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Found 5 results

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Texas beats Oklahoma State in Austin yesterday by the score of 59-48. Myck Kabongo was the leading scorer for Texas while J'Covan Brown played with an injured ankle. When will Brown be back to 100%? Will Kabongo keep up the good play? Let's hope so. We have the AGgies heading into A-town on Wednesday.
  4. The stat we all know - Mack Brown is "Cash Money" after an OU loss. Meaning, he ALWAYS beats the team he plays the week after. Is this streak in jeopardy? I THINK NOT. Stay on the wideouts and put pressure on Weeden. Time to right the ship which is tilting just a wee wee bit.

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