Jump to content

Welcome to HornSports

Join our community and talk about the latest in Texas Longhorns Athletics!

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'Football'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Class of 2020
  • Class of 2021
  • Class of 2022

Forums

  • Boards
    • The Burnt Orange Board
    • Far West
    • The Roundup
    • Archives
  • Links of Interest
    • Texas Longhorns Shop

Blogs

  • The Wire

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


AIM


MSN


Website URL


ICQ


Yahoo


Jabber


Skype


Twitter Username


Location


Interests


Biography


Location


Interests


Occupation

Found 715 results

  1. Winning is fun. Yay! But that was a really bad football team. Eight losses last season, including a 34-pointer to Iowa State – a team that even Texas beat by three scores. Their offense had several chances to put up points through the air, as you’ll see, but their defense was just trash. Let’s do this quickly and then turn our focus to USC. Technically a Shutout, but… San Jose State’s first near-scoring opportunity came on the first play of their second possession. (click to play) Kris Boyd is a great athlete but still not a great football player. This is the second week he’s been picked on. On this play, Texas was in Cover 3, with Boyd responsible for a deep third of the field. Alternatively, he could bite on a pump fake and get smoked by a former low 3-star wide receiver (who, to be fair, was clocked at 4.49 in high school). Watch the quarterback’s non-throwing hand – it doesn’t come off the ball. That’s typically what defensive backs are taught to look for before they break on a throw. Boyd is a boom-or-bust player. He hasn’t had many booms yet this season, but he will. (click to play) Brandon Jones is another guy who has been and will continue to be targeted by opposing offenses. Texas is in its “2-4-5” even front that we saw in the spring game, and is running a fire zone blitz. In simple terms, Jones is responsible for the second receiver from the sideline after the receivers have completed their release. That last part matters. At the snap, the second receiver from the sideline (or No. 2) is the slot receiver, but then he and the tight end (No. 3) cross each other. The tight end becomes the No. 2, and the slot the No. 3. The No. 3 receiver is the responsibility of the hook defender, in this case Gary Johnson. But Jones chases the slot inside, which – if the tight end had caught the ball – would have forced Boyd to attempt an open-field tackle on a player who is four inches taller and 53 pounds heavier than him. Five will get you 10 that he misses that tackle. (click to play) This is the very next play. Texas again brings pressure from the field but this time with man coverage behind it. When the running back releases on a route, Anthony Wheeler has to peel off his blitz and run with him. That is his job. It is NOT Malik Jefferson’s job. Malik should be bouncing in the middle, watching the quarterback and in prime position to recognize the wave of offensive linemen setting up a screen in front of him. An engagement there likely forces the receiver to bend his path back toward Naashon Hughes, but instead he has space to split the difference between Hughes and Malcolm Roach. Had the runner not slipped, I have confidence in DeShon Elliott to make this tackle and prevent the score, but it should still have been 1st & Goal. (click to play) The whatever-San-Jose-State’s-mascot-ises split two receivers to the left and put a tight end and wing on the right. The Longhorns bring Holton Hill from the boundary and run Cover 2 behind it, with Elliott assuming Hill’s flat responsibilities (which, schematically, is pretty cool). The tight end runs a curl route and the wing runs a fade. Elliott will trail the fade with the expectation that the deep safety, Jones, is patrolling the half of the field behind him. Jones, however, was jumping the curl route from literally 12 yards away. That route isn’t Jones’ problem until the ball’s thrown. He left Elliott hanging, and they’re fortunate that Mr. 4.49 didn’t bring his hands to Austin. Otherwise, it very well could have been tied at 21 at the half. Your Leading Scorer Who had Hill as the team’s leader scorer after week two? (click to play) Texas rushes three, has Johnson spy the quarterback and runs Quarter-Quarter-Half on the back end. Hill, on the “Half” (Cover 2) side of the coverage, trails the No. 1 receiver, with Jones over the top. The quarterback tries to fit the ball into what I hope was a tight window (I can’t see Jones) but the ball flutters and dies. Hill and his blockers do the rest. Power-O The scoring plays were efficient and pretty boring, but I at least got some pleasure out of seeing power and other gap-scheme runs. They were sorely missed against Maryland. (click to play) There’s so much going on in this play that I couldn’t diagram everything. The playside of the offensive line blocks down and washes the defense inside, leaving just a few stragglers for the H-back, running back and backside guard to clean up. There’s some confusion in the defense about who should fit where – or San Jose State’s 193-pound safety wanted no part of 305-pound Jake McMillon. A couple of things that wouldn’t fit in the diagram: right tackle Denzel Okafor needs to chip the edge rusher who nearly makes the stop in the backfield. Watch Connor Williams on the next play to see what it should look like. And I like what Corby Meekins has tight end Kendall Moore doing – he locks up one linebacker for a one-count before releasing and engaging the next defender – but he should probably focus on sticking with one guy per play, or at least hold the block for a two-count. Moore impressed me when I noticed him. Don’t get used to this, though; the line won’t dominate many other teams this easily. Even…even Garrett Gray stuffed his defender. (click to play) And even Kyle Porter found the end zone! (It’s time for Daniel Young and Toneil Carter to get more reps.) He ran better later in the game, but this was a weak opponent and Texas needs production in all four quarters. He’s running like he’s waiting to go down. But back to the play – SJSU overplays the jet sweep action and leaves a poor linebacker and the backside cornerback alone against Patrick Vahe and Porter. The linebacker just stands there, becoming an organic blocking sled for Vahe to slam into. Really bad defense. (click to play) Jerrod Heard scored on power too. It doesn’t get much easier. I’m not sure which play SJSU was worried about but it wasn’t the right one. The defenders are slow to react and overpursue when they do. I’d like to see Heard NOT run into the back of his damn blocker; it’s not like he didn’t have time to see how the block was unfolding and adjust. Notice Moore helping to wall off the defense again (it didn’t look hard). In the Zone The zone run plays that were ineffective last week were productive this week, especially later in the game when SJSU was worn out. (click to play) Texas’ first score came on Q outside zone. This is another clip that illustrates how bad SJSU was. The backside of the play gets cut off, including a nose tackle who was reached by the backside guard. SJSU caps it off with a pitiful effort from the backside defensive end. There’s not much else to say or learn about this one. (click to play) SJSU has loaded the box, and the safety isn’t falling for that jet sweep crap again. They were going to have two guys (a linebacker and the safety) unblocked anyway because of numbers and the front, but Patrick Hudson loses his footing and leaves a second linebacker unblocked. This play should have gone nowhere, but they lost track of Warren. I like the linebacker who gives up and just starts spanking Moore the best. Spartans to Trojans That’s enough of that. I’ve read exactly nothing about USC and watched only their opener against Western Michigan, so all I can tell you is what the video said. Their defense should be familiar to the offense, since they’ve practiced against the 2-4-5 look. Outside linebacker #45* was the first guy who jumped out. He’s like a bigger Breckyn Hager with better football instincts. Their insider linebacker play got way better in the second half, which I soon figured out was because #35 returned from suspension. The only defensive lineman who consistently caught my eye was #94, so that makes me feel a little bit better about Texas’ chances of at least sustaining plays for more than three seconds. Their secondary looks like it’s in fast-forward; everyone looked good, but they weren’t challenged very often (only 23 total pass attempts). I didn’t have time to watch the whole game on offense, but you all know Roland Jones. He’s terrifying and angry, so that should be fun. Repeat for Sam Darnold. I’m hoping to find a weak spot in their offensive line when I watch the Stanford game. The only positives I’ve got are that this Texas squad has had a habit the past two years of hanging with highly ranked teams (2-2 straight up, 3-1 against the spread as double-digit underdogs), and Tom Herman has the same reputation, but better. Now, how many comments can we go before we start talking about the quarterbacks? * @ShotgunSpr tweeted that #45 (Porter Gustin) will have an MRI on his shoulder Sunday night.
  2. After a disappointing upset loss in the season opener against Maryland last week, the Texas Longhorns had everything to prove this week when they took the field against San Jose State on Saturday. The Longhorns bounced back by relying on a solid rushing attack that used an array of players to deliver a 56-0 shutout loss to the Spartans. Junior running back Chris Warren led the effort with 166 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Kyle Porter added 72 yards on 16 carries, including one touchdown. When the day was done the Longhorns amassed a total of 406 yards rushing. Compare that against the 98 total rushing yards last week against the Terrapins and it is easy to see why Tom Herman, who won his first game as head coach at Texas, was pleased with team’s ability to produce results on the ground. Texas (1-1, 0-0) started true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger in place of Shane Buechele, who is nursing a shoulder injury sustained in the loss to Maryland. Ehlinger took command of the offense and operated efficiently, finishing with 222 yards passing and one touchdown. Ehlinger also contributed 48 yards to the rushing effort, showing his ability to move in and out of the pocket when necessary. The Texas offensive line did not allow a sack in the game, highlighting the progress made from last week’s subpar performance in which Buechele was pressured incessantly and forced to scramble more times than not. The Longhorns struck first on backup quarterback Jerrod Heard’s 9 yard run out of the Wildcat formation, giving Texas a 7-0 lead at the 4:12 mark in the first quarter. Chris Warren added to the score in the second quarter, rumbling 41 yards for a touchdown and delivering punishing blows to San Jose State defenders in the process. Jerrod Heard rushed for his second touchdown on the day at the 2:17 mark, scampering into the left side of the end zone once again out of the Wildcat. The Longhorns led 21-0 at the half. San Jose began the second half on offense and was forced to punt after the Longhorns held the Spartans to 3 and out. The Longhorns would begin a scoring drive at the 13:23 mark, which included a heavy dose of Chris Warren and Kyle Porter. The drive ended with Porter finding the end zone from 3 yards out to give Texas a 28-0 lead and Porter’s first touchdown as a Longhorn. Texas added to its lead in the 3rd quarter with Holton Hill intercepting San Jose State’s Aaron Montel and returning it 45 yards for a touchdown. In the opening 4th quarter drive for the Longhorns, Sam Ehlinger found Collin Johnson for 27 yards and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps for 23 yards, setting Chris Warren up for a 9 yard touchdown run, his second of the game. On the Longhorns’ following drive, Ehlinger would notch his first career collegiate touchdown on a one yard shovel pass to Armanti Foreman. Texas pulled Ehlinger halfway through the 4th quarter, letting Heard handle the offense for the remainder of the game. The Longhorns added one more touchdown from tailback Toneil Carter, with 2:46 left to play. While the praise for the offense is warranted, the performance by the defense against San Jose State was equally impressive. The Longhorns held Aaron Montel and the Spartan defense to just 42 yards rushing and 171 total yards of offense. The linebackers played better, the defensive line won the battles they needed to, and the defensive backs closed faster. San Jose State isn’t a Top-10 team, but Todd Orlando has a lot of positives to glean from his unit’s play today. The uncertainty surrounding Shane Buechele’s timetable for return means Sam Ehlinger could get the starting nod again when the Longhorns travel to Los Angeles to play Top-10 USC next week at the Coliseum. Tom Herman will begin preparing his game plan for USC tomorrow morning at 10:00 am. Game Notes Texas freshman Reggie Hemphill-Mapps did not play in first half for reportedly violating team rules. The Texas kicking game struggled again today with Josh Rowland missing a 43 yard FG attempt. Rowland is 0-3 on the season in FG’s. Holton Hill’s interception for a touchdown return gives him 3 touchdowns on the season. The Longhorns are now 13-5-1 all time in games following a season opening loss. Chris Warren surpassed the 1,000 yard mark with his 166 yard performance against the Spartans. Patrick Hudson left the field with what appeared to be an injury to his knee. Head coach Tom Herman won his first game at Texas and is now 23-5 in his career as a head coach.
  3. Playing quarterback is hard. Playing quarterback without a run game, minimal pass protection, and an unimaginative game plan and play-caller is harder. So before we dig into the things Shane Buechele did wrong on Saturday, let’s briefly consider what he had to overcome. Some of this will be a defense of Buechele, but my thesis is that the challenges won’t change whether Buechele, Sam Ehlinger or Jerrod Heard is taking the snaps. No Run Game As best I can tell, the plan to run the ball was: don’t. In the base offense (not Wildhorn or whatever they’re calling it), Texas ran inside zone 67% of the time. The offensive line got movement 0% of the time. Now, the Maryland defense was giving up the outside, which is why Texas threw so many bubble and swing screens, and they were productive plays. But Maryland also left itself open to some other runs, especially counters. Tim Beck called counter-G once, but Buechele threw the bubble screen instead – a good thing, because the playside of the offensive line took the play off. It’s true that Texas fell behind early, but by the second half, they had made it a close game. And besides, converting short-yardage situations is a lot easier when there’s actually a threat to run the ball. Maybe a more mobile quarterback can open things up, but the benefits will be mitigated if the team is running only one play, poorly, and changing only the ballcarrier. Occasional Free Rushers Connor Williams had his worst game as a Longhorn. (click to play) And he still looked like an All-American next to his peers. (click to play) Because the protection was so bad, Texas used more seven-man protections. The result was always something like this. (click to play) 2.5 to 3 receivers trying to find space against seven defenders. Buechele pressured himself on this particular play, but we’ll get to that. Tim Beck On a day when the play-calling was very special, this goal line series stood out. (click to play) The first clip is a crack screen (at least according to Tom Herman). Reggie Hemphill didn’t block the safety, so it wouldn’t have mattered, but I also don’t know what Dorian Leonard is doing. He could block the cornerback and stay on him – which isn’t a crack screen – or he could act like he’s running a slant and then block the first defender who shows. He tried to do both but succeeded only in telling the cornerback that it was a screen. The point is to pull the corner inside (he’ll think he’s covering a slant route) and cut off the pursuit, eliminating two defenders. Of course there’s also the issue of Garrett Gray, whose fruitless hop to catch the ball slowed his turn upfield. The second clip is a snag concept that looks to be designed to go to Chris Warren*. That raises the question: why not have those receivers block? But there’s a lesson that we can learn here, one that you’d expect a Power 5 offensive coordinator to anticipate rather than learning with us – the fans. When the offense throws the ball to the flat over and over, eventually the defense starts jumping those routes. When the defense starts jumping short routes, other routes come open behind them – like Leonard’s corner route on this play. I thought maybe Beck was concerned that Buechele couldn’t see over the line well enough near the goal line to throw it over the middle, but then he called this levels concept on a two-point conversion attempt. (click to play) And Buechele executed it well, putting the ball up over the defender and… right through Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s hands. In fact, there were lots of things that Buechele did well, and some plays that he singlehandedly turned from bad to good. (click to play) Here’s a passing concept that will become familiar in this post. I don’t know why Texas wasn’t running a slant/flat combination to the boundary, unless Beck gets a bonus for every wasted receiver/route**. Maryland gets not just pressure, but a free rusher, with only four guys. The likeliest hot route, Hemphill, is bracketed. This is a terrible play, but Buechele single-handedly keeps it alive and converts it into a first down. (click to play) It’s 3rd & 9, and the offense is trying to set up a drive concept to the field, with Duvernay running a drag route and Hemphill running a dig route behind him. It takes a little time to develop, which isn’t something Buechele had much of. There’s no blitz this time, just Patrick Vahe failing to pick up a defensive line twist stunt – something he’s struggled with his entire career. Before Hemphill has even made his cut, Buechele has a loose defender – ONE OF ONLY THREE PASS RUSHERS ON THE PLAY – barreling down on him. Again he keeps the play alive and completes it for a first down. I don’t mean to excuse it, but seeing plays like this helps to explain why Buechele flushes himself from the pocket at times. Where Buechele Fell Short Hesitation Texas ran this double-in concept repeatedly in short-yardage situations. (click to play) Maryland is in 2-Man coverage (two deep safeties, man coverage underneath). The Y (Gray) should and does clear out space for Buechele to throw to the slot (Humphrey), but instead Buechele hesitates and the pressure gets to him. And yeah, “Why are they running four-yard routes on 3rd & 8?” is a great question. (click to play) Here’s the same concept from above combined with a go route and a quick out. It’s 4th & 2, the sort of situation where you’d like to have the threat of pounding the ball with your 250-pound running back. Maryland is again in what looks to be 2-Man, but I think the Terps had wisely started to double team Collin Johnson by this point. That may be why Buechele didn’t throw this ball, but I doubt it; it looks like there should be enough cushion to the safety for the throw to be safe. The limited space between Johnson and the sideline could be another reason he hesitated. Whatever he saw, it’s not the end of the world, but he makes things way more difficult when he leaves the pocket for no reason. It constricts the amount of field he has to work with and gives the linebacker who’s spying him a free path to the sack. That leads us to our next problem. Self-Pressure (click to play) Same concept. Maryland’s in Cover 3 this time. Based on the concepts and coverage, Buechele picked the right side of the field to attack, but the DB covering Hemphill has outside leverage on the out route. So Buechele’s first look wasn’t open, but the play isn’t doomed yet. The pocket is intact, and he still has a whole other side of the field to check out – there’s even one whole wide receiver over there***! (The one guy who’s open is Kyle Porter.) Instead, Buechele stumbles forward for a few yards. At least he got the first down. Buechele wasn’t good, but he did lots of things right, and he was hyper accurate on nearly every throw. Three passes were dropped (a long ball to Johnson, a two-point conversion to Humphrey and a deep comeback to Duvernay), the game plan and play-calling were unimaginative, and Maryland overwhelmed Texas’ pass protection all day. * I’m basing this assumption on all the trouble Texas went through to move Warren around before the play, but the more I watch it – now that the clips are already made and the article already written – the more I think Buechele may have pre-determined the throw himself. ** The personnel decisions, especially when Texas went with empty sets, were puzzling. Wide receiver is the deepest position group on the team. Texas is down by multiple scores. They’re going to throw the ball. They telegraph that they’re going to throw the ball by lining up in empty. WHY ARE THEY WASTING TWO OF THEIR FIVE SPOTS FOR ELIGIBLE RECEIVERS ON GARRETT GRAY AND KYLE PORTER (SOMETIMES CHRIS WARREN)? If they’re going to tell the defense what they’re about to do, at least do it with the best players for the job out there on the field. This is like lining up in goal line but playing only the guys on your roster who are 200 pounds or less. *** ^^^^!
  4. The Texas Longhorns will face the San Jose Spartans at 2:30 PM on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. The Longhorns were defeated at home by Maryland 51-41 in the team’s season opener last weekend, and look to move to .500 play by defeating the Spartans. Texas opened initially as 27.5 favorites over San Jose State but uncertainties related to Shane Buechele’s injured shoulder have bobbed the point spread up and down since. The current line on the game shows the Longhorns favored by 25.5. With the potential for true freshman Sam Ehlinger to see significant playing time due to Buechele’s injury, can the Texas offense move the ball and put points on the board? Can Todd Orlando’s defense avoid the same mistakes they made against the Terrapins and stop the Spartan rush attack? The HornSports staff give their thoughts and predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s matchup. Texas Longhorns vs. San Jose State Spartans Date: Saturday, September 9th, 2017 Time: 2:30 PM CST Television: Longhorn Network Venue: Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium Location: Austin, TX Jameson McCausland Regardless of whether Shane Buechele can play on Saturday, Texas needs to establish the run early and often. Chris Warren needs to have a big game and the offensive line needs to respond after being embarrassed in week 1. Todd Orlando and the defense have to find a way to stop the run, especially with San Jose State starting a freshman QB who can use his legs. South Florida found out quickly that San Jose State is not afraid of superior completion. The Spartans jumped out to a 16-0 lead very early. If Texas shows some of the same poor fundamentals and mental lapses they showed against Maryland, then the Longhorns will find themselves in a dogfight. The good news is I expect Texas to be able to move the ball on the ground against a Spartans defense that gave up over 300 yards rushing to South Florida. Tom Herman took the right approach this week by not overreacting. This team has talented football players, and it may take a little while for the light bulb to come on for some of these players. The Longhorns will take care of business on Saturday, before turning their attention to what will await them next weekend in Los Angeles. Game Prediction: Texas 35, San Jose State 13 Daniel Seahorn Well last week didn’t exactly go according to plan. It didn’t take long for this team to get its first taste of adversity and now we will get to see if they are any better at handling it. I am going to keep this pretty short this week. I’m even more in wait and see mode this week than I was this time last week given how things played out against Maryland and now with Shane Buechele banged up we may see true freshman Sam Ehlinger get his first start on Saturday. Texas is favored by four touchdowns over the Spartans. I’m taking SJSU to cover that, but think Texas notches its first win of the season after a letdown last week. Game Prediction: Texas 34, San Jose State 21 Harrison Wier The Tom Herman era did not get off to a great start. After a shocking loss in the season opener to Maryland, the Longhorns look to get back on track as they take on San Jose State in Austin. Many will compare this game to how Charlie Strong and the USF Bulls fared against the Spartans in week 1. The Bulls ended up pulling away late and winning the game by 20 points, but not without some first half issues. In the first quarter, Strong’s team was down 16-0. The Spartans are no slouch of an opponent, meaning Texas cannot be lax coming into this game. The main storyline coming out of the week involves quarterback play. In the season opener to Maryland, Shane Buechele sustained a shoulder injury to his throwing shoulder – the same one he injured in last year’s matchup with Cal. In the absence of the sophomore at practice, Sam Ehlinger has taken the first team reps this week. Ehlinger is the prototypical QB in Tom Herman’s offense. In fact, when Herman has a QB rush for 50+ yards in a game, he is 28-4. This could be the game where Ehlinger shows the world what he’s made of. Even if Buechele is healthy enough to start the game, expect Ehlinger to get plenty of reps. Tim Beck’s offense must mix it up after a complete bust of a performance last week, in which his unit only scored 20 points against a subpar defense. The key to this game is whether or not Texas can be disciplined and fix the silly mistakes that were made in their home opener. Can LB’s hit the right gaps? What about defenders getting off blocks? The offensive line being able to make holes and communicate on blitz downs? These are all key questions that must be addressed on Saturday. If the Longhorns can just be disciplined, the rest will take care of itself. Tom Herman knows if his team is not fundamentally sound, they won’t win many games. Texas opened as 27.5 point favorites heading into this matchup. I do not take San Jose State that lightly. They are a good team that can punch you in the mouth if you aren’t prepared. If I were a betting man, I would take the Spartans to cover. However, I don’t think they’ll win outright. I think Herman will fix some of the glaring issues on both sides of the ball this week and the Longhorns will play disciplined football. The true test comes on September 16 at the Coliseum. Game Prediction: Texas 34, San Jose State 17 Ross Labenske Texas is favored to win by 25, but the Longhorns were favored to win by 18 last week versus lowly Maryland, and we all know how that ended up. Texas starting QB Shane Buechele has been dealing with chronic shoulder issues for a while, but unless Coach Herman deems it serious enough expect the sophomore QB to start. If Sam Ehlinger gets the nod and significant playing time come Saturday, expect the Longhorns to slow down on offense and not be as potent as when they got things clicking last weekend. But the rushing game will have to fare better than it did against Maryland if the Longhorns hope to not be 0 – 2 heading into the long-anticipated match-up between USC and Texas. That, along with defense which has been outclassed, to say the least, in the past few years, and special teams, which costed multiple games for Charlie Strong and now even Tom Herman. But as long as the Longhorn offense can produce then Texas should win, 38 – 14. Game Prediction: Texas 38, San Jose State 14 Aaron Carrara Texas quarterback Shane Buechele is a game-time decision for the San Jose State game, and true freshman Sam Ehlinger is likely to see significant playing time as a result. Despite the outcome against Maryland, Buechele put up career numbers and had an above-average game. Regardless of which player starts won’t really matter if the offensive line can’t control the line of scrimmage and win the battles in the trenches. The Longhorns need to find a running game and they need to find it fast to ensure success. This is the week for Tim Beck to show that his unit has made the necessary adjustments to move the season forward in a positive manner. San Jose State will start redshirt sophmore quarterback Montel Aaron, who will lead a a Spartan offense capable of producing yards and long plays. Lightly put, Todd Orlando’s defense was exposed last week against the Terrapins. Missed tackles, blown coverage in the secondary and a porous run-defense headlined the mistakes – something Texas cannot afford to repeat against San Jose State. After what I saw last week, I’ll defer from commenting on the point spread. Instead I’ll take Texas (and Shane Buechele or Sam Ehlinger, or both) to beat an inferior San Jose State team. Texas will have a slight hangover from the Maryland game and open slow on offense, but they will turn it around in the second half and put significant points on the board. The defense will show progress but will give up three touchdowns. USC looms next week for the Longhorns in their first away game of the season. Getting the pieces assembled in Saturday’s game is necessity if the Longhorns want to have any shot at pulling off the upset at the Coliseum. Game Prediction: Texas 41, San Jose State 21
  5. I really wanted to come with some silver linings, but I’m not ready to lie to myself yet. The best I can come up with is that special teams wasn’t entirely a disaster as it has been in the past, and more important, Texas may have still found a way to win if it hadn’t committed so many stupid penalties. Normally you’d say those are fixable, but the repairman has been MIA for years. After what I’ve seen these past several seasons, my definition of fixable for this football team has changed. Run Fits (click to play) This is 2016 all over again: a combination of players who are lost and players who are trying to do too much. The play is sort of an inverted zone bluff. The H-back crosses the formation like he’s going to kick out the defensive end, but instead the DE is being read, and the H-back is looking for the next off-color jersey. The quarterback can either toss it to the running back or run it between the tackles. The man being read is sophomore Malcolm Roach. He should be responsible for the quarterback, but he bites on the fake toss and opens up a lane inside. It was probably game over at that point. But there was another error. Had Roach forced the toss, there would have been no one there to clean it up because Mac linebacker Anthony Wheeler – a junior – was chasing phantoms. There’s nothing indicating to him that he should run inside and into the waiting arms of the right tackle. He and DeShon Elliott should have been outside and in position to bracket the H-back’s lead block. Only Elliott did his job. (click to play) This time, Maryland is running zone read with a triple option. Texas almost plays it well: Elliott eliminates the third option, Charles Omenihu (who’s being read) has the QB, and the inside linebackers are running a cross dog blitz into the A gaps. Malik Jefferson hits the frontside A gap, and Wheeler is supposed to fill the backside A gap. Instead, Wheeler attacks the outside shoulder of the guard, also known as the B gap. He can’t shed the block and get back into his gap, and the ballcarrier waltzes through the opening. EVEN STILL, there’s a safety between the ball and the goal line. Safeties at major programs should make this tackle; Brandon Jones didn’t even make contact. (click to play) Jones was the star of his own tragicomedy when it came to perimeter run defense on Saturday. Look up most of the outside runs and you’ll see him either falling victim to very defeatable cut blocks or flailing hopelessly at the runner’s feet. On this play, it’s the former. But there’s plenty of blame to go around. Junior nickelback P.J. Locke makes the best block on the whole play, since he eliminates two defenders – himself and Wheeler. The running back who becomes the lead blocker should have been looking to cut Locke, but since Locke had already blocked himself, Maryland was able to block Jones, who should have been free. Finally, there’s the comically bad pursuit angles taken by Locke and Kris Boyd. This issue has reared its head over and over for years, and it’s hard to blame coaching. Go to any youth football practice and you’ll see players doing pursuit drills. Being incapable of observing a runner and adjusting your speed and angle to intersect his path is the punter equivalent of this: (click to play) At least Todd Orlando can blame youth for some of this play. True freshman Taquon Graham is lined up as the 4i on the right side. He’s responsible for the B gap, but Maryland’s left tackle is able to dig him out of his gap. Freshmen playing like freshmen (ahem, Daniel Young fumbling a kickoff) is understandable, especially in week one. But where the heck is Locke going? He runs straight upfield, but he’s not responsible for the near back – that’s the job of Brandon Jones (just out of the shot). Maybe Locke thought Maryland was running a sweep, but the back likely would have been lined up closer to parallel with the quarterback if that were the case, and at any rate, even a cursory glance at the nearest lineman would have told him it wasn’t a sweep. No Pass Rush, No Eye Discipline (click to play) Here’s one of those exotic blitzes you heard about when Orlando was hired. It’s a four-man rush, with Elliott blitzing off the weak side. Behind the blitz, it plays out like Cover 2. Jones and Locke are the deep zone defenders, and there are five underneath defenders, with the solo-side cornerback (Kris Boyd) in man coverage. The biggest problem is that Locke lost a race; in the future, he probably should start bailing before the snap. But he also should have had a little help from Jones in the other safety spot. Jones basically didn’t drop at all. If he had, he may have been able to affect the throw. The defensive front also could have done more to disguise the pressure. It would have helped, for example, if Naashon Hughes had lined up closer to the box instead of defending grass. I’d blame it on the new scheme, but Texas has been terrible at disguising looks for years now. Underclassmen, upperclassmen – it doesn’t matter. (click to play) Here’s another pressure that didn’t get the job done. The blitzers, Locke and Wheeler, were hardly at the line of scrimmage by the time the quarterback had completed his drop. There was no anticipation of the snap whatsoever. Behind that, an old problem in the secondary was back. Despite having no run responsibilities, Kris Boyd was so focused on the backfield that he forgot about his only job: covering the guy in front of him. There’s no reason for it; he’s trying to do too much. Buechele: The Difference Between ‘A’ Problem and ‘The’ Problem Shane Buechele had ups and downs, but my initial read is that he played an above-average game. His stat line was fine and looks better when you consider that he was under pressure even when Maryland was dropping seven or eight into coverage and had NO run game to ease the pressure. The biggest problem I saw was that he was trying to do too much. (click to play) This was an insanely predictable play call to start the game. It was one of the most frequently run plays in the spring game – watch the first two plays and you’ll see it. Maryland thought it was predictable as well, which is why they rolled their coverage to the trips side – the best defense against this passing concept (known as Sail). What’s frustrating is that the coverage has a glaring weakness – the weakside flat – and the play has a route built into it to target that area. For whatever reason, Buechele seems to think that’s a play-fake and not a true option. It’s pitch and catch for at least a five-yard gain if he makes the obvious throw. Some folks on Twitter wanted him to throw the flat route, and perhaps he could have for a minimal gain, but the defense was accounting for that route as well with two defenders. The fatal mistake had already happened. (click to play) Tom Herman said Maryland played a lot of 2-Man. Here’s an example. To beat it, the offense needs to be able to run the ball, create rubs to knock defenders off their man, or select or manufacture favorable matchups. The first option was too tall a task for Chris Warren, Kyle Porter and the offensive line. (I hope to find out why later this week.) The officials deemed the second option intolerable – and Texas wasn’t very good at executing the rubs anyway. The third option somehow wasn’t viable as often as it should have been; guys weren’t consistently winning and getting open. This time, one of them did. Texas switched the normal alignment so that Armanti Foreman was the No. 3 receiver and Porter was in the slot to the trips side. Maybe Maryland would get sloppy and put a linebacker on Foreman. At the very least, this alignment gives Foreman more room to work. The protection was good (it was just a three-man rush, though), and Foreman beat his defender. The throw wasn’t great but ironically may have disoriented the safety enough to enable Foreman to score. Bright Spots Reggie Hemphill-Mapps picked up where he left off in the spring game. He’s not the game breaker that Urban Meyer and Herman are used to having in the H role, but he appears to be dependable and he played as hard as anyone on Saturday. Holton Hill is another guy who looked pretty good. (click to play) Hill did a great job hanging on the vertical route by the outside receiver until the ball was thrown, then closing on it in time to snag the tipped ball. He may have been a tad too quick in his backpedal, but it worked out fine. He seemed to be all over the field. I hope to have time later this week to analyze the problems with the run game on both sides of the ball.
  6. The Tom Herman era got off to a hot start. On the third play of the regular season, Maryland QB Tyrrell Pigrome threw a pass that was intercepted 31 yards for a touchdown, giving Texas a 7-0 lead. It only got worse from there. The two teams duked it out last weekend at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium, and the 18-point underdog Terrapins won their first game versus a ranked opponent since 2010, 51 – 41. And as great a performance it was for the Terrapins, it left the Longhorns and their fans with more questions than answers. One of the most critical takeaways from the season opener was the injury to sophomore QB Shane Buechele. The second-year starter was hoping to improve upon his breakout freshman year, throwing for 2,985 yards with 21 passing touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. His sophomore campaign didn’t start in amazing fashion, as he completed 34 of his 52 passes for 375 yards, 2 touchdowns through the air and one on the ground, and an interception to accompany that. While that’s just fine and dandy, he bruised his throwing shoulder during the game and is being further evaluated. What does this mean for the Longhorns? Shane Buechele did not practice on Tuesday and Coach Herman has yet to rule him out for the home game this weekend against the visiting San Jose State Spartans. What are the Longhorns’ options at the quarterback position? The only 2 QBs on the depth chart is injured starter Shane Buechele and true freshman Sam Ehlinger. The only other option that Texas could explore would be former quarterback turned wide receiver Jerrod Heard, who started 10 games during the 2015 season. But is Heard a legitimate option? While he did have a moderately successful year – throwing for 1214 yards – he had the same number of touchdowns as interceptions at 5. And while that may not be great, it was Heard’s running ability that made him a legitimate threat, rushing 139 times for 556 yards and 3 touchdowns. He did upset Oklahoma, a top-10 team at the time, but only passed 11 times in the upset. It was the running game that got the Longhorns the upset over their bitter rival, as they rushed 58 times. But that is not a precedent for success in this day and age of spread offenses, and Heard has not started at quarterback since November 14, 2015 in a loss to West Virginia. Coach Herman once considered Heard the “nuclear option,” but being that Buechele is potentially out for the game versus the Spartans, Heard is taking second team snaps during the week. What this program needs is a sense of stability, but that might be out of the question as the Texas varsity squad could be starting their third freshman quarterback in 3 years if freshman Sam Ehlinger gets the start on Saturday. Sam Ehlinger is a from Westlake here in Austin, Texas and was recruited heavily as a dual-threat quarterback, ranked #4 of all players from the 2017 class and #19 highest rated player in the state. Whether he is ready to take the reins of such a team is up for debate. It’s a sigh of relief that Ehlinger gets to test his abilities and get a feel for live-time action at home instead of next week, when the Longhorns travel to Los Angeles to take on USC in a prime time matchup. Ehlinger will be able to test his abilities on Saturday, as the Longhorns look to bounce back against San Jose State at 2:30 PM at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium.
  7. The Vegas line on Saturday's Texas vs. San Jose State game has the Longhorns opening as 27.5 point favorites over the Spartans at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. Texas (0-1) lost its season opener to Maryland 51-41, struggling to find an identity on both sides of the ball in Tom Herman's debut as head coach. Quarterback Shane Buechele threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns, but the lack of a running game and offensive line issues proved problematic for the offense throughout the game. While the offense had its share of problems, Todd Orlando's defense wasn't without blame. The Maryland rushing offense gashed the Longhorns for 263 yards while the quarterback tandem of Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill combined for 219 yards passing. When it was all said and done the Terrapins amassed 482 yards of total offense. The loss to the Terrapins extended the team losing streak to four games, dating back to November 12, 2016. San Jose State (1-1) lost its season opener to Charlie Strong and South Florida 42-22, following up the loss by defeating Cal Poly 34-13 on Saturday. True Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger could see playing time on Saturday against the Spartans, as Shane Buechele is nursing a shoulder injury sustained in Saturday's contest. Regardless of which player starts at quarterback on Saturday, wide receiver Collin Johnson says his focus is on his game. Whoever is in, I’m just going to do my part. I can’t control who is playing, but I can control what I do. My route depth, how I run my routes – that’s all I can worry about. I try not to get outside of what I can worry about. Whoever is in, I’m just going to do my part. This week San Jose State named redshirt freshman quarterback Montel Aaron as the team's starter for Saturday's contest. Aaron won the starting job after coming off the bench against Cal Poly, replacing a struggling Josh Love and leading the Spartans to victory. Texas, ranked #23 in both the Associated Press and Coaches Preseason Top 25 Polls, dropped from both after starting the season 0-1. The Longhorns look to right the ship on Saturday at 2:30 pm in front of an exasperated crowd that threw trash trash on the field as the game clock expired in the loss to Maryland. Game: Texas vs. San Jose State Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017 Time: 2:30 PM CST Venue: Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium Location: Austin, Texas Television: Longhorn Network
  8. Well after everybody had their hearts ripped out with the Week 1 debacle, and we learned that most of us (me included) drank way too much koolaid. What's your prediction for this week?Here's mine:UT 51-24
  9. The Texas Longhorns (0-1,0-0) will welcome the San Jose State Spartans(1-1,0-0) to Austin on Saturday as Texas looks to rebound from a season opening 51-41 defeat at the hands of Maryland. The Spartans come into the game with a loss in the season opener to South Florida (42-22) and a victory last weekend against Cal Poly (34-13). Let’s take a look at the San Jose State defense and special teams. Defensive Line San Jose State will operate mainly out of a 3-4 look. Junior defensive end Robert Owens led the team in tackles for loss in 2016 with 8.5 and is off to an excellent start in 2017. Through 2 games, Owens has 2 TFL, 1 sack and a forced fumble. The nose guard position will be occupied by junior transfer Sailosi Latu, a lifelong ruby player who switched to football and had 2 successful seasons at Mt. San Antonio Community College. Latu has totaled 9 tackles and a sack so far this season. The other defensive end spot belongs to junior Bryson Bridges, who has 7 tackles to go along with 1 sack in 2017. In 2016, San Jose State struggled to get to the quarterback, ranking 114th out of 128 FBS teams in total sacks. Those struggles have carried over into 2017 so far, with the Spartans only having 3 sacks through 2 games, with all 3 coming in the first game against South Florida. New defensive coordinator Derrick Odum will rely on his front 3 to occupy the offensive line and allow the linebackers to make plays. Linebackers The player who has benefited the most from the new defensive coaching staff at San Jose State has been outside linebacker William Ossai. The senior finished 2016 with 33 tackles and just 1 TFL, but has exploded at the start of 2017 for 15 tackles, 4 TFL and a sack. Junior transfer Jamal Scott starts at the other outside linebacker spot and has had success in his first year with the Spartans. The former Arizona State linebacker has notched 1 sack to go along with 11 tackles and 2 TFL. Frank Ginda and Ethan Aguayo start at the two inside linebacker spots and have combined for 54 tackles and 3.5 TFL through the first two games of the year. Behind the 4 starting linebackers, the Spartans do not have much to offer in terms of depth. Sophomores Jesse Owens and Malik Hayes are the only two other linebackers who have recorded a tackle this season. South Florida was able to rush for over 300 yards against a defense that struggled after the first quarter of play. San Jose State will lean heavily on their 4 starters at linebacker and hope Ginda and Aguayo continue to be rack up tackles in the middle of the defense. Defensive Backs San Jose State has yet to record an interception through the first two games of the season, but a main contributor to that has been the willingness of their opponents to run the ball. The Spartans secondary has only faced 36 pass attempts through the first two games, but have a formidable defensive backfield that can defend the pass well. Senior cornerback Andre Chachere was a first team All-Mountain West selection a season ago and had 4 interceptions. Chachere is a physical corner who will most likely be matched up with Collin Johnson on Saturday. Senior Jermaine Kelly will start opposite of Chachere. The former Washington Huskie had 5 pass breakups and a fumble recovery in 2016. Junior Dakari Monroe started 7 games in 2016 and will serve as the 3rd cornerback. At safety, the Spartans have 4-year starter Maurice McKnight and sophomore Trevon Bierria. McKnight was honorable mention All-Mountain West in 2015 and 2016, and brings a wealth of experience with 29 career starts. Bierria started 10 games a redshirt freshman and recorded 2 interceptions to go along with 2 forced fumbles. Opponents have completed less than 50% of their passes so far against San Jose State. Regardless of who lines up at quarterback for Texas, offensive coordinator Tim Beck will need to be creative on how to get the ball to his playmakers on the outside. Special Teams The Spartans boast one of the most accurate kickers in the country. Junior Bryce Crawford, a Texan native, was 16-18 in field goals a season ago, with a long of 44 yards. His 88.9% conversion rate on field goals ranked 12th in the country. In 2017, Crawford has only had 1 field goal attempt, a successful 34-yarder. Senior punter Michael Carrizosa was a honorable mention All-Mountain West selection in 2016 and was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List. Carrizosa has punted 16 times already during the 2017 season, averaging 43.6 yards per punt and pinning 7 punts inside the 20-yard line. Wide receivers Bailey Gaither and Thai Cottrell are heavily involved on special teams. Gaither returned a blocked punt inside the 10-yard line against South Florida and also handles the return duties on kickoffs, where he is averaging 21.5 yards per return. Cottrell handles punt returns and is averaging 5.7 yards per return in 2017.
  10. The Texas Longhorns (0-1,0-0) will welcome the San Jose State Spartans (1-1,0-0) to Austin on Saturday as Texas looks to rebound from a season opening 51-41 defeat at the hands of Maryland. The Spartans come into the game with a loss in the season opener to South Florida (42-22) and a victory last weekend against Cal Poly (34-13). Let’s take a look at the San Jose State offense. Quarterback Entering 2017, the Spartans had a question mark at the QB position. Sophomore Josh Love had one career start under his belt and entered into a competition with Montel Aaron during fall camp. During the opener against South Florida, Love received the start and threw 2 quick touchdowns before tossing 3 interceptions and giving way to Aaron late in the game. Love received another start this past weekend against Cal Poly, but was pulled after throwing for 29 yards on 4 of 9 attempts. Aaron took over and helped San Jose State pull away by throwing for 3 touchdowns and 183 yards. The redshirt freshman stands at 6’5″ and has the ability to use his legs along with his arm to beat opponents. Even if head coach Brent Brennan continues to ride the hot hand and give Aaron the start against Texas, it would not be surprising to see both quarterbacks play. First year offensive coordinator Andrew Sowder is no stranger to Austin. The youngest offensive coordinator in the country served as an assistant wide receivers coach at Texas last year. Sowder also had a previous stop at Baylor in 2009 and 2010 as an assistant wide receivers coach, where he learned the veer and shoot offense under head coach Art Briles and offensive coordinator Dino Babers. Running Back San Jose State has struggled to run the ball thus far, only recording 1 rushing touchdown. Junior Malike Roberson led the Spartans in rushing in 2016, but has only averaged 3 yards per carry this season. The only rushing touchdown of the season belongs to sophomore Zamore Zigler, who through 2 games leads the team in rushing with 141 yards on 21 carries. Zigler is seen as an explosive back who is able to use his speed well in the open field. Senior Brandon Monroe also plays a key role in the rushing attack. At 241 pounds, Monroe serves as a fullback in the San Jose State offense, but has also received 12 carries for an average of 5.5 yards per carry. The Spartans struggled to get their ground game going against South Florida, gaining 109 yards on 38 attempts, before exploding for 271 rushing yards against Cal Poly. With 4 players capable of handling the load and youth at the quarterback position, San Jose State will look to establish the ground game early and often against the Longhorns. Wide Receivers/Tight End Through 2 games, the MVP of the San Jose State offense has been receiver Bailey Gaither. The sophomore is averaging 17.3 yards a catch and has caught 3 touchdowns. Gaither will operate primarily out of the slot, with juniors Justin Holmes and Tre Hartley manning the outside wide receiver positions. Holmes and Hartley each have a touchdown on the season and have combined for 131 yards. The only other receiver who has recorded a catch on the year is redshirt freshman Jaquan Blackwell, who has hauled in 4 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Josh Oliver is tied for the team lead in receptions with 9, which is 6 more than he caught all of 2016. The 6’5″ 253 pound junior is a very capable blocker who has the ability to flex out as a receiver and create matchup problems. Oliver will far and away be the best tight end on the field on Saturday, and must be accounted for in the run and pass game. Offensive Line San Jose State had the luxury of returning all 5 starting offensive lineman from 2016. The veteran unit starts 4 seniors and a sophomore. In total, the 5 starters have 123 career starts between them. Seniors Jeremiah Kolone and Nate Velichko have combined to start 68 games over the course of their respective careers, with Kolone earning honorable mention All-Mountain West in 2016. Troy Kowalski, the lone sophomore, started 9 games as a freshman at left tackle. The Spartans have only allowed 3 sacks through the first two games, but much of that can be attributed to the quick passing game that is a part of the veer and shoot. Despite the experience the offensive line has, they proved to be vulnerable against South Florida, struggling to open lanes in the run game. The front 7 for Texas will need to do a better job of filling gaps and playing sound football against an inferior offensive line.
  11. When Tom Herman first arrived at Texas, he reiterated time and time again that his team would be the most physical and disciplined on the field. That was not the case today. After a promising start to the game with a Holton Hill pick six on Maryland's first pass attempt, the Longhorns fell apart - in every aspect. Although Texas tried to mount a comeback during several crucial moments of the game, Maryland always struck back. Although the results speak for themselves, it's necessary to dive in deeper to this game and what exactly happened. Offense The offense was decent at times, and at other times bewildering. First of all, Texas has absolutely no rushing attack. The offensive line got out-physicaled by Maryland's front four practically the entire game, which did not help Kyle Porter and Chris Warren III. That being said, I am still baffled as to why Porter is playing over Warren. Don't get me wrong - Porter is a talented running back. But he's not Chris Warren. Sometimes, backs have to create holes for themselves and use their vision to gain positive yardage. For Porter, that trait is not developed. Instead, Porter hesitates when hitting the holes, and is not big or strong enough to shake off tacklers in open space. Yes, he's shifty, but that only matters if he can get to the second level. The coaching staff raved about Porter the entire offseason, and I now wonder if that's because the Texas run defense is so bad that they misguided Stan Drayton. The blame, however, does not solely fall on the running backs. The Texas offensive line, said to be one of the strongest units on the team (aside from RT) were dominated the entire game. Even All-American LT Connor Williams struggled towards the end of regulation, in which he accumulated two costly holding penalties. The RB's seldom had holes to run through, and Shane Buechele was under pressure inside the pocket all day long. A big reason for that was a lack of an abled body at the TE position. Converted WR-to-TE Garrett Gray got the start for Texas today, and his inexperience showed. Gray may have soft hands, but his blocking ability is subpar at best. The loss of Andrew Beck and the only real TE on the team hurts in a major way. Considering the circumstances, Buechele and his receivers had a decent day overall. The main disappointment on offense was offensive coordinator Tim Beck's play calling. More often than not, Beck made highly questionable calls that did not place his unit in the best position to succeed. In short yardage situations, Beck often made repetitive and predictable play calls. The Longhorns went for it on 4th down three times today, and failed to convert once. In one situation later in the game, Beck elected to go for a 4th down conversion at midfield instead of letting All-American Michael Dickson pin freshman QB Kaism Hill deep. As a result, the Longhorns turned the ball over on downs and Maryland scored seven plays later. Although there were some bright spots, Tim Beck did not help his team today. Scoring only 21 points on offense is not enough to win in the Big 12. Tim Beck and his offense have a lot of work to do. Defense The Texas defense gave Texas fans horrifying flashbacks of the 2016 season. The Terrapins rushed for 263 yards on offense, frequently attacking Texas right up the gut for big gains. Where Todd Orlando is well-known for his extravagant schemes and the toughness of his players, that was clearly lacking today. More often than not, Orlando brought too much pressure or not enough pressure at the wrong times. For example, DeShon Elliot was brought up to the box in a running situation, but had nobody behind him to provide assistance. Once the Maryland rusher got to the second level, it was off to the races. Speaking of miscues, the Texas secondary did not look like the talented bunch that has been praised all offseason. The only defender that lived up to the standard was Holton Hill. Kris Boyd was beat in coverage all day. Brandon Jones looked lost and had no idea how to get off blocks. PJ Locke was nonexistent the entire game. This is not the physical defense that Orlando has a reputation of building. Granted, it's only the first game - but not a promising sign regardless. I lost count of how many poor angles defenders took as well as the poor effort at getting off blocks. The most concerning aspect of the defense's performance has to be the run game. Once a rusher got to the second level, it was a foot race. It seems like Orlando's LB's are not hitting the proper gaps, or maybe his DL is not getting enough penetration up front. Whatever it is, this unit clearly lacks the physicality and discipline that is needed to succeed. If the Texas defense cannot hold the Terrapins to under 51 points, how will they fare in the Big 12? If they don't improve dramatically, not great. The first step is stopping the run. Special Teams Surprisingly, this unit had the best performance of the day despite several miscues. First, it began with a missed 42-yard FG from Joshua Rowland. Then, on Rowland's next attempt, the kick was blocked and returned for a touchdown. Not an ideal start on special teams for Tom Herman. Then, the tides began to turn. On a Maryland FG attempt, senior DT Poona Ford got a hand up and blocked the attempt, which resulted in a 65-yard touchdown return from none other than Holton Hill. Shortly after in the second half, Reggie Hemphill returned a punt for 91-yards and the score, thanks to a miraculous block by Malik Jefferson. While special teams did not score a single touchdown for Texas last season, this unit scored twice for Texas today and in large part kept the Longhorns in the game. Although there were several miscues that led to points, they can be fixed. I have faith that Tom Herman can sort this unit out, but that appears to be the least of his worries at the moment. Overall, the Longhorns just did not appear prepared today. That just goes to show you that preseason hype is worthless if the results do not match on the gridiron. College football opening weekend can be a spectacular or heartbreaking thing. For Texas fans, this instance was unfortunately the latter. That does not mean that the Longhorn faithful should abandon ship. As the Texas coaching staff emphasizes time and time again, take it one game at a time. One loss does not mean the season is over. Texas fans are tired of a decade of mediocrity, and want the results immediately. At some point, they will come. But right now Tom Herman has many issues to address. Until they can be fixed, Texas fans will just have to do what they've done for the past decade - remain faithful and keep going. It's the only thing any football fan can do.
  12. Ok what's y'alls prediction to how this game turns out? I'm going with: UT 31-14
  13. Earlier this week Tom Herman and his staff released their first depth chart of the year for the game against Maryland, and while there weren’t many surprises this time around there are still some things to discuss before the Terrapins roll into town. Lets take a quick glance position by position on how the Longhorns will jog out onto the field this Saturday to kick off the Tom Herman era at Texas. Quarterback 1) Shane Buechele 2) Sam Ehlinger My Take: No surprises here. Along with having game experience under his belt, Buechele did nothing to hurt himself in the eyes of the coaches this offseason. Ideally Ehlinger would redshirt and carry a clipboard this year, but that’s not going to be in the cards with the depth chart being light. Whether it’s in a package of plays or mop up duty, it’s expected Ehlinger will be on the field this fall. Worth mentioning again that Jerrod Heard is the emergency quarterback if it gets to that point this fall. Running Back 1) Kyle Porter OR 2) Chris Warren III 3) Kirk Johnson My Take: This smells like running back by committee, unless a guy proves he be trusted to be the feature back. The positive news here is that Johnson is listed on the depth chart and is healthy headed into the season opener. Health is going to be the key for this group, as each guy has been banged up and missed time at one point or another. Cross your fingers and pray for a clean bill of health for these guys. If injuries become an issue, Toneil Carter and Daniel Young are the next guys up. XWR (Outside WR) 1) Collin Johnson 2) Dorian Leonard OR 3) Lorenzo Joe My Take: This is Collin Johnson’s show. Everyone is expecting big things from Johnson this year and he is going to have plenty of opportunities in this offense to put up numbers. Leonard has proven to be a solid option and is capable of making big plays down the field, while Joe is a max effort guy who has proven to be a solid blocker. HWR (Slot WR) 1) Reggie Hemphill-Mapps OR 2) Lil’Jordan Humphrey 3) Armanti Foreman My Take: Few things here. Devin Duvernay not being listed here means he’s been moved to the outside, Hemphill-Mapps performance leading up to this week has earned him a spot atop the depth chart, and Humphrey moving to the inside is intriguing to say the least. Hemphill-Mapps’ route savvy and ability to get open underneath has made him a desirable option here, while Humphrey’s size can be used to his advantage from here both as a receiver and a blocker. Foreman coming in a third validates that he has underperformed this offseason and has been passed up by younger guys. ZWR (Outside WR) 1) Devin Duvernay 2) John Burt OR 3) Jerrod Heard My Take: There isn’t much mystery to Duvernay’s game at this point in the game. He’s going to be used to take the top off a defense and the staff will put defensive backs in tough positions to have to stay in front of him. Behind him, Burt and Heard looked to be locked into a battle for snaps. Both were said to be having solid camps and both have the skills to be more than capable players if they are able to put it together. Tight End 1) Garrett Gray 2) Cade Brewer My Take: As expected, the options are slim here with Andrew Beck out for the year and Reese Leitao sitting out the first two games. Kendall Moore should also be available for the staff, but it has been said he is more of a blocker than a pass catcher. It will be interesting to see how this position is deployed this Saturday. Left Tackle 1) Connor Williams 2) JP Urquidez My Take: Not much to discuss here. Williams is your cornerstone on the offensive line, and while Urquidez is listed as the backup, I would expect Derek Warehime to do some reshuffling before putting him out there. Left Guard 1) Patrick Vahe 2) Alex Anderson My Take: No surprise here either. Vahe has been a solid run blocker since arriving on campus and it has been said that he is improving as a pass blocker, which would further solidify the left side of the line. Center 1) Zach Shackelford 2) Terrell Cuney My Take: Barring injury, Shackelford is going to be the man here and if Shack does get banged up then Jake McMillon will most likely slide over to center. I don’t expect Cuney to be a contributor unless disaster strikes at this spot. Right Guard 1) Jake McMillon 2) Patrick Hudson My Take: McMillon emerging last year was one of the more pleasant developments and he will continue to be a valuable piece upfront due to his versatility on the interior. Hudson has continued to come along and his physical tools will allow him to contribute if called upon. Right Tackle 1) Tristian Nickelson OR 2) Denzel Okafor My Take: Arguably the biggest question mark on the entire depth chart is at this position. While Nickelson is a max effort guy and a hard worker, he has still proven to be a liability. Okafor is the more talented of the pair and has more upside, but he is still young and needs to firmly take ahold of the starting job. If I had to guess, I would say that Okafor eventually takes over as the season wears on and he continues to get more reps. Defensive End 1) Chris Nelson 2) Ta’Quon Graham OR 3) Jamari Chisholm My Take: No surprise with this group with Nelson getting the starting nod while being backed up with Graham and Chisholm. The staff has been raving about Graham since his arrival on campus, so I expect him to get his feet wet early, and Chisholm has been a nice surprise despite arriving much later than the rest of the class. Nose Tackle 1) Poona Ford 2) Gerald Wilbon My Take: Fresh off of being named a team captain, Ford is going to anchor the interior along the defensive front and will be spelled by Wilbon. While Ford is a known commodity at this point and sure to receive majority of the snaps, I want to see Wilbon take the next step forward in his development. Defensive End 1) Malcolm Roach OR 2) Charles Omenihu My Take: Roach is the hell raiser up front that will no doubt receive plenty of attention, but the staff sees Omenihu as a starting caliber player as well hence the or designation. Both players should get plenty of snaps this year. B-Backer 1) Naashon Hughes 2) Jeffrey McCulloch My Take: Is this going to be the year that Hughes puts it all together and breaks out? He has all of the physical tools that you want, but it hasn’t translated to production to this point. With McCulloch already showing promise, it’s now or never for the senior linebacker. Mac Linebacker 1) Anthony Wheeler 2) Breckyn Hager My Take: Wheeler didn’t take the next step many expected him to last year, but buzz around him has been positive since the new staff rolled into town. Hager’s placement at Mac raised a few eyebrows given his ability to rush the passer, but Herman has said they plan on putting him in a position to play to his strength in sub packages. Rover 1) Malik Jefferson 2) Gary Johnson My Take: Probably the most discussed and debated portion of the depth chart right here. There is no way to sugarcoat Jefferson’s down year in 2016, and now with a very talented Johnson behind him there won’t be as much wiggle room for not being dependable. This will be a group to keep an eye early on, as I expect there to be a healthy competition that plays out into the season. Cornerback 1) Kris Boyd 2) Davante Davis My Take: No surprises here. Boyd has solidified his spot at the top of the depth chart at this corner spot and will be looking to improve on his success from last year. Davis is looking to rebound after hitting rock bottom in every way imaginable last year. Safety 1) DeShon Elliott 2) Jason Hall My Take: With Hall missing time due to injury, Elliott made the most of the reps and has put himself firmly in the starter spot. Elliott has begun to show the talent and ability that made him a highly sought after recruit. When you go over the middle, you better make sure you keep your head on a swivel and that chin strap buckled. Safety 1) Brandon Jones 2) John Bonney My Take: Jones is yet another highly sought after recruit that seems to be taking the next step. The pair of Jones and Elliott at safety is every Texas fans dream since they arrived on campus. Bonney proved to be a versatile piece in the secondary last year and will no doubt fill in the gaps as necessary. Cornerback 1) Holton Hil 2) Josh Thompson My Take: Hill is another guy looking for a bounce back year. Off the field issues plagued him last year and he found himself in the doghouse most of the year, but he now has a new lease on life and is trying to make the most of it. Thompson got a little banged up during camp, but he showed up in phenomenal shape and ready to play this year. I can’t wait to see him get his feet wet. Nickelback 1) P.J. Locke 2) Antwuan Davis My Take: Locke is Mr. Dependable. He might be the hardest worker on the team and he really started to make a name for himself last year despite the secondary as a whole struggling. Davis is a guy that would probably be pushing for starting reps at any other school in the conference and will provide solid depth in a league that loves to toss the ball around. Kicker 1) Joshua Rowland 2) Mitchell Becker My Take: Herman made it a priority to go get a kicker as soon as he arrived and Rowland will be the one to trot out there for field goals. He doesn’t have the strongest leg, but as long as he can be reliable from 40 and in Texas should be in fine shape. Punter 1) Michael Dickson 2) Jack Geiger My Take: “The Punter” aka Michael Dickson was arguably the best punter in all of college football last year. He will be a heck of a weapon once again this year for Texas when it comes to the battle of field position.
  14. With the season right around the corner now, we’ve seen discussion about players that could potentially break out this fall, so we decided to get in on that action as well to get things cranked up a week out from kickoff. Here we each give three players that we think will burst onto the scene this fall as the Longhorns venture into season one of the Tom Herman era. Harrison’s Picks Sam Ehlinger – QB No, Sam Ehlinger is not the starting quarterback for the Longhorns. Yet, he will be just as important as Shane Buechele in 2017. Ehlinger embodies the exact type of QB that Tom Herman wants in this offense – he can sling it, he’s tough, and he’s not afraid to tuck it and run through somebody. Make no mistake; Shane Buechele is going to be the starter against Maryland, as he should be. He’s got a full season of experience under his belt, and his accuracy is second to none. Regardless of Buechele’s attributes, Ehlinger is going to make a bigger impact than most think this season. Ehlinger and Buechele are two different quarterbacks. In some situations the freshman is going to be the better option, and is going to show everyone why. After a senior season riddled by injury at Westlake HS, the freshman is eager to prove that he belongs on the biggest of stages. When the spotlight is on, I believe he’ll shine. Josh Thompson – CB Not many freshmen from the 2017 signing class have earned consistent praise from the Texas coaching staff. Josh Thompson is one of the few. When Thompson arrived in Austin this summer, he was in the best shape of his life. He immediately began absorbing the playbook and embraced a role entitled “student of the game.” When I think of Thompson, I see a fundamentally sound player. I see a teammate that can always be relied on, even in crucial situations. I see a player that never makes mistakes – a player like Jordan Shipley. Before I go any further, I could be completely wrong. Thompson is indeed only a freshman. He will make some mistakes, as a young Jordan Shipley oftentimes did. I just believe the mistakes will be few. Thompson has made an immediate impact since arriving on campus and will see significant playing time this season. I won’t be surprised when he becomes a star. DeShon Elliot – S This is the easiest name to put on this list. Since arriving at Texas, Elliot has made plays. From nabbing two interceptions in his first real playing time as a freshman against Kansas to his lethal hit against Torii Hunter Jr. in the end zone of the Notre Dame game last year, Elliot is always around the ball. It appears that the lights finally flickered on for Elliot this offseason. Behind PJ Locke, Elliot is one of the names that are constantly brought up in a positive light by the Texas coaches. Not only has ‘The Kraken’ improved as a player, he’s improved as a leader too. For a Texas defense that more often than not had their arms up in confusion before a snap last year, this is crucial. The only true difficulty for Elliot at the college level has been pass coverage. He’s never had a problem with coming up on a runner and hitting them at full speed. This offseason, it appears he dedicated great amounts of time to the art of route running. For a safety, understanding route running is what takes him from good to great. For Elliot, I believe this year is his time to take that next step. If he does, he can be a force at the next level. Daniel’s Picks Lil’Jordan Humphrey – WR Last Texas witnessed a breakout player in Collin Johnson at the wide receiver position, and they very well could witness another one in 2017 in LJ Humphrey. While Johnson was certainly underrated in that 2016 signing class, for me Humphrey was probably the most intriguing prospect of the bunch. Humphrey has the ability and skill set to be an absolute nightmare on the outside and the idea of putting him opposite of Johnson has to excite the fan base. Humphrey currently backs up Johnson on the depth chart, but I think at some point we will see both players on the field at the same time and it will become an absolute headache for defensive coordinators in the Big 12. Josh Thompson – CB After players get signed in February, the message from the coaches to the signees is to show up on campus ready to play. It’s safe to say that message was well received by Josh Thompson, because he worked his butt off and showed up on campus in phenomenal shape and the mindset that he is going to be contributing from day one. Thompson has quickly put himself squarely in the mix to crack the two deep at corner during camp and as long as he doesn’t miss extended time from getting banged up I like his chances of putting himself in the spotlight this fall. He has the mindset and the skill set to contribute at multiple spots in the secondary, and he is his number is likely to be called early this year. Thompson’s trend line has been fascinating to watch from the time he was simply known as Brandon Jones’ friend, to being a guy some analysts thinking he was going to be a G5 caliber player, to him blowing up and ending up at Texas with a chance to contribute as a freshman. Taquon Graham – DE I almost rolled with Gary Johnson in this last spot, but I called an audible at the line of scrimmage and went with another defensive player. Here’s another 2017 signee who should find himself on the field early on this year. Taquon Graham is a guy I labeled as a must have after seeing him his physical makeup in person last summer at UTL when he told the media he was already up north of 260 and looking like a million bucks. While some tried to throw dirt on Graham during his senior year, people need to be mindful that he played hurt most of the year and when you go back and watch that film when he’s healthy it’s a no brainer that he’s a stud. It’s obvious that Graham is now healthy and is showing the ability that we all knew he had, as he was one of the first newcomers to get his stripe removed from his helmet during camp and the coaches have been raving about him. Like with Thompson, Graham showed up to campus in great shape and with the right mindset to put himself in a position to contribute early. Many have wondered about depth along the defensive line, and I think Graham will be a guy we see a lot of this year. Feel free to weigh in with your predictions and discuss!
  15. Texas comes in at 23 in the first AP poll of the year.
  16. In a bit of unexpected news, redshirt freshman offensive tackle Jean Delance has announced he is transferring from Texas and has been granted his release. Delance has mainly been working with the twos and threes, but this comes a bit out of nowhere.
  17. — Twitter API (@twitterapi) November 7, 2011
  18. Multiple reports are now circulating on what we've felt was the case for awhile, and that is Texas wide receiver signee Damion Miller will not enroll at a Texas this fall. Miller had been working this summer to get his core GPA in order so that he could get to Austin, but we had heard recently that he was likely heading to a JUCO (Tyler Junior College specifically). While disappointing, Miller doesn't hurt any immediate plans at the position, as Texas has a good amount of talent at wide receiver already. Time will tell if Texas continues to work with Miller and tries to get him to campus later on down the line.
  19. Everyone probably recalls Paul Wall hanging around Houston during Tom Herman's time there and it seems he was once again invited by the head ball coach to come take in a practice. Wonder if Herman is thinking of making another grill bet with his team.
  20. Could this be a step towards renewing the Long Star Showdown? Maybe. After Sharp stated several years back that the Aggies had "new friends" in the SEC and weren't worried about playing Texas in the future, he appears to have had a change of heart. In an interview with Texas Monthly, Sharp mentioned the desire to renew one of college football's oldest rivalries. His reasoning? A&M needs a break during the year from a brutal SEC West division. Oh, and the money won't hurt, either. "Can you imagine how much money we could make off that game?" Sharp said in the interview. Although the rivalry has been gone since 2011, the tensions between players has not subsided. Players from both schools have gotten into spats over the past couple of years, and more often than not, recruits from each school go at each other as well. Tom Herman recently stated at Big 12 Media Days that he saw "no reason why" Texas should not face Texas A&M each and every year. When rivalries are so vital and are something that makes college football so unique, it's hard to disagree with that type of sentiment. If both sides of the negotiating table want to renew the rivalry as well as the governor of Texas (someone who could expedite the process of a series renewal), is the rebirth of the Lone Star Showdown coming sooner rather than later? Maybe. There are still plenty of logistics to be worked out - especially scheduling. Both teams have non-conference games scheduled up until as late as 2024. However, those deals can always be moved to later dates or terminated for a certain price. The Lone Star Showdown is one step closer to coming back to the state of Texas. It won't happen today or tomorrow, but in my mind, it's coming. And I can't wait.
  21. It’s almost that time of year, folks. We’ve made it through the long, hot days of summer and made it to where the pads and helmets are coming back on and real football is about to be played. As a player I always had a love/hate relationship with fall camp because the days were long and you eventually get tired of seeing the faces of the coaches, but you knew once it was over that game week preparations would be easy in comparison. On top of that you finally got to look forward to the traveling and being able to beat up on someone else in a different color jersey on Saturdays. For Texas fans this is their first fall camp of the Tom Herman era, so everyone is excited and anxious to see how the product that gets put on the field by the first year head coach and his staff. The excitement is understandable considering Herman was the most sought after coach on the market last winter and he is already seeing a considerable amount of success on the recruiting trail this cycle. The overwhelming opinion is that Herman and his staff will get Texas back on the right track after the program continued to trend in the wrong direction under Charlie Strong the past few years. Herman and his staff come in with several key pieces to the puzzle already, but there are still several spots on the roster and storylines I will be keeping my eye throughout camp, as the staff tries to find their best 22 for the season opener. Here are some of the position battles I am going to be watching as camp kicks off and we hit home stretch into the season. Right Side of the Offensive Line Right tackle has been a glaring hole for some time now, and it didn’t help that Brandon Hodges opted to play his final year of eligibility elsewhere. From all accounts Tristen Nickelson has worked his butt off this offseason and will get the first crack at tackle, but his foot speed in pass protection continues to be worrisome. If Nickelson isn’t capable then sophomore Denzel Okafor will be next in line for snaps and he’s the guy of the two who has the most upside. I hate that Okafor wasn’t afforded more snaps last year since his redshirt was burned, but here we are. As far as right guard is concerned I’m expecting one of Jake McMillon or Zach Shackelford to man that starting spot depending on how the center battle turns out. McMillon has proven to be more than capable at either spot, so that gives Derek Warehime a little bit of flexibility in that regard. Shackelford’s healthy is obviously a concern as well, so cross your fingers and pray for a clean bill of health. Running Back With D’Onta Foreman now cashing NFL paychecks, it is time for Texas to find a new feature back. The offense leaned heavily on the legs of Foreman last fall and I’ve expressed my concerns previously that I’m not sure Texas has a back capable of sufficiently filling the void that Foreman left. I’m sure people will point to some of the guys currently on campus, but I’m still waiting to be fully sold. Chris Warren has battled injuries each year he’s been on campus, Kyle Porter was okay last year, but didn’t overwhelm by any means, and Kirk Johnson can’t seem to stay healthy, which is unfortunate because he has talent. Freshman running back Toneil Carter enrolled early and has a chance to get carries this year, but I wasn’t as impressed as others in regards to his performance in the spring game. Texas has another freshman in Daniel Young who could possibly factor in here, but we will have to see how quickly he hits the ground running when the pads come on. I would love to see someone separate themselves here, but right now this has a running back by committee feel to it. I hope I’m wrong I’m wrong because this will be a key way of taking the pressure off the arm of Shane Buechele. Tight End This position has been a bit of a hot topic this summer thanks to depth issues and the off the field issues that surrounded freshman tight end Reese Leitao. Leitao’s incident has been well documented so I won’t even get into that at this time. Along with Leitao and Cade Brewer, Texas recently added Syracuse graduate transfer Kendall Moore to the roster giving them three new additions this offseason to go along with senior Andrew Beck. Texas still isn’t where it wants to be from a depth or talent standpoint, but it should be able to be three deep and that’s something they can work with for now. I expect Brewer to have to redshirt so he can fill out some, but I expect Leitao to see the field some after his early season suspension is served. Getting any kind of production out of this group will be a drastic improvement over what the previous offensive staff was doing last year. Defensive Line Texas suffered a couple of attrition casualties along the defensive line, so obviously this is a positon to watch closely. Depth is the main area of concern here and will continue to be until the defensive staff is able to find a group of guys that can spell their starters from time to time without their being a drastic drop off in production. Guys like Poona Ford, Chris Nelson, and Malcolm Roach are going to be important for Texas this fall, but they aren’t going to be capable of taking every defensive snap from week to week. Some underclassmen are going to have to step up here and they may have to get thrown into the fire early on in the year so they can get their feet wet. Honorable Mention: Linebackers: Some guys in this group are taking on new roles and positions this year and you got new arrivals like Gary Johnson who coaches have been raving about who could make an impact. As a group these guys logged a lot of snaps over the past couple of years and need to take the next step for the defense to truly be successful. Secondary: There is no way of sugarcoating how bad this unit was as a whole last year. They are as talented as any position group on the roster, but opposing wide receivers were breaking in line to get their chance to go after these guys in 2016. They can’t possibly be worse than they were last year and by all accounts guys are becoming more confident and feel like the coaching of Craig Naivar and Jason Washington is having a true impact. If the light comes on for guys this group could quickly become a strength for the team.
×
×
  • Create New...