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Quick Thoughts and Takeaways: Texas falters again in 2nd half for second straight week


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Another week, another heartbreaking loss for Texas

  • Let's start big picture. Steve Sarkisian said something after the game that I had not crossed my mind previously. He mentioned Texas has a mental block when it comes to making the plays necessarily to put a team away in the second half, and it is his responsibility to help them get over that block . When the Longhorns jump out to an early lead or are off to a good start, it is like the players are almost waiting for something bad to happen. This program has played in so many nail-baiters over the last 3-4 years that it almost seems like an expectation to a lot of players. Let me be clear, this is not an excuse for Texas losing games and there are many more issues that need to be addressed but it is just something additional to think about when looking back on the the last two weeks.
  • In terms of the on field performance, let's start with the defense. Pete Kwiatkowski came out with a pretty good game plan and Texas played winning football on defense for about 3 and a half quarters. The dam eventually broke the last few possessions after they had been on the field nearly the entire second half, but the overall performance should have been good enough for a win.
  • Kwiatkowski opted to operate out of 3-man front for the majority of the game with Alfred Collins anchoring one of the edge spots. This turned out to a smart decision. The stats show Texas allowed 220 yards rushing, but about 90 of those yards came on the final two possessions (excluding the possession that ended in a kneel down) when Texas was completely out of gas including the drive when the Longhorns effectively let OSU score because they had to get the ball back.
  • DeMarvion Overshown exited early in the contest with a concussion, and Jaylan Ford saw extended action in Overshown's place and played well. Ford ended up leading Texas in tackles with 12.
  • Offensively, Texas started out by marching right down the field on their opening drive and it slowly went downhill from there. Casey Thompson had by far his worst performance of the year (15/27 179 yards 1 touchdown and 2 INT's). His first INT was a pick-6 as Texas was driving deep into OSU territory to potentially make it a 20-3 or 24-3 game. Instead, OSU got to go into the locker room only down 17-13.
  • The second half performance from the offense was awful. Texas scored on their first drive and then did not record another first down. 6 straight drives that ended in 4 plays or less. That's hard to believe.
  • We will likely never know how much Thompson's thumb injury was bothering him, but if I was Steve Sarkisian I would have made a quarterback change at some point in the 4th quarter. The Longhorns offense needed some sort of spark and Oklahoma State was pinning their ears back knowing Thompson couldn't push the ball down the field.
  • Kyle Flood opted to play musical chairs with the offensive line for much of the afternoon. Tope Imade started at LG but ended up splitting a lot of time with Hayden Conner. Christian Jones started at LT but ended up sharing a lot of snaps with Andrej Karic. I would expect those battles to continue throughout the bye week and into the Baylor game.
  • As a whole, the offensive line spent much of the second half on roller skates for the second straight week. Oklahoma State was more physical up front and it showed. Texas needs to be in the market for at least a tackle and a guard in the portal once the offseason hits. They simply can not afford to waste Bijan Robinson's final year on campus with below average offensive line.
  • Overall, it was another disappointing performance and now Texas is going to have to sit on it for two weeks with the bye week upcoming. This team has a lot of holes and the coaching staff has to find a way to scheme around their deficiencies better. They are doing it in the first half regularly, but the flood gates have now opened in the second half in back to back weeks. 
 
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1 hour ago, Johnny Depp said:

Ford leading the team in tackles shows these coaches don't know everything about who's got the ability to perform in a game. With Big 12 hopes basically shot, it's time to see some fresh faces and see what they can do.

In the times Ford has played leading up to today it has not looked promising. Very slow to react and was taking himself out of plays a lot. I think the coaches had good reason for not giving him significant snaps. Maybe the lightbulb is starting to the come on though after a strong performance today. Would be a nice development.

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26 minutes ago, Jameson McCausland said:

In the times Ford has played leading up to today it has not looked promising. Very slow to react and was taking himself out of plays a lot. I think the coaches had good reason for not giving him significant snaps. Maybe the lightbulb is starting to the come on though after a strong performance today. Would be a nice development.

Very nice article. Player evaluation is a huge part of the coaches job, it is subjective. Priest Holmes says hello.

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Sark is stuck between a rock and a hard place, almost like Lincoln Riley up north....He had the opportunity to make the change and probably missed his window....now if he makes the change he has a full blown QB controversy which is the last thing he wants or needs....If CT is hurt and his injury is keeping him from handling the ball and making the throws needed, thats one thing...but if you make the change because he is not running the offense or his skill set is limiting what plays/throws he can consistently make, then thats another subject...

As much as I was and am still a HC fan club member, I think you have to stick with CT for now...I think its his job to lose and although he isn't lighting the joint up, he's not stinking the place up either...If he is hurt, then make the change...if HC thinks there is no path for him to be the starting QB at UT in his future then he and his camp will have to make whatever decisions are best for him

Somehow they need to get the other WR/TE involved in the game...it cant be Worthy all the time, if teams double him or play 2 deep then someone else has to be open...

and I think UT plays best with two RB in the backfield and should strongly consider going to a traditional pro set with the QB under center and let Bijan run out of the I formation

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14 minutes ago, Hiwood said:

I think you have to stick with CT for now...I think its his job to lose and although he isn't lighting the joint up, he's not stinking the place up either.

 I would consider throwing a int. rather than bringing your team back to a tie after already throwing a pick 6 for a 14 point swing would be stinking the place up.

Now that the season is toast, it's time to see what Card can do, but Sark should have had the nuts to make the decision when CT11 went down and was clearly not getting it done. Riley had the nuts.

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9 minutes ago, dillohorn said:

Team too tired to play 60 minutes????

A lot of our oline and some of our dline are undersized. They can be in the best shape in the world and still get worn down by being on the field too long. 

We've had an oline problem going back to the aughts when they targeted smaller, more mobile lineman for zone blocking. Mack tried to change this in 2010 when he switched schemes, but a change like that can take years. For whatever reason, since then we've had a problem attracting highly ranked, beefy linemen. 

Either way we haven't had a decent oline in over a decade. So when we play against average or lesser teams we can wear them down. When we play against equivalent or better teams, we get worn down. 

Sark has to get the line fixed.

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2 hours ago, Hiwood said:

Sark is stuck between a rock and a hard place, almost like Lincoln Riley up north....He had the opportunity to make the change and probably missed his window....now if he makes the change he has a full blown QB controversy which is the last thing he wants or needs....If CT is hurt and his injury is keeping him from handling the ball and making the throws needed, thats one thing...but if you make the change because he is not running the offense or his skill set is limiting what plays/throws he can consistently make, then thats another subject...

As much as I was and am still a HC fan club member, I think you have to stick with CT for now...I think its his job to lose and although he isn't lighting the joint up, he's not stinking the place up either...If he is hurt, then make the change...if HC thinks there is no path for him to be the starting QB at UT in his future then he and his camp will have to make whatever decisions are best for him

Somehow they need to get the other WR/TE involved in the game...it cant be Worthy all the time, if teams double him or play 2 deep then someone else has to be open...

and I think UT plays best with two RB in the backfield and should strongly consider going to a traditional pro set with the QB under center and let Bijan run out of the I formation

Good stuff and I agree.  Why can’t we use our TE’s more…….especially when the QB doesn’t have much time.  We’ve got some good TE’s now and we should be using them more. 

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Our defense has forced 8 FG's in the last 2 games, and didn't give up a touchdown to OKS until the 4th qtr. 

The offense's ineptitude with 4 3 and out's with the game on the line is the reason they were tired. This has nothing to do with size, conditioning, mental strength or recruiting.

The last 2 losses are on the inadequate play calling. Maybe now we know why Jimbo was the 1st asst. coach to beat Nick Saban. Saban's asst's weren't the brains of the operation.

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9 hours ago, Johnny Depp said:

Our defense has forced 8 FG's in the last 2 games, and didn't give up a touchdown to OKS until the 4th qtr. 

The offense's ineptitude with 4 3 and out's with the game on the line is the reason they were tired. This has nothing to do with size, conditioning, mental strength or recruiting.

The last 2 losses are on the inadequate play calling. Maybe now we know why Jimbo was the 1st asst. coach to beat Nick Saban. Saban's asst's weren't the brains of the operation.

nothing wrong with the play calling....the EXECUTION of the play called is a different subject altogether...if a play works and goes for  six, Sark looks like a genius, but if it gets blown up its inadequate ...really ?

I find Sark's play calling refreshing compared to that from both the Strong and Herman eras, but as much as he would like to open up his playbook, he knows he doesnt have the personnel to execute his bag of tricks...XW is not Devonta Smith (not yet anyway) and CT and HC are not Mac Jones...but Bijan is in the same category as Derrick Henry, maybe even better

 

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4 hours ago, longhorn_mig said:

Side note, I wish there was this much traffic on the board regarding basketball. Maybe I can get @Johnny Deppto get people fired up about basketball.

I'm a former basketball nut going back to Phi Slamma Jamma. I've been a fan since the Pender's days. Rick is looking awfully good these days. It' been even harder with Shaka. Somehow we became the pre season perennial final 4 failures in the real season big 12 crucible. Unlike football, recruits come to TX to get into the pro's, problem is they are 1 and done.

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2 hours ago, Hiwood said:

nothing wrong with the play calling....the EXECUTION of the play called is a different subject altogether...if a play works and goes for  six, Sark looks like a genius, but if it gets blown up its inadequate ...really ?

I find Sark's play calling refreshing compared to that from both the Strong and Herman eras, but as much as he would like to open up his playbook, he knows he doesnt have the personnel to execute his bag of tricks...XW is not Devonta Smith (not yet anyway) and CT and HC are not Mac Jones...but Bijan is in the same category as Derrick Henry, maybe even better

 

 You are delusional. I can't count how many times Bijan has been sent between the tackles for nothing. Especially when the game is on the line. How many times do you have to run into a wall before you go around it. Bijan is no Henry, he can't move piles. The play calling, especially in the 2nd half's has been horrible. So has the personnel decisions.

 It looks like they scheme out the 1st few possessions and follow that plan. It has worked. Then after that someone (kneeling with a clipboard) starts improv and it goes right down the toilet.

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We hire coaches with 1 big well paid objective. Win the Big 12 conference. As a consolation to that win at the Red River Shootout and keep your job. Anything less is failure. That has been the Texas standard for decades.

 Maybe I could live with 1 generational comeback against us at the Red River shootout. To back it up the very next week with another job (it takes work) of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is no longer a coincidence, it's a trend.

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5 hours ago, Eastexhorn said:

Mack's objective was win 10 games conference titles did not matter

So true. I think that standard may have been lowered too.  

Mack's era was so full of shady dealing that eventually even that low bar wasn't enough to keep his job.

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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
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    Kansas State
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