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By Jameson McCausland The Texas Longhorns throttled the San Jose Spartans 56-0 on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium to give Tom Herman his first win as head coach at Texas. Let’s take a look at how the Texas defense and special teams graded in shutout win. Defensive Line The entire defensive line held the point of attack well. Unlike last week, the linebackers were able to make the plays that the defensive line was opening up. Poona Ford had a very solid game and was a constant presence in the San Jose State backfield. Chris Nelson and Malcolm Roach had good games at the end positions, but both still need to work on not letting the QB break containment. Roach has still yet to record a sack this season, but his biggest improvement has been playing the run well. Behind the starting 3, Charles Omenihu had another quality game and junior college transfer Jamari Chisholm had a tackle for loss. Texas will need Omenihu, Chisholm and freshman Ta’quon Graham to continue to develop and give the defense 10-15 quality snaps as they face more high powered offenses in the future. Grade: B+ Linebacker After receiving a D- grade a week ago, the entire linebacker unit took a step forward in week 2. A lot of the improvements seen can be chalked up to overall better fundamentals, but some of it was going against a San Jose State offense that was way in over its head. Malik Jefferson played perhaps his best game in nearly 2 years. His 4th and 1 stop is the perfect example of not thinking too much and just using his athleticism to make plays. Jefferson was credited with 7 tackles and a quarterback hurry. Anthony Wheeler also did a much better job of plugging run holes and finished the game with 5 tackles. The most pleasant surprise of the game was the play of junior college transfer Gary Johnson. After only playing on special teams in week 1, Johnson flashed several times on Saturday. He had a tackle for loss his first possession and was all over the field when defending the run. Texas went with a 4-2-5 look on multiple occasions, with Johnson and Jefferson manning the two linebacker spots. The duo allows Texas to get the two most athletic linebackers on the roster in the game at the same time. Naashon Hughes had a very quiet game, but did his job and does not seem in danger of losing his starting spot. Breckyn Hager and Jeff McCulloch did not get many opportunities to pin their ears back and rush the passer. San Jose State only had 52 total plays and Texas was not forced to go to their primary pass rush package as often as week 1. Hager and McCulloch will both play big roles going forward in helping slow down the passing attacks of USC and big 12 opponents. Grade: B Defensive Back Texas was lucky that Bailey Gaither did not bring his hands to Austin. Twice Gaither got behind the defensive backs and could have scored. Both times the ball hit off his finger tips. Brandon Jones and Kris Boyd continue to vulnerable against pump fakes. Jones showed improvements in taking better angles and helping out in run support, but must improve on providing good pass coverage over the top. Deshon Elliott looked a lot better than he did week 1. Elliott seemed play under control and understood what he was doing in coverage. Holton Hill has been the best defensive player on the roster through 2 weeks of play. Hill added another interception returned for a touchdown, giving him 3 for his career. It’s safe to say that Hill has rebounded from whatever off the field problems he had in 2016. One player I would like to see more of his Jason Hall. The senior safety forced a fumble on special teams and has extensive starting experience. Hall may not have the speed and athleticism that Jones and Elliott posses, but he has a history of defending the run game solidly. Hill’s pick 6 and shutting out a team benefited the defensive back’s grade, but the performance was not as good as it seemed on paper. Cornerbacks coach Jason Washington and safeties coach Craig Naviar need to find out what is still confusing their position groups, and get it quickly corrected. Facing Sam Darnold, Jesse Ertz, Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph in 4 of the next 5 games is not a good recipe for success if you can not defend the pass. Grade: C Special Teams Through 2 games, Texas is 0-3 on field goal attempts. Kicker Joshua Rowland missed his only attempt on Saturday, a 42-yarder that went wide right. The blocking looked more solid on field goals and Rowland seemed to get more air under the ball, but overall Texas may just have to start going it if a field goal attempt is greater than 40 yards. Armanti Foreman muffed his first punt return of the game, but fortunately Texas recovered the muff. Reggie Hemphill Mapps is the more talented punt returner and will see the bulk of the returns going forward. Tom Herman was quick to point out in his postgame press conference that the kickoff coverage has to improve. Bailey Gaither had a 39 yard return and it is the second week in a row where coverage problems have arisen on kickoffs. A more talented returner is going to take one all the way back if Texas can not fix the gaping holes they are allowing blockers to create. It is not good when your kicker is credited with a tackle in a game. Michael Dickson averaged 45 yards on 3 punt attempts and is weapon that Texas will have if they get into a field position battle in a game down the road. Grade: C
The Texas Longhorns (0-1, 0-0) will face the San Jose State Spartans (1-1, 0-0), the first meeting between the two teams, at Royal – Memorial Stadium today at 2:30 pm. The Longhorns look to win their first game of the season after suffering a season-opening 51-41 loss to the Maryland Terrapins last week at home. San Jose State lost to South Florida in the team’s season opener, following up the next week with a win against Cal Poly. Texas quarterback Shane Buechele is recovering from an injured shoulder sustained in the loss to the Terrapins, which means true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger should see plenty of snaps today as the likely starter. The Texas Longhorns (0-1, 0-0) will face the San Jose State Spartans (1-1, 0-0), the first meeting between the two teams, at Royal – Memorial Stadium today at 2:30 pm. The Longhorns look to win their first game of the season after suffering a season-opening 51-41 loss to the Maryland Terrapins last week at home. San Jose State lost to South Florida in the team’s season opener, following up the next week with a win against Cal Poly. Texas quarterback Shane Buechele is recovering from an injured shoulder sustained in the loss to the Terrapins, which means true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger should see plenty of snaps today as the likely starter. 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 Relevant Articles and Information: Staff Predictions – Texas vs. San Jose State Why the Quarterback isn’t the Problem with the Longhorns (with video breakdown) Stock Report – Week 1 Quarterbacks: Where does Texas Stand? Longhorns open as 27.5 favorites against San Jose State Get to Know San Jose State: Defense/Special Teams Get to Know San Jose State: Offense Maryland Film Review: It could always be worse, maybe
The Longhorns open the season up against the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, September 2nd at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. Vegas has Texas tabbed as an 18.5 point favorite over the Terrapins, and Tom Herman is looking to start his tenure as head coach on the 40 Acres with a resounding opening victory over Maryland. The HornSports Staff give their predictions on how the game will unfold below. Aaron Carrara It’s the season opener with new coaches and a new playbook, which means everyone should expect the cobwebs to hang around for a quarter or two. Tom Herman has his team ready to to take the field on Saturday, in the Texas sun, against a formidable team that finished 6-7 last season. Maryland has the potential to put points on the board with an offensive attack led by quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome, which will allow Texas fans to see early on just how prepared Todd Orlando’s defense is. There has been a lot of chatter about the Longhorns being on upset alert on Saturday, but things would have to go really awry in order for Maryland to pull off the upset. Shane Buechele’s physical abilities have been incessantly praised by Herman, and he has an arsenal of quality receivers to spread the ball to. The Longhorn offense will show up and put points on the board. The Texas running game will be powered by an attack led by Chris Warren and Kyle Porter, and a seasoned Maryland defense has the talent to stop the run and force Buechele to beat them in the air. In the end the Longhorns have the better talent and get things cranking in the 4th quarter to cement Tom Herman’s first win as head coach in Austin. Score Prediction: Texas 42, Maryland 24 Jameson McCausland The Texas defense should have no problems defending a team that had major problems protecting the quarterback in 2016. Despite the talent Terrapin running back Ty Johnson has, Texas should be able to stack the box and force Maryland to beat them through the air with Tyrell Pigrome. I have a feeling we will see some growing pains from the Texas offense throughout the game, but the Longhorns should move efficiently enough to to where the outcome is never in question. Score Prediction: Texas 35, Maryland 10 Harrison Wier The Texas Longhorns are looking to start off strong under the Tom Herman era. Fortunately, they start off the 2017 season with a matchup that reminds me a lot of the Charlie Strong led Longhorns. The Terrapins have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. They just can’t translate that talent over to wins. However, this game is no cupcake for Texas. How well the Longhorns do depends largely on how well they can contain Maryland’s dual threat quarterback. I have faith that Todd Orlando can dial up enough blitzes and coverage disguises to keep Maryland on their toes. I also have faith in Shane Buechele and the Texas WR corps. Under Tom Herman, QB’s just seem to get better. Maryland will put up some points, but Texas will be too much in the end. Tom Herman’s reign in Austin gets off to a good start. Score Prediction: Texas 45, Maryland 24 Ross Labenske It’s the beginning of a new era in Texas football. But the energy may prove to be too much for both teams, as the game might start out slow. That being said, the Terrapins’ Cinderella story will strike midnight as their upset will fall short as the Longhorns will prevail 38 – 17. The game might be closer than predicted, but once the gears start turning it will be too much for the visiting B1G underweights. Expect Devin Duvernay and John Burt to have high numbers as the Longhorns’ offense will be well on its way to its most potent in years. Connor Williams and Zach Shackelford will lead the way for a Texas rushing attack that will average at least 100 yards on the ground, regardless of who may carrying the pigskin. Score Prediction: Texas 38, Maryland 17 Daniel Seahorn Last year Texas kicked off the season with a barn burner against then ranked Notre Dame and everyone (including myself) thought that Texas was back and on the uptick. We all know what happened after that. Maryland isn’t Notre Dame and this isn’t a prime time matchup, but the point is to not get too high or to low based on how this week one game against the Terps plays out. On paper this is a game that Texas should with relative ease. This Maryland squad was dangerously close to having a 7 game losing streak in 2016, but managed to pull out a win against a under performing Michigan State team. The Terps will also be breaking in a first time starter at quarterback in sophomore Ty Pigrome, who didn’t exactly light the world on fire in limited action last year and is still learning on the job. Not an ideal situation for Maryland as they walk into what is sure to be a packed DKR on Saturday. With that said, I still expect this to be a solid test for Texas on both sides of the ball, as we get our first glimpse of Tom Herman’s Longhorns. The Maryland offense did a good job pounding the rock last year and they will no doubt be looking to establish the run early so they can take as much pressure off Pigrome as possible. Texas’ front seven will need to show some renewed discipline and the ability to remain gap sound so they can limit cutback lanes. The name of the game will be to keep the Terp offense behind the sticks and keep Pigrome in the pocket so he has to beat you with his arm. Take care of the football offensively and don’t allow the opposition to extra possessions and a chance to shorten the game by taking the air out of the ball. Overall, I think this will be a successful debut for Herman and his staff. I expect the team to be physical and well prepared for what Maryland will throw at them. From a talent standpoint, I don’t think Maryland matches up well against Texas and that particularly goes for offensive line when it comes to protecting their young quarterback. I expect Todd Orlando to throw several looks at Pigrome and will try his best to get his wheels spinning mentally in order to force some mistakes. I’m taking the Longhorns against the Terps on Saturday, and I will gamble and say they cover the spread. Score Prediction: Texas 42, Maryland 17