Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Notre Dame Game


Recommended Posts

I haven't been this excited for a UT game since the Alabama NC game. That's six and half years ago.




Longhorns Success Rests on Longball




Charlie Strong would see his quarterback, Tyrone Swoopes, wind up the trebuchet hanging from his shoulder and cringe when he saw it launch the ball too far downfield.


Too far, he thought, until he kept watching.

A 6-foot, 189-pound blur named Armanti Foreman had a way of surprising him.

"Tyrone will lay a ball out, and you don't think he'll go get it, and all of a sudden he runs underneath it," Strong said.

The sophomore receiver gave Texas a sight it hasn't seen enough since its last Big 12 title in 2009. The only problem is that's the practice field. The Longhorns will try to make those long completions count for more than a pat on the back on Saturday when they travel to Notre Dame to open Strong's second season. 

Swoopes has the biggest arm of any Texas quarterback since Colt McCoy's exit after the 2009 season, and this year, the Longhorns might finally have the speed on the field to make it matter.

The long ball has been predictably absent from the Longhorns' offense while Texas has struggled through a revolving door of injuries and underwhelming passers.

Passes longer than 20 yards

• 2010: 37 (61st nationally)
• 2011: 34 (76th)
• 2012: 42 (59th)
• 2013: 36 (79th)
• 2014: 28 (106th)

Meanwhile, the only Big 12 champion in each of those seasons to finish outside the top 10 nationally in passes longer than 20 yards was Kansas State, who won its title with a run-first offense quarterbacked by Heisman candidate Collin Klein.

Last year's offensive pains (4.92 yards per play, 110th nationally) meant an offseason shift to a fast-paced, spread attack. Texas has vertical speed its roster has largely lacked during its half decade in an offensive desert.

John Harris and Jaxon Shipley, Texas' two leading receivers in 2014, were quality targets but Shipley struggled to stay healthy and neither had an ability to stretch the field. Mike Davis, who led the Longhorns in receiving from 2011-13, had the speed Texas needed, but neither David Ash nor Case McCoy had the necessary arm strength to test defenses downfield.

Texas, for the first time since McCoy, has a legitimate combination of arm strength and receiver speed. The only question is if that strength and speed on paper can be cashed in for on-field production.

"(Armanti) got a lot bigger and a lot stronger ... got a lot faster," Strong said of the sophomore who averaged 18.8 yards a catch in 2014. "He has so much speed. I don't know if he really realizes how fast he is."


It won him a starting job this season across from Marcus Johnson. A change in attitude led to rave reviews for fellow burner Daje Johnson, who will be part of the rotation and arguably Texas' biggest home run hitter.

Complete a few downfield and Texas' offense will see a lot less bump-and-run coverage. If that happens, Swoopes' completion percentage will rise from last year's 58.3, which will make moving the chains easier and soften front sevens for Johnathan Gray and Texas' maturing offensive line to establish the running game.

Of course, until it happens with some consistency, that's a big if for Swoopes, whose big arm has yet to show it possesses reliable accuracy.

"We all have the utmost confidence in Swoopes, and I think that's because of his work ethic and determination," offensive lineman Taylor Doyle said. "All off-season he's the first guy in the building, the last one to leave, and on top of leading by example in his work ethic, he's very vocal, and Coach Strong says, brings the juice every day. He makes sure that juice is there."

However, a football team cannot live on juice alone.

"Can't really get outside of myself and do anything, try to do anything spectacular," Swoopes said. "Coaches always say that they want a manager, so I'll just go out there and do the best I can."

When will Texas finally re-emerge as a contender for a Big 12 title? Keep an eye on the deep ball for the answer.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would take Patterson off the list and place Watson on it. Watson's butt is on the line more than anyone else. It doesn't matter if we win the National Championship, I still don't want Patterson as AD.





Carlton: Three parties that  need a  Texas win, or at least a  strong showing, against Notre Dame



If Charlie Strong is looking for that first signature win to punctuate a rebirth at Texas, well the land of the Gipper and Rudy and Touchdown Jesus and seven Heisman winners might be as good a place as any.

Once an Irish defensive line coach from 1995-98 under Lou Holtz and then Bob Davie, Strong has spent the week trying to prepare his young team for what it will encounter on Saturday night in South Bend, Ind.

“We know what we're walking into,†Strong said. “We know the environment we're walking into. So you have to have that confidence and it has to build. I just explained to our team, let's not wait to wake up Saturday morning and say we have confidence.

“It can't happen on Saturday morning. It's going to take each and every day.â€

Texas might need more than just confidence. The Longhorns, who haven’t lost an opener since North Carolina State blocked two punts for touchdowns in the fourth quarterback back in 1999, are 9.5-point underdogs.

Entering his second season at Texas, Strong would love to have a victory over the No. 11 Irish to help erase the narrative lingering from the end to the 2014 season. The last time thing Texas needs is to have Notre Dame added to the blowout legacy of TCU and Arkansas.

But Strong doesn’t need a victory. He is just starting his second season in Austin and the roster is dotted with freshman -- true and redshirt, 24 total on the depth chart. Malik Jefferson, Texas’ top recruit in the class of 2015 out of Mesquite Poteet, will start at middle linebacker. Connor Williams of Coppell and Patrick Vahe of Euless Trinity comprise 40 percent of the Texas offensive line against a talented Irish defense.

Strong can still focus on the big picture and developing talent, although he’s not conceding anything.

“When you're at the University of Texas it's what you sign on for and you sign on to play in big games, and this is a big game for us,†Strong said. “This is a freshman group that has worked really hard, and they want to play.â€

Actually, a few people could use a win – or at least a strong Texas showing – far more than Strong.

Among them:

* Tyrone Swoopes. The junior doesn’t have to be great after winning the quarterback starting job, just better than fans remember from his worst moments of 2014. Swoopes wasn’t horrible throughout the year. It’s just fans have committed all the unforced turnovers and uncertainty to memory. Swoopes can start writing his next chapter with a nice game.

* Steve Patterson. Last month, three Fox Sports national analysts spent part of a podcast talking about the “toxic atmosphere†surrounding the Texas athletic director. Ouch. While Strong is safe regardless of what happens in South Bend or this season, it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the heat getting turned up even more on Patterson by fed-up fans and alums if the season doesn’t start well.

* The Big 12. The conference could sure use a nice win against a Top 25 opponent after struggling last season. A Texas victory would send the message that the conference’s strength extends beyond TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma. Another loss on a national stage won’t help the perception of a conference that came up short once in putting a team in the playoffs.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • 2021 Texas Football Schedule

    W 38-18
    L 21-40
    W 58-0
    Texas Tech
    W 70-35
    W 32-27
    L 48-55
    Oklahoma State
    L 24-32
    L 24-31
    @Iowa State
    L 7-30
    L 56-57 OT
    @West Virginia
    L 23-31
    Kansas State
    W 22-17

Our Affiliation


Quick Links

  • Create New...