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Found 6 results

  1. These scrimmages come every year and they are always a tease for football season. Nothing compares to game days in Austin with the food, drinks, music, friends, football, and all the pretty ladies dressed up in burnt orange Longhorn gear. But football season is still months away, and right now the Texas team is in annual process of organizing their depth chart and working to improve on last year's campaign. Below are my thoughts and reactions from Today's scrimmage. Keep in mind, it was a scrimmage. I know we all love dissecting each and every player, but remember these players are all working on certain aspects of their game and it's still just a scrimmage. Let's jump in. -Hurry Up - The first drive Texas had was entirely in hurry-up, which is what Major Applewhite wants to implement more of next season. During this drive, the offense was clicking and the ball was moving until it go into the red-zone and stalled out, forcing the squad to kick a field goal. But during the drive, two things stood out to me. David Ash was connecting with his receivers and Jonathan gray picked up right where he left off and ripped off a few nice runs. I'm a fan of the hurry-up being used at different points during a game and like that Applewhite is using this in his offense. -David Ash - I'm sure almost every person in attendance was keen on watching David Ash this evening. On the first drive he looked good connecting with different receivers on a handful of short throws. He did have a couple of misfires, like his shovel pass that was intercepted by Jordan Hicks. But he looked comfortable, was in control of the offense, scored through the air, and had accurate passes to a number of different receivers. The physical ability is there, but whether or not he can compose himself and show consistency through out and entire game and season is still a question mark. But he is the unquestioned starter heading into the fall and it's nice to finally be able to say that again regarding the Longhorn football team. -Jonathan Gray - Gray had a scrimmage to remember. He reminded everyone why he was highly touted coming out of high school and was making guys miss. You can definitely tell that he is more comfortable with the speed of play and that he is seeing holes easier. I also was impressed with his burst through the creases in the line, his success to get to the second and third levels, and his ability to make guys miss. He was the best running back on the field today and easily can be the best in the fall. -Malcolm Brown (RB) - I'm a big Malcolm Brown fan because of how physical he is when he runs. He doesn't have the body of a bruiser like Joe Bergeron, but that doesn't keep him running over and bouncing off people. But with the emergence of Jonathan Gray, it will be interesting to see where Brown fits in. I really would be disappointed if he decides to transfer (I'm not hearing that he will so don't start that rumor from me) because he can be productive for Texas in the fall. Having him and Gray is a luxury because both of those guys can be effective in any situation during the game. And it also gives Texas the advantage of having fresh legs and talented depth in case there is an injury. Tonight he ran well when he had opportunities and if he can avoid the injury bug that seems to always nip at him at some point during the season, then he could also be an impact player during the season. -Daje Johnson - Getting Daje the ball in creative ways should be a focus during the off-season. If you know me, then you know how much I harped about the lack of touches D.J. Monroe and Marquis Goodwin received during their tenure on the 40-acres. Daje isn't an every down back, but guys with that type of speed can completely change games. And each time he touches the ball, he has a chance to break it open and take it to the house. He did pretty well tonight with the few plays he saw on offense, and showcased his speed on a long kick return. Hopefully Major will utilize Daje much more than Harsin did with Daje, D.J. and Marquis. -Joe Bergeron - He's still a bruiser who gives Texas another option in the backfield when the situation calls for a power running game. He too only had a handful of snaps tonight, but he did what he always does and ran over a few players. -Mike Davis - You may not find another person as happy as I am to have Mike Davis back. Tonight he showed off the moves, speed, and skills to be the best receiver on the team and in the Big 12. Of course I think the same about Jaxon Shipley. But having Davis back gives Texas a legit downfield threat. Yes, he has had some drop problems in the past. But if he can avoid some of those miscues then he could win an award or two at the end of the season. -M.J. McFarland - On the first drive, McFarland was the starting tight end out there with the squad and he actually saw a few passes come his way. I'd love to see McFarland emerge onto the scene as a consistent option for Ash to go each game. Having a tight end as a weapon in the passing game would give the offense another element and give Ash a lifeline if he gets in trouble. I'm also a Greg Daniels fan, but McFarland was the best tight end on the field tonight. -Duke Thomas - Coming into the scrimmage I wasn't aware Duke had made the switch to receiver. I actually thought he would be seeing a good amount of playing time at corner. I was wrong, but he still saw playing time at the WR position and he looked good. He caught every ball that hit his hands and showcased nice quickness. With Cayleb Jones out of the picture right now as the 3rd wide-out, the position is open and Duke looked good in the slot tonight. It will be interesting to see how much PT he gets in the fall. -John Harris - As I just stated, with Cayleb Jones out of the picture for now the 3rd receiver spot is open for the taking. The soon to be Junior, Harris, is a guy I've been wanting to emerge ever since he walked on campus. At 6'3", he has great size for the position and he was a talented receiver coming out of high school. He saw a lot of action tonight and even scored a touchdown with one of the squads. I'd be happy to see him be a bigger factor in the offense come August. -Case McCoy - I do not see any plus to having Case McCoy as the team's backup. The only logic I see behind it is the fact that he has a lot of game experience. But he does not have a strong arm and misfired on a number of passes tonight (though he did have a nice toss down the sideline to a streaking receiver). But he's a senior who isn't getting any better. And if I were coach then I'd want one of my younger guys to be getting more reps and developing. -Tyrone Swoopes - WOW! Swoopes looked much further along in his development than I was expecting. He didn't throw all that much but he looked much more comfortable in the pocket than I was anticipating and showed off his elusiveness and running ability on a number of different plays. There's one specifically where he escaped the pursuit of Jordan Hicks and Peter Jinkens, reversed field and then had a nice gain down the sideline for what l remember to be about 10-15 yards. Though he often gets compared to Vince Young, he is nothing like VY other than the fact he can run. But doesn't glide like VY did and doesn't shy away from contact at all, which I also wasn't expecting. I still want to see more of his passing ability before I get ahead of myself with him, but he's flying up the depth chart and may not be red-shirted after all. -Connor Brewer - I see Brewer transferring. He's fourth on the depth chart but could probably start at a number of schools. He has a nice arm and threw some nice passes tonight. But he really didn't get that much playing time and if he wants to play in football games in college it likely won't be at Texas. Jalen Overstreet - GET HIM ON THE FIELD! Overstreet also didn't throw too many passes tonight but the dude has blazing speed. He escaped out of the pocket and raced down the sideline for what looked like a 40-yard gain. Like Brewer, Overstreet is stuck at the bottom of the depth chart right now. But whether it's in a wildcat package or at a different positon, Overstreet needs to get on the field. His speed is something that needs to be utilized, and right now I'm afraid he will get lost on the team like Sherrod Harris and John Chiles were. -Defense - As a unit, they played pretty well but it's always tough to really gauge the defense in these scrimmages. I was glad to see Jordan Hicks back out there getting reps. And Malcolm Brown (DT) was running with the starters, which I'm all for. Sheoid Evans is another guy who stood out to me because he didn't see much playing time last season but he saw a good amount of reps at cornerback. I did also notice that Adrian Phillips was playing the safety position close to the line where Kenny Vaccaro played much of last season, while Josh Turner and Mykelle Thompson were still the 2 deep safeties. Those three guys have to elevate their play if the defense wants to see improvements. That and stopping the run consistently has to be improved upon for this defense to get back to where it needs to be. -Nick Rose - One of my biggest question marks for this offseason is finding a reliable kicker. Nick Rose was the man who saw a lot of reps during the scrimmage with kickoff and field goal duties, so he seems to be leading that competition. Though accuracy is the concern, there's no question Rose has a very strong leg. He was killing it on kick offs. All he needs to improve on is his accuracy and he could be a solid option. Final Thoughts By the time the scrimmage was over, I felt good about the team. It's hard to really asses the team during these scrimmages because they are just that, a scrimmage. The players know one another, know mannerisms, and are all in the middle of working on specific aspects of their game. I will say that I didn't walk away thinking Texas had gotten any worse. But the questions still remain... Can David Ash show consistency in games and during a full season? Can the offensive line be more of a dominant force? Can the defense play at a high level again? Can Texas find a reliable kicker for field goals? The way those 4 questions are answered in the fall will determine Texas' season. At the scrimmage, the 2013 season was flashed onto the jumbo tron and it reminded me that the Longhorns don't have a tough schedule. 10 wins is very doable, and that should be the goal and expectation of the 2013 football season. But until the season starts, I'll be counting down the seconds to kick off much like many of us will. Hook'em
  2. For those of us that doubted Texas, Coach Brown not only showed us up but had some fun of his own too. I for one can say that Tech is one of the few teams that I thoroughly enjoy watching the Longhorns beat. Of course I love every Longhorn win, but Tech fans are by far some of the most annoying fans to lose to (no offense to my good buddies in Lubbock. Y’all are straight.) Resilience was the name of the game this past Saturday as Texas kept fighting back and hung in there for the last punch. Instead of escaping with a win, this young Longhorn team showed that it isn’t about to roll over and quit on this season like some had thought. That not only made fans happy but it made Mack happier than I’d see him in a long time. These are in no particular order. 1. Mike Davis: Who knows what exactly happened last season or what caused Davis to get into a funk but there’s no question that the Mike Davis of old is back as he continues to make big time plays for the Longhorns. He may not have the best hands anyone has ever seen, but they aren’t terrible and when he’s on he’s really on. This past Saturday Davis set a new, personal career high in receiving yards by catching 4 passes for 165 yards. In addition, he also found the end zone twice, once on a 75-yard bomb and the other on a 25-yard strike, both thrown by David Ash. Texas has two great receivers on the outside with him and Shipley. And when both these guys are playing well together it opens all kinds of opportunities for Ash to sling the ball around the field. 2. David Ash: Mike Davis had a big day, no question about it. But he wouldn’t have been able to set a new career high if it weren’t for Ash’s big throws. He only attempted 19 passes but that’s really all Ash needed to do. Of the 19 throws he attempted, 11 of them were completed for a total of 264 yards. And of those 11, 3 of them were for touchdowns (2 to Davis, 1 to Shipley). You probably don’t know how relieved and happy I was to see David Ash come out Saturday and play with confidence after he was pulled last week late in the game against Kansas. The fact that he was able to make some big time throws, and some deep throws, all after watching his replacement, Case McCoy, enter the game and lead the team to victory in Lawrence told me that David is a strong competitor. Sure, he’s young and still has some throws that are off and/or leave you cringing, but his throws continue to get better and his confidence level and competiveness this year have taken a big step forward. That’s a positive sign for any young quarterback as he continues to mature as a football player and a leader. 3. Jonathan Gray At It Again: Before the game many of us were wondering how freshman running back Jonathan Gray would perform in his first start as a Longhorn and at his Dad’s Alma Mater. Once again the talented freshman stepped up to the challenge and performed like a seasoned veteran. He never found the end zone but Gray rushed for 106 yards off of 20 attempts, which was good for a 5.6 YPC average. I cannot stress enough the luxury it is to have Jonathan Gray this year. I know Malcolm Brown was listed as ‘probable’ for the game but he was never really needed in any emergency fashion and in result never saw the field. Jonathan Gray is not only a luxury just because he can pick up yards, but more so because of the type of back he is and how he uses his talent in his running style. Jonathan Gray is the type of back that can essentially do it all. He has burst to get through holes at the line. He is small enough to get through creases at the line. He is strong enough to break tackles and continue to run after initial contact. He is quick and shifty enough to get around players. And he has a competiveness and fight of a winner. This combination of skills and talent gives Texas a big weapon on offense, especially when Malcolm Brown is hurt and Joey B just can’t get it going, like we saw this week and against Kansas last week. This freshman is the real deal and will be a big time player for years to come. 4. Carrington Byndum: ‘Defensive Player of the Game’ award goes to (yes this defense actually played well enough to have one of these awards from me after this past weekend) Carrington Byndom. I don’t know what got into him but Carrington basically said “screw it, I’m just going to play football†and then did. Up until the game on Saturday, Byndom has had an up and down season. He has seemed out of place and lost at times, and wasn’t the same player we had seen performing well last fall. That wasn’t the case Saturday. Though he didn’t force any turnovers, but he did prevent some big plays with pass break ups and also blocked a Tech field goal on special teams. It’s only one game and he still has things to work on but it was refreshing to see him show signs of his old self on Saturday. 5. Texas Stopped the Run?: Well, well, well… Whaddya know. The Longhorns didn’t allow a single running back to rush for more than 75 yards and they end up beating a ranked opponent who also happened to be ranked higher than them. Interesting how that works… Okay sure, Tech isn’t really known for running the ball. But the Longhorns defense has failed time and time again stopping the run from of spread offenses this season and there’s no question that this was an improvement and one of the factors that helped Texas win this game. I still, for the life of me, cannot figure out why this group has had so much trouble stopping the run compared to in years past. But it’s finally time to give some credit to the defense after a game. Though they didn’t force any turnovers they held a high-powered Red-Raider offense to just 22 points. That’s not only a big positive for this year’s defense, but that would be considered a positive for many Texas’ defenses of the past and many teams that play Tech. 6. Alex Okafor: With his 8th sack of the season, senior defensive end Alex Okafor broke his 2011 mark with 3 game left to go in the regular season. The defense has had problems all season long but Okafor has continued to be a consistent pass rushing force on the defensive line. I’m happy he has continued to have success this fall by getting into the opposing team’s backfield, but I’m disappointed his good season has been somewhat over shadowed by the poor play that the entire defense has shown. This guy is the real deal and will be playing on Sundays very soon. 7. LB’s Take Another Hit: If this group wasn’t already having enough problems to deal with, sophomore LB Kendall Thompson was carted off field after a nasty hit during a Tech punt return. The injury is a concussion and you can only hope that this injury will heal quickly and won’t cause any recurring injuries or lead to any other concussions down the line. Thompson was starting to make some strides and show growth after a slow start to his sophomore season on the field, and you can only wish the best for him. As for the linebackers, this doesn’t bode well for an already thin and inexperienced group. I imagine Tevin Jackson, Dalton Santos, and even Peter JInkens will see more action while Thompson recovers. 8. Play Makers: Once again the touches for the speedsters were limited. It’s sometimes nit picky to complain after a win, but if I were running this offense I’d be spreading the ball around a little differently. This week the speedy trio (Goodwin, Monroe, D. Johnson) combined for 8 touches that resulted in a total of 28 yards. On one hand, and in Harsin’s defense, the plays for these guys may not have been working last Saturday day. But on the other hand, if I were Harsin I’d being doing anything I could to create more plays for these home run threats. I guess in the end the Longhorns stuck with what was working and rolled with Jonathan Gray and Mike Davis all day long. 9. Mack Brown: All season long Mack Brown has been under a lot of pressure, heat, and stress from the media and fans. I’ve been guilty of it and it definitely appears to have gotten to him a bit by the way he has spoken after games and in press conferences. But I was glad to see Coach Brown smiling and as happy as he has been in a long time this past weekend after he got the win. Winning a road game like this after a sloppy performance on the road the previous week is a big win for this young team and it definitely showed Mack that his team still has the ability to compete and fight for him even when many onlookers are doubting his group. I was happy for Mack and glad he was able to not only get a win but enjoy the victory as well. 10. Darrell K. Royal: This morning the most successful coach to ever lead the Longhorns at The University of Texas passed away. Though this has nothing to do with the Tech game I couldn’t post this today without mentioning Coach Royal. I had the good fortune of attending the same church as Coach Royal for as long as I’ve been alive. Though my parents (who have both worked at the church in one fashion or another) have had the opportunity to get to know Darrell and Edith over the years, I actually never talked to him all that much but I remember seeing him and his wife Edith on many different Sundays as they would enter the building before the service while smiling to everyone and saying their ‘hellos’. After the service the smiles would be back on their faces and they would both make small talk and shake hands to anyone and everyone who approached them. If you didn’t know who he was, you’d think he was just your regular, older gentleman who enjoyed life. But Darrell K. Royal was a man who instilled expectations into the Texas football program that are still expected of the team and players today. He won 3 National Championships (2 outright, 1 shared) for the university and was one of the best football coaches that college football has ever known. Off the field and outside of the stadium, Coach Royal was also more than that. He not only was a football coach, but a coach of life. He taught his young players how to be young men and gave them lessons and teachings that stretched far beyond the white lines of the field. Today is a sad day as we mourn the loss of a truly great man while we cherish and respects to the teachings and memories he has left us. Coach Royal will be greatly missed, never forgotten, and always honored. Rest In Peace Darrell K. Royal: July 6, 1924 – November 7, 2012 Hook’em Next Game: Texas vs. Iowa State – November 10th, 11 A.M. at DKR in Austin, Texas Twitter: @WesKCrochet Email: Wes.Sports@hotmail.com
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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

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