Film Room Football 

Debunking Major Applewhite’s Claims About The Defense Vs. Tech

Summary

  1. Major makes several unsubstantiated claims about his defense from the Tech game.
  2. We present evidence disputing his claims.

UH fans have been up in arms about UH’s disgusting defensive (offensive?) performance against Texas Tech. The Coogs played a soft zone the entire game and the result were predictable: 9 touchdowns, 36 first downs, over 700 yards of offense and 605 yards passing and 5 TDs for their true freshman quarterback.
 
UH fans have a right to be mad after that.
 
One of the main complaints has been about the three-man rush UH attempted numerous times in the game. Those complaints must have gotten back to the coaching staff. In his Wednesday appearance on 790 AM, Applewhite disingenuously fought back against those assertions:
 

click to enlarge

Well said, Major. Just a few *minor* issues:
 
1. UH didn’t go to the three-man rush “about 10 times” — it was at least 21 different times (and possibly several more as I was not able to review all of the film). And Tech didn’t run 106 plays – it was an even 100.
 
Tech crushed UH when the Cougars went with the three-man rush. In 18 plays (not including 3 pass interference calls that went against UH), Tech was 11/15 passing for 168 yards, 9 first downs and 2 TDs.
 
Yes, nine first downs and 2 TDs in 18 plays! More on that in a minute.
 
2. Furthermore, having a three-man rush on “long down and distances” is not how you play football. At least not winning football. A three-man rush on long plays has a name: it’s called prevent defense.
 
Below is a play from the 1st quarter: on 2nd and 28, UH rushed 3 and dropped 8 guys into coverage – only to have the slot streaking across the middle with two defenders 10 yards behind him.
 

 
This isn’t a coach trying to hold onto a late lead. It’s the first quarter!
 
To me, it’s the defining defensive play in the Applewhite era. It’s indicative of the bend bend bend but don’t break D’Onofrio defense. It’s brutal to watch.
 
3. Before he commented on the three-man rushes, Major said the defense blitzed 45% of the time. I haven’t gone back to watch for that – they may have blitzed 45 times.
 
But if we blitzed 45 times and had 0 QB hurries – that’s quite the indictment of the defense you’re running, Major. Maybe you shouldn’t bring that up.

21 Times UH Went With A Three-Man Rush

Here are 21 instances where UH went with a three-man front (and the result of the play). Many more than the “about 10” Applewhite claimed.
 

1. Incomplete
 

2. Complete – 28 yards / first down
 

3. Incomplete
 

4. Complete – 22 yards / first down
 

5. Pass interference
 

6. Incomplete
 

7. Rush for 3 yards
 

8. Pass interference
 

9. Complete – 6 yards / touchdown
 

10. Complete – 18 yards / first down
 

11. Complete – 17 yards / first down
 

12. Complete – 13 yards / first down
 

13. Complete – 14 yards / first down
 

14. Pass interference
 

15. Complete – 12 yards / first down
 

16. Rush for 17 yards / first down
 

17. Complete – 2 yards / first down
 

18. Incomplete
 

19. Rush for 2 yards
 

20. Complete – 6 yards
 

21. Complete – 33 yards / touchdown
 

If it helps, here’s the 21 plays in sequence:
 
1. Incomplete
2. Complete – 28 yards / first down
3. Incomplete
4. Complete – 22 yards / first down
5. Pass interference
6. Incomplete
7. Rush for 3 yards
8. Pass interference
9. Complete – 6 yards / touchdown
10. Complete – 18 yards / first down
11. Complete – 17 yards / first down
12. Complete – 13 yards / first down
13. Complete – 14 yards / first down
14. Pass interference
15. Complete – 12 yards / first down
16. Rush for 17 yards / first down
17. Complete – 2 yards / first down
18. Incomplete
19. Rush for 2 yards
20. Complete – 6 yards
21. Complete – 33 yards / touchdown
 
That’s 18 plays that went 9 first downs and 2 TDs on 11 of 15 passing for 168 yards and 22 yards on the ground.
 
If you extrapolated these plays over the course of the 100 play game, Tech would have run up 1,056 yards, 50 first downs, 11 TDs, on 61/83 passing for 933 yards and 122 yards rushing.
 
Please Major, don’t run this crappy defense again.
 
 

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