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  1. We all feared Texas would wake up Saturday morning sluggish and play a bad game… That fear turned into reality last Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas. The longhorns escape Kansas with a win but it was an ugly one to say the least. These are in no particular order. 1. The Worst Win: Even though Texas squeaked out a win there is still a lot of negative talk from the game. How weird is that? A win creates negative buzz around a program. But in my opinion it’s really not weird at all. In fact, I wouldn’t expect anything less and nor should you. Texas is one of the best, if not the best, coaching jobs in the nation. Texas is expected to have one of the best football programs in the nation as well. And when expectations aren’t met then naturally negative buzz will surround the program. I have no problem with negative buzz if it’s reasonable and realistic in meaning. I try to avoid letting emotions speak for me (though it happens to all of us at times) right after games have ended. But it’s now almost 3 days after the game has ended and I still am not happy about this win. Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved Texas won. But it’s the way the team won and what they had to do to get the win. This game was against the absolute worst team in the Big 12 and Texas needed a McCoy to save the day once again on the last drive of the game. The Longhorns should never have been anywhere close to that situation in Lawrence. But realistically that is where the program is now. Which is why there is so much negative buzz surrounding the program. I’m finding more irony in this season than in seasons past. I don’t think that’s a good thing… But in a season where Texas had arguably their worse loss ever that anyone can remember (against OU), the Longhorns may have also had their worst win ever against Kansas (fellow Hornsports contributor, Justin Wells said the later part first). That’s deflating to take in and think about. 2. Is the QB controversy back?: Poor Case… Can you imagine what it must feel like for him? After being called upon to lift Texas past its rival to the East, Texas A&M, Case McCoy once again led Texas to another victory late in the game once Ash got benched. In half as many passing attempts that Ash had, McCoy threw for more yards, scored the only passing touchdown of the game, and avoided any turnovers. On the day, Case McCoy was 5/7 for 68 yards and 1 touchdown. In almost 3 ½ quarters, David Ash was 8/16 for 63 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 ugly interceptions. So based on this game, is it fair to say the QB controversy is back? According to Mack, not just yet. David Ash is the starter for next week’s game in Lubbock. But McCoy could be called upon at any moment if Ash falls into a funk again. If you ask me, I too think David Ash should still be the starter. I’ll admit that right before Case McCoy led the team to the game winning drive I tweeted something along the lines that read that Ash should still be in the game because McCoy doesn’t add any throwing advantages over Ash. Well McCoy must have read my tweet because he marched the team down the field for the win. And I’m happy for him that he was successful. But I’m sticking by my tweet. Case McCoy does not have a better arm than Ash. And you can’t argue that one bit. But what I failed to touch on was that Case McCoy is a McCoy. On the field he has some of the personality, mentality, and leadership that his older brother Colt exuberated during games. And in a tough situation towards the end of games Case has shown that he is mentally and emotionally capable of leading a team to a score in crunch time. But I don’t think Case can make the variety of throws consistently and with enough strength needed to truly open up the playbook like Ash can. Ash bounced back well from the OU game with a solid performance against Baylor. It will be very interesting to see if he can bounce back again, but this time after being benched and having to watch his own competition take the team down for two game winning drives. 3. Running Game, Led By Gray: I hope everyone realizes what a luxury it is to have Jonathan Gray this season. Without Gray’s 111 yards off his 18 carries Texas would have almost certainly lost this game. Gray ran with consistency and a strong determination each time he got the ball, which was very refreshing to watch. He continues to get better each and every game as he fills in for the injured Malcolm Brown. But having Gray is important for games that Joe Bergeron simply can’t get it going, like this past Saturday. Though Bergeron rumbled into the end zone for the Longhorns’ first touchdown, he was bottled up for most of the game. Running for just 32 yards on 7 carries, Joey B failed to have a run longer than 4 yards until his last run, which was 17 yards, with over 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. And one of his rushing attempts was a failed 4th down conversion at the goal line that cost Texas another scoring drive (embarrassing…). Bergeron is simply a power back, and there will be games where he will dominate defenses and games where he will get bottled up. He’s a great weapon to have. But as we all saw last Saturday, there are some games that will call upon different running styles from other backs than what Bergeron has to offer. 4. Shipley/Davis: The two starting receivers both had solid games, and for the first time in a few weeks Jaxon Shipley was more involved in the offense and saw more passes come his way. Though neither scored a touchdown, the duo combined for 125 of the 131 receiving yards and caught 10 of the 13 receptions from the game. Shipley led in both receptions (6) and yards (66), while Mike Davis was second in receptions (4) and yards (59). But regardless of who had more yards or receptions both of these players ran solid routes, had nice receptions, and played well. I touched on this before the season started in my position preview, but I still think these two could be considered as 1A (Shipley) and 1B (Davis), as far as receiving options on the team. Despite the shaky QB play, they played well and had decent games with what they were given. 5. Offensive Playmakers: I still don’t understand why D.J. Monroe, Marquis Goodwin, and Daje Johnson aren’t getting the ball more. This trio combined for 4 touches ALL GAME, with Goodwin leading that category again with 2. And guess what, when Goodwin touched the ball on his only 2 rushing attempts he ripped off a 41 yard run and an 11 yard touchdown run. These three players are too fast and explosive to not get more touches. Also, I know it could be hard to do mid way through the season but I’d really wish Texas would give Goodwin a shot at getting carries lined up as running back in the backfield rather than only on reverses. Maybe he’s gotten a shot at it in practice and it didn’t work out, but he seems to see the field well when he’s running. And as far as I can tell, he’d add another dimension to the offense taking carries out of the backfield. 6. Texas Miscues & Team Comparisons: As bad as Texas played, I’m amazed they were able to win this game because Kansas also played a pretty good game. The Jayhawks were decent on 3rd downs, moving the chains 7 out of 15 attempts, and converting 1 of their 2 4th down attempts. They had 1 penalty all game, which was a 5-yard ‘delay of game’ flag. They were able to win the turnover ratio, by losing 1 fumble to Texas’ 2 interceptions, and controlled the clock a little over 5 minutes longer than the Longhorns did. Compare this to the Longhorns miserable 4-12 3rd conversion rate, their 1-2 4th down conversion rate (the failed conversion was a 1 yard loss at the goal line by Joe Bergeron), the 2 interceptions, and the Horn’s 5 penalties for 65 yards and it really is amazing Texas was able to escape with a Win. Give credit to Kansas for hanging in there until the very end. But this was an embarrassing game for Texas… and it was a win… 7. Another Game, Another Bad Performance: I’m almost getting tired of mentioning this after each week. But the Longhorns failed to stop the run, again. The Jayhawks leading rusher, James Sims, ran for the most yards (176) and his personal best average YPC (6.3) of the season this past Saturday. That’s embarrassing. In total, the Jayhawks racked up 234 yards on the ground and scored 2 rushing touchdowns. The Texas defense is plain bad. Which is very disappointing. Coming into the season everyone was talking about all the talent on this side of the ball that was supposedly going to be the strength of the team. But week after week after week the defense continues to look lost and struggle to stop the ground game. Diaz has got to go. 8. What’s Changed?: I would love to sit down and talk to Duane Akina. The defensive backs coach has been with Texas for 12 seasons and has been the position coach who has had countless defensive backs of his not only play well for UT, but go onto the NFL to give the school the name “DB Uâ€. Which is why I’d love to sit down and Ask Duane Akina a few questions. Questions like, “What is different about the defensive players this year compared to years when UT had one of the nations best defenses?†or “Why have the defensive backs had so much trouble tackling and so much confusion in coverage?†or “What are your thoughts on Manny Diaz’s schemes compared to past defensive coordinators you have worked with?†or even, “Does Manny Diaz focus on discipline and fundamentals as much as he should?†I’m sure there are countless questions you and I could think to ask Akina. He’s been the one guy who has been here under all of the recent defensive coordinators. He was even a coordinator for a year at Texas, though he’s a much better secondary coach… The secondary has had its problems this season but I’m not all convinced he is the one to blame. I still think Diaz’s schemes, coaching, and play calling are the main problem the defense is playing confused, inconsistent, and without discipline. 9. Bad Mentality: I’m sick of the way the team talks after games. Everyone on the team talks as if the poor game they played wasn’t a big deal. They talk as if they know they can win the rest of the games this season like it isn’t a big deal. There’s a difference between being lackadaisical and ignorant, and being confident with a killer instinct when talking about winning games. Nick Saban and Will Muschamp are two examples of coaches who say they expect to win but say it with a realistic confidence and a killer instinct. They also aren’t afraid to admit their weaknesses and where they need to improve. But the Texas players and coaches, led by Mack Brown, have this defensive, stubborn vibe to them this season that really rubs me the wrong way. It’s as if they have set the bar low for themselves and in their eyes are accomplishing just as much, if not more, than what they were expecting this season. And I think that’s one reason why so many people have been calling for Mack’s job. The fact that he and the team have said “it is what it is†and that they will figure out “who their true friends are†has left me, and many fans, confused and frustrated. Saying things like that translates to “we know we aren’t that good, but we accept that and are going keep being mediocre. So either support our mediocre play or hit the road.†There is something different about the way Coach Brown and the team talks to the media and fans this year. They have a weird, defensive, stubborn mentality that hasn’t necessarily been there in the past. It seems that Mack feels more pressured than ever and if it’s showing to us then you better believe it’s showing to his coaches and players, and that’s not good… 10. Josh Turner: Recovering a fumble, which was Kansas’ only turnover of the game, Turner continued to make plays and shed light into the darkness that is the Texas secondary. He played well and actually made some decent tackles too. I like what I continue to see from him and hopefully he continues to play well despite how his teammates are playing around him. Before the season started I thought that starting with this Kansas game Texas might have some relief as far as the strength of their schedule. But all of that thinking goes right out the window due to how the Longhorns are playing now. Each game will be a toss up and will depend on which Texas team shows up that day. Currently Texas is 6-2, which is a good record, but what is disappointing is the manner in which they are winning games. Many of these games shouldn’t be as close as they are and shouldn’t be as sloppy either. I still think a big change needs to be made to the coaching staff at the end of the season. But until then we can only hope to see different players step up and show why they were top recruits when they first came to the 40 Acres. Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  2. Just as many thought, the game Saturday was a shootout between two teams that are growing their young offenses while failing to fix their problems on defense. Led by Joe Bergeron’s 5 touchdowns, the Longhorns held on to beat the Baylor Bears 56-50 in a game that revealed more of the identity that this Texas team is showing; one that is very opposite of what many of us had thought before the season. These are in no particular order. 1. Joe Bergeron: I don’t feel comfortable saying that ground game is back on track because Baylor’s defense, like Texas’, has been one of the weakest in the conference. But it was reassuring to see Joey B and company have success against the bears like they were expected to. Bergeron had 19 carries for 117 yards and 5 touchdowns, just 1 shy of tying Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams’ six, which he accomplished twice in his college career. Though I would have been happy for Joey B, I found it fitting that he felt 1 shy because I have yet to see anyone at UT as good as Ricky was in the backfield. Along with Bergeron’s big day, freshmen Daje Johnson and Jonathan Gray both scored their first rushing touchdowns of the season. I said this before the season, but the strength of UT’s running game wouldn’t be displayed due to one running back taking over as the lead back, but because each of the running backs provide a different running style and brings something different to the offense. And that was very evident on Saturday night. This rushing attack will need to continue to be a strength of the team because it looks like the offense will have to carry the team to wins. 2. Jaxon Shipley, Mike Davis: For the second straight week Jaxon Shipley had only one catch the entire game. And for the second straight week Mike Davis had at least 5 catches. Some people are saying there may be something wrong with Jaxon but I’m not buying that right now. I think it’s more of a combination of defenses focusing in on Jaxon, and Ash spreading the ball around to different options. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Shipley touch the ball 5-10 times a game. (But it is what it is… just kidding.) But I don’t think his lack of production is because of a secret injury. As for Davis, he is looking like the Davis of old and I’m happy for him because he is producing. Though he can still work on avoiding drops. He’s had a bad drop every now and then that has cost the team big time yards or points. 3. David Ash: Though he didn’t have a big game, he had a good performance and a solid showing after a rough weekend in Dallas. Ash eased a lot of my nerves and concerns by passing for 274 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. Aside from the OU game, Ash has continued to provide the offense with the passing plays that can make this offense one of the strongest and most balanced in the nation. And not only does he continue to make some nice throws but he isn’t doing anything to necessarily lose the game or put the team in a tough spot by making dumb mistakes (once again, aside from the OU game). The Bears defense wasn’t anything special but the fact that he was able to bounce back and have a solid showing the entire game after falling flat on his face in Dallas is a big sign of maturity and confidence for him. 4. Offensive Line: Give credit where credit is due, the offensive line was solid Saturday night. Ash was protected well, but more importantly the O-line was able to open up holes and get a push off the line for the running backs. Whether or not they were playing against a weak Baylor defense, as a team Texas rushed for 251 yards and scored 7 touchdowns, and that could not have happened without the offensive line playing well. 5. Turnovers: The game was a shootout and the difference was six points. But this game was won largely because Baylor committed two turnovers while Texas had 0. The defense did give up a lot of yardage and points, but the turnovers they forced played big parts in the game and led to two touchdown scoring drive for the Longhorns. Texas has had its problems on both sides of the ball all year, but the turnover ratio has actually been a bit of a strength this season, which is a good improvement from the past couple of seasons. Currently the Longhorns have tossed 3 interceptions (all by Ash) and lost 3 fumbles, but have gained 4 fumbles and picked off opposing teams a total of 9 times. That’s good for a ratio of +7, which is 22nd in the nation. If you want to see who ranks ahead of Texas, here is the link: SI.com - College Football - FBS Season Statistics - Team Turnover Margin 6. Flags, Confusion: There are a few signs in football that can almost always signal that a team is lacking discipline, adequate coaching, or both. Texas had problems with both. If I counted correctly, Texas committed 5 flags that totaled 52 yards for the Bears. Of those 5 flags ALL 5 were committed by the defense (defensive holding, rouging the passer, personal foul, pass interference, & offsides). In addition to the flags there were multiple times when the defense struggled to line up correctly with the offense, had substitution issues, and/or had to look to the sideline for the play because they were confused on what exactly to run. All of these problems fall on one person and that is defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Sure the players are the ones causing the flags but Diaz is the one who should be coaching them not to. Diaz should also be the one coaching the defense to be ready for the play call, to be ready for the substitutions, and to play with discipline. I’ve been very impressed with the offense this year at how well they are able to substitute in between plays. It’s a luxury to have a plethora of players to insert onto the field, but sloppy substitution efforts, as displayed by the defense, completely nullify that advantage. Also, this far into the season there should have been no reason why the defense was having as many problems as they did lining up or understanding which play was called. There were at least 2 instances in the game where LB Demarco Cobbs was lined up on a Bear’s player who was split out furthest to the sideline in a multiple WR set. Normally you’d think a corner would be playing that far out. I’ll admit I’m not exactly sure if that was actually by design… But if that’s the case then that’s one weird play design. Either way, in addition to points allowed/yards allowed, the defense continues to show signs that they are not being coached well and are not playing up to standards expected. 7. Stopping The Run: In a game dominated by offense, Texas again struggled with stopping the run. Baylor rushed for a total of 255 yards and scored 4 rushing touchdowns. Watching the defense against the run is very frustrating and the problem starts at the line and with the linebackers. The D-line continues to get swallowed up and fails to shed their blocks. And the linebackers make poor reads and take themselves out of the play more times than not. This is very uncanny of Longhorn teams in the past and the defensive problems will continue to appear as long as teams are able to run the ball with success, like they have all season. 8. Lacking Instincts: Of all the injuries the Longhorns are dealing with, in my opinion Jordan Hicks’ injury is easily the most significant. Not only is the defense lacking leadership, but also his instincts and strong ability to react to plays are missing, especially at the linebacker position. Though Steve Edmond and Demarco Cobbs have different playing styles than Hicks, every great linebacker is usually good at having an idea of where the ball is going and/or being able to react to plays quickly as they develop. So far Cobbs, Edmond, and any of the rest of the linebackers haven’t shown any consistency or strength in that area. It should be noted that this is basically the first year that any of these guys are getting significant playing time. But currently all of them can still make large strides at reading the play faster and getting into the right position to make a play on the ball carrier. 9. Stepping Up: With injuries and inadequate play starting to plague the defense I liked how both Josh Turner and Cedric Reed played against the Bears. Turner made some good tackles and was responsible for the only interception of the night. And Cedric Reed showed some decent pass rushing ability and recorded a sack during the game as well. On the offensive side of the ball M.J. McFarland finally made a splash as he hauled in 1 reception for 29 yards. It appears that M.J. is finally improving his blocking enough to see more playing time. All of these players are underclassmen and have the entire rest of the season to display their skills in hopes of solidifying their roles and positions. I’d love to see each of them step up and win a starting job. 10. History: Texas continues to add to an uncanny year defensively by allowing the most points ever scored during a win for the school (Baylor’s 50). This defense is one of the worst in the country and I’ll be surprised if Manny Diaz is retained after this season. It took a lot of points and some turnovers to help the Longhorns get the win against the Bears. It may not have been a dominating victory, but this win was very important for this young Texas team after being completely stomped on by OU in Dallas. There are still a lot of problems with this team, specifically on defense. But at the same time there are things to like, such as the play of David Ash. If the defense could play at a high level like we all hoped they would then there is no question this Texas team would be a top-10 team. But according to Mack “it is what it is†and for now the offense is carrying this team while the defense continues to struggle. Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  3. What to Watch For Texas Longhorns Vs. Baylor Bears Here are 5 things I’m interested in most for this game. (No particular order). 1. David Ash: Much like the WVU game, this game against Baylor is shaping up to be a shoot out. I want to see how David Ash responds after his worst game all season. The Longhorns will need him to play his best football if they want to keep up with the Baylor offense all day. 2. Secondary: Baylor has many fast, quick receivers that are the strengths of their strong offense. Once again the secondary will be put to a test. Watching this squad has been deflating and I’d love to sit down with Duane Akina and get his take one what’s causing the regression in play. But you better believe Art Briles will challenge that group all night long. 3. Running Backs: The Longhorn offense was lack luster in Dallas last weekend and the running game didn’t even eclipse 75 yards. But I fully expect Joe Bergeron, Jonathan Gray, and the rest of the running backs to have big days against the weak Bear’s defense. 4. Defensive End: Jackson Jeffcoat is done for the season, which leaves the defensive end position opposite Alex Okafor open for any player to take it. Reggie Wilson will get the first crack at securing the job but freshman Shiro Davis and sophomore Cedric Reed will also get a chance to get playing time and compete for the spot as well. 5. Stop The Run: Though the Bear’s are more known for their passing attack, I want to see if the Longhorns defense has finally figured out an answer to stopping the run. This may be the most important aspect I pay attention to all evening long. If Texas could figure out how to stop the run, like have had for so many years, their defenses would make a big step in improvement. This game will tell everyone a lot about what type of team Texas really is this year. I think a win could put this team back on track. But a loss could derail the entire season. Right now the Longhorns are in a crossroad, and how they come out and play after the worst loss I can remember will say a lot about how they will come out and play the rest of the season. Hook’em The game on Saturday will be played in Austin, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. (CT) Notable Injuries: David Ash, QB (wrist – Probable); Jordan Hicks, LB (hip - Questionable); Donald Hawkins, OL (ankle - Questionable); Brandon Moore, DT (neck - Doubtful) Join in on the conversation. What will you be looking for? Twitter: @WesKCrochet E-mail: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  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. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. What to Watch For Texas Longhorns Vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Texas travels up to Stillwater this weekend after coming off their bye week. Though I missed watching the team play I actually am glad they had a week to rest and re-group after a pretty good showing their first three games. After seeing this team in action it’s safe to say the running game is dominant. The receivers’ play as well as David Ash performs, which has actually been pretty decent. Jaxon Shipley should touch the ball 10 times a game, Mike Davis is re-immerging as the playmaker we knew him to be his freshman year, and Marquis Goodwin has the potential to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball and his all around game has improved a lot from previous seasons. The offensive line still has some growing to do but the unit seems to get better each game and the tight end position is almost non-existent. As for the defense and special teams, the defensive ends are big time players, especially Jeffcoat. The defensive line is starting to strengthen up again and be a reliable part of the front seven. The linebackers are young/inexperienced (aside from Hicks) but have much talent and have been playing well. The secondary, thought to be the best part of the defense, has been susceptible to big plays each game but their talent is incredible and if they can become more disciplined and consistent then they could easily take over games and shut down offenses. We have still yet to see Anthony Fera play in a game but he has to be better than any current kicker Texas has used for field goals. The kick/punt returners are dangerous but we are still waiting for someone take one to the house. And on top of all of that the special teams unit is blocking kicks/punts again, which usually means the team has talent and depth in many different places across the roster. Oklahoma State has gotten the better of the Longhorns for the past two years. This program in Stillwater isn’t the OSU that many older UT fans used to know. They are stronger and continue to get talented recruits. This game could be pivotal in UT’s success for the rest of the season. Below are the different things I will be watching out for during the game this weekend. For this game I have the help of one of my friends, Peter Gonzalez (@peter_glz) who is a former intern of a Texas Longhorn sports website. He gave me some great info on the current state of the Cowboys and an idea on how the game could go. The last time we saw the Longhorns in action they pulled out a win over their SEC opponent, Ole Miss. That night in Oxford David Ash passed for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns. The running backs, led my Malcolm Brown’s 128 yards and 2 touchdowns, ran for a total of 350 yards and 4 touchdowns. The offense was almost perfectly balanced and performed exactly as they need to if they want to be a team that should be respected nationally. On the other side of the ball the defense was pretty good but after giving up 31 points (7 of these came off a kick return for a touchdown) they still have much to prove. Here are 5 things I’m interested in most for this game. (No particular order). 1. Can David Ash not only build on his most recent performance but also improve off of his performance in Oxford. He put up great stats and actually had a decent game. But a few of his longer passes were underthrown and he even admitted he needed to improve on that. I still think David Ash is a kid who will gain confidence and become the leader of the team based on his play during games. A strong game in Stillwater after a pretty good performance in Oxford would be big for Ash. Oklahoma State’s defense is better than Ole Miss but they haven’t played as well as expected so far… Sounds similar to the Longhorns. This will be a big road game for Ash. 2. Oklahoma State ranks first among the NCAA in total yards per game and points per game, as they average 686.7 yards and 62.3 points per game. It’s still early in the season, and like most OSU hasn’t played the best of teams. But they are still first in both those categories and Manny Diaz obviously has taken note of that. The defense for the Longhorns has played well but not nearly as well as most of us think the unit can play. Consistency is key because the talent and depth of the defense is as strong as any team in the nation. Everyone is still waiting to see if OSU’s QB Wes Lunt will play this weekend. Regardless, OSU still has talent on offense, especially in the backfield led by junior running back Joseph Randle. The 6’ 1â€, 200lb pack has average 6.7 yards per carry and racked up 335 yards and scored 4 touchdowns so far this season. This will be a great test for the defense against a talented running back. 3. Along the lines of the defense, Jordan Hicks and Brandon Moore won’t be making the trip to Stillwater this weekend. Though Brandon Moore has played well, his absence won’t be missed as much as Hicks, who has established himself not only as a leader for the linebackers but for the entire defense. I’ll be very curious to see how the linebackers play, specifically the reserves Kendall Thompson and Tevin Jackson, who will be see playing time that would have gone to Hicks. Jackson can lay the wood… 4. The offensive line continues to have its ups and downs but I was actually pleased with the unit two weeks ago against Ole Miss. I keep focusing attention on the offensive line because so much rides on the O-line. Texas has great running backs but if the line can’t open up running lanes then the RB’s talent becomes handcuffed and the strength of the offense takes a hit. In addition to that, if the offensive line doesn’t pass protect well enough then that just adds more pressure (literally and figuratively) to Ash that he really doesn’t need. This bye week may have helped the offensive line more than any other unit on the team. 5. The final big aspect of the game I’ll be looking out for is exactly how many touches the playmakers on offense will receive during the game. I personally want to see Marquis, Monroe, and Shipley get more touches. They all can take it to the house from anywhere on the field. Heck, even freshmen Daje Johnson could be thrown in with those guys. After three games so far I’ve been happy with how the team has played. But I still want to see improvements across the board. Texas has received a lot of national attention this past week but that attention is premature, if you ask me. There is a lot of football to be played. But I haven’t been this excited for a Longhorn team to enter Big 12 play in more than a year, and that’s way too long. The game on Saturday will be played in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:50 (CT) P.M. Notable Injuries: LB Jordan Hicks (out), DT Brandon Moore (out), K Anthony Fera (out). Join in on the conversation. What will you be looking for? Twitter: @WesKCrochet E-mail: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  11. 10 Thoughts From The Texas vs. Ole Miss Game Score: Texas 66, Ole Miss 31 Who would have thought that the Longhorns were capable of scoring 66 points in any game this season? The score could have been even higher but to show respect the classy Mack Brown decided to pump the breaks towards the end of the game so the score didn’t break the 70-point mark. But regardless of the score there are a lot of positives and negatives that came from this game. The win was a big one but some of the stats skew the reality of how the game went and how certain players (Ash) played. 1. David Ash: I’m sure we are all thinking the same thing on this one. Go ahead and give Ash credit (keep reading) because he has yet to throw an interception and still managed the game well, (stick with me…) as he was 19 of 23 for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns (almost there) but WOW a lot of his deep passes (this>>>) were waaayyyyy under thrown and he should have been picked off 2 or 3 times. He still has a ways to go. Luckily his receivers always adjusted to the ball and somehow the defensive backs always seemed to get lost right before the ball made it to them. But his stats skew his actual performance and he would have had a much worse night against a secondary who actually could track the ball and defend better. I like that he was slinging it deep and had the confidence to do so, but he has to be better about leading his receivers and his accuracy. I give him a B- on the night… that may be generous. *Give Harsin/Applewhite some credit as Ash currently has the fourth best passer rating in division 1-A college football. He may still need work on his accuracy but his coaches know exactly what they can get out of him at this point. And a random note, the Big 12 has 4 QB’s in the top 5 and 6 in the top 10 in this category.* NCAA Football Stats - Full College Football Team Leaders and Player Stats - FOX Sports on MSN 2. QB Debate: So there it is folks. The Bo Wallace David Ash debate played out right before your eyes. Are you happy the Longhorns stuck with Ash? Or do you still wonder what the offense would look like had Wallace taken over? I’m still rolling with Ash over Wallace. Are you? 3. Defense: The Longhorns defense once again had an up and down night. They were able to create turnovers and even take one to the house. The defensive line also impressed with pressure on Bo Wallace. But at the same time tackling was often poor across the board and the secondary seemed out of place on some passes as they also allowed another receiver to have a big night, as Donte Moncrief had 7 catches for 144 yards and 1 touchdown (almost 2 TD’s before a video review reversed the call). But Quandre Diggs had two interceptions and Steve Edmond’s interception-touchdown was huge as it set the tone for the night and gave Ash and the offense a small cushion to start the game. Also give credit to the two defensive ends. I called them out, specifically Okafor, before the game and stated he needed to step up his play. He did just that by recording two sacks and applying pretty good pressure throughout the game. But the bottom line is this defense still has room for improvement and isn’t the defense we all think this unit is capable of being… As the Longhorns begin their Big 12 play after their bye week they will need to clean up their act if they want to help keep the W’s coming. 4. Ground Game: Malcolm Brown and the ground attack were strong all night. The Longhorns finished with 350 yards and 4 scores off of 54 attempts. Brown led all backs with 128 yards on 21 carries and scored twice. Bergeron added 48 yards on 11 carries but left with an injury (see point 10.) Once again the variety of the running styles the Horns have in their backfield showed why coach Brown wanted to shift his offense to lean more on the running game. I like it. 5. Home Runs: Marquis Goodwin, D.J. Monroe, and to some degree Jaxon Shipley and Daje Johnson are the home run threats for the Longhorns. Goodwin and Monroe both made the most of their carries/passes they got (Goodwin finished with a combined 182 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Monroe finished with 1 touchdown run.) on the night, but why on earth are they not touching the ball more? I feel like in the entirety of Mack’s tenure there are players throughout the years that have never gotten as many touches and they should have. I don’t understand it. Goodwin, Monroe and Shipley need the ball more. Daje too, but he’s a freshman and still is adjusting to the level of play. 6. Offensive Line: The line actually played pretty well. This unit is a work in progress but unlike the rebel’s offensive line they did a decent job of keeping Ash off the ground and provided him time to make his throws. Keep it up O-line. 7. Field Goals: The fact that Mack and his staff took a chance at recruiting Fera to UT and actually got him to come are incredible. Granted, we haven’t seen him kick in a game yet. But anything is better than what Texas currently has for field goals… 8. Blocked Punt: On the note of special teams, again the Longhorns were able get into the backfield and block a punt. Anytime your special teams unit plays this well & this consistently it often displays that your team has great talent and depth, and the Longhorns are finally at that point again where their depth is getting stronger and stronger with each recruiting class after a few down years. 9. 66 points? Huh?: Though it was definitely an up and down game, I was still blown away at how may points Texas was able to score. I honestly was very curious to see if this team could even break the 50-point mark this season. Though it was against a weak SEC opponent, it was still impressive and should give Longhorn fans everywhere some confidence. 10. Injuries: Jordan Hicks (Hip) and Joe Bergeron (Shoulder) left the game at different times and didn’t return due to injuries. Hopefully the injuries aren’t severe and they will be healthy after the bye week. No specific details of the injuries have been released yet. This bye week comes at a great time for Texas. They’re currently undefeated but still can improve everywhere across the board, and these two weeks should bode well for the team before they enter into conference play. There are 2 main points that keep coming back to me, though. The first is the defense and their up and down play. Individually I like the players all over the depth chart on that side of the ball. But collectively they still are making too may simple mistakes, not tackling well enough, and are giving up to many big plays. They are capable of being a stronger unit but will need to play better once they start playing tougher offenses in BIG 12 play. Second, I love how many different scoring threats the offense has. I harp on getting certain guys more touches, but I also realize that the Longhorns can spread the ball around and I love that Texas has the luxury of having about 8 players who have the potential to take it to the house anytime they touch the ball. It’s been years since any Longhorn team has had that. This entire team has the potential to be a 10+ win team but the play needs to be crisper and more consistent all over the field if they want to get there. Currently Texas is in a good spot but there is a lot of football to be played. Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  12. What to Watch For Texas Longhorns vs. Ole Miss Rebels The last time the Longhorns played an SEC team in the regular season was 5 years ago in 2008 against Arkansas when Colt McCoy was nearly perfect in passing as he completed 17 of 19 attempts for 185 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. McCoy also led the team in rushing that day as he ran for 84 yards on 9 attempts and scored 2 additional touchdowns on the ground. After that day Mack signed Colt to a 10 year contract and locked up his QB position for the next decade… Well ok so that last sentence didn’t happen… But the Texas team that hit the field that afternoon in 2008 was built for and around it’s QB. He was the focal point of the offense and with out him the team would crumble. This season the Longhorns’ team is built much more like many teams in Ole Miss’s SEC conference. The focus of the offense is on the running game that Mack Brown has decided to shift to. Once again here are some things I’ll be looking for during the game on Saturday night. 1) The battle of the quarterbacks: Bo Wallace was once thought to be headed to the Forty Acres to suit up in burnt orange rather than being the Longhorns opponent. Now the entire Longhorn Nation can see how Bo Wallace will stack up against Texas’ own defense and how he looks compared to UT’s starter David Ash. So far Wallace has passed for 438 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 1 interception in his first two games. Comparatively David Ash has thrown for 377 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. I personally think Wallace will struggle against the Longhorn’s defense. I know the defense has been shaky at times these first two weeks but I think they bring it on Saturday. 2) The Running Game: Last week the running backs for UT had a drop off in production after monster games the first week. If the Longhorns want to win this game against Ole Miss then the running game will need to be strong all night. On the other side of the ball Ole Miss deploys a committee style attack, much like the Horns. I liked the way the defensive tackles and linebackers have played so far but they will need to step up their game because there will be fresh legs coming into the game all night. Also Bo Wallace has shown he is a threat to run out of the pocket too, as he has 135 yards and 2 scores on the ground this season as well. 3) Anthony Fera is currently listed as “out” for the game Saturday. Ole Miss may be one of the weaker SEC teams but in an away game like this scoring points on every drive is very important so the special teams, specifically the kickers, will be something to monitor. So far both Nick Jordan and Nick Rose haven’t done anything to show they are capable of hitting long, important field goals. I’m not saying they don’t have the potential… But when on earth will Fera get healthy? 4) Defensive Ends: Stopping Bo Wallace will be one of the main focuses for the defense this week. The defensive ends need to show up and get him on the ground at least a few times on Saturday. Even if they can’t get to him on many plays they should at least provide pressure to make him move around and feel uncomfortable in the pocket. I personally want to see more from Alex Okafor. 5) Get the ball to playmakers: After being big parts of the offense in the season opener last week Jaxon Shipley, Marquis Goodwin, and D.J. Monroe combined for 6 touches… Are you kidding me? Come on Harsin. I know you are more creative than that. There’s no reason why any of those players should have less than 5 touches a game. Heck, Jaxon shouldn’t have less than 10! It’s going to be a fun game Saturday night for everyone. Ole Miss may not be the best team in the SEC but they are still an SEC team and will be fired up to have the Longhorns in town. And you know that excitement will be there on the field for Ole Miss and in the stands throughout the crowd… And outside the stadium at the Grove. I think I’ve heard more talk about how crazy and fun the Grove will be than about the game on Saturday. Prediction: Honestly it’s a bit hard to project how exactly the game will go because of the limited action that Bo Wallace has had and the fact that the Rebels are playing under first-year coach Hugh Freeze. But I think the game will remain relatively close in the first half, and then I see the Longhorns taking control of the game in the second half. Ole Miss does have talent on both sides of the ball but the Longhorns team will still be too much to handle in the end. Score: Texas 27, Ole Miss 13 What will you be watching for? Hook’em Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  13. This is an amazing story, especially for a day like this. Not only is Nate Boyer, long snapper for the Longhorns, a former Green Beret. He also never played football in high school because his school didn't off the sport. WOW! Nate Boyer of Texas Longhorns has extensive military background - ESPN Good Bless America, God Bless our troops, & Hook'em.
  14. My 10 Thoughts from the Texas vs. New Mexico Game By: Wes Crochet Score: Texas 45, New Mexico 0 The final score in this game was about what everyone expected but the way the game played out was completely different than what anyone would have expected… 1. First off, who in their right mind would have thought the Longhorns would have more yards passing than rushing and would score just as many touchdowns in the air as they would on the ground by the time the game was over? I sure as hell didn’t see that one coming. I figured they would want to open up the playbook passing wise to get Ash more experience passing the ball but not to the extent that they did. I liked it though. 2. What happened to the running game? As a unit the box score will show it was a pretty successful night on the ground as the Horns racked up 146 yards for an average 4.7 yards and 3 touchdowns. But when you break it down Joe Bergeron was the leading rushing with 49 yards and 1 touchdown on 11 attempts. Malcolm brown had a whopping 5 yards on 2 carries (anyone know if he was hurt or any explanation for that?) and the other running backs were either “ok” or produced in trash time during the game once Texas had a big lead. The offensive line looked like it was confused and struggling, and the run game was completely opposite of what it looked like last week. The running backs on this team are very talented but that doesn’t matter one bit if the offensive line can’t open up some holes (or even creases…) for the backs. I’m confused right now. 3. The defense was shaky again to start the game. In their defense it was a completely different style of offense than what they saw last week… At the same time they have the talent and potential to be one of the best, if not the best, in the nation. They need to clean up their act in the beginning of games if this team expects to win 9+ games. 4. So David Ash. He did pretty well huh? Actually I think so. Here’s my take on Ash. He is currently the best option at QB that the Longhorns have. And since Texas has moved toward more of a run first offense then Ash actually just needs to be decent enough to complete short-mid range completions when called upon and get lucky on the deep ball from time to time. Ash did that tonight. Sure he was playing a terrible defense but he out performed the running game and didn’t throw a single interception. I liked what I saw, even if the passes were mostly short-mid range throws. If he plays as well or better than what he did tonight then he will do exactly what he needs to do the rest of the season. 5. Another disappearing act for the night was D.J. Monroe. Where was he all night besides his td scamper towards the end of the game? To be optimistic, I hope that Harsin was trying to stash D.J. tonight so he can use him for more important games… I hope… 6. Why doesn’t Texas use Marquis Goodwin more and in creative ways? That’s a waste of talent to not utilize his skills set during the game. Same with Shipley. Come on now. 7. Along the lines of receivers I was happy with the way Mike Davis ran once he caught the ball. He only had 3 receptions but he made the most of those short passes by converting them into a total of 30 yards and 1 touchdown. He played well. 8. The current kickers are terrible. Get Fera healthy. 9. We all finally got to see Daje Johnson and more of Jonathan Gray tonight. Though this was against a sub par defense they both still played well and look like they will be big time players soon. 10. For anyone at the game tonight did you catch the announcer calling Jaxon Shipley “Jordan Shipley” on an occasion or two? I had a laugh at that one. I also loved seeing the Alumni Band. I was never in band but I love the UT band and tonight the half time show was stolen by an older baton twirler who was launching his baton into space and then managing to catch it as it came screaming back down to earth. He wasn’t able to catch it every time but everyone in the stadium loved his effort and the stadium erupted the times he did catch it. I know it’s very early in the season and there is still a lot of football to be played, many practices to be had, and much growth to occur but at the moment I feel as if Texas is still an 8 win team. But they do have the talent and potential to be a 10-win team again. They just need to clean their act up a bit. Hook’em. Twitter: @WesKCrochet E-mail: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  15. What to Watch For Texas Longhorns Vs. New Mexico Lobos Of course everyone wants to see the two starting running backs go wild again. And of course everyone wants to see if David Ash can improve. But here are some things beyond those I just listed that I will be looking for and you can too. Texas is coming off its 13th straight home opener as they go into week 2 against the New Mexico Lobos. Last week the longhorns saw more of a spread attack but this week the Lobo’s triple option style offense is almost completely polar opposite from Wyoming’s in week 1. Here are 5 things I’m interested in most for this game. (No particular order). 1) How will the defense, specifically the inexperienced linebackers, handle this triple option style attack? This is a great test of their discipline, ability to make a play, and tackle well. 2) I want to see if D.J. Monroe can continue to be a factor on offense. He will be a valuable weapon all season long if Harsin/Applewhite can continue to figure out creative ways to get him the ball, and if he can continue to produce. In addition to his speed, he ran with surprising physicality last game. I like it. 3) Along the lines of Monroe, Daje Johnson could see his first action as a Longhorn and Jonathan Gray could build off his limited first performance and get some significant snaps. It’s only a matter of time before Gray gets used to the game speed and turns it on. His burst is unreal. 4) I harped on the offensive line harder than most last week but again I want to see if they can continue to gel into a stronger unit. Come on Espinosa… 5) We all know how bad the kicking game was last Saturday. But let’s say Fera isn’t ready to go by week 3 at Ole Miss… Can Nick Jordan or Nick Rose actually make a long field goal? I said this in a recent post, but the difference between Fera and the other kickers could be at least 1-2 wins this season. Like the Horns, the Lobos are coming off a big day on the ground. Last week they racked up 350 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground (just 70 yards in the air). But Texas is way too big, athletic, and talented for the Lobos to have anywhere near the same success. I expect another big day on the ground for the Longhorns. *Side Note: New Mexico didn’t have a single turnover and only had 1 penalty flag last week. That’s impressive for any team. Prediction: Texas 41, New Mexico 10 Join in on the conversation. What will you be looking for? Twitter: @WesKCrochet E-mail: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  16. Score: Texas: 37, Wyoming 17 I have mixed feelings about the game. There was stuff that I liked, stuff that I expected (good and bad) and stuff that was terrible and needs to be corrected immediately. 1. Wow, what the hell happened on the opening drives for both teams? The Horns came out and stunk it up with a quick 3 and out. And Wyoming’s opening drive marched down the field by tearing up the secondary and throwing in some decent run plays with their spread attack. It was as if the opening drives for both teams had reversed success from what we normally would have thought. The only positive for UT was that they were able to hold Wyoming to a field goal… I can’t believe I just said that… 2. Wyoming torched UT’s secondary in the first half. No excuses. Wyoming’s quarterback Brett Smith threw for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns. He did, however, eventually throw 2 interceptions once the defense was able to apply good pressure and make the plays they are capable of in the defensive backfield. But let’s not shy away from the fact that one player for Wyoming, Robert Herron, ended the day with 5 receptions for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. I was very disappointed in the secondary that should be one of the strongest position groups on the team. They did eventually get their act together later in the game so hopefully they were just getting used to actual game play. But you better believe Manny Diaz won’t be happy with that performance. 3. Enough about Wyoming’s passing attack, let’s talk about UT’s… Honestly David Ash performed about as well as anyone expected. What did you expect of a quarterback who just won the job over another player who simply doesn’t have the arm to play at this level? Ash wasn’t terrible but he wasn’t incredible. He still often stares down his first read on every passing play and that’s just asking for a defense to pick off the ball (I’m actually surprised he didn’t throw a single pick all night). I really would like to see him go through his progression more. On the positive side he did seem much more relaxed and patient in the pocket this game compared to last season… At times too patient. Ash’s play wasn’t terrible but if Texas wants to win at least 9 games he will have to improve his game. 4. I was really disappointed in the secondary play. But they picked it up as the game went on and they will bounce back and be all right. I’m more disappointed with how terrible the offensive line played. I would have expected better from the starting unit but they literally were pushed around all night by Wyoming, and that’s sad. I know the Horns rushed for over 200 yards tonight but a lot of that was because the running backs were breaking tackles or making guys miss and busting big plays. Offensive line needs work and fast. If they can’t get it together soon then it will be a long season for the entire offense. 5. D.J. Monroe finally impacted the game in a way we have all been waiting for. The little speedster touched the ball 6 times (5 carries, 1 reception) for 51 yards (36 rushing, 15 passing) and 1 touchdown. I really hope this will be a recurring theme this season because any added offensive production will be key to this team’s success since the passing game is currently limited. *While we are on this topic of players showing up, I liked what I saw from Jordan Hicks. He needs to continue to bring it and show us all why he was so highly recruited. 6. Jaxon Shipley needs to touch the ball 10 times a game. Simple as that. 7. Both Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown carried the offense tonight and started the season off exactly as expected. Even with the offensive line having it’s troubles the duo was able to rack up a combined 215 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Bergeron displayed his bruising style with the ability to rip off big gains and Brown showed off his shifty but physical running style. I know we barely saw any of Jonathan Gray but he showed some quick burst in the limited action he got. He needs to adjust to the game speed but when he does he will add a different third element to a offensive backfield that is arguably the best in the nation. 8. Josh Turner is one heck of a back up defensive back. He was making plays on defense and on special teams. Number 25 can make plays and fly around the field (though he did take a terrible angle and whiff on one of Wyoming’s big touchdown plays). He will definitely help the secondary bounce back next week. 9. Mack Brown should be riding the medical staff’s butt to make sure they do anything and everything they can to get Anthony Fera Healthy. He is needed for field goals and punts, badly. The difference between Nick Jordan and Anthony Fera is at least two wins this season. I was also disappointed in Alex King’s punts after seeing him play in person. But replacing Jordan is more important. 10. Case McCoy saw the field tonight… But in the complete opposite way that I had envisioned before the game. I expected McCoy to trot out onto the field late in the first quarter or early in the second with his own package of plays. But to my surprise he didn’t step onto the field until the game was pretty much won and it was time for the back-ups to get some reps. Folks that says A LOT about how Mack, Harsin, & Applewhite felt about David Ash’s play tonight. You may have been frustrated but they feel that he did enough to remain in the starting lineup the entire game until it was time to pull the starters… Bonus note: The tight end position was one of question before the season started. Though he caught 1 pass for 4 yards, D.J. Grant seems to be the number one guy for that position at the moment. I’m still curious to see if the tight end (I don’t care which one just who ever takes control of the position) will get more involved in the offense. Having a reliable TE would be big for a young QB, like Ash. Though it’s just one game, and the first game nonetheless, at the moment I feel as if the horns are an 8-win team. The secondary and offensive line play need to improve immediately for me to feel that they can get to 9 or more wins this season. The kicking game needs improvement too but that isn’t something that can necessarily improve by next week unless Fera becomes healthy. On a positive note the Longhorns won the turnover battle and succeeded in not giving up any turnovers, and that is also big. I came away from this game with mixed feelings. Give credit to Wyoming because they actually played pretty well, especially in the beginning of the game. But practice for the Longhorns should be nothing less than intense this week. Game next week is at home (in Austin) against New Mexico. Kick is again at 7PM Central and will also be shown on the Longhorn Network for the second straight week. Hook’em. Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  17. Before I start this thread let me say this... My grandfather was an Aggie. And he was in the Core. He also was in the Navy and served on the Lexington (both my parents went to UT). I have good friends at Texas A&M and I do not think all Aggies are as crazy as they are percieved. But a lot of them are and the ones that are ruin it for the rest of them... I got this from Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein). But over on Texags.com there are Aggies who are stating they are dropping AT&T U-Verse and some are even going as far to switch phone carriers from AT&T because....... Wait for it..... U-Verse is carrying the Longhorn Network... BAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAAAHAHA TexAgs.com - A&M Football Are you kidding me? Grow up. What happens if Time Warner Cable picks up LHN too? haha I'm still laughing...
  18. The Offensive Line Preview 2012 By Wes Crochet Much of the focus this off-season has been on how the starting quarterback will perform, or whether the receivers will make plays, or which running back will have the best year. Well guess what, none of that matters if the offensive line doesn’t play well. And for an offensive line coming off a year where they gave up a total of 28 sacks for 242 yards, they have much to prove and improve (in retrospect, the SEC bound Aggies gave up a total of 9 sacks for 44 yards last year. That’s impressive for any school). In defense of the O-line, there was a new position coach, Stacy Searels. And the new coach barely had enough scholarship players to form a starting unit with back ups at each position. But luckily for the Horns improvement is exactly what should happen. Four of the five starters either have experience at their position or have started there in the past. And the remaining starter, Juco transfer LT Donald Hawkins, has already meshed well with the rest of the unit and looks as if he will be the solution to what was once a question mark at Left Tackle. And considering that there isn’t a single senior in the starting unit, this unit could potentially become one of the best offensive lines we have seen in the past few years. Starters: Left Tackle: Donald Hawkins – JUCO transfer who has been flashing greatness as he learns the offense. Left Guard: Trey Hopkins – move back inside to guard where he is better suited. Center: Dominic Espinosa – Looks to be the weakest link of the offense but was thrown into the fire last season as a freshman and should improve. Right Guard: Mason Walters – arguably the best linemen on the team, he will be the leader and anchor. Right Tackle: Josh Cochran – Won the starting tackle job late last season as a freshman and should be locked in as the starter for at-least this season and next. Reserves: Thomas Ashcraft, Kennedy Estelle, Sedrick Flowers, Luke Poehlmann, Garrett Porter. During Mack Brown’s press conference a few days ago he stated there were still two main weaknesses with the depth chart. The first was at the tight end position. But the second was with the depth at offensive line. Mack singled out Thomas Ashcraft as the only reserve he was really confident sending into the game. Where as the other reserve linemen still need to gain Brown’s trust and confidence before he feels comfortable with the depth behind the starting unit. Let’s take a look at the reserves to try to understand why Mack feels this way. As I stated earlier, Thomas Ashcroft is the only reserve Mack Brown has singled out as the back-up linemen he has the most confidence and trust in. Whether there are injuries or not, having multiple reserves you can count on to spell the starters or play in their place is key to an O-line’s success. Kennedy Estelle – It’s understandable that Mack could still have some question marks for Kennedy Estelle. Though Estelle is a four star recruit and a mammoth standing at 6’7†and weighing 300 lbs, he is a true freshman. The fact that he is even on the depth chart and listed as the reserve at Left Tackle gives me confidence that though Estelle may still need work he has shown signs that he can be a talented linemen down the line. Sedrick Flowers – Currently listed as the reserve at Left Guard, I’m really hoping Flowers turns it up soon. He is a bit undersized to play on the outside but his 6’3†frame should be able to handle the guard duties where he is listed. There was some positive buzz around Flowers during the off-season but what concerns me is that Sedrick has already had a year with the team and Mack still has question marks for Flowers. The doubts could mean he still is struggling with consistency or to learn the new blocking assignments. But he was dominant in high school and has been working hard in the weight room to increase his weight from 280 lbs when he stepped on campus to his current 313 lbs. I think he can take the next step in his performance early in the season and become a viable reserve. Garret Porter – Once a red-shirt freshman, Porter is entering his fourth year as a Longhorn. But the 2009 recruit has yet to show any indication he is capable of starting. He is listed as the reserve at center but was not always seeing snaps as the immediate reserve. Instead Mason Walters has also seen snaps as the reserve center. Porter was a four-star recruit from Odessa but still hasn’t put it all together. I admit that I will be a bit nervous if Porter is called upon to start at Center for a large portion of the season. Luke Poehlmann - A three-star recruit from the 2008 class, Poehlmann has seen action on the offensive line and at the TE position mainly in blocking situations. I like Poehlmann’s versatility to play Tackle or TE but his weakness is that he is decent at both positions but not great at one of them. Though he has the experience to handle a starting role, he would struggle with a larger DE/DT due to his 275lb size. The depth behind the starting unit is full of in-experience, youth, and some simple lack of talent. I’m confident with all of the starters on the line, though Dominic Espinosa is currently the weakest link with that unit. But if he, or any of the linemen go down with an injury don’t be surprised if offensive-line coach Stacy Searels moves guys around and changes up the line up. His coaching philosophy involves placing linemen in different positions across the line during practice, and that philosophy is part of what makes him one of the best coaches at his position in the country. Much talk has been about the quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers, but the success of the team this fall also very much relies on the growth, improvement and health of this offensive line and the depth that lies behind it. Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  19. Mack took to the podium to give a rundown on where things stand after the scrimmage that took place last night. There was a ton of discussion about yep, you guessed it, the quarterbacks. Some of the mentions from Mack (not necessarily verbatim): It is time to gain continuity on offense. We have been doing this for over a year now and it is time. The defense is still ahead of the offense in terms of progress but the differential is nowhere near as great as it was last season. The Tight ends are not getting the job done. First team defense looked really good in the scrimmage last night. Nick Jordan and Ben Pruitt would be the guys to kick if Anthony Fera is not ready to go. There is still no timetable on his return. Quandre Diggs and Jaxon Shipley will be the punt return guys. Quandre Diggs, Goodwin, Monroe and the usual suspects will be the kick return guys. We probably will not use Jaxon as a kick returned to save him for his role as a wide receiver. When asked if the qb situation has paid off the way he wanted it to, Mack said "I think so. If we had to do it again we would do the same thing. With both guys competing and throwing it has only mad the team stronger." The only stat that matters is winning the game. Tight ends are blocking better now but they dropped a lot of passes last night. There were no substantial injuries last night. Brown maintained that there has not been enough separation between either guy (Ash or McCoy) thus far to name a starter. He expects there to be in the 3 weeks left before the Wyoming game. On leadership/communication he said David Ash is much better than he was last year and Case McCoy takes after his brother Colt in that department.
  20. [h=1]Lee Corso: Former Texas QB Garrett Gilbert will likely get 'better coaching' at SMU[/h]Dallas Morning News - Lee Corso: Former Texas QB Garrett Gilbert will likely get 'better coaching' at SMU | SMU Mustangs News - Sports News for Dallas, Texas - SportsDayDFW Lee Corso , Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, the crew from ESPN's College GameDay, served as hosts of the Doak Walker Award banquet yet again and didn't disappoint in delivering candid, wide-ranging opinions on college football. On Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert's transferring to SMU, Corso said Gilbert will get "probably better coaching" under SMU coach June Jones, to loud applause -- and a little shock in the ballroom. On Texas A&M's upcoming move to the SEC: "There's not going to be a lot of kissing," Corso cracked, referring to the Aggies tradition of swapping kisses after A&M scores. "Get a good-lookin' girl for nonconference games." Fowler originally said he was wary of discussing TCU's recent scandal, which included the arrest of four football players in a large-scale sting for selling drugs. Drugs, Fowler said, were probably an issue on campuses everywhere. But Herbstreit didn't let it end there. "Using and trafficking, I think," he said, "are different." References were also made to Corso's infamous on-air moment last season, which occurred at the end of a GameDay broadcast featuring SMU's game at Houston. Corso uttered an expletive at the end of the broadcast. "The show went well," Fowler deadpanned. __________________________________________________ I now hate Lee Corso even more than I did before.
  21. Heisman Trophy winner and recently retired NFL running back Ricky Williams winner will be honored by The University of Texas with an 8 foot bronze statue. The statue will sit next to Earl Campbell's statue at DKR - Texas Memorial Stadium. Congrats to Ricky on a nice NFL career and an even better one as Longhorn! Well deserved! Damn I love this picture...
  22. The rumblings about what the new Longhorn Network will and will not look like evidently have other Big XII schools worried. Our dear friends in College Station have arranged a meeting of the minds to discuss the implications on other conference schools with respect to recruiting advantages, etc. Seems like Aggieland is stoking the "We are considering a move to the SEC" fire again out of jealously and a ploy to get attention. What do you think?

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