I get it. We don't want to be here. OU handed us our asses and Mack looked like he was simply "trying not to die" on the sidelines. Never mind the fact that he has a headset that is likely not even on but worn just for show. This may sound cynical but when I was younger my friends and I were the "Powder Puff" coaches for the girls HS football game and we all wore headsets that were not connected. So it has happened on some level. Mack is not an X's and O's guy so I for one hope his headset doesn't work or that he only uses it occasionally. Either way, there has been a lot of negative reaction (and rightfully so) to the past few weeks of Texas Football so I thought I'd shine some light on the subject of where we actually are and where we are likely headed.
First, our defense. Our linebackers are the root cause of the problem, this has bled to the secondary and team in general. I know we give a lot of grief to our dbacks but if they had to try and tackle less 230 pound backs with a full head of steam they'd do better. If the D played better pride may just cause the d backs to tackle harder as well. However, we d backs are notorious for poor tackling at all levels as they must focus on mastering coverage, are lanky, fast, and generally not built for making tackle after tackle. Before moving on to the real problem, to be clear, our secondary's tackling has been poor in my opinion. However, the real problem is the linebackers and to a smaller extent, our hard charging Defensive ends.
The linebackers are young. Please correct in the comments but I don't remember Jordan Hicks being a stud starter last year as much as a two deep rotation guy when not injured. Relying on him to be the man this year shows how young this group is. Youth equals errors. Before throwing Cobbs under the bus please keep in mind that he came as an athlete, even trying his hand at RB first, and that was last fall, barely 14 months ago. Edmond is raw, beast like, and full of potential. I think many coaches would kill to have him on their squad. Both Edmond and Cobbs are TRUE Sophs, if they were red shirt fresh would we be so down on them? And how about Santos? That is a true Fresh all the way. YOUTH is our problem at linebacker. And in my experience when you know you have a helplessly weak link on your side of the ball, your moral lowers as well as your expectations. I believe this is contributing to what has/is becoming a self fulfilling prophecy that our D sucks.
The least to blame but deserving of some is our pass rush. All world pass rushers get ahead of themselves some time and don't stuff the run as well as they may if they weren't so sack focused. Don't take my word on the sack focus, Okafor and Jeffcoat have stated numerous times they have a sack competition between them. Do opposing coaches try and take advantage of their beast like rush up field toward the quarterback each play? I don't know but I'd try if I was a coach.
So why will we go 10-3? Because youth needs experience. Gray is getting it and so is Daje. They are becoming something special. But more importantly, we got gouged by Baylor to be sure, but somehow it is hard to deny that they D looked better in some tackling consistency, and in being in the right place at the right time. Without that short field after the punted snap, we'd have held them to 43, better than the last two offenses and improvement is something I will take. So our D is getting experience too and they won't face the offense Baylor had next week. So more improvement and hopefully better stats and results to hang their hat on. This leads to more confidence and if we can beat Tech, then I think we run the table with a likely loss to KState- though if we are 9-2 at that point we may come out for revenge against the world and win it.
Just don't give up ! Mack has done this before taking us to 10 wins after a OU shellacking. Before the season we'd have said, 5-7, 8-5, then 10-3 is fantastic. Oh and don't forget these facts:
Landry, Geno, Collin, all gone next year. We will be fully intact, more mature, and hopefully in position for an 08' and 09' run similar to the last time these dynamics appeared.
Okay, please go easy. Hook'em