We saw two good, not great, teams meet on the field on Saturday. One made the most of the opportunities presented to it. One did not.
It may be a little bit charitable to call us good right now, given the state of our offense, and we'll get to all that, but the point I want to make at the outset is simply that neither of these teams is great. To their credit, Oklahoma made the plays to win the game. We repeatedly refused every opportunity we had.
There's more than enough blame to go around, so if you're a fan with an agenda, there's ammo to support your position. The offense was offensive. The defense had a rough first quarter and shot itself in the foot throughout. The special teams did its part to keep us out of the win column.
Personally, my disappointment in the defense is more limited -- mere disappointment that they prevented themselves from winning the game for us. My feelings about the offense border on disgust.
Did you laugh when we opened the game with two horizontal passes? I literally laughed. Not a satisfying laugh, but it was genuine amusement.
I laughed just envisioning the strategy session, or the post-game press conference explaining it.
Reporter: Greg, you got shut down by a UCLA defense that even Washington State was able to crack, by throwing side-to-side. Can you explain why you opened the game with two horizontal passes?
Greg Davis: I'm glad you asked that, because we spent a lot of time talking this week about how we wanted to open this game up, and we really looked hard at the numbers and we just thought, well, let's look at this statistically and imagine what we might do to catch them by surprise early, and I asked, "Could we punt it on first down?" Because when you look at the percentages there, we haven't done that all year and there's a 100 percent chance they won't be expecting that. But then Major pointed out that that it would be really tough to put points on the board with a first-down punt, and so then I started to look at other high percentage plays, and it occurred to me that they think that I think that they think that after last week I'll be looking to go vertical, and it just sort of became obvious: Hot damn, we should go horizontal. They'll never expect it. We ran the numbers and they were favorable, and that's really what you look for in that kind of situation.
Ridiculous? A little, but when pressed to explain why D.J. Monroe was limited to 4 touches when one of them went for a 65 yard touchdown, Mack Brown had this to say:
"We were in trouble. We were behind. We were having to throw so much, and he’s not in the pass protection where he should be. He can’t do that yet. Hopefully, he’ll get to where he can. Great run by him in the first half. Pleased with his work on the sweeps."
And that really says it all, doesn't it? The disconnect is so glaring it hurts the eyes. It is... well, inconceivable.
Even the things that we saw that are to be liked were damning: The Monroe misdirection that was immediately shelved. The fourth quarter deep ball to Malcolm Williams. We're getting better, and have shown there's room to grow, but if this pace of progress is acceptable to you, I'm afraid your standards are too low.
And that's why I think we're at another crossroads. It's 2007 all over again, and Mack Brown needs help. It's his show, and I trust him to run it as he sees fit, but it's as clear today as it was clear in 2007 that the offense needs help in the same way that the defense did back then. You can tell me that Greg Davis just gives Mack Brown what he wants and I'll tell you that if Mack Brown knows what's best for him, he'll hire someone who will refuse such an order.
He's done it before, and as he heads into the stretch run of his career, I hope he does it again.
Mack Brown is better than this. The Texas program he has masterfully built is better than this.
It's up to you, Mack. What do you really want?