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Progress report: What to think of Texas through 7 games


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After 7 straight weeks of football, Texas will get a chance to catch their breath this weekend during their bye week. The Longhorns sit at 4-3 in Steve Sarkisian's first season and have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows during the last two weeks. There are two ways to look at where Texas currently is and where they could be by the end of the season:

Glass half empty approach

  • Texas has been gashed on the ground far too often through 7 games. The Longhorns rank 112th in the country in rush defense and are averaging over 200 rushing yards allowed per game. Arkansas and Oklahoma both ran for over 300 yards with little resistance. There have been games where tackling and taking proper angles have been a major issue. Remember that Texas still has to face Breece Hall and Deuce Vaughn. 
  • Despite starting 4 (sometimes 5) seniors in the secondary, Texas is currently ranked 72nd in pass defense. Pete Kwiatkowski's defense relies on limiting big plays, which is something Texas has not done very well. 
  • The defensive line, which was thought to be a strength heading into the season, has been a weakness thus far. The Longhorns are averaging under 2 sacks per game and have been unable to generate consistent pressure. As mentioned above, defending the run hasn't gone much better. Kwiatkowski and Steve Sarkisian tried to patch up some holes by taking a handful of linebackers and edge players from the portal, but it is obvious something is lacking up front. There has been individual flashes from various players, but the lack of consistency is disappointing considering the experience the Longhorns have. 
  • The offensive line has not improved from a season ago. Despite losing Sam Cosmi to the NFL, it was thought the OL unit would take a step forward with the 4 starters that returned. Instead, the unit has continued to struggle with communication and allowing free rushers into the backfield. Senior guard Denzel Okafor going down with a season ending injury as complicated matters more as Kyle Flood has been forced to shuffle his lineup the last two weeks.
  • The offense has a whole has completely disappeared in the second half of the last two weeks. The Longhorns recorded 1 total yard in the 4th quarter against the Cowboys and recorded their last first down of the game early in the 3rd quarter. Casey Thompson, who is currently battling an injured thumb, did not play well last week or against TCU and has now thrown an interception in 4 of his 5 starts. 
  • The biggest reason for pessimism has been the inability for Texas to close out games. Bijan Robinson willed Texas to a win Fort Worth, but if it wasn't for his heroic efforts there is a real chance the Longhorns would currently be sitting at 3-4 with back-to-back-to-back double digit leads blown. 

Glass half full approach

  • Texas should be 6-1 right now. The Longhorns outplayed a top-5 Oklahoma squad for 3 quarters and had a top-15 Oklahoma State team on the ropes late in the first half. 
  • The Longhorns have done a much better job starting fast under Sarkisian than in previous years. The offense has scored on their opening possession in every Big 12 game so far. The opening script to games has been fantastic and Texas has done a good job of exploiting matchups in the first half all season long.
  • Xavier Worthy might be the best WR in the Big 12. The freshman is on pace to finish the season just shy of 1,000 yards receiving and stepped into the #1 WR role despite only arriving on campus in June. Sarkisian has done a good job of utilizing Worthy in a number of different ways and getting the ball in his hands.
  • Bijan Robinson is still Bijan Robinson. If it wasn't for the last two losses, the sophomore is likely one of the frontrunners for the Heisman trophy. Despite inconsistent offensive line play and loaded boxes, Robinson currently sits at 930 rushing yards and is averaging over 6 yards a carry. 
  • Texas has a very manageable back end of the schedule. Yes, the Longhorns are traveling to Baylor and Iowa State the next two games, but they also get to finish the year against Kansas, West Virginia and Kansas State (combined 0-9 in Big 12 play so far). If Texas can secure a win against the Bears or Cyclones, they have a real chance of winning 4 of their last 5 games to end the year. 

Final Thoughts

Steve Sarkisian must find a way to get his team to respond after the last two weeks. Texas still has an opportunity to finish strong and build momentum, but the margin for error is slim. Sarkisian talked earlier this week about needing his players to get away from the mindset of waiting for something bad to happen. This program has been in way too many one possession games over the last 5 years and that can be contagious. Texas has been known to play up and down to competition and that is something Sarkisian is going to have to really work on reversing. The Longhorns have shown the potential to beat good teams handily, but until they put together 4 quarters of complete football, the frustration will continue to mount.

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1 hour ago, Jameson McCausland said:

After 7 straight weeks of football, Texas will get a chance to catch their breath this weekend during their bye week. The Longhorns sit at 4-3 in Steve Sarkisian's first season and have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows during the last two weeks. There are two ways to look at where Texas currently is and where they could be by the end of the season:

Glass half empty approach

  • Texas has been gashed on the ground far too often through 7 games. The Longhorns rank 112th in the country in rush defense and are averaging over 200 rushing yards allowed per game. Arkansas and Oklahoma both ran for over 300 yards with little resistance. There have been games where tackling and taking proper angles have been a major issue. Remember that Texas still has to face Breece Hall and Deuce Vaughn. 
  • Despite starting 4 (sometimes 5) seniors in the secondary, Texas is currently ranked 72nd in pass defense. Pete Kwiatkowski's defense relies on limiting big plays, which is something Texas has not done very well. 
  • The defensive line, which was thought to be a strength heading into the season, has been a weakness thus far. The Longhorns are averaging under 2 sacks per game and have been unable to generate consistent pressure. As mentioned above, defending the run hasn't gone much better. Kwiatkowski and Steve Sarkisian tried to patch up some holes by taking a handful of linebackers and edge players from the portal, but it is obvious something is lacking up front. There has been individual flashes from various players, but the lack of consistency is disappointing considering the experience the Longhorns have. 
  • The offensive line has not improved from a season ago. Despite losing Sam Cosmi to the NFL, it was thought the OL unit would take a step forward with the 4 starters that returned. Instead, the unit has continued to struggle with communication and allowing free rushers into the backfield. Senior guard Denzel Okafor going down with a season ending injury as complicated matters more as Kyle Flood has been forced to shuffle his lineup the last two weeks.
  • The offense has a whole has completely disappeared in the second half of the last two weeks. The Longhorns recorded 1 total yard in the 4th quarter against the Cowboys and recorded their last first down of the game early in the 3rd quarter. Casey Thompson, who is currently battling an injured thumb, did not play well last week or against TCU and has now thrown an interception in 4 of his 5 starts. 
  • The biggest reason for pessimism has been the inability for Texas to close out games. Bijan Robinson willed Texas to a win Fort Worth, but if it wasn't for his heroic efforts there is a real chance the Longhorns would currently be sitting at 3-4 with back-to-back-to-back double digit leads blown. 

Glass half full approach

  • Texas should be 6-1 right now. The Longhorns outplayed a top-5 Oklahoma squad for 3 quarters and had a top-15 Oklahoma State team on the ropes late in the first half. 
  • The Longhorns have done a much better job starting fast under Sarkisian than in previous years. The offense has scored on their opening possession in every Big 12 game so far. The opening script to games has been fantastic and Texas has done a good job of exploiting matchups in the first half all season long.
  • Xavier Worthy might be the best WR in the Big 12. The freshman is on pace to finish the season just shy of 1,000 yards receiving and stepped into the #1 WR role despite only arriving on campus in June. Sarkisian has done a good job of utilizing Worthy in a number of different ways and getting the ball in his hands.
  • Bijan Robinson is still Bijan Robinson. If it wasn't for the last two losses, the sophomore is likely one of the frontrunners for the Heisman trophy. Despite inconsistent offensive line play and loaded boxes, Robinson currently sits at 930 rushing yards and is averaging over 6 yards a carry. 
  • Texas has a very manageable back end of the schedule. Yes, the Longhorns are traveling to Baylor and Iowa State the next two games, but they also get to finish the year against Kansas, West Virginia and Kansas State (combined 0-9 in Big 12 play so far). If Texas can secure a win against the Bears or Cyclones, they have a real chance of winning 4 of their last 5 games to end the year. 

Final Thoughts

Steve Sarkisian must find a way to get his team to respond after the last two weeks. Texas still has an opportunity to finish strong and build momentum, but the margin for error is slim. Sarkisian talked earlier this week about needing his players to get away from the mindset of waiting for something bad to happen. This program has been in way too many one possession games over the last 5 years and that can be contagious. Texas has been known to play up and down to competition and that is something Sarkisian is going to have to really work on reversing. The Longhorns have shown the potential to beat good teams handily, but until they put together 4 quarters of complete football, the frustration will continue to mount.

 

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• I thought the Texas Defense played well against OSU for the first 2.5 quarters. But repeated 3-and-outs takes a toll and we got weaker as we got deeper into the 4th.

• Jaylan Ford was a big story from this game, IMO. He wasn't Butkus, but he played a helluva game. For the first time, we're talking about a Texas LB not named Overshown.

• I agree with practically everything you wrote, above. I'll add that Texas/Sark need to find another WR to step up. OSU doubled Worthy several times there in the 4th because they didn't fear anyone else we had (with Whit gone). Dixon needs to step up. Why not give K-Rob some time at slot? Where is Omeire?

 

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10 hours ago, Sirhornsalot said:

I agree with practically everything you wrote, above. I'll add that Texas/Sark need to find another WR to step up. OSU doubled Worthy several times there in the 4th because they didn't fear anyone else we had (with Whit gone). Dixon needs to step up. Why not give K-Rob some time at slot? Where is Omeire?

 

I agree, I think they are missing Jordan Whittington pretty badly right now.

Dixon hasn’t shown consistency yet as a pass catcher or blocker. Keilan Robinson in the slot sounds like a good idea in theory but he has never played WR at this level. He probably isn’t ever going to be a guy who gets 10+ touches in a game this year, but they need to find a way to get him more than the 1 or 2 touches he is getting right now.

Omeire had season ending knee injury surgery a few weeks ago.

 

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Frustrating, painful team to watch. Look great in the 1st qtr. and horrible in the 4th qtr. We are a few plays away from contending for the national title right now, instead we are afterthoughts out of the rankings. 

This is not on the recruiting, injuries, players, mindset, penalties, referee's or mistakes. Those are all excuses. This is on the coach who forgets what to do after the 1st qtr.

 No big surprise to see whoever has the ball last winning around here. We have failed to stomp other teams down hard when we are ahead. Foot off the gas. How ironic.

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on offense Texas has not learned Sark's passing game yet. the QB goes thru his progressions but he is singularly focused on one guy XW...he hasn't learned that its ok to throw to option # 2 or even # 3...unfortunately options 2,and 3 haven't learned how to get open when the defense is keyed on XW...even Bijan needs to be a check down option...

on defense PK is doing it with smoke and mirrors and he's not fooling anyone, the DB's do not have good techniques and are mediocre at best

 

Yes Texas could be 6-1 but they aren't and maybe they dont deserve to be, but I think the program is with the right coach with a proven pedigree who knows what it takes to play National Championship caliber football. He will need to recruit like Texas has never recruited before on both sides of the ball

 

As for this year its a bust, and below expectations but maybe thats the best thing for the program. The roster was thin and we dont have the studs we thought we did on the sideline

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I thought 9-3 was a realistic goal for this season with our roster.

Boy, was I wrong. IMO, we'll be lucky to finish 7-5 with BU, ISU, and WVU still to play. Yet another disappointing year. Sad to say, I've gotten used to this mediocrity.

UT is just not a very mentally tough football program, otherwise it'd be 6-1 right now.

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2 hours ago, J.B. TexasEx said:

I thought 9-3 was a realistic goal for this season with our roster.

Boy, was I wrong. IMO, we'll be lucky to finish 7-5 with BU, ISU, and WVU still to play. Yet another disappointing year. Sad to say, I've gotten used to this mediocrity.

UT is just not a very mentally tough football program, otherwise it'd be 6-1 right now.

a team takes on the personality of the coach running the program, look at our last three FB coaches, Mack > Charley> TH...none of them  would be considered mentally tough, look at the type of players they recruited...maybe UT needs to change its recruiting philosophy just a bit and go after a few players who might be on the edge of being considered a marginal personality but a phenomenal football talent, not to say we need team full of derelicts or thugs but a few mean and nasty guys on defense might change our reputation back to where it used to be where we were DBU, could also use a Britt Hager type LB 

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On 10/20/2021 at 4:52 PM, Jameson McCausland said:

After 7 straight weeks of football, Texas will get a chance to catch their breath this weekend during their bye week. The Longhorns sit at 4-3 in Steve Sarkisian's first season and have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows during the last two weeks. There are two ways to look at where Texas currently is and where they could be by the end of the season:

Glass half empty approach

  • Texas has been gashed on the ground far too often through 7 games. The Longhorns rank 112th in the country in rush defense and are averaging over 200 rushing yards allowed per game. Arkansas and Oklahoma both ran for over 300 yards with little resistance. There have been games where tackling and taking proper angles have been a major issue. Remember that Texas still has to face Breece Hall and Deuce Vaughn. 
  • Despite starting 4 (sometimes 5) seniors in the secondary, Texas is currently ranked 72nd in pass defense. Pete Kwiatkowski's defense relies on limiting big plays, which is something Texas has not done very well. 
  • The defensive line, which was thought to be a strength heading into the season, has been a weakness thus far. The Longhorns are averaging under 2 sacks per game and have been unable to generate consistent pressure. As mentioned above, defending the run hasn't gone much better. Kwiatkowski and Steve Sarkisian tried to patch up some holes by taking a handful of linebackers and edge players from the portal, but it is obvious something is lacking up front. There has been individual flashes from various players, but the lack of consistency is disappointing considering the experience the Longhorns have. 
  • The offensive line has not improved from a season ago. Despite losing Sam Cosmi to the NFL, it was thought the OL unit would take a step forward with the 4 starters that returned. Instead, the unit has continued to struggle with communication and allowing free rushers into the backfield. Senior guard Denzel Okafor going down with a season ending injury as complicated matters more as Kyle Flood has been forced to shuffle his lineup the last two weeks.
  • The offense has a whole has completely disappeared in the second half of the last two weeks. The Longhorns recorded 1 total yard in the 4th quarter against the Cowboys and recorded their last first down of the game early in the 3rd quarter. Casey Thompson, who is currently battling an injured thumb, did not play well last week or against TCU and has now thrown an interception in 4 of his 5 starts. 
  • The biggest reason for pessimism has been the inability for Texas to close out games. Bijan Robinson willed Texas to a win Fort Worth, but if it wasn't for his heroic efforts there is a real chance the Longhorns would currently be sitting at 3-4 with back-to-back-to-back double digit leads blown. 

Glass half full approach

  • Texas should be 6-1 right now. The Longhorns outplayed a top-5 Oklahoma squad for 3 quarters and had a top-15 Oklahoma State team on the ropes late in the first half. 
  • The Longhorns have done a much better job starting fast under Sarkisian than in previous years. The offense has scored on their opening possession in every Big 12 game so far. The opening script to games has been fantastic and Texas has done a good job of exploiting matchups in the first half all season long.
  • Xavier Worthy might be the best WR in the Big 12. The freshman is on pace to finish the season just shy of 1,000 yards receiving and stepped into the #1 WR role despite only arriving on campus in June. Sarkisian has done a good job of utilizing Worthy in a number of different ways and getting the ball in his hands.
  • Bijan Robinson is still Bijan Robinson. If it wasn't for the last two losses, the sophomore is likely one of the frontrunners for the Heisman trophy. Despite inconsistent offensive line play and loaded boxes, Robinson currently sits at 930 rushing yards and is averaging over 6 yards a carry. 
  • Texas has a very manageable back end of the schedule. Yes, the Longhorns are traveling to Baylor and Iowa State the next two games, but they also get to finish the year against Kansas, West Virginia and Kansas State (combined 0-9 in Big 12 play so far). If Texas can secure a win against the Bears or Cyclones, they have a real chance of winning 4 of their last 5 games to end the year. 

Final Thoughts

Steve Sarkisian must find a way to get his team to respond after the last two weeks. Texas still has an opportunity to finish strong and build momentum, but the margin for error is slim. Sarkisian talked earlier this week about needing his players to get away from the mindset of waiting for something bad to happen. This program has been in way too many one possession games over the last 5 years and that can be contagious. Texas has been known to play up and down to competition and that is something Sarkisian is going to have to really work on reversing. The Longhorns have shown the potential to beat good teams handily, but until they put together 4 quarters of complete football, the frustration will continue to mount.

 

Great write up.

 

Someone might want to put a Amber alert out for Tyler Johnson. Really thought we would be better at the OL, but didn't count on no Johnson and any guard or tackle  positions. Not did I see Jones at LT thought Karic would be there with better results. Didn't count on them moving Kerstetter  around which os a bad thing.  See A&M with Green.  Keep him at 1 position and bring in Parr at center or Ghirmai,in which he was a 4*, but has been that screwed up by Hand? 

1 DE with Collins  makes this defense worse. But also, bad LBs recruiting from Orlando and whoever we had last year doesn't  help. 

The DBs: has Jameson, Cook, and Thompson shown any improvement since arriving at the 40 acres? Foster and Schooler; one hasn't  been right since his shoulder injury from 2 yrs. ago. Then other has played both DB and WR can't  figure where he fits.  

J. Thompson and Coffey are young, but only J. Thompson is playing.

Hopefully, the corners learn this stupid soft zone stuff that this new coach from ND wants or we go after a better corner coach within the next yearnor two to play man coverage with better blitzing with better front 7.

Everyone liked Coburn, Sweat, and Ojomo until they realized  it's  our OL they looked great against.

Helpfully, Flood gets the OL to play okay the last part of the season to help get us the recruits we need to compete with the SEC and OU teams going forward. 

Need to see B. Robinson moved to the slot or outside more often with K. Robinson in the back field; if he doesn't  want to be a slot guy more, but to make teams either move safeties back and put a OLB out there on B. Robinson. Plus move Moore to the slot just to help adjust defensive repositioning. To read the defense decisions sooner by the QB.

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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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