About that small man running everywhere. Texas fans were understandably upset this weekend after UTEP ran for 145 yards against the Longhorns defense. Despite the horrible struggles of the pass offense over the last two years, the run defense has been the strength of the unit. Barker HenryJames wants you to step back from the edge:
The run defense wasn't up to snuff, but people need to step back from the ledge. "We were going to go into the game and give up a little in the running game to help our safeties out," Will Muschamp said in today's Statesman. "We were going to play a little more Cover 2, a little more quarters stretch and be a gap short on the line. We wanted to make them be a little more patient offensively." So we purposely took away part of our run support to help out our young safeties. If it looked like our linebackers were struggling, it's because they had to cover an extra gap.
Considering the obvious struggles of the linebackers recently, it's easy to worry this unit won't be any better. Even if Rashad Bobino and Jared Norton continue to struggle at times, the excellent play of Roddrick Muckelroy (14 tackles and a fumble return for a touchdown) should relieve the pressure on the rest of the defense.
Time to prove you belong, VY. Deadspin is reporting that Vince Young "quit" on his football team during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Jaguars. I didn't watch the game because I live in AFC football purgatory, stuck watching the sorry Texans every week. The story is that Jeff Fisher had to order Young to go back into the game after throwing his second interception. He was hurt two plays later (MRI later today, initial estimates are 2-4 weeks and a sprained MCL). Entering his third year in the NFL, it's time to start wondering if Young will ever be an effective NFL quarterback. Clearly, his time at Texas is sacrosanct and beyond reproach, but I sense a change in VY as he struggles to even be an effective NFL quarterback. In college, he always seemed above the fray, helping opposing players up and patting them on the helmet. I noticed a change once he got to the NFL--he actually seemed chippy at times, he seemed threatened. Besides some struggles in his freshman and sophomore seasons at Texas, football has come easily for Vince Young. It isn't now, and how he responds to his current adversity will ultimately determine his NFL legacy.
Look at Fozzy move. After 12 spectacular carries in his college debut against UTEP, the only question was whether Fozzy Whittaker would move up the depth chart for the Arkansas game. With the history of Mack Brown and Greg Davis, no Texas fan was taking that advancement for granted. Texas fans can go back to worrying about Greg Davis's playcalling. The new depth chart lists Whittaker, Vondrell McGee and Chris Ogbonnaya all as co-starters. Not much new other than that, but Greg Davis noted that he didn't realize Fozzy had 12 carries. Further fodder for those who believe that Greg Davis doesn't know what's going on.
No beddy-bye for Mack and friends. ESPN Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin reports that Mack Brown and his coaching staff missed a night of sleep after returning late to Austin after playing UTEP:
Most Texas coaches didn't sleep on Sunday after the Longhorns returned back to Austin at about 5:30 a.m. after their late-evening game at UTEP. "Because they were already here (at the Texas football office) when we got back, most of our coaches didn't go to bed," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "It makes it a short week for us this week. And it's something we have to look to see if we're doing what's best for the kids."
While the lack of sleep will certainly make preparing for the Piggies more difficult, this shouldn't have an impact on the game. Arkansas doesn't have the personnel to run Bobby Petrino's offense yet, so they shouldn't be too much of a threat. Even though none of the current players were at Texas the last time Arkansas came to town in 2003 (no, not even Jordan Shipley), I hope the coaches instill in them the respect for the Hogs the team was missing before. Fortunately, there isn't a tall, ridiculously fast quarterback to worry about. If you're a masochist, this clip is for you.
So the Q package does actually exist? Greg Davis makes excuses explains why the Q package wasn't used against UTEP:
Because their defense is so different, it works better if you spread them out. The more you spread them out, the less confusing it looks. The more they're bunched in, the more confusing it looked.
He's trying to eliminate the confusion for the offensive line and Colt McCoy, I think. I don't know what kind of offense Buffalo ran, but they didn't seem to have much confusion in gashing UTEP in the running game. Instead of protecting the offensive line and the quarterback, Davis should have forced them to figure it out. If they messed up at some point, use it as a learning experience. Early in the season I wanted the offense to throw a bunch of different looks out there and see what works. Instead, I don't think this team is any closer to establishing its offensive identity than it was before the FAU game. I'm sure there will be more excuses in store when the Q package isn't used against OU and Fozzy Whittaker spends the game next to Mack Brown. I'm sure John Chiles is frustrated. I am. How does that saying go? Oh yeah, Texas never tries anything new until after losing to OU. Guess there's a reason for it...