Well... let's start with the good stuff first, right? I've spent some quality time with tape of this game over the last 24 hours, and the offense is certainly the place to start for that.
Quarterback Another week, another legendary night from Texas' best freshman quarterback of all time. Think I'm being premature with that coronation? Think again. With his four touchdowns Saturday, McCoy's got a whopping 24 on the season. Barring injury, he'll inevitably set the Texas single season record for touchdown passes by a quarterback of any age.
And, really, has there been a more impressive McCoy football game than the one we were treated to on Saturday evening? McCoy led Texas back from a 21-0 deficit, and not only that, but after 7 of those points came on a pick six that he threw himself. That kind of a start to a game is more than enough to bury most seniors. It barely phased McCoy, and that's before we even mention that the game was being played in the Bermuda Triangle of college football.
So forget about Colt's pick six in the first quarter - it was a rare mistake. Focus instead on one of the most remarkable comebacks in Texas football history. Appreciate the uncanny connection he has with Limas Sweed. Tip your cap to those gutty, drive-sustaining scrambles. Applaud his poise, his competitiveness, and his leadership. You couldn't ask for much more from a freshman quarterback. Or, really, any quarterback.
For Saturday, Colt wasn't perfect in his performance, but he was outstanding once again. Grade: A
Running Backs With our high praise for Colt's gutty effort out of the way (it needed to be said), we can get into the meat of what happened on the field Saturday. The Longhorns rushed the football with the tailbacks 35 times Saturday night, with mixed results.
In the first half, with Texas trailing quickly, the Horns were operating mostly out of the shotgun. When the Horns rushed, it was generally out of the gun formation with the lone back. Unfortunately for Texas, first half turnovers aided Tech's ridiculously fast start, and limited the running threat. On Texas' first drive, Jamaal Charles put the football on the ground to kill a long, impressive Texas drive. After a three and out on the second possession, and trailing 14-0, Colt threw his interception. 21-0 Texas Tech.
And that's when Greg Davis made his switch. Texas started putting Colt under center more, the running plays were run out of the I-formation, and the play action passing barrage began. On Texas' fourth drive, Greg Davis called play action pass plays on two separate occasions. The second one should have resulted in a touchdown, but Limas Sweed dropped Colt's excellent pass in the end zone. McCoy found Nate Jones wide open on the very next play, and the comeback was on.
In the second half, with the craziness from Tech's offense subsiding, Davis unveiled the offensive attack that we're likely to see for the rest of the season. Colt was under center about half the time; the running plays were frequently called off that formation; there were flashes of using a fullback; and the play action pass was tremendously effective. If Selvin and Jamaal hadn't had such a tough day with the fumbles, and the game hadn't unfolded as it did, we'd be talking about the emergence of this new ground attack and its potential for success. As is, we're all a little bit exhausted from the roller coaster we went through Saturday. Grade: C
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends McCoy spread his passes out to six receivers Saturday night. Quan Cosby led the way with seven catches, but really, all the receivers were excellent. Limas was on the cusp of having another huge game, but had to settle for a good game instead. I think Roy Williams' presence rattled him a bit; his concentration was just a -little- bit off at times. That didn't stop him from another gorgeous 45 yard touchdown grab, but it kept him from having a really big evening. What was great, of course, is that he looked impressive even on an off night. The man is a real problem for defenses.
The receiving MVP, of course, was Cosby, who not only had a great night catching McCoy footballs, but was also outstanding as a blocker on the edges. I counted at least three times when his blocking sprung big plays for others. Elsewhere, it's really enjoyable watching Jermichael Finley develop. You can literally see how close he is to a full-fledged breakout. Again, it may not come this year, but you can absolutely be sure it's coming at some point. Grade: A-
Offensive Line It was an impressive evening from the line once again, though not their best effort of the season. The pass protection was outstanding for the entire game, and I thought the line was especially good in the second half in run blocking. The only player that had any troubles last night was Adam Ulatoski, who just seemed out of sync on several occasions. On one particularly ugly play, Ulatoski crashed into Neal Tweedie, knocking him over while freeing the Tech defender to sack McCoy.
If not for the turnovers by Texas, the running totals would have been even prettier. Grade: A
Offensive Coaching For those of us who've been sticking by Greg Davis as a good football coach, we were rewarded in spades on Saturday. With the defense doing its best impression of the Baylor Bears during the first half, Davis earned his paycheck with an outstanding first half of offensive coaching. The offense is really starting to come together now, and with each week, you can see it evolve just a little bit more.
This week, we saw more of that north-south running that we've all been clamoring for. We saw some truly outstanding play action passing. We saw another deep touchdown to Limas Sweed after a turnover. We saw the best designed play of the season on Texas fifth drive of the first half - a throwback screen to Jermichael Finley that set up Texas' third touchdown of the half.
To make a long story short - if Davis' offense had anything less than a great evening, Texas loses the football game. As is, we're celebrating another win. Grade: A
One thing Horns fans have to remember is that Davis had to transition Colt out from the zone-read offense that had been built around Vince Young. It simply wasn't possible to just install a brand new offense overnight. We've seen this offense change as the year has gone on, and it's becoming very tough to deny how good it's getting. With McCoy playing at an all-conference level, I think we'll see an already good rush game get even better, too. The sky's the limit right now.