Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown will meet with the media today at 11 am CST to discuss the upcoming game against the Oklahoma Sooners and recap last Saturday's matchup. Watch the press conference live at MB-TF or on the Longhorn Network.
Well, as I typed an email reply to my long-time high-school bud Saturday evening late in the game, "The football gods giveth and the football gods taketh away."
Such was the scene after the Texas Longhorns gave up one too many fourth down conversions in losing to new Big 12 conference member West Virginia 48-45. The team was one missed field goal away from sending the game into overtime. Cardiac kids? Quite.
The most disappointing takeaway for me was the continuation of poor defensive run fits. Texas allowed WVU too many yards on the ground. Tip your hat to the Mountaineer coaching staff who claimed post game that "running it more" was an early week strategy.
Other than that obvious omission, the Longhorn defense played an excellent game against the country's most prolific passing team. They held the leading Heisman guy to season low passing performance of almost 170 yards fewer than the first four game average, a passer rating of 173.46 which was well short of his off-the-chart rating of 208.37 heading into the game, and the four TD's were one shy of his 5 per game average. Most of this shortfall was directly related to the negative plays and turnovers which were by far the most impressive against any foe all season by a large margin (12 negative plays, of which 4 were sacks, worth 66 yards. Toss in 7 QBH's for good measure). Much of this work product is directly attributed to Alex Okafor who justifiably was named team defensive player of the game.
Offensively the Longhorns were one late snap snafu from putting up the go ahead score late in the game. David Ash took the sword post game for a lack of clock awareness. That was mighty big of him. Not sure why the sideline did not call a timeout with the play clock winding down that far especially after doing so before a fourth down in the first quarter which turned into a touchdown. The play was a glaring pimple on an otherwise exemplary statistical performance.
Speaking of David Ash, he really looked like he belongs in the national discussion. And 5-star running back Johnathan Gray is starting to get a nice feel for the game. Both of these players feature to be a big part against the OU.
Regarding special teams, the Texas coaching staff had better find some guys who can quit giving up field position on kick coverage. The steady march toward regression to the mean will cost us more upcoming games if not.
Next Opponent: Oklahoma
A redemptive win in Lubbock on Saturday has to have them feeling pretty good heading into the annual showdown against Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. OU has leap-frogged us in this week's polls and as such are an early betting favorite at -3.5.
Oklahoma's fourth year quarterback, Landry Jones, is now the school's most prolific passer. And that is saying quite a bit. He holds many records and the game against the Red Raiders was a pretty typical showing. He'll be a challenge to defend not unlike what Texas has experienced the past two games. He has a decent to good receiver corps to work with who all have great hands. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel is a master at installing the screen game and OU runs it about as good, or better, than anyone in the country. Their rushing attack is not what it has been in the past in between the 20's but it complements the passing game nicely. Of course this is all before you draw up a red zone stopping scheme against - BELLDOZER.
Defensively, I'm not really sure even they know what will show up. They've got a couple of defensive backs that can light you up in Tony Jefferson and Aaron Colvin, a big space eater in the middle of the line Jamarcus McFarland and a decent defensive end in R.J. Washington. Everyone else appears to be blue-collar system guys. What they do well is play as a unit and you better believe new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops will have his diesel greased and fired for the train wreck game.
So it's on to the Red River Rivalry.
DEPTH CHART UPDATE
Mack Brown pulled the trigger at safety. Mykelle Thompson turned in a solid grade against WVU and gets the nod ahead of Adrian Phillips at strong safety. Recall Phillips did not participate in spring practice due to offseason shoulder surgery.
Also, freshman running back Johnathan Gray is listed as co-starter with sophomore bruiser Joe Bergeron.
Good to see Jordan Hicks name on the chart as he is "day-to-day" and will be evaluated throughout the week. If he doesn't practice on Wednesday then it will be time for his backup to get it in gear.
Despite missing a 41 yard field goal to tie the game up last Saturday, Anthony Fera is listed as starting place kicker.
|Wide Receiver (H)||8||Jaxon Shipley|||||16||Bryant Jackson||OR||27||Daje Johnson|
|Wide Receiver (Z)||84||Marquise Goodwin|||||26||D.J. Monroe||OR||4||Cayleb Jones|
|Tight End (Y)||18||D.J. Grant||OR||81||Greg Daniels|||||89||Barrett Matthews|
|Right Tackle||78||Josh Cochran|||||77||Luke Poehlmann|
|Right Guard||72||Mason Walters|||||79||Thomas Ashcraft|
|Center||55||Dominic Espinosa|||||73||Garrett Porter|
|Left Guard||75||Trey Hopkins|||||66||Sedrick Flowers|
|Left Tackle||51||Donald Hawkins|||||68||Kennedy Estelle|
|Wide Receiver (X)||1||Mike Davis|||||2||Kendall Sanders|||||80||Marcus Johnson|
|Quarterback||14||David Ash|||||6||Case McCoy|||
|Tailback||24||Joe Bergeron||OR||32||Johnathan Gray|||||28||Malcolm Brown|
|Fullback||30||Ryan Roberson|||||13||Chet Moss||||
|Place-Kicker||9||Anthony Fera|||||28||Nick Jordan|||||23||Nick Rose|
|Buck||44||Jackson Jeffcoat|||||88||Cedric Reed|
|Tackle (Nose)||99||Desmond Jackson|||||97||Brandon Moore||OR||90||Malcom Brown|
|Tackle||96||Chris Whaley|||||85||Ashton Dorsey|
|Strong End||80||Alex Okafor|||||92||Reggie Wilson|
|Strongside LB||7||Demarco Cobbs|||||11||Tevin Jackson|
|Middle LB||33||Steve Edmond|||||55||Dalton Santos|
|Weakside LB||3||Jordan Hicks|||||35||Kendall Thompson|||||19||Peter Jinkens|
|CB||6||Quandre Diggs|||||21||Duke Thomas|
|Free Safety||4||Kenny Vaccaro|||
|Strong Safety||2||Mykkele Thompson|||||17||Adrian Phillips|
|CB||23||Carrington Byndom|||||31||Leroy Scott|||||29||Sheroid Evans|
|Punter||15||Alex King|||||14||William Russ|
|Punt Returns||6||Quandre Diggs|||||8||Jaxon Shipley|
|Kickoff Returns||26||D.J. Monroe|||||84||Marquise Goodwin||OR||27||Daje Johnson|
|Kickoffs||23||Nick Rose|||||28||Nick Jordan|
|Holder||86||Cade McCrary|||||15||Alex King|
|Snapper (PAT/FG)||37||Nate Boyer|||||45||Kyle Ashby|
|Snapper (Punts)||45||Kyle Ashby|||||37||Nate Boyer|