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Texas Longhorns Game Review: Offense vs Arkansas State

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We'll start our postgame review with a look at the offense.


McCoy did complete 22 of his 33 passes on the night, which is solid. And if we went by the first quarter alone, he'd have received an A or A+.

Unfortunately, Colt had a pedestrian game after the first quarter. After completing his first eight attempts of the game, McCoy completed just 14 of his next 25, including two interceptions.

What went wrong? It's hard to say exactly, but McCoy definitely struggled. In the second quarter, I thought McCoy was too loose, which is an odd thing to say. It looked like -  at least to me - things were coming so easily to McCoy in the first quarter that he let his concentration slip. He didn't step into throws. He failed to look off receivers.

In the second half, he had the opposite problem, appearing to be thinking too much. Balls wound up being forced, his progressions seemed to lack flow and good order.

Add it all up, and this was not the Colt McCoy that our Big 12 title hopes depend on. He's showed remarkable bounceback ability in his young career thus far, so it's not exactly a source of concern here, but we have to call this what it was - a bad performance.

Grade: D

Running Back

On the plus side, Jamaal Charles handled 27 carries just fine, making several inspiring runs in the process. I thought Jamaal looked great last night.

Unfortunately, he had nowhere to run more often than not. When we get into the gameplan grading, I'll talk more about the failings in this regard, though the grade here is for the tailbacks themselves, who were fine.

Mysteriously, Texas didn't use Ogbonnaya much (two carries) or McGee at all. The Longhorns stuck with Charles, even inside the five yard line, where we (like 2006) struggled to score.

Both Ogbonnaya and backup fullback Antwaan Cobb were used well in the receiving game, with CO being sent deep on a wheel route and Cobb being released into the flat for a first quarter touchdown.

Grade: B

Wide Receiver

They were open. They caught passes. They (mostly) blocked well.

Colt just missed a lot of throws, and you can't really fault the pass catchers for that. Nate Jones and Limas Sweed were both outstanding, and Quan had a decent night catching his little screen passes.

Beyond that, Colt didn't get the ball to anyone. This remains the team's greatest strength.

Grade: A-

Offensive Line

Well, Texas' line only allowed one sack and Colt wasn't really hurried much on the night. On the other hand, Texas averaged a paltry 3.1 yards per rush on the evening.

As with the tailbacks, we have to ask if it was a problem with the players, or a problem with the scheme. I don't think there's any way around saying that this is a structural, schematic problem. Greg Davis has figured out how to move the ball through the air with Colt McCoy, but he has not found a way to do so and have a healthy running game.

I simply find it difficult to believe that Texas' linemen are incapable of run blocking with better success than they are. I think this has to go mostly on the coaches.

Still, the run blocking in the red zone was bad once again. These guys aren't getting it done. It's time to get worried.

Grade: C-

Offensive Coaching

After a solid first quarter, the Texas offense was flat out bad. 340 yards of total offense is bad, and only 238 in the final three quarters is especially ugly.

I've always thought people go too far criticizing Greg Davis overall, but there are - without question - games after which I'm at the front of the line to take shots at him. And last night's is one of them.

Texas had eight months to figure out how to develop a better rushing attack around Colt McCoy and we didn't see anything last night to make me believe that we have. Most infuriatingly, Texas bumbled around inside the five yard line once again, poking at the goal line with Jamaal Charles on four straight plays:

1st and Goal, 3 yard line :: Jamaal Charles rush over left end for no gain

2nd and goal, 3 yard line :: Jamaal Charles rush up middle for 2 yards to the ASU1
3rd and Goal, 1 yard line :: Jamaal Charles rush over right tackle for no gain to the ASU1
4th and Goal, 1 yard line :: Jamaal Charles rush up middle for no gain to the ASU1

That is so pathetic, and worrisome, it's not funny. You could literally pick four plays at random from the playbook and it'd have been guaranteed to be a better four-play sequence. Furthermore, why keep poking at things with Charles? Why not try Ogbonnaya? Or McGee? Christ, hand it to Derek Lokey. Whatever you do, don't give it to the same guy four times in a row, calling four straight ahead run plays which our linemen are apparently incapable of executing.

This is a basic human concept which each of us employ in our daily lives. If I think up a new post series on checkers rule history, the first post of which doesn't receive any comments, I'm going to think long and hard about posting the second one. If I do post it and it also inspires no responses? There won't be a third.

What, then, is going on with the Texas running game? Lord knows we have enough data to conclude: the system is broken. Where, then, are the adjustments? What's the new plan? If there is one, we didn't see it last night, and it can't only be chalked up to lack of execution. Even if the players are to be blamed for not executing it right, the coaches are required to recognize this and either (1) coach them up to getting it right or (2) do something different - something they can execute.

The offensive struggles last night fall on two guys - McCoy and Davis. I expect better from McCoy going forward, but I'm downright concerned about Davis. He proved himself able to build a dynamic, historically great offense around Vince Young. He has yet to figure out how to build a consistently dynamic offense around McCoy. There have been flashes of what it could be, but nothing consistent enough to win a conference, let alone national, championship.

Perhaps worst of all, the time to "go back to the drawing board" has come and gone. Football season is here. TCU arrives in Austin in six days. And if Texas doesn't improve vastly from week one to week two on offense? We won't score enough to win.

Grade: F