This is a Texas blog and I know folks may not be in the mood to talk about how awesome the other guys are, but I stand in awe of RGIII and the masterful performance he delivered against a high quality defense. I wrote earlier in the week that Robert Griffin III is the best player in college football and one of the most complete quarterbacks of the last decade, and we certainly saw why on Saturday afternoon: 15 of 22 passing for 320 yards, 14.6 per completion, with 2 touchdowns, plus another 2 rushing touchdowns.
Honestly, as absolutely atrocious as Baylor's defense is, it's hard not to think that RGIII would win a national title if he quarterbacked a team with a Top 30 defense. Our defensive line played pretty well and put pressure on him throughout the afternoon, but Griffin was just too good. His pocket presence is absolutely phenomenal and he makes throws under pressure better than any QB I can recall. What a marvelous talent, and though it's dispiriting to see Texas drop any game, I respect and admire RGIII more than any opposing player I can recall. Kudos to him and Baylor for a terrific season. Give him the Heisman, already.
As for the Longhorns... frankly, I'm looking forward to sitting down to watch the tape of Texas' 69-59 win over UCLA on the hardwood, so I'm not going to go overboard with this initial review. Also, this loss isn't very complicated. A big part of it was Robert Griffin III and his excellent core of skill players. The rest of it is a combination of stuff we more or less knew about Texas heading into this game.
To begin with, our senior safeties lack the lateral speed to cover. Blake Gideon and Christian Scott's weaknesses are well known, and both were picked on by RGIII today. For the most part our corners played pretty well, actually, but our attempts to zone RGIII were, in the end, a failure. With Griffin, it's a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation, but our hands were especially tied by our limitations at safety. When we dropped 6 DBs back into a deep zone, Griffin marched down the field in his sleep. When we tried to play it tighter he broke through with big plays over the top. In any event, whatever we give up in experience in our starting safeties next year, the upgrade in speed should more than make up for.
On the other side of the ball, we need a quarterback. Period. End of sentence. Case McCoy has a weak arm and he's constantly sacking himself, looking like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs when there is even the slightest hint of pressure or potential pressure. He often makes decisions about where to throw before making reads, even when the play calls for the quarterback to make one read. Unless he's planning to grow 2.5 inches and add 25 pounds of muscle in the next three months, I'm pretty sure that he's a quality back up.
Don't bother pointing out Ash's mistakes during his own tenure as the starter. I'm perfectly aware, and I'm not pretending to know whether or not he can and will develop into a quality starter himself. He absolutely might not, in which case it's on to Connor Brewer and we're on the precipice of a vicious cycle, if we're not there already. In my estimation, though, the best we can do is name Ash the starter, work him out as QB1 throughout the weeks of practice leading up to the bowl game, and hope that he comes up in to spring practice in March ready to be better.
Some will disagree, but these were the same folks who cried for Case to get a "legitimate shot" to be the starter. He got it, both last week against A&M, when his heroic final drive overshadowed a crappy performance overall, and then again today, against the worst defense we've faced all season, where he really showed exactly why he's not viable as a starter. Baylor's even-worse-than-ours safeties allowed a few big plays, but their defensive backfield had a field day jumping on McCoy's weak arm.
Anyway, none of this stuff is particularly new. Our tailbacks are injured. Our safeties suck. Our receivers are inconsistent. Both of our young quarterbacks can't get it done. That's why we're going to finish with 7 or 8 wins this year, about what was expected heading into this season. Honestly, I'm happy enough with that, especially considering that one of those wins came at A&M.
Congrats to Baylor on an impressive win and season. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch our young hoops team. Hook 'em.