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Tom Herman Era Off to a Rough Start: Maryland 51 - Texas 41


Harrison Wier
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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.

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I was Very disappointed -- Both coordinators got a F -- how can we not be able to run the ball-- how can we not cover receivors--how can Maryland run up the middle for hundreds of yards -- how in the world did we get so off track--Coaching ? LHN ?  Lack of talent ? Not having a D1 level QB ?  Maybe all of the above I don't know !

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2 minutes ago, Royal 60 said:

I was Very disappointed -- Both coordinators got a F -- how can we not be able to run the ball-- how can we not cover receivors--how can Maryland run up the middle for hundreds of yards -- how in the world did we get so off track--Coaching ? LHN ?  Lack of talent ? Not having a D1 level QB ?  Maybe all of the above I don't know !

Only 1 elite player, Conner Williams, on the team and he played poorly today.

On offense we have a QB that is average at best, below average RB's, no WR's who scare anyone, and a below average OL.

On defense the DL is below average, the LB's are simply bad, and the DB's are below average. 

For today's game, the HC gets an F, the OC gets an F, and the DC gets whatever is worse than an F. 

 

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Most of blame lies with the guys in the trenches.  

OL was terrible and over-hyped and very overrated.  

OC never even attempted to establish a run game.

Needless to say you arent going to win many games when you give up 51 points. 

DL and LB cant fill gaps.  Orlando forgot to bring Ed Oliver with him.  LB's are overrated and cant grasp the concept of filling gaps in their 3rd year.  Yes MJ is overrated.

Poor angles and poor tackling.  Locke on 3 and long in particular comes to mind basically gave them a first down freebie.

Untimely and ineffective blitzes.

DB's getting beat consistently.  Boyd and Hill were goated.  

I am still at a loss as to why our horns cant learn basic tackling, angles, and run gaps 4 years running.

 

The positives.  

Atleast we didnt roll over like we did vs Kansas.  I saw fight in them and that was new.  Yes we should have won this game but there was improvement at least they never gave up.

 

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It absolutely sucks to see Texas loose especially when I thought this team has the talent to compete for the Big 12-2 by winning 10 games.

However....

I'm not jumping ship, overreact, and shit*t all over the program because after all it's the first game of the first season of a new regime.

Shane (a TRUE sophomore) did as best he could considering that he had ZERO protection in the first half (when game was lost). Yes, he carries the loss but his O-Line, defense (gave up more yards than Charlie), and non existent running game killed any chances for him to lead this team to victory.

We'll find out what this team is made up over the next few weeks and then I/we can make a better assessment. 

Did anyone else watch USC? They can be had.

 

 

 

 

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Calling a pass play on 1st and 10 inside your own ten was questionable. That sack set the table for the rest of the first half. The OLine was best at run blocking last year. Why not stick to what they do best especially in that situation?

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6 minutes ago, JMagana said:

I'm not jumping ship, overreact, and shit*t all over the program because after all it's the first game of the first season of a new regime.

Now that I have come down im with you on this.  Last year we beat ND in the opener and everyone was talking Playoffs.  Look how that turned out.  

It wasnt as good as it appeared then and I am now hoping this game isnt as bad it appears either.

Lots of things to fix but its his first and atleast the guys didnt give up like they did vs Iowa State and Kansas

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8 minutes ago, noonan05 said:

Posted in the other thread but I'll post here too.

 

SHANE WASN'T THE ISSUE!!!!!

 

Being forced the throw 52 times not including the 5-8 that looked like passes that he has to scramble is the issue 

The Oline is an issue

 

The Dline is an  issue

 

No, Shane wasn't THE issue.

He also wasn't, and probably will never be, the difference maker. 

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We have talent. A lot more talent than Maryland. This was 100% poor game planning and worse personnel decisions. We don't have a TE so why use one. Spread them out and run Warren down there throat. JV coaching staff. Herman "we can't sprinkle magic dust" too bad because it doesn't seem like the coaching is any better. I bought the hype and that's all it was. I didn't see any players catching cramps so we obviously had champion level hydration. 51 pts!!! Longhorn faithful welcome to Groundhog Day for the 4th straight year. 

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I am not going to vent.  I don't see why you have to have a tight end. You can use a running back to block and catch passes. It seems like a nonstarter to me. 

Time for Tom to give that Sacred Cow up.  I think he will watch the film & see what we saw. He may never admit it, but if he is honest with himself, he will see it and fix it. 

Orlando fixed some of the defense at half. The offense may take a week or two to improve a lot, but I think he will. He has to because he wants this job. 

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