Lack of sacks no surprise. This came up in Tuesday's Morning Coffee thread, but it's probably worth addressing more fully here. One of the things that jumped out about the opening game was that the Longhorns didn't record any official sacks against Louisiana-Monroe, although the team apparently went back and looked at the tape and unofficially gave the team one sack. Here's what Mack had to say about it:
We had 10 pressures on the quarterback. We had 14 hits on the quarterback with only one sack. A lot of times in games like this when ULM does not think they can protect against our front, they're going to run options and they're going to have quick passes and a lot of sprint, and it's going to be very, very difficult to sack the quarterback. That did not surprise us coming in.
As I mentioned in the comments of the other thread, Florida Atlantic did the same thing last season by moving the pocket and running some max protection and quick passes. These Sun Belt teams don't have the players up front to match up with the Longhorns, so they have to get more creative to protect the quarterback.
Besides the corner blitz that Muschamp called on the 75-yard touchdown pass to Luther Ambrose, the Longhorns didn't blitz much and did show the 3-4 look they will use this season, but it wasn't a game where Muschamp was going to show much in the way of exotic blitzes or dropping Sergio Kindle into coverage. If the Longhorns don't pick up any sacks against Wyoming, it might start becoming a cause for concern, but until that point, it's probably safe to say that Texas was just unlucky, vanilla, and facing a team bent on protecting their quarterback.
Ball security a point of emphasis this week. Somewhat ironically, it wasn't Vondrell McGee who should have lost the football on Saturday -- the starting running back actually did a relatively good job of securing the football, but ULM did a better job of putting their helmets on the ball twice to knock it lose. According to Mack Brown, it was other players who didn't secure the football properly, but were lucky enough not to have any knocked loose:
Offensively, we felt like we had an outstanding night. The obvious negative was the three turnovers. We can't have them. To lose the two fumbles at running back to start the season is probably a positive because you can get complacent with the ball. After last year not losing a fumble at running back, now I'm sure there will be a huge emphasis on it tomorrow when we go back to the practice field because the kids have already talked about it. As much as we talked about it in preseason, when you start taking it for granted, that can happen. I thought we carried the ball sloppily at receiver at times, at tight end at times. I did not think we did a great job protecting the ball. We were fortunate that those were the only two that hit the ground.
Ball security will be worth watching against Wyoming to see if the Longhorns improved during the week at making sure they secure the football properly. Any more fumbles against Wyoming will be a major disappointment.
Christensen's offense paying early dividends. It's pretty easy to write off Weber State as a Football Championship Subdivision scrub and not a particularly worthy opponent. After all, Weber isn't even a state and few people can probably even name where the university is, but the school is ranked in the top ten of the FCS and Appalachian State did walk into the Big House several years ago and pick up a victory. So Wyoming's win wasn't exactly lacking in any and all drama like Florida's thrashing of Charleston Southern. Of course, all this is just build up to one of my personal weekly favorites: Mack Brown talks about why Wyoming is the most awesomest team ever in the whole wide history of college football!
Take it away, Mack:
Talking about Wyoming, Dave Christensen is the new head coach. He was the offensive coordinator and the architect of one of the best offenses in college football at Missouri, and he's a guy that we have seen for the 12 years that we've been here, so we know what they're going to do offensively. We were watching them last night and this morning against Weber State. It's the Missouri offense. He had Chase Daniel and did an outstanding job with him. They had 434 yards of offense during the game. They're playing two quarterbacks. They've got two tailbacks that they're playing. They ran the ball more and better than they threw it on Saturday with a big back named Darius Terry who weighs 209 pounds. Their defense is not as much blitz as the other night, they're about 30 percent blitz. They have a new defensive coordinator, even though he was on the staff last year. They'll still be a four-man concept like most people but they will play some 3-5 and go in and out. We're really not sure of what they'll do on defense because the system is new, but they did have five interceptions last week. That was something that got our attention. Their secondary is really good. They can all run. They had three punts inside the 20. They had two punts that were over 50 yards, so that really changes field position. We thought ULM's punter the other night did an outstanding job of keeping us backed up because he did such a good job of directional punting it was hard for us to return it. (Wyoming) upset Tennessee in Knoxville last year and they beat Virginia in the opener two years ago at home. They are a team that has the ability to upset you.
The good news? Mack isn't likely to flip out if you mention the word "cupcake."
Gilbert brilliant in debut. Perhaps it wasn't a surprise that Garrett Gilbert performed superbly in his collegiate debut, mere months after graduating from high school and without the advantage of early enrollment in the spring. After all, he is the anointed heir apparent and future savior of Texas football. Perhaps it was more surprising that the Texas coaches actually had a plan for what they wanted to see out of Gilbert:
I thought Garrett was great. He did everything that we could have expected him to do. We wanted him to throw, to sprint out, to drop back, he did all of those things. In fact, the one pass that was incomplete was a great throw. At the same time we wanted to him to run, and he showed the ability to escape, made a move and then got in the end zone. We felt like Garrett played great.
Mission accomplished. If the Longhorns can continue to take care of the business and the coaching continues to script Gilbert's plays to demonstrate his abilities and development on the field at the end of games, his progress should put him in a position to be extremely successful next season and that is extremely heartening.