As we dive into our Rose Bowl coverage, we'll take a look back at our game summaries for each of the Horns' wins this year. First up the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.
It was a great win. Crappy opponent caveats apply--fine--but it was, nonetheless, a great win. The running backs looked great. The offensive line was dominant. Vince Young was efficient and exciting. There were no major injuries. So let's do a quick game day report card before we start the week-long countdown to the big one in Columbus.
* Running: A+ The running game was simply outstanding. One of the grossest misconceptions about Texas this offseason was that we would sorely miss Cedric Benson. Well, we do miss him--he was a great player--but we're still going to be an amazing running team. It's simple--this is a great offensive line. Selvin Young may not be a pro prospect, but he doesn't have to be to rack up yards in college. Jamal Charles is awfully quick. Ramonce Taylor is Reggie Bush Lite. Vince Young can beat you on the run. There are a handful of guys that can come in and get the requisite yards. 52 rushes, 418 yards. Delicious.
* Passing: A- Vince Young threw the ball with authority, he hit his spots, he only made one bad pass, and he made good decisions. The interception near the end zone was a pass he forced, and a good lesson for Young as he prepares for a much better defense. Still, he looked a lot better throwing than people give him credit for. He wasn't perfectly accurate, but he was quite good, his ball had a lot of zip on it, and he was extremely efficient. 13-17 for 173 yards, with two of those incompletions being dropped balls by wide receivers.
* Receiving: B- This was a mixed result. David Thomas, Brian Carter, and Nate Jones all had nice games. Limas Sweed was notably absent and even managed to drop a perfect pass thrown his way. He didn't look like the big game receiver he proclaimed himself ready to be.
* Defense: A The unit looked fast, strong, and aggressive. Aaron Ross managed a pick and looked good in coverage. Still, it's hard to evaluate a defense against a poor offense like Louisiana-Lafayette.
* Special Teams: C- Are you serious? Three missed extra points? Even the ones that managed to make it through the uprights looked terrible. It made me miss a guy who I thought I'd never miss: Dusty Mangum. Mack Brown's inability to get a great kicker is seriously concerning. How is it possible, at the University of Freakin Texas, not to find someone who can kick the ball? On a bright note, Aaron Ross was solid on punt returns, and the kick coverage was pretty stout. Special teams has a lot of work to do for next week: Ginn and Holmes can return the ball like no other tandem in the game. I really, really hope we punt it out of bounds and/or get downfield with good coverage. Scary, scary stuff.
Overall, you couldn't have asked for too much more. Texas wasn't perfect, but they showed that they've got the same explosive team that they had last year, that there are some capable runners to fill Benson's void, and the defense looks like a solid unit once again. As usual, we have a Top 10 team, for sure. This year, of course, we hope that Vince Young will take us over the edge and into the title game. I saw nothing on Saturday that convinced me that it's out of the realm of possibilities. One up, one down. Took dead aim, and got it done. I'm happy, and Horns fans in general should be happy.
Oh, and by the way, did anyone happen to see Reggie McNeal on Saturday? Still wanna trade him for Vince Young? I didn't think so...