It may have started out a bit slow, but eventually Texas got its blowout it was looking for against a weaker UTEP team.
-After saying hello to the college football nation week one against Notre Dame, true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele followed his impressive opening performance with another great showing on an evening where he passed for four touchdowns and 244 yards.
Sure, it was against a weaker UTEP defense. But I hope everyone realizes how impressive these first two weeks have been considering Buechele is a true freshman. This team will go as far as Buechele will take it this season.
-If there’s one glaring blemish from this game it was converting third downs on offense. Texas was just 3-of-12 on the night. That conversion rate won’t cut it against better competition.
-On the plus side, Texas was 4-of-5 in the red zone.
-It was good to see Jacorey Warrick finish the night well after fumbling what would have been his first touchdown out of the end zone early in the game. He went on to finish the night with seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. He brings good versatility to the field and can be moved around a bit.
I couldn’t help but think of him as I watched all the smaller receivers make plays for the Patriots last night.
-I said this after the Notre Dame game, and I’ll say it again - Jerrod Heard can be special in this offense. He’s electric and just glides down the field. Both touchdowns were great plays. He absolutely made the right choice moving to receiver.
-Looks like Texas used this game to give some key players (like D Foreman and some of the offensive linemen) rest and time to get over some minor injuries. Good move by Strong and his staff. No need to push the envelope if you don’t need to.
-It was a quiet night for John Burt - I think some of this has to do with the point right above. I also keep wondering if we’ll see John Burt make more plays and run more routes other than a hitch or fly route on the outside.
-We’ll touch on this more in the freshmen report but I walked out of the stadium disappointed that we didn’t see more plays from the true freshmen wide receivers. But that did tell me there’s absolutely a hierarchy or order at receiver right now. And at a position that has a bit of log jam, the freshmen will simply have to wait their turn unless drops or injuries become an issue for a receiver or two.
-Chris Warren found more running room tonight and also got into the end zone for his first score of the season. Warren is good, no question about that. But I hope everyone realizes how special of a runner D’Onta Foreman is. Warren is a big bruiser. Foreman is a guy that has a rare mix of elusiveness and good vision to go along with tough running. The offense has an added element when D’Onta Foreman is in the backfield.
-Though he only got eight carries and was running behind a makeshift offensive line, I would’ve liked to have seen more from Kyle Porter. If you take away his 16-yard run, he would have ended the night with 7 carries for 17 yards. That’s just over 2 yards per carry.
Porter is better than that. He just struggled to get going Saturday night.
-The offensive line was “meh”.Not bad but not great. It was also full of reserves. We really need to be giving credit to Sterlin Gilbert and Matt Mattox for this scheme they brought. It hides offensive line issues about as well as any scheme I’ve seen before. That doesn’t mean improvements don’t still need to be made up front.
-UTEP running back Aaron Jones will be on an NFL roster once he graduates. He’s a fun running back to watch. And he’ll have a great season this year as long as he stays healthy.
-Going against an offense that could really only rely on running the ball, I thought the defense did an OK job. There were a few breakdowns, including the huge 51-yard touchdown run by Aaron Jones where all in one play Jordan Elliott got stood up, Tim Cole missed his gap, Jason Hall couldn’t get off his block, and DeShon Elliott missed the tackle as he went diving to the turf.
Aside from that, it wasn’t a perfect night for the defense by any means. But hey, the unit did just give up seven points. Next week’s test won’t be nearly as straightforward.
-I almost enjoy watching Breckyn Hager pre-snap as much as I do once the ball is snapped. He never sits still unless his hand is in the ground. He ended the night as the team’s leading tackler with eight total tackles including a tackle for a loss and a sack.
Once he gets a bit stronger and irons out his technique along the line of scrimmage, he’ll have a chance to be an annoying player for any opposing offense to worry about. He’s getting close to that now.
-I liked what I saw from Malcolm Roach again. He got a sack to go along with his four tackles. His body just looks like solid, compact muscle.
-With just 21 passes attempted by UTEP, we didn’t see any turnovers in the secondary forced by the ‘Horns. There were a few pass break-ups. Otherwise, that unit will be much more involved this next game against a Cal team that runs an air-raid style of offense led by former Red Raider quarterback Davis Webb.
-There’s no question Charlie Strong isn’t afraid to play freshmen if he thinks they can contribute. But he also doesn’t shy away from walking down to the other end of that street by playing seniors and upperclassmen he feels have earned it and can contribute in some way. This season, we’re seeing that with guys like 6th-year senior Sheroid Evans, senior Kevin Vacarro and senior Jacorey Warrick.
It’s a Saving Private Ryan, “no man left behind” kind of mentality in some regards. And I get it, Strong doesn’t want to cause a rift among the roster or leave out his upperclassmen. You just hope the guys out there on the field and in the rotation are guys that can contribute at the level Texas needs them to based on the competition.
-It was another good day of punting for Michael Dickson. He averaged just over 50 yards on five punts.
-Trent Domingue connected on both of his field goes, with a long of 43. I can’t help but think he’ll be instrumental in a win somewhere down the line this season.
-So this is why Vegas knows what its talking about and why I don’t sports bet. I said take the over (it was set at 59 I believe) and predicted a 59-13 win. Texas came out a bit sluggish at the beginning and this game missed the line by 11 points. Oops.
I would have liked to have seen this team score at least 50 points. That day will have to wait.
-All in all, it was a pretty good performance in a game where more negative publicity could have come than positive. Had Texas not posted a final score that looked like a blowout to everyone around the nation, it could have raised doubts, questions or bad press. And that’s the last thing the ‘Horns would have needed before heading out on their first road trip of the season.
edit 3:36, 9/12
- I absolutely forgot to mention the blocked punt by Brandon Jones. That was the first by a Texas player since 2012. It's a great sign to see special teams making plays.
That usually means depth across the roster is solid and that guys are chomping at the bit to make plays.