First of all, I would like to thank all of those who submitted questions about the Texas Longhorns this week. This post would not be possible without you. Expect to see this post twice a week (pre- and post-game) for the remainder of the season. I hope you enjoy.
What is your appraisal of the quality of blocking we got from our inexperienced TE in the Maryland game? Do you envision that we will continue to go away from using a TE on most downs, or is there hope that we can make changes to get better production from that position? — WaywardTexan
Value is the sum of future earnings. In that sense the appraisal of the TE position is very high. I am glad I do not have to pay taxes on it. Specifically to the Maryland game, it was not good. It was apparent that the Texas staff didn’t have much confidence in their tight end’s blocking ability from the start. They had tried to game plan around it, but it stuck out like a sore thumb. I think they will have to find something that works at the tight end position.
Obviously, Garrett Gray could improve as the season goes on. Time will tell. Reese Leitao comes back from suspension after this week and may be a viable option there. There is also fellow freshman Cade Brewer and graduate transfer Kendall Moore. Those players may develop in the next few weeks, and may have only been held out of Maryland because neither had the advantage of participating in spring ball. As they better learn the play book, the coaching staff will likely experiment with all of these possibilities in the next two weeks before conference play begins.
The final option would be to find a back who can block like a tight end or to use the back as a decoy for the backside end, but chances are if Texas does not find a serviceable tight end in the run game they will not win many games this season.
Do you believe any of the running backs will surpass 1,000 yards this season? — Gman1446
My best bet is on no, but there are several variables in this equation that could change that answer. The biggest is answered in the above question. Can they find the right personnel to block for any of the backs? If not, then there is no chance any of them will gain 1,000 yards.
The second variable is how the carries are split as the season progresses. If one back steps ahead of the pack and starts to carry the load, then I believe that can happen. If that doesn’t happen, we will likely start seeing more carries for freshmen Daniel Young and Toneil Carter. Kirk Johnson may get carries as well.
If five guys are splitting carries this season, no way anyone gets to 1,000 yards.
Every new D-coordinator we get tried to imprint his complex schemes his first year. Then the bottom falls out and then they simplify. From Diaz now to Orlando. Did they ever implement a complex defense at their last stop and were successful their first year? Do they ever learn from past mistakes? —-Thor’s Brother
Yes. In 2010, his first season at Mississippi State, Diaz’s defense ranked a respectable 22nd in S&P+ on defense. He’s also had successful seasons with bowl wins at Mississippi State in 2015 and La Tech in 2014.
As far as Orlando goes, in 2011, his FIU team ranked 41st in defensive S&P+, not bad for FIU. His first year at Utah State (2013), they ranked No. 6 nationally in defensive S&P+. At Houston, his defense ranked 63rd and 25th in 2015 and 2016 respectively, so not as successful in year one there, but a big improvement in year two. And in Orlando’s first season in Houston, the Cougars led the nation in takeaways.
Why not wildcat it when you need two yards and you’re at midfield instead of using Shane? I don’t mind going for it, compared to others, I mind using Shane. — Thor’s Brother
I don’t personally like the wildcat in short yardage. As we saw last year, its just too predictable and teams easily adjust to it. I do agree that the play call was awkward. The whole offensive game plan was awkward. I would have liked to see something other than what was called on 4th and 2 myself.
Is TH’s mind games just getting too much? He tears down Shane saying he’s neck and neck with Sam. Then the week of the game, he suddenly finds he’s the most accurate QB EVER. Now that he needs Sam, he tears him down at the beginning of the week. I bet on Friday, he’ll be the best dual-thread EVER. Doesn’t that just get tiring for the kids? — Thor’s Brother
I don’t think they are mind games. I don’t think his comments necessarily were tearing Sam down. He did state that Sam was not ready, when asked, but he also said he’s far ahead of any other quarterback he has coached was at the start of their true freshman year. Thats a pretty hefty compliment.
The same with Shane. He is the most accurate quarterback I have seen when he’s not injured, but he does struggle sometimes with decision making. He will get better, but he is still learning. I hope what he is saying to the media are all things he has personally said to the players themselves.
I don’t believe any of these items come as a surprise to the players. If that was the case, yes, it is very poor coaching, and yes, it will wear the kids down over time and prove to be ineffective.
Did Herman/Beck even try to take advantage of the loss of Maryland players via play calls after they went out? — Thor’s Brother
They didn’t appear to. As stated above. I wasn’t a huge fan of the offensive game plan last week. I sure hope we see a much different approach from here forward. If what I think I know about Herman was true, he probably wasn’t too involved with the play calling last week. He and Beck probably had a good chat this week about staying true to the run and some of those situational play calls that were made in the future. If not, we are in for a long season.
No one talks about the hydration obsession TH had, that seemed to pan out during the game. Did you agree? — Thor’s Brother
Yes. We appeared to be very well prepared for the game from a physical/conditioning standpoint. Not so much from the mental perspective.
What LB did do a decent job during the MD game? — Thor’s Brother
You’re expecting a linebacker to play decently for a whole game? They all had good plays, but I wouldn’t say any of them were decent over the course of the game.
For years now, I have seen Longhorn players using horrible fundamentals, with much of this show coming from some very highly-ranked recruits. Do you think that this is primarily caused by: 1) Bad recruiting evaluations or 2) Bad player development or 3) Both? — WileyCousins
Bad player development. The problem here is, in my humble opinion a lack of consistency in the coaching staff. The players and coaches have to develop relationships and that does not happen in a season. Way too much turnover on the coaching staff to truly develop the players properly.
I also think that the Texas players are under immense pressure to perform perfectly in an imperfect situation. This has made them second guess themselves on the field and created some major problems for the team. Its just not something these players were ready for at 18, 19, or 20 years old.
The only solution I see is for them to stop playing for the media and the fans and to start playing for each other. Just go out there, trust your coaches, let loose, play the game and have some fun. I think if they do that, things will start to come into place much more quickly.