Texas rolls, 35-13. Opponents now converting 23% on 3rd down last 3 games. Texas 5-0 in Big 12 play (1st time since 2009). #HookEm— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) November 2, 2013
Some statistics are impressive, while others just make you nervous. According to the good people at TeamRankings.com, the Texas defense is fourth nationally in opponent's 3rd down conversion percentage over the last three games.
But for the season, Texas ranks 52nd out of 125 teams by this measure. Overall, the Longhorns have allowed opponents to convert 38 percent of their third down chances. That is a good number, but it isn't the staggering result achieved over the last three games. And that has me worried.
The Texas defense clearly has improved in recent weeks. But stopping opponent drives cold on nearly four out of every five third down plays isn't the sort of thing that is likely to keep up for very long, simply because only a very few teams are able to sustain that pace over the course of a season. Last year, there were only six teams that held opponents to less than 30 percent conversion on third down, while no team held its opponents to less than 25 percent.
Still, this is just the nature of things. Sometimes statistical flukes (or fluctuations, if you like) work against you, while other times they work in your favor. I guess we ought to enjoy the good breaks, because we seem to have no trouble worrying about the bad ones.
So thank you, Longhorn Network.
And speaking of the Longhorn Network, the LHN effect on twitter was evident this week. Less than 4000 tweets ended up in my search. I am not even going to bother with a graph this week.
Mid-afternoon games are so much better, at least from my perspective. But I am sure they don't draw the ratings. Particularly when on the LHN.
Does anyone in the Houston area that has the @LonghornNetwork want to invite me over so I can watch the UT game? #HookEm #hatethatnetwork— Your Hero (@Aquaman247) November 2, 2013
Actually, criticism of the network was at an all time low. That is probably because interest just isn't as high for a mid-season game against Kansas as it is for the season opener. And also, to its credit, the LHN now has substantially more viewers than it did at this time a season ago.
Although one bit of criticism that was present was well-earned.
C'mon @LonghornNetwork , that's not Jordan Hicks. #longhorns pic.twitter.com/Yd7aosXaJF— Kyle Hall (@KyleHallTexas) November 2, 2013
While watching the game, I had the same thought as the LHN camera focused on the putative Jordan Hicks. Perhaps it was an odd camera angle, but the player being highlighted didn't really look at all like the injured Longhorn linebacker. But the player does resemble Texas freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Additionally, you can make out the letter "S" on the back of the jersey, and the bits of the number that we can see are at least consistent with Swoopes' jersey number of 18.
Give it a year or so, Tyrone, and everyone will recognize your face. You are, after all, a quarterback at The University of Texas.
I was really hoping to be up big by halftime so we could see Tyrone Swoopes play the 2nd half... #hookem— Brian Bell (@BrianBell512) November 2, 2013
In the minds of Texas fans, Tyrone Swoopes is a blank canvas. He can be anything that we imagine, at least until we see him play.
Are we finally gonna see swoopes play???? #unleashthebeast #whyduburbittho— Zaid Husain (@zmoney_hookem) November 2, 2013
By the way, "#whyduburbittho" is perhaps the hardest to decipher hash tag I saw this week. I think it is in part because it is using compressed and abbreviated language, and in part because it contains a typo -- I think the second "b" should probably be an "n." Not that I am going to criticize someone else's typos on Twitter; in this area, my house is made entirely of poorly annealed single pane glass. (And don't even get me started on auto-correct. The Minnesota Timberwolves starting point guard is not named, "Tricky Rubicon," but thanks for offering to change it, Hoot Suite app.)
Texas fans are so eager to see their quarterback of the future that they mentioned him more than their quarterback of the present on Saturday. This is in part because Case McCoy didn't do any of the sort of things that generates a bunch of Twitter chatter.
Can't wait to watch Swoopes come in and the ball off a few times w/ 4 min left. What a waste of a RS. Meaningful snaps Mack, c'mon. #HookEm— Marcus Kirksey (@MarcusKirksey) November 2, 2013
But then it happened. Tyrone Swoopes entered the game late in the fourth quarter.
Swoopes! There he is... finally #Longhorns— Christian Corona (@ChristianC0rona) November 2, 2013
Swoopes is in! Swoopes is in! #HookEm— Amelia Uriostegui (@Ameliaaux) November 2, 2013
And then he started to play.
I love you Swoopes! #hookem #KUvsTEX— Jessica Huff (@jeshuf) November 2, 2013
It was a pretty unremarkable performance, to be honest. This is perhaps mostly because it was rather short, and also because Tyrone Swoopes is a football player, and not an enchanted warrior. Swoopes did have a nice run, but beyond that, it wasn't particularly memorable.
I think Longhorn fans are right to wonder just why Swoopes has played at all this season. If the idea is to prepare for a potential McCoy injury by getting Swoopes live game action, then that idea hasn't been well executed so far.
With his redshirt burned, this was the game to get Swoopes some quality snaps. Now he'll get basically get three minutes. #hookem— W.W. McClyde (@WWMcClyde) November 2, 2013
Of course, it is always easy to second guess these things. Perhaps Texas should have put Swoopes in a series sooner. As mistakes go, that isn't a particularly big one.
Lol this lady at the Starbucks drive through. Talking trash because I'm wearing Texas. #HookEm'— Wesley Newton⚾ (@TheWesNew10) November 3, 2013