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Everything posted by Wes

  1. GREAT STAT. That really puts how bad the Texas defense is into perspective. Also I've never understood or gotten any answer as to why these "top recruiting classes" could never accomplish more...
  2. 10 Thoughts From the Texas vs. Oklahoma Game By: Wes Crochet Where do you start with this game? This was the worst loss I can ever remember the University of Texas football program having. This was more of a practice for OU than an actual game. The Longhorns looked like a 2A high school team trying to play against the Sooners. I said it earlier on Twitter, but this game alone will force a change to the program, and the change will be significant. The change could be one of two outcomes, if you ask me. Either the team, specifically the defense, turns things around and starts playing really, really well, or a change is made to the coaching staff and, if this is the case, I think the first to go is Manny Diaz. Regardless, this game was embarrassing to say the least and it still makes be absolutely sick. These are in no particular order. 1. Manny Diaz: Let’s start where I just left off. Manny Diaz was brought into the Texas program to replace Will Muschamp as the defensive coordinator for the Longhorns. When he was first hired on as D-coordinator, I honestly had not heard much about him. But as I read and learned more about him, I started to think this could be a good hire for Texas. Last season his squad had up and down performances but a lot of that was just chalked up to be the result of implementing new schemes, plays, and a new coaching style into his defense. This season, the defense is not only bad, but they have actually digressed from how they were playing last fall. There are only two options for Diaz. Either he somehow gets the defense playing at a high level where everyone thought they were capable of playing and at the standard expected at the University of Texas, or he needs to start looking for a new job. And I don’t think the first option will happen, especially with some unlucky injuries plaguing Diaz’s squad. But giving up 63 points and a total of 677 yards against any team, especially against the Longhorns’ biggest rival, is an easy way to get yourself a one way ticket out of Austin. And if anyone is crazy enough to debate this opinion of mine then go check out these numbers I crunched. http://www.hornsports.com/forums/burnt-orange-board-bob-57/number-crunching-stats-should-not-ever-happen-against-ut-1568/ 2. Defense is plain bad: Sure, the defense has played some of the top offenses in the nation the past few weeks. But before the season, there was a ton of hype about how good this defense could be. Well, after six games, it’s evident that this squad is plain bad. There’s no other way to say it. They have been one of the worst units in the Big 12 and I’m not sure that will change much this season. Manny Diaz should take a lot of blame for his poor schemes and strategies he’s been implementing, but the players have also been playing at a very poor level and have yet to find any consistency or strength in their play. They continue to make poor decisions, give up big plays, play flat-footed, and underperform. This group needs to turn things around to salvage what’s left of the season. The problem is I’m not sure they are capable of doing that anymore. 3. Tackling: Diaz’s failed scheme and the defense’s poor play leads me to my next point. The players on this squad continue to be out of position, slow, and as if they have completely had the concept of tackling erased from their brains, especially in the secondary. There is not currently one player in the secondary, other than maybe Quandre Diggs, who understands the concept of tackling. Even the defensive linemen and linebackers are struggling, and this is unacceptable for a program like Texas. Tackling is something you learn how to do when you first start playing football. I remember I understood the concept of tackling in 6th grade when I played Pop-Warner football. It’s not hard. And if 6th graders can understand this concept, then I’d expect players recruited to the University of Texas to understand how to tackle as well. I think now this has become more of a mental problem than anything else. They approach ball carriers with hesitation and take terrible angles. And they usually have more contact with their own teammates by running into one another than they do with the other team. I really am dumbfounded at their inability to take opponents down in open space. It’s terrible. 4. Adrian Phillips: I’m sick of watching Phillips play. He is the poster child of how not to play defense and how not to tackle. I almost couldn’t believe what I saw this weekend when OU’s Trey Millard broke open a 70-yard touchdown pass out of the backfield (A big play? Against Texas? That can’t be right…). During the play not only did he hurdle over Mykelle Thompson (who I had actually praised a week earlier…), but he also managed to stiff-arm and knock down Adrian Phillips while in mid-air. Below is a photo I cropped of what play I'm referring to. You’d think that normally the guy in mid-air would be the one getting knocked down to the ground. Oh no, not when Adrian Phillips is in hot pursuit! I’m ready to see some other defensive back take his place. Also, is it just me or has anyone noticed that Carrington Byndom has a knack for running into his own players? He’s done it so many times that you’d think it was his job. [ATTACH=CONFIG]148[/ATTACH] 5. Offense, or lack thereof: This game wasn’t lost just because the defense played terribly. This game was also lost because the offense actually forgot to get off the bus. This was the worst offensive performance the entire season. Texas ended the day with a total of 289 yards, much of these yards coming against OU’s second and third string players when the game was already over in the fourth quarter. It was also embarrassing to watch. I was talking with my dad earlier this week and he brought up a great point. If you take away the 8 points scored by the defense/special teams from the blocked extra point and the pick-six and if you take away the 13 points scored in trash time during the fourth quarter, you’ll realize the offense was outscored 56 to 0 when starters were playing. Wow. I never could have guessed that margin would have happened last Saturday in a million years. Add that to the fact that the offense gave up 3 turnovers, was 4 of 13 on third downs, 0 for 1 on 4th down, and did not receive their first 1st down of the game until the second half and you have yourself one of the worst offensive performances I’ve ever witnessed. But I’m not as low on Harsin as I am on Diaz. And that leads me to my next thought… 6. Offensive Line: I’ve harped on this group all season and, yet again, they have upset me. This could be one of the most frustrating offensive lines I’ve watched at UT in a long time. Before the season started, I did a rundown of each position and the players that would form the depth chart. I was excited to see many of the offensive playmakers, especially the running backs. But one of the last groups I previewed was the offensive line, and when I previewed them, I stated that they would be key to the offense’s success. And that was as true as ever last Saturday. You can have all the talent in the world on offense but if you don’t have an offensive line to block for the playmakers then your offense becomes stagnant, and trying to figure out plays that will work becomes that much harder. This is why I’m giving Harsin a little leeway with last Saturday. Don’t worry; I have a bone to pick with him too. But as I was saying, this offensive line continues to struggle. It’s most evident in the run game. The Longhorns accumulated an abysmal 74 yards on the ground. And when you are a balanced offense, like the Horns, an inability to run the football can easily lead to a poor offensive outing overall. Just ask my Houston Texans how that went last Sunday night against Green Bay when their running game was slower than normal. The Longhorns’ O-line cannot seem to get a push or open up holes consistently, and I’m not sure they have the talent in place to improve much on that. I like Hawkins and Walters, but aside from those two guys this line is average at best. 7. Playmakers: One of the strengths of this offense was the fact that there were many playmakers at Harsin’s disposal. Well, here’s a run down of the touches each player I consider a playmaker received against OU: Shipley – 1, Monroe – 0, Goodwin – 0, D. Johnson – 5, Davis – 5, Gray – 8, Bergeron – 4. The fact that Jaxon Shipley, D.J. Monroe, and Marquis Goodwin combined for ONE TOUCH on offense is unfathomable, unacceptable, and unexplainable. Shipley alone should touch the ball at the very least 5-10 times a game. And then to add that two of the Longhorns’ fastest players, Goodwin and Monroe, failed to get their hands on the ball at all on offense is beyond confusing to me. It’s a no brainer why Texas had its worst offensive performance of the season; the best players on offense barely touched the ball, if at all. Are you kidding me? Terrible. 8. David Ash: The biggest concern I had for Ash coming into this game happened. He choked, again. Last season this game was one of his worse performances. And, though he had been playing well (especially as of recent), I was very curious to see how he would handle being back in this hostile environment where he played poorly last year. Well, once again, he struggled. Ash threw for 113 yards, 0 scores, and tossed 2 interceptions before he was forced out of the game with a bad bone bruise in his non-throwing hand. Other than the fact that this was his worst game all season, this is also a reality check for all of us fans. Though Ash had played well before this game, he is still a young player continuing to develop and come into his own. There are still going to be growing pains with his play on the field and bad games here and there. The biggest, most important thing now is to watch how he responds after this game against another tough opponent. Poor performances on a national stage against a rival, like last Saturday, can really rattle players, especially younger ones. Mack knows this, that’s why he has been harping on having a positive attitude all week like a parrot that has been taught to say that. Luckily for Ash, he gets to take on one of the worst defenses, if not THE worst defense, in college football Saturday when he plays Baylor. Even with an injured wrist, this game could be another big confidence booster for him. 9. Mack Brown: There have been countless cries for Mack’s job and for the university to move in a new direction. Well whether you want Coach Brown gone or not, it’s not going to happen right now. And I’m not even really sure it would happen at the end of the season. The only way I see it happening at the end of the season is if Texas continues to lose and ends up 7-5 or worse. At 8-4 or better, you may see position coaches or coordinators go, but even then, I think Brown will remain as the head coach. Aside from whether it’s time for the University of Texas to go in a different head coaching direction or not, last weekend’s performance of his Texas Longhorns really makes me believe he doesn’t even know what team will show up on a week to week basis. And that’s scary. But I also hate how Texas has come into this game very flat, timid, and without a killer instinct more times than not. And that is something that Mack Brown should be held responsible for. I remember growing up watching the Texas/OU game when OU had another one of its winning streaks, and I remember hearing and reading that Texas was playing “not to lose” rather than playing to win. I touched on this before the game and Coach Brown could not get his players as fired up as Bob Stoops got his players. This has been one of Mack’s weaknesses as a head coach and I’ve never been able to figure out why he’s had trouble getting his players pumped up for arguably the biggest game on the Longhorns’ schedule each season. After listening to his press conference this week, it’s easy to tell that Mack Brown knows his team is dangerously close to losing many more games and that his team is walking a fine line between a disastrous season and one that can be salvaged. He has continued to emphasize being positive, staying the course, and getting mentally prepared for Baylor and the second half of the season. But a loss like this is often hard to shake. And the game right after a loss like this, in many cases, is a game that can impact the rest of the entire season in a positive or negative manner. Currently, the Longhorns are on a 2-game losing streak. If the Longhorns lose against Baylor this Saturday, then that will be 2 home losses and a blowout rivalry loss all in a matter of 3 weeks. For a relatively young team like this one, a 3-game losing streak like that could completely derail the rest of the season and also cause confidence, leadership, and mental problems that would he hard to correct. There’s no question Coach Brown is very aware of the impact this game could have and knows his season could ride on the way his team plays Saturday and if they bounce back from the worst loss I can remember Texas having in football. 10. Alex King: The rest of the team may have played some of the worst football I have ever seen, but starting punter Alex King kicked the crud out of the ball all game. He had 8 punts (another sign of Texas’s poor offensive outing) for 397 yards. That’s good for an average of 49.6 yards per punt (two of which landed inside the 20) and his longest punt was for 65 yards. But he didn’t just play well this game, the transfer from Duke has been playing well all season long and deserves some recognition. What happened last Saturday was the worst possible outcome that could have happened for Mack Brown and his Longhorns. It was embarrassing, frustrating, inexcusable, unexplainable, and not even close to the standard that any Texas Longhorns football team should play at. The West Virginia loss was tough to stomach because Texas was in it until the very end. This game was tough to stomach for a completely different reason. From the very beginning of the game, Texas was terrible and they got beat like a high school varsity team scrimmaging against the 9th grade B team. It was ugly and something I never want to witness again for the rest of my football life. According to Mack Brown, the game “is what it is” and that rubbed me the wrong way. Saying “it is what it is” is like accepting defeat. I understand that he wants his team to move on to focusing on Baylor, but I want him to show some tenacity and anger for how his team played. Do you think Muschamp or Saban would say “it is what it is"? They absolutely would not. But those two coaches consistently have that killer instinct and tenacity that seems to be inconsistent in the Longhorns' program. However, Mack also knows the importance of this game against Baylor. He knows he must quickly regroup his team and get them thinking positively or the season may be lost. Coming off this loss, Texas is 4-2. What’s important is the Longhorns can still finish the season strongly. But improvements will have to be made starting this Saturday against Baylor. Though Baylor’s offense is another prolific offense, their defense is one of the worst in the NCAA. That being said, Texas may have a fighting chance this week. Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  3. you mean if we are out rushed Diaz should turn his keys in? But this game will be big for Ash and the team. Either they all bounce back or we are in for another long season.
  4. Stats of Offenses AGAINST Texas for 2012 Wyoming Points scored – 17 Total Yards – 345 Pass – 276 yards, 2 TD’s, 2 INT’s Rush – 69 yards 3rd down efficiency – 1/11 4th down efficiency – 2/3 Notable Player Performances: WR Robert Herron – 176 yards receiving, 2 TD’s New Mexico Points scored – 0 Total Yards – 241 Pass – 35 Rush – 206 3rd down efficiency – 6/15 4th down efficiency – 0/1 Notable player performances: None. Ole Miss Points scored – 31 Total Yards - 399 Pass – 229, 1 TD Rush – 170, 2 TD 3rd down efficiency – 4/12 4th down efficiency – 1/2 Notable player performances: WR Donte Moncrief – 144 yards receiving, 1 TD RB Jeff Scott – 8 carries, 95 yards, 1 TD Oklahoma State Points scored – 36 Total Yards - 576 Pass – 301 Rush – 275 3rd down efficiency – 6/13 4th down efficiency – 1/1 Notable player performances: RB Joseph Randle – 25 carries, 199 yards, 2 TD’s West Virginia Points scored – 48 Total Yards - 460 Pass – 268 Rush – 192 3rd down efficiency – 3/12 4th down efficiency – 5/5 Notable player performances: RB Andrew Buie – 31 carries, 207 yards, 2 TD’s Oklahoma Points scored – 63 Total Yards - 677 Pass – 334 Rush – 343 3rd down efficiency – 11/18 4th down efficiency – 1/1 Notable player performances: RB Damien Williams – 22 carries, 167 yards, 1 TD Stopping The Opposing Rushers Is Key Over the last 4 games (not including Wyoming & New Mexico) the leading rusher from opposing teams is averaging 167 yards on the ground. Not the team, but the leading rusher. For the entire season, teams are averaging about 210 yards on the ground, per game. Take out Wyoming’s measly 69 yards and that average jumps to 237 rushing yard per game. Unbelievable and unacceptable. In retrospect, a team we all think has some of the best running backs in the NCAA, Texas, is averaging 186 rushing yards per game. Texas is being out rushed... I wanted to focus on the rushing yards, specifically, because the Big 12 is known more as a passing league, and half the offenses that UT has played so far are strong passing teams so those teams will get yards and points through the air. But stopping the run has always been a strength of Texas in the past and is key to slowing down or even shutting down opposing offenses. And that isn't happening. At the end of the day, the Longhorns have continued to let opposing players have big days and have not played up to any standard they should be playing at. Saying the defense still has major problems is an understatement. A big change is a must.
  5. I think the Longhorns win too. I think it's close til some point in the third quarter when Texas goes up by a couple of scores and hold the lead the rest of the game.
  6. Here are 5 things I’m interested in most for this game. (No particular order). 1. Defensive Line: If OU wins this game it could have a lot to do with the defensive line not getting to Landry Jones. But I doubt that will be a problem. Last week the big boys up front on defense did a great job getting pressure on Geno Smith by sacking him, pressuring him, and even causing him to turn the ball over via fumbles. Factor in the fact that OU’s offensive line has been a work in progress (sound familiar?) and that fact that Landry Jones is not nearly the running threat that Geno was and you have yourself a recipe for another big day from Okafor, Jeffcoat and crew. Sure, Stoops has also been preparing for this as well but Diaz is one of the best in college football when it comes to adjustments and he should do well finding creative ways to rush Jones all day. 2. The injuries: As of now Malcolm Brown and Jordan Hicks are both listed as “questionableâ€. Honestly I doubt if either play. If they don’t play then that means the reserves will have to step up again this week. This should be highlighted because a few of the players who could fill in for these two starters are freshmen and this game can easily give freshmen jitters. This is the freaking Texas/OU game we’re talking about. The game that sometimes sways recruits decisions by itself. So the younger players being nervous and anxious more so than any other game on the schedule is almost expected. At running back freshmen Jonathan Gray and Daje Johnson will be called upon to pick up some of the carries left by Brown. And at linebacker Dalton Santos could see some playing time. Heck, even Demarco Cobbs, Kendall Thompson and Steve Edmond are all rookies for as far as this game goes. These players filled in pretty well last week but I’ll be watching to see how well all these players react and play in one of the craziest college football atmospheres for their first or second times. 3. David Ash: We all, unfortunately, know what happened in last years Texas/OU game and how Ash performed. For those who need a refresher, he completed just 11 of 20 passes, for a whopping 107 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 terrible interceptions. But this is a new season with a much-improved David Ash who is not only playing very well but also emerging as the leader of the offense. If Texas wants to win then he will need to play just as he has all season. Avoiding turnovers, making throws when he needs to, and even carry the team if the run game stalls out, for whatever reasons. Playing West Virginia on your home field was one thing. But going back to a hostile environment against your biggest rival where you didn’t play well and trying to win that game is a completely different task. I’m still confident in Ash, and Harsin for that matter, as this offense continues to call games well and move the chains. But this is another big test for Ash and another opportunity to prove he is the right guy to lead the offense and the team. 4. Offensive Line: I continue to get disappointed after each game with the offensive line play, specifically with their run blocking. They actually have done well giving Ash time to make throws. But with so much talent in the backfield, the offensive line continues to struggle with opening up holes and creating running lanes for the ball carriers. And unfortunately OU’s defensive front is much stronger and better than WVU’s. This game will be all about time of possession, ball control, and moving the chains. If this offensive line requires extra tackles or tight ends to help block then that could really limit what Harsin will want to do. And for the love of God, Espinosa, please do not snap the ball early again… That’s the last thing the Longhorns need in this Saturday. 5. Secondary: How could I not bring up the secondary? The same problems that plagued them in week 1 are still problems that haven’t been fixed, and it’s almost half way through the season (already? This is flying by). I think inserting Mykelle Thompson into the starting lineup will help as he adds solid tackling and doesn’t shy away from getting physical. But as I pointed out earlier, sometimes this game can get to guys mentally who haven’t played significantly in it before, and Thompson fits that criteria. But at this point I’d much rather have Thompson starting than Adrian Phillips. Regardless, I still can’t put my finger on exactly what is wrong with this secondary other than they are still not playing with discipline and the basic fundamentals of tackling and pursuit angles. Maybe this is just the game to finally turn things around. Either way, avoiding the big plays in this game is huge. The problem is the secondary, and the defense for that matter, have given up multiple big plays in each game this season… That can’t happen in Dallas. And you better believe Mack and Manny will have them fired up more so than anytime this season. Bonus Notes* Fera: Last week we got to see the Longhorns starting kicker who transferred from Penn State. This kid has a great leg and drilled a 38-yard field goal. But later in the game Fera missed a potential game tying field goal from 41 yards out, against a great opponent, when Texas really needed the points, in front of a packed stadium, in a prime time game. Look I didn’t see Fera kick much last season, and I was very excited for the Longhorns to snag him away from Penn State because he has a great leg and has won multiple awards in college. But all I’m saying is that I hope he got over his miss last week and comes to Dallas mentally ready for what he may be called upon to do, or should I say to kick. He too has never played in this game and will only know what it’s truly like when he steps into the stadium and onto the field. Last weekend’s game was tough to stomach. Texas had multiple chances to take the lead late in the game and come out of the prime-time match up with a win. But a botched snap, a missed field, and a poor defensive effort on WVU’s last drive contributed to the 3 point lost to the Mountaineers. Texas should already be over this loss and geared up for the game in Dallas on Saturday. Both these teams have 1 loss, respectively, to strong Big 12 opponents. Both of these teams have question marks floating around their depth chart. And both these teams want nothing more than to answer the questions marks and show the nation that they are the real deal and are still strong teams in this conference. With all of that said, I still feel good about the Longhorns this weekend. The fact that they were even able to compete with West Virginia shows you how far they have come from the past two seasons, and I like where they are headed. This game is like no other game on the schedule and but coming out of this game with a “W†would be a big step in improvement for the Longhorns. One of the biggest factors to watch for is how the freshman and inexperienced players perform this Saturday in the Cotton Bowl. Watching this game is one thing. Attending this game is another. But actually playing in it is something only the players who stepped onto that field can truly understand. And the mental strength of this team will be just as important as the physical strength of this team this weekend. I do not want to Longhorns playing to avoid a loss. Rather, as Herm Edwards once diligently said, “You play to win the game… HELLO!†And that’s exactly what I want to see from the Longhorns: Playing to steamroll the Sooners. Hook’em The game on Saturday will be played in Dallas, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:00 A.M. (CT) Notable Injuries: LB Jordan Hicks (Questionable), RB Malcolm Brown (Questionable) Join in on the conversation. What will you be looking for? Twitter: @WesKCrochet E-mail: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  7. Reports have been confirmed that the NCAA is investigating Myck Kabongo and a relationship with Lebron James' own agent, Rich Paul. Yahoo broke it first and here is the article. NCAA investigating relationship between LeBron James' agent and Texas guard Myck Kabongo - Yahoo! Sports To sum up the article Myck worked out with Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph, both represented by Paul, in Cleveland. The issue in question is if Rich Paul paid for Kabongo's transportation to and from Cleveland. That's mainly what the investigation is currently centered around. I talked to a source very close to Myck Kabongo and he said Myck claims "he's good" and should have nothing to worry about. Hopefully that's actually true and this gets settled soon because I'm excited to see the UT basketball team this season. It's 5 O'clock somewhere and OU still sucks...
  8. This game was tough to walk away from because Texas had many chances to win it. They are a talented team but they are making mistakes that are very uncharacteristic of Texas teams in the past and should not be happening with the talent that is on this team, especially on defense. Though I knew the outcome of the game, as I re-watched it I still cringed at the mistakes made and even found myself yelling at the TV from time to time because this team can be very, very good, but they need to put it all together. 1. David Ash: What was once a mystery before the season started, the quarterback position is now a strength of the Longhorn team. Ash didn’t put up ridiculous numbers this week (passing for 269 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions), but he didn’t do anything that cost Texas the game or put them in bad situations (the botched shotgun snap at the end of the game wasn’t his fault. The snap came too early. And Mack should have called a timeout with the clock running down that low at that point in the game). Nevertheless, he made the completions when he needed to, led the Longhorns on another late drive, and managed the offense well. I like the touch on most of his passes, though he can still improve his accuracy. But he is coming into his own and developing into the leader and playmaker the Longhorns need at the quarterback position. 2. Offensive Line: This offensive line is a funny unit. Funny not in a comical sense but in the fact that they are a very strange group to define and understand. They do well in pass protection, for the most part, but they still are very inconsistent in run blocking and often get little to no push against opposing defensive lines. And statistically it showed. Yardage wise, Jonathan Gray was the leading rusher with 87 yards. Second to him, Joe Bergeron ended the day with just 45 yards on the ground (though he had 4 goal line touchdowns as well). But because holes were either non-existent or more of creases in the line, the bigger Bergeron had a harder time getting into the second level, while Gray was able to slip through some of the creases and get up field. It’s frustrating to watch because not only does the lack of run blocking take away from the talent of the running backs, but it also hinders the offense from being able to open up the playbook more and keep the opposing defense guessing. And on top of that, it put Texas in many 3rd and longs, which is never a good thing. This needs to be improved upon but the problem is I’m not sure this group can improve upon this… 3. Defensive Line: Like the offensive line, this group also had its ups and downs. I loved all the pressure and containment that the defensive line had on passing plays all night. They sacked Geno Smith multiple times, caused big time turnovers, and were getting past the offensive linemen in passing situations. But as good as they were on passing plays, they were terrible on running plays. The team thought to be inferior in the running game actually dominated on the ground all evening. West Virginia’s Andrew Buie rushed 31 times for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. And for the second straight week, an opposing running back had a big day (recall last week when OSU’s Joseph Randle rushed 25 times for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns). Worse damage comes when teams run the ball out of the shotgun. For whatever reason, when the ball is run out of the shotgun and the defensive line is a bit more spread out, they do a terrible job of shedding their blocks and getting to the running back as he makes his way through the running lane. They do, however, seem to play better when the ball is run out of a more pro style attack. Traditionally, Texas is very good against the run so hopefully Mack and his staff can figure out exactly what is going on and make the changes before the big game this Saturday in Dallas. 4. Secondary: A lot was riding on the secondary this past weekend if Texas wanted to win, and they simply didn’t get it done. Give credit to the Mountaineers’ receivers, especially Bailey and Austin. But the Longhorns are better than this, and this subpar play is already getting old real fast. As far as coverage goes, Quandre Diggs is currently the best Texas has, and I like what I’ve seen out of him for the most part. I noticed WVU seemed to avoid throwing to his side much. I also liked Mykkele Thompson’s play. He was physical and if he wasn’t making the tackle he was close by. He also did well in coverage, especially for starting his first game. But I’ve been really disappointed with Adrian Phillips, Carrington Byndom, and even Kenny Vaccaro. I may be nit picking with Vaccaro some, but he isn’t playing at an All-American level. I’m not high on his coverage ability, and he could even improve his tackling. I do like that Diaz has him playing close to the line. That’s where he plays the best. As for Byndom, his coverage ability this year has seemed to digress some. But the worst part of his play has been the pursuit angles he is taking when he is going to tackle someone. I can think of a handful of plays where he is getting into position to make a tackle but then over-pursues or takes a bad angle and misses the chance to even tackle the player. Last year he played very well so I know he is capable of being better, but, like much of the secondary, his play has digressed this season so far, largely due to a lack of discipline. And for Phillips… he gets his own thought. 5. Adrian Phillips: I’ll be the first to admit I was very high on Phillips at the end of last season. I thought he would really be an impact player at the back end of the defense and be an exciting player to watch this fall… Right now I can’t stand seeing him on the field. He continues to make bad play after bad play. He looks lost. He has terrible tackling technique. His coverage ability has really been subpar. And he has turned into a liability in the secondary. Unless he makes some big improvements in his play, Mykkele Thompson should have no trouble remaining the starter above Phillips for the rest of the season. Phillips has just been disappointing, like much of the secondary… 6. Emerging Defensive Playmakers: As frustrating as the defense was, two guys really stood out to me: sophomore middle linebacker Steve Edmond and freshman nose tackle Malcolm Brown. With Hicks out, Edmond was forced to take over much of the leadership on defense and did very well with it. He and Malcolm both played well at their positions, made tackles, applied pressure, and looked like they will be very, very good players for UT. 7. 5/5: On fourth downs, West Virginia was five for five. Giving up a stat like that alone can lose you games; just ask Oklahoma State who Texas had success on fourth down plays against. Failing to stop these conversions was a large reason Texas lost Saturday night. Ironically, the Longhorns were great on third downs, as WVU was just 3 of 12. But 5 chances to get WVU off the field were blown by the Longhorns’ inability to stop the Mountaineers on fourth down, and that cannot happen in Dallas this next Saturday. 8. Special Teams: First, the kick coverage was terrible to start the game, and it forced Texas to kick sky balls and squib kicks the rest of the night. I’m fed up with the inability to tackle across the entire team. Texas is too talented of a team to be missing tackles this frequently and consistently. The special teams unit was successful at blocking another field goal and punt, and it’s great to see that aspect back as a strength for UT. 9. Anthony Fera: We finally got to see Fera play this season after he had been out with a groin injury. He was 6 of 6 on extra points, but was 1 of 2 on field goals; his only made field goal was from 38 yards and looked good. There’s no denying his kick at the end of the game was a key mistake, as it would have tied up the game, but that kick alone did not lose the game for Texas and that’s very important to remember. Hopefully his confidence didn’t take a huge hit because, once again, he will be called upon to kick well in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. 10. Missed Opportunities: There were two key drops by D.J. Grant and Joe Bergeron, a botched snap, a missed field goal, and a turnover that all halted drives, cost the Longhorn’s points, and/or gave the ball back to the Mountaineers. The most frustrating aspect of this game is that Texas had a legitimate chance to walk away with a win, but they just couldn’t put it all together when it counted, especially late in the fourth quarter. West Virginia has a great offense, led by Heisman candidate Geno Smith. They are fast, they are explosive, and they don’t make many mistakes. But the Mountaineers are beatable, and that’s what is most frustrating about this loss. Texas had a chance to get the “Wâ€, but they simply made too many mistakes at the end of the game that cost them the win. But I still feel good about this team, and you shouldn’t count them out or lose hope after this loss. This is still a young group and many of the players are continuing to emerge and develop. Many of the playmakers on offense like Ash, Brown, Bergeron, Johnson, Gray, and Shipley are all sophomores or freshman. And there are players all across the defense, like Diggs, Edmond, Brown, and Thompson, to name a few, who are also still young as well. Even though there is still much this team can improve on, they are headed in the right direction and are much more improved at this point this year than they were last year. It was a tough loss, but the fact that Texas has a chance to win is something to walk away with. Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  9. All week I’ve been trying to play out in my head how I think the game will go this Saturday at DKR. But each time I run through the game I come up with a completely different outcome. And that’s what makes this game so interesting. We know the general identity of both teams, but how they respond to the match ups on both sides of the ball is what’s hard to predict. West Virginia has a high-powered offense, led by Geno Smith, that attacks with its passing game first and its running game second. The Mountaineers are averaging 441.5 passing yards per game (best in the nation) and 157 rushing yards per game. The offense is fast and explosive and can score a lot of points in a hurry. The Mountaineers defense is their weakest part of the team and has given up a total of 130 points this season, which ranks them 96 nationally. Texas is more balanced across the board, though. The longhorns are averaging 267.8 passing yards and 228 rushing yards per game. With the emergence of David Ash at QB the longhorns can score in a number of ways. Add that to the fact that West Virginia's defense is one of the weaker units in the Big 12 and that give you a match up that offensive coordinator Brian Harsin will be drooling over. Here are 5 things I’m interested in most for this game. (No particular order). 1. Secondary: A unit once thought to be one of the best in the nation has not played up to expectations. This group can still make a name for themselves on a national level but it has to start this Saturday. Big plays and missed tackles have plagued the secondary so far this season. I still think they are very talented and have the potential to be one of the best units but they have become to reliant on talent and have not played with the necessary discipline, fundamentals, and effort they are capable of. The outcome of the game will rely largely on how this group plays. 2. Geno Smith: This high-powered offense that the Mountaineers are bringing to Austin has all kinds of explosive players across the depth chart. But it all starts with Geno Smith. In addition to the secondary playing well the studs at defensive end and the linebackers for the Horns will need to get good pressure on Geno Smith and prevent him from breaking off a lot big runs out of the pocket. Some big gains may be inevitable, but the number of big runs will need to be controlled. 3. Running Backs: When I heard that Malcolm Brown was out I immediately thought back to the Missouri game last year. But luckily this is a different scenario. The longhorns have the luxury of having a stable of running backs who can all run the ball effectively. Before the season I said that there will be a few games where Jonathan Gray will be called upon to carry a bigger load than normal. This will be that game. Bergeron will get his carries but the ability to insert different running backs into the game who have different running styles will be very important. Running the ball effectively and controlling the clock will be huge Saturday night. 4. Offensive Line: A work in progress, the offensive line has had its ups and downs. But this game will be about scoring points and it will start with the offensive line opening up running lanes and pass protecting well for Ash. I actually think the offensive line could have their best game of the season. They haven’t been all that consistent but my gut is telling me they put it together for this game… Optimistic? Ya. 5. Anthony Fera: For the first time all season we should get a chance to see high touted kicker Anthony Fera play. And it couldn’t come soon enough. The Longhorns will need to get points on every drive, whether it be by touchdown or field goal. And the latter is where Fera will play a big role. Neither of the current kickers Texas has been using have been very reliable so having Fera will be a luxury. Granted, we haven’t seem him kick in a game yet, but he has to be better than what we’ve had so far. I could see this game being a shoot out… But I could also see this game being lower scoring than people may think. Either way I expect a great game and good football. A few players will need to step up for the Longhorns, especially the linebackers, if they want to pull out a win. Jordan Hicks is out and you know the WVU offense will exploit the reserve linebackers and test their ability, as well as the tackling/coverage ability of the secondary. At the same time the Texas offense could exploit the entire West Virginia defense. Hook’em The game on Saturday will be played in Austin, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 (CT) P.M. Notable Injuries: LB Jordan Hicks (out), RB Malcolm Brown (out), Anthony Fera (Questionable), Brandon Moore (probable). Join in on the conversation. What will you be looking for? Twitter: @WesKCrochet E-mail: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  10. How many yards does Geno throw for? - 334 How many rushing yards does Texas gain? - 238 How does David Ash perform? 3 TD's, 0 int's, 272 yds. Score prediction? Texas 45, WVU 42
  11. great interview, like Aaron said, you represented longhorn fans and horn sports well my man. great job
  12. With Malcolm Brown now OUT for the WVU game, what can we expect from the Longhorn's offense? I think Gray, Bergeron, Monroe, Hills, and Johnson can handle the load just fine. Not saying Brown isn't important but the depth at that position is great.
  13. After weeks for poor tackling, Mack Brown may be shuffling up his defensive lineup in preparation for the game Saturday when the Longhorns take on arguably the best offense in the Big 12, and maybe the nation. Shuffle the deck? Mack Brown says UT The biggest change could come at free safety as Adrian Phillips is in a three way roster battle between Mykkele Thompson and Josh Turner. Realistically all three of those guys will most likely see a ton of playing time this week against WVU's spread attack. With so much speed coming from the Mountaineers, Texas will need to put as much speed into the secondary as possible. But what could change is where guys are lined up and who will be playing the deep safety positions/shallow safety/slot. This depth chart shake up will be something to monitor though. No word on Hicks, Moore yet.
  14. For the second straight week, I walked away from the Texas game impressed by the offense and very, very confused by the defense. Each game continues to reveal more and more about this team, both good and bad. Regardless, the Longhorns have made it through their first four games without a loss and are currently 4-0 and ranked 11th in the AP poll. Pretty good and about where everyone thought they could be at this point in the season. But what many didn’t expect is exactly what this team would look like at this point in the season. Below are my 10 thoughts on the game and details on the current identity of the Longhorn football team. 1. David Ash: Ash was coming off a 326-yard, 4 touchdown performance at Ole Miss where some fans thought he had arrived, while others thought the stats portrayed a better performance than what Ash actually had (underthrown balls). This past Saturday, Ash completed 30 of 37 attempts for 308 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He looked sharp and accurate for most of the game and actually carried the team when the running game stalled out. He did, however, throw his first interception. It came on a play where the Cowboys ran a zone blitz and dropped one of their defensive ends. Ash didn’t recognize that the defensive end had dropped and simply didn’t see him backing into coverage as he released the ball. Bad read, bad throw, but I love how he moved on from the mistake. Ash also showed he can take his team down the field for a score in a 2-minute drill for a game winning drive. Yes, I just said “his team”. With every great performance, Ash continues to assert himself as the leader of the offense and the team. *However, I think it should be noted that Ash wasn’t under all that much heat during the game. It is much easier for a quarterback to play well when he has time in the pocket to make reads. I’m still curious to see if Ash can stay composed in the pocket and continue to make the right reads when he gets significant more pressure during games…like against OU. 2. Joseph Randle Gone Wild: This entire season the Longhorn defense has tended to let one player on the opposing team have a monster day. This week it was running back Joseph Randle, who ran for 199 yards and scored 2 touchdowns on 25 carries. I’ve re-watched Joseph Randle’s first touchdown run over and over. We all know Vaccaro completely whiffed on his attempt (if you call that an attempt) to tackle Randle, but give credit to Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator for this entire play design. They ran the same play later in the game and got about 25 yards on the run, and Randle almost broke it open again for a score. What’s concerning is what happened in the trenches for Texas. First, both runs were towards Jackson Jeffcoat’s side. On both plays, Jeffcoat shot up field as if to get past the left tackle. By doing this, he took himself completely out of the play and helped open up the large running lanes on the left side of the line. He is too talented to make simple mistakes like that. Secondly, on both plays the defensive linemen and linebackers did terrible jobs of releasing from their blocks, leaving the lane wide open for Randle to waltz through. If I were OSU’s offensive coordinator, I would have run that play at least 3-4 more times that game. 3. Tackling Drills For The Secondary: A weakness in the secondary, which was thought to be one of the best units in the nation, has been exposed…their inability to tackle. Whether it’s over-pursuing, not wrapping up, and/or mistiming hits, this group struggles with tackling in the open field, and it continues to lead to big plays. Quandre Diggs was the best tackler on Saturday and seems to tackle well. I’m also not worried about Vaccaro either. Sure he got juked out of his jock strap on the Randle run, but he was solid the rest of the game and is normally a great tackler. Byndom, Phillips, and even Josh Turner really concern me. I had high praise for Phillips at the end of last year, during the off-season, and at the beginning of this season, but he seems to shy away from being as physical and disciplined as he should be. As a matter of fact, the entire secondary is not playing with enough discipline and effort. It’s as if they are relying on their talent to play defense instead of playing smart and remembering the fundamentals as well. This group will need to get their act together this week if they want to help their team get some big wins coming up against better opponents. 4. Linebackers: Jordan Hicks was out this game and unfortunately we aren’t too sure when he will return. But overall I liked what the linebackers did, especially Steve Edmond and Dalton Santos. I was really impressed with Santos since he is a true freshman. He made good reads, was disciplined, and had some good tackles. The other reserve who got some playing time, Kendall Thompson, had a slow start to the game and made a couple of bad reads but started to play better as the game went on. He has great speed to add and good strength. Once he adjusts to game speed he will be a great linebacker for Texas. But there’s one player who hasn’t made quite the impact this season that I had hoped and that’s Demarco Cobbs. He made some bad reads on the plays he was in for and often got pushed around by opposing blockers. He is the fastest out of the group, but he lacks the strength to win many battles against bigger linemen. He will need to read plays better and get a jump on blockers if he wants to be more of a factor against the run. His speed will help on passing plays though, so he could be on the field a bunch against WVU. 5. Offensive Line: David Ash had a big night but much of that was because the offensive line did a great job in pass protection. They have done a good job with pass protection the past two weeks. *Granted, they didn’t see all that many blitzes Saturday night. And like I said with Ash, I’m very curious to see if the passing game holds up once teams start blitzing more. But as good as the O-line was in the passing game, they were not good with the running game. Other than opening up creases for Jonathan Gray to squeeze through, they really did a terrible job getting a push off the line of scrimmage. This concerns me because if the Longhorns want to have a shot at beating WVU they will need to control the clock and possessions by effectively running the ball and running time off the clock to slow down the Mountaineer’s high-octane offense. The talent at running back gets neutralized if there aren’t holes, or at least creases, for the backs to run through. This line is still a work in progress. 6. D.J. Monroe: It took him up until his senior year to break out, but Monroe has finally established himself as the playmaker we had all hoped he could be. He’s taking back kicks for touchdowns, ripping off huge reverses, and is the impact player that can completely change an entire game’s outcome off of his one or two plays. I love the fact that he is running with more physicality, and kudos to Harsin for putting him in positions to make plays. 7. Shipley/Davis/Goodwin: Wow did these guys make some big time plays and catches (other than Davis’ one touchdown drop…) all game long. Shipley is a beast. Simple as that. He caught 5 balls for 82 yards and 3 scores. I’d really like to see his reception total get closer to the 8-10 range per game. Complimenting Shipley’s play, Mike Davis had 4 receptions for 49 yards and Goodwin had 6 receptions for 28 yards. Though neither scored, both made big time catches that moved the chains and kept drives alive. This unit has been pretty good all season long. 8. Ryan Roberson: Known more for his blocking, Ryan Roberson had 4 receptions for 23 yards as he caught passes out of the backfield. With the lack of tight end involvement in the offense, it’s positive seeing a fullback get involved in the passing game. Don’t be surprised if he shows up again in the box score in some fashion. 9. D.J. Grant: Though it was only one catch, D.J. Grant made one of the biggest catches of the evening. His 29-yard reception over the middle kept the Longhorns’ last scoring drive alive. I’d still like to see him get more involved in the offense. Having a tight end who could catch passes would add even another element to this offense, and I can’t quite figure out exactly why the tight end position hasn’t been used more in the passing game. 10. Random thought: I don’t know much about him, but Oklahoma State’s fullback Kye Staley, number 9 on offense, was laying down some nasty blocks against the Horns all night. For those of you who watched Hardknocks with the Jets, he reminded me of the “Terminator” a.k.a. John Connor. He’s one scary dude. This was a big win for Texas. It was against an opponent who has had their number the past couple of years, in a hostile, away environment, against a team that has some good talent. David Ash came up big all game and even answered questions on whether he could lead a game winning drive. He threw his first interception earlier in the game but shook it off and took the Longhorns down the field for a winning drive. The defense had its issues but the mistakes they are making are fixable, they just need to do it already. West Virginia is on a whole different level than Oklahoma State and if Texas wants to have any chance of competing against the Mountaineers, they will need to get back on track in the running game, become more disciplined on defense, and fix their tackling issues. Geno Smith is playing out of his mind right now, and even if he and his offense play half as well this weekend as they did this past Saturday, they will still score 35 points… Wow. Texas vs. WVU is set to kickoff at 6P.M. Central Time at DKR Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  15. Adrian Phillips does not know how to tackle.
  16. Ash is rolling! love seeing Shipley getting involved early.
  17. There's the play making defense this unit can be. Vaccaro making up for losing his jock strap earlier.
  18. BIG TIME PASS! great throw and accuracy. I like it
  19. Looked like freshman Dalton Santos was starting for Jordan Hicks
  20. so this defense is still susceptible to big plays...
  21. So Lunt isn't playing. Back up QB J.W. Walsh will be in control of the Oklahoma State offense tonight
  22. I havent been this excited for a UT game in a loonnnngggg time
  23. I'm watching the WVU, Baylor game right now. And I want to add that we have yet to see this Longhorn team really deal with being down for much of the game. A big question is if the Longhorns get down by 2 scores to a team with an explosive offense, like WVU or like Oklahoma State, can they make the plays, particularly in the passing game, to come back? As of right now I'm not confident with Ash and the team in that aspect. Yet. But he continues to improve and that's something to watch for as well.

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