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5 Takeaways from a road loss in Morgantown


Mike Roach
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1. Football can come down to a simple equation

 

Darrell K. Royal once said, "Punt returns will kill you quicker than a minnow can swim a dipper".  We might want to add penalties and turnovers to that.  In most games the team that wins the turnover margin has a decisive advantage in the game.  While Texas showed an ability to generate offense, 5 turnovers that produced 24 points are the story from this game.  Add in penalties which stalled drives and took a score off the board on the opening Texas drive, and you have a recpie for disaster.  This team is simply not good enough to overcome these mistakes, and while the Longhorns have been one of the best teams in the nation at protecting the football, they imploded on that front today.  It seems like week in and week out, Texas finds new ways to lose games and the flavor tof this week were death by self inflicted gun shot wound.

 

2. How responsible are the coaches for thse mistakes?

 

Certainly the coaching staff has culpability, but I've seen several features on Texas practices showing the coaching staff harping on ball security, and the fact they've been so good at it all season that I believe this was simply a day where players were more careless with the ball than normal.  As for penalties, those are also certainly coachable, but it seems like Texas struggled with holding up front.  Many times this is a result of players losing one on one matchups and recovering with a holding penalty.  I don't know if these problems can be fixed but they should be addressed this week.

 

3. I thought the offense had some nice moments today despite the turnovers

 

I can't believe it's taken this long but Jerrod Heard looks comfortable throwing the ball down the middle of the field.  The Texas offense basically ignored that aspect of the passing game until last week, but I thought they found some areas of success when it comes to moving the ball and sustaining drives.  Daje Johnson made some nice plays in the receiving game including some tough catches he has dropped in the past.  The Texas offense gained 439 yards which should have been good enough for a team who has struggled offensively this year.  Heard's two interceptions were bad, the last one moreso than the other, but the passing game showed a small bit of progress today.

 

4. Can special teams be fixed?

 

The Texas kick return unit constantly delivered underhwelming returns and contributed a fumble at a moment where Texas was desperately trying to hang on.  They are basically a non factor and at times a net negative.  I question if Kris Boyd is the best candidate for return duty this team has when guys like Roderick Bernard and Ryan Newsome have more speed.  I question whether return design could help open up more running lanes to prevent negative returns.  Special teams is largely ignored by college coaching staffs because staff limits prevent programs from hiring dedicated coordinators.  I don't know how to assess Jeff Traylor's performance in this department, but it's something that needs to be looked at.

 

5. What will it take for Texas to go bowling?

 

The easiset answer is the most inspired play we've seen under this coaching staff.  Texas will need to take down a beatable Texas Tech team on Thanksgiving and put up one hell of an effort against Baylor in Waco.  The probability of it happening isn't good and at some points these players will need to find the motivation for themselves and not rely on the coaching staff to motivate them.  If they don't find that motivation they will be spending the holidays wondering what would have happened if they pulled off games against Cal and Oklahoma State, didn't turn the ball over five times today, and actually showed up to that game in Ames. 

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Regarding #4, this is one of the worst kick-off return teams I've ever seen. It's just outright stupid to use Kris Boyd instead of guys like Newsome and Bernard. It literally looks like the players don't know what to do and it looks like the coaches don't know how to coach special teams. 

 

I see the same thing.

 

I hear the coaches say it doesnt matter who starts it wont affect playing time for each of the players.  Fighting for 1st string used to mean something.  Gray still starts over Foreman when Foreman has proven he is the better back with this OL.  So why does Gray start?  Yea yea Foreman screwed up and fumbled but the exchange goes on both the back and QB.  Foreman is the better back.

 

The same can said about Bonney, Haines, Hall, Doyle, Flowers.

 

This is where I lose faith in the coaching staff.  They talk a mean preseason about how upperclassmen can lose their starting spot if freshmen are "equal".  But we still see Haines and Bonney starting.  Same with Gray.  So Elliott isnt as good as Hanies or Bonney?  Raulerson must be terrible if he cant beat out Doyle.  I call BS.  This is senior entitlement.  Its pretty obvious.  Granted D. Davis and Hill are starting.  Since this is another throw away year just play the freshmen for the future. 

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Baylor will most likely put the worst beating on the Horns that has ever been performed. Baylor plays like they give a sh*t every week. The Horns..........not so much

 

I watched the HoeU vs Bailor game.

 

There were more fights and aggression in that game by both sides than there was in Red River game.  

 

I cant stand Bailor or Briles but HoeU still sucks.

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I see the same thing.

 

I hear the coaches say it doesnt matter who starts it wont affect playing time for each of the players.  Fighting for 1st string used to mean something.  Gray still starts over Foreman when Foreman has proven he is the better back with this OL.  So why does Gray start?  Yea yea Foreman screwed up and fumbled but the exchange goes on both the back and QB.  Foreman is the better back.

 

The same can said about Bonney, Haines, Hall, Doyle, Flowers.

 

This is where I lose faith in the coaching staff.  They talk a mean preseason about how upperclassmen can lose their starting spot if freshmen are "equal".  But we still see Haines and Bonney starting.  Same with Gray.  So Elliott isnt as good as Hanies or Bonney?  Raulerson must be terrible if he cant beat out Doyle.  I call BS.  This is senior entitlement.  Its pretty obvious.  Granted D. Davis and Hill are starting.  Since this is another throw away year just play the freshmen for the future. 

I agree with you on Gray and Haines. Talent-wise, I don't believe they should be starting. But Strong really wants senior (or upper classman) leadership. I think this is his way of showing the team, he values vocal leadership in his upper classmen. Now does that mean these guys should start? Gray, I'm not too worried about. As long as Foreman gets the bulk of the carries, I really don't care who starts. Haines on the other hand, I really don't see what he gives us other than he leads the team in interceptions. I don't know why, but he seems to be in the right place at the right time.

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  • 2021 Texas Football Schedule

    Week
    Opponent
    W/L
    9/4
    Louisiana
    W 38-18
    9/11
    @Arkansas
    L 21-40
    9/18
    Rice
    W 58-0
    9/25
    Texas Tech
    W 70-35
    10/2
    @TCU
    W 32-27
    10/9
    Oklahoma
    L 48-55
    10/16
    Oklahoma State
    L 24-32
    10/30
    @Baylor
    L 24-31
    11/6
    @Iowa State
    L 7-30
    11/13
    Kansas
    L 56-57 OT
    11/20
    @West Virginia
    L 23-31
    11/27
    Kansas State
    W 22-17

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