I don't know if there is a team in the Big 12 that is more off course from preseason expectations than Texas is right now (TCU would be my other guess, but they still look much better). Texas came into the season as one of many teams everyone thought had a chance to win the Big 12 and make it back into a BCS bowl game; now Longhorns fans and national spectators alike are wondering if this team is even going bowling in December. After losing two of the worst games they've participated in in the last 3 years, Texas has a chance to turn this season back in the positive direction with a win against Kansas State, a team they have a hard time beating. Texas is facing a well-coached team that is going to be very physical and very fired up after winning its past 2 games following an embarrassing loss in Week 1. Here's the things I know Texas has to do if they even want a chance at making this a close game.
1) Get Physical and Stop Being a Bunch of Wimps: I know injuries are a part of the game of football. Injuries have occurred in basically every game ever played. But the Longhorns have a severe case of WIMPITIS. You know why top teams like Alabama and Oregon win a lot of games? Because the players are tough and physical and don't get injured after a couple hits. Texas currently has 6 players that are questionable/out, and they haven't even reached the "tough" games on their schedule yet. Some of these are excusable like ankles and concussions, but overall if they don't toughen up soon, Texas will have more on the "questionable" list than on the depth chart.
2) Get Emotional, Get Fired Up: Texas needs to come into this game ticked off, because Kansas State will be. Texas is one of the biggest laughing stocks in the entire nation right now. They need to come into this game angry and with redemption on their mind. The reason BYU whooped Texas? Not just because the run-D is bad, but because BYU came into the game with redemption from their terrible loss to Virginia on their mind. They've got to channel that anger into a very physical performance.
3) Limit McCoy, Play Swoopes: Texas is 1-6 in the past 2 years when Case McCoy attempts more than 15 passes. The strategy? Don't let McCoy reach 15 passes. Instead, incorporate (or start) Tyrone Swoopes. He's got a stronger arm, which automatically makes him better than McCoy, and better athleticism. If McCoy plays the entire game, Texas literally has NO SHOT at winning this game. Just look at Kansas State in 2012 and Baylor in 2011.
4) Fix O-Line: I guess the injuries to Mason Walters and Josh Cochran force this into action. After an overall good year in 2012, this O-line has looked horrific in the first 3 games of 2013 against average competition. The UT backfield, including Overstreed, is the most misused unit on the team right now, and it's mostly because the current lineup can't block. The solution? Reshuffle the lineup. Give Harrison a leading role. If Texas enters the game with the same lineup, expect a poor game on the ground, which will put even more stress on the quarterbacks.
5) Listen to Kenny Vaccaro: "I know exactly what happened. Somebody wasn't taking the dive, somebody wasn't taking the pitch and somebody wasn't taking the quarterback."
Is defending the read option really that simple? I'd imagine so, considering that Vaccaro was a part of this same scheme and had to defend the option a lot last year. It shows how undisciplined these Texas defenders are. Kansas State is going to pull out the read option; EVERYONE KNOWS THIS. Greg Robinson needs to coach these guys to play more disciplined football, or Kansas State, who have 2 dual threat QBs and a great halfback, will destroy Texas with the option.
6) WRAP UP: Tackling may be harder in today's football, but good teams are still getting it done. No excuses here.
7) Play Fast: Texas might as well go back to their "SEC-style" offense, because right now their "uptempo" offense is moving at about the same pace (and with worse results). The purpose of an uptempo offense is to put defenses on edge. They didn't put Ole Miss or BYU on edge. I understand that most of this current team was built for an "SEC-style" system, but that's where Texas's "exceptional" depth comes into play. Move fast, and when they get tired, put a new guy in. Oregon and Baylor don't worry about guys getting tired or negative yardage; they just play. That's why their offenses are consistently explosive. And that's also one of the reasons why BOTH TEAMS BLEW OUT KANSAS STATE LAST YEAR. Texas needs to move at a pace that's at least similar to those two.
This is Texas' do-or-die game. If they can do these, they've got a good shot at beating Kansas State. If they come with the same mentality and gameplay they played BYU and Ole Miss with, Texas has no shot at Kansas State, and maybe no shot at the Big 12.