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Thoughts on Kansas and Texas A&M

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There isn't a whole lot to talk about with the Kansas game that hasn't already been said here in the last couple of days or earlier in the season, so I'll just do it bullet style:

  • Before the Baylor game, I said that the two best receivers Texas would face this season on one team were David Gettis and Kendall Wright. Somehow I forgot about Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe and that was just stupid. Meier didn't have a huge game, but Briscoe did, showing the combination of size and speed that should make him one of the top receivers in the draft if he decides to come out this year. Much like he did against Michael Crabtree last season, Curtis Brown really struggled against Briscoe, for a variety of reasons. Briscoe's speed was a problem, as was his size. Mostly though, Brown struggled because he kept on getting in between trying to break up passes and trying to make the tackle, often ending up doing neither. Blake Gideon didn't help him much by consistently being late getting over the top as well, though in fairness to Gideon, he was the single-high safety on several of those coverages, giving him a lot of ground to cover.
  • Aaron Williams actually got beat a couple of times. Astounding -- I didn't even know if that was possible. Apparently he is mortal.
  • It's really heartening that the Longhorns are looking down the field more often, especially when using play action. The deep post to Williams went for a long touchdown and McCoy targeted the big receiver on two other plays downfield, with Williams for some reason stopping on one route that would have been a touchdown and McCoy missing outside and long on another that would have gone for a score. The fact that they aren't quite on the same page with those throws illustrates what a crime it was not to have played Williams more early in the season. Had the coaches put him on the field, he and McCoy might have already worked through those problems. The good news is that Williams hasn't dropped any passes in the last two games and continues to block extremely well downfield. On the pass into the flat to Tre' Newton after faking the jet sweep, Wiilliams absolutely leveled a linebacker.
  • James Kirkendoll contines to come on as well, working harder on his blocking downfield, but more importantly, showing the precise route running Texas fans expected to see all season. McCoy is seemingly gaining more trust in him every week and it's clear that the benching after the Oklahoma game really lit a fire under him. Great to see.
  • The offensive line had two breakdowns in pass protection again, once by Tray Allen when he let a defensive tackle come free on McCoy's fumble early in the game when Kansas showed blitz with one linebacker on the edge, then the other, clearly confusing Allen with the protection scheme. The other came when Kyle Hix left Maxwell Onyegbule unblocked on the edge, leading to a hit on McCoy. Frustrating.
  • I can guarantee that since Justin Tucker fancies himself a real football player, he hated the fact that he couldn't catch Briscoe on the kickoff return. He'll probably be angry about it the rest of his life.
  • John Gold's punting effort was extremely poor, meaning that both the traditional and rubgy punting have struggled the last two weeks. They need to figure it out. Kickoff coverage as well, which was terrible at times.
  • After Jordan Shipley's fumble on a kickoff return, Marquise Goodwin should be given every chance to win the job until DJ Monroe comes back -- he didn't look quite as explosive, but Shipley's fumble was inexcusable and the second fumble he has had on special teams in the last month.
  • Texas struggled to get pressure on Todd Reesing during long stretches of the game -- a lot of credit should go to the Kansas offensive line, which probably played their best game of the season against Texas, doing a particularly good job picking up on the twists the Longhorns ran consistently. Part of the problem may have been that the defensive linemen were worried about staying in their lanes, but the lack of pressure helped lead to a lot of the breakdowns in the secondary.
  • The jet tempo package worked as well as it has all season, with the Longhorns running several bootlegs off of the play, one that resulted in a scramble for a first down by McCoy and one that resulted in the 38-yard touchdown to Shipley on a drag route. It's a good thing that Davis didn't abandon the jet tempo when it wasn't working like he did the Q package and the WildHorn, because it's giving the Longhorns an advantage right now.
  • The Longhorns ran power a couple of times against Kansas and it's a great addition to the playbook.

Some thoughts on the game against A&M:

  • The skill position players on offense are good for the Aggies, but the offensive line has struggled mightily at times this season and Jerrod Johnson often holds the ball too long in the pocket, a recipe for disaster against the Longhorns.
  • The key to stopping the Aggie offense may be limiting their ability to run the ball, putting them in third and long situations where Texas can put pressure on Johnson. However, the defensive linemen must stay in their lanes as they did against Kansas and Oklahoma State to limit the scrambling ability of the Aggie quarterback -- when Johnson is running the ball effectively, the Aggies are a dangerous team offensively.
  • Defensively, Texas A&M has virtually nothing besides Von Miller. Early in the Arkansas game, Miller was extremely disruptive until Arkansas started double teaming him and sliding their protection away from him. As long as the offensive line can keep track of him, possibly using a running back to chip him at times, Colt McCoy should have plenty of time to stand in the pocket and throw down the field against an extremely poor Aggie secondary. However, because of the need to slide the protection away from Miller or double team him, the empty set may not be the best choice this week.
  • The Aggies are one of the most heavily penalized teams in the country, getting flagged an average of about eight times per game -- something they cannot afford to happen against the much more talented Longhorns. 
  • Unless several catastrophic things happen, the Aggies don't have a chance in this game. The Longhorns need to come out with focus and intensity and Colt McCoy needs another strong game to help his Heisman campaign. In other words, he needs to play better than Vince Young did against the Aggies in 2005. If you want to feel better about the game, just read this.