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Rice Breakdown: Wide Receivers

Wide Receivers Let's start with the good stuff. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Jordan Shipley! The Great Albino Squirrel turned in a performance that matched his tremendous reputation among the diehard. First and foremost, before we even talk analysis, a heartfelt congratulations and a gigantic tip of the hat to Shipley. Lesser human beings would have been permanently derailed by his injury woes. I'm impressed not only by his perserverence, but also his ability to come back amidst the wild Texas Longhorn Fanbase expectations matrix. I feel good for Jordan Shipley, even if he never catches another pass. For one day, he put a show that did his legend proud. I hope he feels great.

Soft mushy stuff aside, his two big highlights were legitimately impressive. Let's start with the reverse, a play call Greg Davis managed to de-brilliantize when he said in his post-game press conference that he didn't know Ship was on the field. For crying out loud, Greg! At least pretend you meant for it to go to him! Rather, Davis said he called the play without knowing which receiver would be in the game to run the reverse. I guess fortune was on our side Saturday night, as the reverse went to Shipley and he darted down the sideline for an impressive 40 yard gain. The legendary speed and quickness were on full display, and left me grinning ear to ear.

And the touchdown? I touched on it during my review of Colt's performance, but the 38 yard McCoy-Shipley touchdown pass was a thing of beauty. Truth be told, most of my excitement for that particular play is because McCoy didn't settle for an open Charles underneath, opting for the vertical pass instead. But, really, I'm awfully glad that Shipley was the one on the receiving end. He did a fine job getting separated from his defender, and you could literally (even in regular full speed viewing) see him watch the ball into his hands as he fell across the end zone line. Touchdown, Texas, and a sentimentally great moment for this group. Let's just get it out of the way and give a long overdue A+ to Jordan Shipley. Congratulations, on every level. You deserve it.

Now...

For the rest of the group. The pass catching aspect of the group's performance was terrific. Sweed hauled in a 16 yard TD. Most importantly, Jermichael Finley caught two passes and showed glimpses of the dominant tight end we're hoping we have on our hands. Despite just 11 passing plays, eight different receivers caught the football Saturday night, a testament to both McCoy and Snead, but also to the receivers.

They also deserve high marks for their effort in run blocking. Unfortunately, they also receive demerits for their performance blocking. There were actually quite a few great blocks from receivers throughout the evening, but there were also some very untimely and costly holding penalties that negated big plays. Did you know that Texas managed to have three touchdowns nullified by penalty? That's just ugly. And the receivers needed to do better.

Mack talked about how the CUSA refs were employing a slightly different interpretation of the holding rule, and okay, whatever, maybe that was a small part of it, but it's by no means an excuse. Without the penalties, the receivers all get A's. With 'em, we're forced to settle for a B+.

--PB--