inside-backer play to be that easy to navigate, especially when there’s a minotaur at the end of it:
        OSU runs over Kelly

        • matt

          Well, they can either move him inside and let him try a position where his skillset would be a really good fit or I guess they could just sit him on the bench because there’s a chance he wouldn’t work at ILB.

          • ianaboyd

            The move is the right one, my concern is that it’s a year or two later than it should have been and also that they don’t know how to teach ILB anyways so he’s doomed regardless.

  3. Stephen M Bliss

    At the end of the day, as a famous NYG coach once said: “You are what your record says you are.”

    “Facta non verba: Deeds, not words.”

  4. Matt

    I don’t really understand the dogging of hiring Diaco as an analyst. That’s all he is. He’s an analyst who has head coaching experience (even if he was a total failure) and runs a similar scheme to what Mike runs. That means he has more time to sit and analyze scheme and matchups and offer suggestions to Mike for coverage tweaks and/or new blitzes. If Riley, turns the keys over to Diaco after this season, then sure maybe we should talk about it being a boneheaded move. As it stands now, he’s just an analyst. He’s “added help” on the defensive side of the ball. If you’re going to criticize moves like that, you might as well say Alabama f*cked up by bringing in Butch Jones as analyst because he failed as a head coach.

    • ianaboyd

      Butch Jones was a really good OL coach and recruiter, he just got promoted too high and maybe too quickly.

      Diaco was a mess at his last two stops and really ineffective in coaching spread D of late. The obvious tie-in for him at OU is that he’s worked with Kerry Cooks, which begs the question of what the internal staff politics and unity looks like on the defensive side of the ball.

      Best case scenario is that a dude with experience in the 3-4 defense can help Stoops and Kish better understand how the run D is supposed to work. That’s not really that bright of a scenario.

      • Matt

        He’s an analyst. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be any brighter than that. Butch Jones can’t even recruit as an analyst so that doesn’t even factor in.

        • ianaboyd

          I think the article is clear enough on what kind of hire Diaco is and what that hire represents about the state of OU’s defense or how Riley will approach repairing it.

          You don’t think Saban picked Jones’ mind on recruiting? Of course he did, Saban is always looking to absorb insights.

          • matt

            The article is clear on what YOU think the hire is. Diaco won the Broyles award AND coached a LBer who won basically every defensive award in 2012. He clearly brings something to the table as an analyst and that’s all he is. If you can’t see a guy like that bringing something to a coaching table but you think Butch Jones does, you clearly are looking at this through Orange shades. Especially when you’ve made such a big point about them needing ILB coaching help.

          • ianaboyd

            Go look up Diaco’s record in defending spread run games and consider what input he needs to offer to OU to help them out. Go look up Jones’ resume as an offensive mind and consider what level of input he needs to offer on Bama’s behalf.

            Unless he’s bringing Manti Te’o with a disguise…

  5. matt

    “The move is the right one, my concern is that it’s a year or two later than it should have been and also that they don’t know how to teach ILB anyways so he’s doomed regardless.”

    It’s possible they don’t know how to teach ILB. They taught Dom Alexander ( a safety in HS) and Jordan Evans (a DE/OLB in HS) how to play ILB to a pretty high level. Their next protege wouldve been Tay Evans who had to retire and forced Beal a JUCO 34 OLB to move inside and learn how to play. He was decent at best. Kenneth Murray was a true freshman last year who had his bumps, as was to be expected. This year will be the true tell of whether or not Kish can teach good ILB play.

    • ianaboyd

      I’ve been watching OU struggle with spread run game for many, many years now. They haven’t had a tandem as good as the Wort-Lewis combo in 2011 ever since Mike came back and brought Kish.

      The numbers and film on OU’s run D over the last several years is indisputable.

      • matt

        Aside from 2012 when they basically ditched ILB altogether by the end of the season, they’ve only had 2 seasons where they had two experienced ILB. 2014 (top 10 raw YPG rushing and top 20 rushing S&P+) and 2015 (another top 25 rushing S&P defense). Every other year, they had to deal with the situations listed above.

          • ianaboyd

            In overall S&P+, yeah. But their run D against good run teams was bad, the pass-rush and secondary carried those Ds. I’ve watched the film on those teams.

  6. downhill commentor

    I lost interest when you call walk-on Baker Mayfield a generational talent, yet fail to mention Ezekiel Elliott’s 2014 season at OSU. Meanwhile giving Herman credit for developing a “physical” running game.

  7. Matt

    “Go look up Diaco’s record in defending spread run games and consider what input he needs to offer to OU to help them out. Go look up Jones’ resume as an offensive mind and consider what level of input he needs to offer on Bama’s behalf.

    Unless he’s bringing Manti Te’o with a disguise…”

    Considering he’s an analyst, he doesn’t have to help them out a ton. He’s an analyst that’s it. The same point I’ve been making the entire time. You’re trying to turn it into something its not so you can use it as a point against Riley. The same way you are trying to take a loss for Herman against Riley and turn it into a W for Herman because they played the game close with a terrible team.

    • ianaboyd

      He’s indicative of the kinds of hires that Riley would make to help his defense, which is important.

      Riley had a terrible D in year one that cost OU a national championship. His move in the offseason was to hire an analyst that was friends with the DB coach and had been fired after a terrible run as a HC and a horrible year as a DC in Nebraska that was a clown show. He’s an analyst for now, if they need him to offer good analysis that’s iffy. If they need someone to come in and take over if Mike wets the bed they’ve got him. None of that is good or indicative of a particularly promising year ahead on D for OU or for future Riley moves on that side of the ball.

      The idea that Herman scored one on Riley in 2017 was that if you evaluate the coaching in the RRS, the Texas side got the better end of it since they came about as close as you can get to beating the eventual B12 title winner and playoff entry with a 7-6 team. There’s no question that Riley had more to work with in that game and OU almost lost.

  8. matt

    “In overall S&P+, yeah. But their run D against good run teams was bad, the pass-rush and secondary carried those Ds. I’ve watched the film on those teams.”
    I’m going off of rushing defense S&P only. 2014 and 2015 teams were both top 25 rushing S&P defenses.

    • ianaboyd

      The 2014 one was solid, not great. The 2015 one gave up 300+ rushing yards to Texas and Clemson and some pretty big days on the ground to some other B12 teams as well.

      The wheels came off in 2016 and 2017 was a smoldering tire fire. If you want to point to lack of depth then that just begs the question, how come Mike and Kish weren’t developing more options at ILB if that’s an area of strength for them?

      • matt

        When did I say that’s an area of strength for them? in 2014, they literally had two scholarship inside linebackers backed up by walkons. 2015 depth was a little better but then just became a total mess leading to the situations I listed above.

  9. Matt

    No part of your comment requires a different response than my previous comment that you replied to. Its your own blog so you can say whatever BS you want on it.

  10. matt

    “When did I say that’s an area of strength for them? in 2014, they literally had two scholarship inside linebackers backed up by walkons. 2015 depth was a little better but then just became a total mess leading to the situations I listed above.”
    I said they might be terrible at teaching ILB but that the situations they’ve faced haven’t really allowed them to show how good they are or aren’t. If anything, coaching two players (Alexander and Evans) to first team all big 12 at the position who didn’t play linebacker in HS. I’d say that looks pretty good for them.

    • ianaboyd

      Everyone has to do that. If OU has this bad a hit rate then it doesn’t say anything good about their ILB development.

      • Matt

        “Everyone has to do that. If OU has this bad a hit rate then it doesn’t say anything good about their ILB development.”

        It doesn’t really say much in either direction about their hit rate. 2013 they signed Alexander and Evans who were both All big 12. 2014 they signed 2 ILB, one being the retired Tay Evans, the other being Curtis Bolton who would’ve played a big role last year but got hurt. 2015 they signed 1 ILB and he’s now playing DT. 2016 is when they signed Kelly, JMT and Jackson. All of those guys are still on the roster and still have a chance to make an impact. If anything it says that they basically decided they didn’t need to waste their energy on recruiting for a few seasons and it showed up on the field.

        • ianaboyd

          Obviously their recruiting at ILB hasn’t been great and arguably neither has their development since none of the guys they’ve been trying to teach to play ILB the last few years have been good at it. These all feed each other.

          Do you think OU will be good at ILB in 2018, then?

  11. matt

    “So how does this bolster your point that the OU staff is doing a good job of developing ILBs, again?”

    see above comment

  12. matt

    “Obviously their recruiting at ILB hasn’t been great and arguably neither has their development since none of the guys they’ve been trying to teach to play ILB the last few years have been good at it. These all feed each other.

    Do you think OU will be good at ILB in 2018, then?”

    I do.

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