Texas A&M-Commerce-17, Sam Houston State-27–5 Thoughts

It was a long day yesterday. I Left DFW at about 10 AM and did not get back until 1 in the morning. The good thing about a nearly 3 hour drive is that you can think about things and have some ideas about what you care to write and what was good, bad, and in between. It was not the result I would have liked but after last week’s collapse, this team played hard from the opening gun to the final whistle and I could not prouder of the group. Coaches coached up as good a game plan as you can given all the personnel issues they had this week, players played hard, and fans showed up. Also, I wanted to give a huge tip of the cap to the Sam Houston game day staff. Everyone from concessions to the press box crew and sports information department was first class and really treated us well. Sam Houston was a team you did not feel bad about losing to because they were a quality group of people and I wish them well the rest of the season.

  1. Not even 7 days ago, Zadock Dinkleman (who will be referred to Z from here on out) was a tight end. He ended up being QB1 within a matter of days. Considering all that change, he played well and played hard. He gave a great effort and showed off that he has a good arm, can lead an offense, is nifty in the pocket, and can lead a team. Offense turned the ball at a couple of bad times including a fumble that was an absolute drive killer as we were deep in Sam Houston Territory. Offense did make good strides against a good Sam Houston defense and I liked the play calling. Billy Riebock an his staff were really put into a tough situation but made the best of it with multiple look that kept SHSU guessing. Spencer Long continues to really grow from a rough talent into a capable running back, and Andrew Armstrong, what a beast. These kids are young but watch out as they grow.
  2. The defense played well by in large, but again, a lot of penalties were their undoing. Sam extended a lot of drives via penalty and when the Kats got behind the sticks, usually a Lion penalty would gift them some yards. Defense also allowed SHSU QB’s to break contain multiple times on third and long situations. Defense knows this. Got to make adjustments on that. All of that being said, the defense kept this game close while the offense found their rhythm and made some bone jarring hits on the Sam Houston skill guys. The defense is young as is in the entire team, but this unit shows a ton of promise. The pick 6 by Celestin Haba sparked the scoring and really sparked the entire team. Dee Walker was tremendous and The Lion defense put The Kats two quarterbacks on their back more times than anyone thought we would.
  3. Special teams were a large part of what kept us in the game. Mitchell McGarry’s punting was solid and in a couple of occasions superb when he hit some high kicks. One of the best things about his punting last night was how Sam Houston did not really get any returns on punts because his hang time allowed the coverage team to prevent any returns. Punting deep in your territory or in your end zone is always a tough charge, but McGarry was great last night. Aiden Martin handled his kickoff duties well, and Emmanuel Adagbon did his job on PAT’s and extra points. The coverage team on kickoffs let Sam break a couple of runs, but that was the exception rather than the rule. One thing we did not see was JT Smith back returning kicks, and the kickoff returns were not an easy go.
  4. Had some words with David Bailiff after the game. He really had an upbeat attitude about the entire game and seemed that he was not too worried about the adjustments that needed to be made, as they are entirely doable. He talked about execution and complemented his team on how hard they played and he is exactly right. He had a very tough week, losing a handful of players, having personnel and injury issues, and really after 2 weeks against two Division I opponents know what needs to be done going forward.
  5. I would say this. Stay behind this team. These guys are playing hard. One thing we realized is that this travel roster is FULL of underclassmen and of course transfers. I remember last year someone telling me “This team will look a lot different in 2022 than it did in 2021.” They were right as rain on that count. I think that this team will continue to grow in knowledge of the game and if they continue to play hard, we will be in just about all the games the rest of the way, but show up and let them know they are supported.

Roar Back Here.....

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