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The Postgame Meal: Come Into My World

The postgame meal hydrates, nutritionates and breaks down the previous game. This weeks PGM was made of 80% recycled paper. We're 1-2, but as the Meat Loaf song says, one out of three ain't bad. Oh, it was two out of three? Well, whatever, it had a good beat.

Vaughn Ridley

Post Game Meal: Doritos-Flavored Hard Shell Taco

You know when you get something to eat that you know you'll regret. You receive your order, take a bite and yep, you regret it. With each bite you ask yourself: why am I eating this? Then you eat every ounce of it. This was the Baylor game. I knew it would be a dumpster fire, and even the dropped passes failed to make me upset. I had a few beers and some wings, and I was just happy it was Friday and football was on. Plus I got to be sarcastic on twitter, and if you took offense, there are many writers on Bull Run who would apologize, but not me, I honestly don't care about your delicate sensibilities.

I might get in trouble for saying that, but seriously, I came up under the Hofher era, I once got yelled at on the team plane for daring to laugh on a postgame flight after another miserable loss. That experience taught me two things: one, you MUST always laugh, and two, anyone who tells you not to laugh shouldn't be listened to. (That is the nice version). Basically my philosophy for dealing with football adversity is based on Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance", just replace every "Dance" with "Laugh".

I digress, the meal is: Fourth Meal, probably one of those Doritos ones. DISCLAIMER, I've never had a Doritos Loco Taco, but I assume I accurately described how it feels to eat one. For the first time, I don't have a non-Taco Bell fast food taco option. In Buffalo, it's all about Mighty Taco. In California, I'm partial to Del Taco, but there are also many many hole in the wall taco joints. In Hawaii, as far as I've seen so far, it's just Taco Bell. That said when I go to Taco Bell, I'm all about the Cheesy Gordita Crunch: Soft flatbread, crunchy hard shell, layer of cheese, so decadent.

Post Game Drink: Blue Moon Pumpkin

It's pumpkin season, and well the California microbrew craze hasn't hit Hawaii yet, I guess the shipping costs would be prohibitive for the small brewer type. So without the option of some of my favorite pumpkins, I bought a case of Blue Moon Pumpkin. It is quite tasty, but it packs absolutely zero punch. When you have been drinking 7-9% Lagunitas IPAs all summer, it's hard to switch to a 3% Blue Moon, but it's for the best. A Tepper defense is best watched sober.

The nice flavor says, hey it's just a game, enjoy life. The low alcohol content says no, don't throw this beer bottle into the television as the guy who had no one lined up in front of him at the snap runs unmolested 80 yards down the field for an easy TD catch.

Twitter PGD

How do you cope with Tepper: stay (relatively) sober and calm, or get drunk and rage? Let us know at @ubbullrun on twitter like so:

Post Game Song

So Tepper was getting a lot of heat this week, even NCAA football commentary robot Danny Kanell found time to criticize the defensive scheme between creating Playoff scenarios that left out Baylor. For all of you new to the Fire Tepper movement come into my world:

Honest moment, I was not looking forward to Baylor week this week, because I was so upset with a Baylor forum last year. This year I stayed on Our Daily Bears and steered clear of anger, really enjoyed the ODB peeps this time around and they seemed to be much more representative of the people I met in Waco, than the posters on that Baylor forum.

Anyway, in the wake of the 70-13 defeat last year, I was very critical of coach Tepper for allowing Baylor to take Khalil Mack completely out of the game. Obviously that was Baylor's focus and they are very good at what they do offensively, but as a defensive coordinator, you can't constantly lose that battle between what you want to do, and what the other team's offense wants to do. Post Mack, we're 0-3 at defense dictation, and we're pretty lucky not to be 0-3 in the standings.

Last year a Baylor fan on that forum said something to the effect of "The problem isn't the defensive coordinator, it's that they scheduled Baylor." Sure, it was pretty shaqy of Baylor to go ahead and get top 10 good. We signed that 4-game agreement under the assumption that Baylor was going to be well Baylor. Shame on you wily Texans for taking advantage of us in that way.

Still, many on the board were sure I had no football knowledge and they insinuated that they had more knowledge of Buffalo football than I. Many of them assumed I saw 70 points against and thought unintelligently, it's the DCs fault. I've come to terms, that they saw my anger at a DC as a slight to Baylor's offensive prowess.

But they were wrong because if you have been on Bull Run since 2012, you know two things: Tepper was hired in 2012, and I started hating Tepper in 2012, WAY before Baylor dropped 126 points on his defense. In fact, I looked it up, I was over Tepper after a month of watching his defense™.

from Three Goats 10/1/2012:

If Mr. Tepper had the Kraken, he would not release him. If Mr. Tepper had the Avengers, he'd drop Iron man and the hulk into pass coverage. One more? Umm, if Tepper was Batman, he'd leave the Bat wing and the Batmobile in the Cave and take a cab. Lou Tepper is undefeated in Russian Roulette; he always leaves his bullets in the chamber.

My first "fire Tepper" came in the Three Goats a few weeks later on 10/16/2012, it's sadly very similar to what I wrote in the post Duquesne postgame meal in 2014:

1) Lou Tepper Turned Our Strong Aggressive Defense Into a Soft Porous Mess

I've been saying this for at least 3 weeks now, and close games with lots of offensive and special teams mistakes have been the headlines, but the underlying story is how Tepper turned our strong front 7, into a weakness.

I'd give Quinn another year, just fire Tepper.

Other choice quotes from "Valley Shook"

To use the Dinardo analogy, the mistake wasn’t hiring Lou Tepper, it was refusing to fire the guy.

- Poseur

The Tigers had risen to #6 in the country. Nobody seemed to mind that the points surrendered by first-year defensive coordinator Lou Tepper's defense had increased every game.

Patrick Johnson Yahoo Sports

Tepper was so married to his scheme that he stuck with it even when it was clear we didn’t have the personnel to run it. I remember one time at Tiger Stadium I looked up and saw a big, burly middle linebacker (the unfairly lowly regarded Thomas Dunson, who couldn’t help that he was a backup-quality linebacker asked to not only start but fill roles for which he was grossly unsuited) lined up heads-up with Champ Bailey (who played both ways in college). He was so sure his "drop linebacker" position was a great idea (it essentially called for a linebacker to double as a safety and occasionally even man-up a slot receiver) that he refused to adjust to the fact that his linebacker of choice was much better suited as a run-stopper than as a man-to-man cover nickel back.

Richard Pittman

This game might have been one of the high-water marks of the Lou Tepper defense, particularly with the near goal-line stand you see in the first minute and a half of the video. Of course, given that Lou Tepper was involved, Bama eventually punched it in on fourth down.

Billy Gomila

He continues to lose points in my book, here's what I saw in the NIU game:

1) Huge cushions

a) Very Easy Pitch & Catch.

We averaged 6.4 yards of cushion in the NIU game. The average cushion of the deepest DB was 9 yards. This explains why we are:

  • 2nd last in the MAC in yards per attempt allowed passing: 8.4 yards per attempt.
  • and last in the MAC in yards per completion: 14.4 yards per completion.

b) Poor run support.

Our front 7 is good against the run, but when the run gets to the second level, our DBs are still off the ball. It doesn't help that they tackle poorly and take bad angles either. If you are lined up 12 yards behind the line, you have a lot of ground to make up to help Means corral Jordan Lynch, which is part of the reason he gained an extra 2-5 yards after contact all day last Saturday. This is also why we are:

  • 3rd last in the MAC in 30+ yard runs with 7.

c) Counterintuitive susceptibility to the PA-Pass and the deep ball.

Because our DB's are so far off the line, they seem to look in the backfield for run first. This isn't working, they are getting caught flat-footed. In both the UConn and NIU games a tight end ran right by a safety for a big gain as the safety guessed run and guessed very wrong. It's why we are:

  • 2nd last in the MAC in 40+ yard passes allowed, with 5.

2) No blitzing, no pass rush.

3 man rush: 7 times - NIU 6 for 7, 138 yards, 2 TDs.
Highlight: Despite only rushing 3, there was 1 on 1 coverage. With the extra passing time, Lynch found him, Lester broke the play up, but a better thrown ball would probably have been another touchdown. 

Lowlight: On 3rd and 14 in the 3rd, Lynch gets 5.44 seconds to throw. Everyone is covered so he scrambled from the left hash to the numbers on the right side of the field before finding an open receiver for a 17 yard gain and a first down.

4 man rush: 9 times - NIU 4 for 9, 24 yards. Each play was a quick throw or screen to exploit the large cushions.

5 man rush: 4 times - NIU 3 for 4, 72 yards. 2 quick throws at the cushioned receiver, one blown coverage by Baugh on the tight end.

6 man rush: 2 times - NIU 0 for 1, 1 Sack. We sacked Lynch before he could set up the bubble screen the first time we rushed 6. The 2nd time, we almost sacked Lynch and he threw the ball away.

3) We maintain the cushion downfield

A move that literally made me hit myself in the head with my notepad. On 3rd and 9 in the 3rd quarter, the man covering the slot gave a 12 yard cushion and proceeded to back pedal another 9 yards. The receiver caught an easy post pattern for a 20 yard gain. We gave him 21 yards of cushion on 3rd and 9, you better believe they took it.

9 of 13 completed passes were thrown to the receiver with the largest cushion. They gained 99 yards on those plays. 6 of the plays were on 1st and 10.

If you are going to give the big cushion, you should probably use the gap to read the QB, giving you the opportunity to break on a ball early, break up some passes, stop yards after the catch and if the timing is right, intercept a few more balls than you would playing tighter.

We do NONE of that on defense, and we are last in the MAC in turnovers forced.

4) Weird coverage issues

a) Cross-coverage: A couple of times, we lined up normally, but after the snap, we had the outside corner cover the slot man and the inside nickel back cover the outside man. The effect would create this criss-cross at the snap which I guess we hoped would disorient the offense.

What really happened is we wasted a few steps crossing, and NIU's receivers exploited those steps to get open. That separation allowed a 43-yard NIU touchdown to start the 2nd half, Lester the cover corner was lined up on the outside receiver but had to run about 3 yards further than usual to chase the slot receiver streaking downfield.

5) Stayed base

When NIU spread us out, we did not spread out. We kept one safety deep, and that one safety was not able to cover either side of the field deep. With one safety deep, 3 linemen rushing and 4 receivers covered that leaves 3 men to do what? Well they mostly faked blitz and spied the QB and played short middle zone. This created huge pockets on the outside and deep middle. The same holes Dri Archer lived in, the same holes UConn lived in, the same holes Tettleton exploited ended up being the same holes Lynch used on his 2 TD passes and his other 11 mainly uncontested completions.

Our defense is statistically good, because we allow teams to move on us so efficiently, and our field position is so bad, teams score without needing to rack up 400-500 yards of offense. NIU put up 460 just for fun, they would have tacked on another 200 yards if they left Lynch in the game in the fourth quarter.

If you are new to team fire Tepper after four consecutive defensive no-shows (including San Diego State...4.5 including the 2nd half of BGSU, and ignore Miami cause they were awful, the game before that we allowed 50+ to Toledo) consider this your welcome packet. As founding member and CEO, I welcome you, but warn, unlike bullying, it doesn't get better.

Anyway, silly season has one more week, and hopefully we come out of it 2-2 after a promising win over the Norfolk State uhhh Spartans? Judges are telling me yes they'll accept that answer. The Spartans will probably score more than they should before UB wins narrowly, and I look forward to that dramatic tune up as we march into the real season. Every MAC team is either wounded or playing awful football, so it's just going to be wonderful MACtion.

As always, in spite of coaching, country music concerts, and to the chagrin of Mama Licata's pasta budget, go UB, beat the Spartans like the Thebes in Tegyra.