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BON Roundtable: Texas looks to snap skid vs. West Virginia

Texas needs to bounce back in a big way, but can they?

West Virginia v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Texas hasn’t won a game since early October, but that could change on Saturday morning.

The BON staff got together to discuss Texas issues and how they can turn things around late.

The talent level and depth aren’t where they need to be, injuries and inconsistency has been an issue, and after the Bo Davis video, you could question the level of buy-in from some players — all in year one with a new staff and new scheme. Of all the less than ideal factors, what’s the primary reason Texas has slumped to 4-6?

Seahorn — Not knowing how to finish games and opponents. This team wilting and fading as the game wears on has been the most troubling thing I’ve witnessed all year long. That is either a strength and conditioning issue or a psychological issue for this team and it will need to be fixed in short order if they want to have any kind of sustained success.

Gerald — In my opinion there are probably a few things at play. From a personnel standpoint, Texas is missing the bodies and talent they need in the trenches on both sides of the ball and doesn’t really have the people they need to fit the scheme defensively. I can’t identify what the problem is mentally/emotionally, but it seems like this is a team that cannot figure out how to land a knockout blow. They’ve been better at recovering from them in years past, but they can’t ever seem to score when they need to put the other team out of its misery. Then that snowballed and carried over week-to-week and landed them where they are now.

Cody — I don’t think it can be pinned to any single factor, but I think two can be the overarching issue — talent and mentality. Between injuries and substantial attrition, the team taking the field simply isn’t as good as it should be. And as Sark said earlier in the year, there’s a mentality issue where the team just expects things to go wrong as soon as adversity strikes. When you pair that with a team that just isn’t good enough to change course when disaster strikes, you get a team that’s in free fall mode.

What happens on the field can often have an impact off of it as well with recruiting. Given the clear need for Sark and his staff to pretty much completely revamp this roster, what kind of finish do you see Texas having in the 2022 class, and how much will the on-field struggles impact the class?

Seahorn — The on field struggles will put a cap on how good the class can be, because a lot of kids who have given Texas plenty of time to get their stuff together are out of patience or it is wearing thin at this point. With that said you will always have kids who will give the program a chance or want to try to be the difference to putting it back on the map, so you can never rule out a top 10 class come February.

Gerald — I don’t have insiders, but from what I’ve read it seems like Texas was ready to blow it open five weeks ago before the wheels fell off. Somehow, they’ve gotten themselves back in the chase with elite targets along the offensive line and hopefully can benefit from getting the last visit with many of them. It seems like a lot of these young linemen see a quick path to playing time based on what Texas has put on the field and while I don’t like to play freshmen along the OL, if they’re the best five then you put them out there.

Cody — I don’t think it will be what fans want, but Texas should be able to close with a few guys that will eventually be impactful. Beyond the opportunity for early playing time, I think recruits realize this staff didn’t forget how to coach when they got to Austin. The question is, how many guys want to be part of a rebuild?

Most are likely ready to put the 2021 season behind them, but with two games remaining for the four-win Longhorns, what’s the significance of a win on Saturday with bowl still possible?

Seahorn — A win on Saturday would be big confidence booster for the team and it would put them in a position to get bowl eligible next week on Senior Day against Kansas State. The staff and team want to finish the year on a high note despite things not going well and the first step in doing that is getting a road win in Morgantown.

Gerald — Closing a season strong gives you something to sell in the offseason as you try to inject talent from incoming freshmen and the transfer portal. So closing the regular season on a high note, with the potential of a bowl win, can likely give you a solid enough selling point to get some talent to buy-in.

Cody — Well, for however many of these guys are going to be around, the extra practices for bowl prep are pretty significant. This group winning two games to become bowl eligible is a tall task, but doing so would absolutely benefit the 2022 Longhorns. And, of course, there’s the recruiting impact Texas can sell if they’re ending on a high note.

Texas wins if...

Seahorn — The offensive success rolls over to this week and the defense wins its fair share of money downs.

Gerald — If Texas can capitalize on WVU’s struggles against explosive passing plays. Getting Jordan Whittington back can definitely help.

Cody — WVU forgets to show up.

Prediction: Does Texas grab its first win since Oct. 2, or does the free fall continue in Morgantown?

Seahorn — Going to go against the grain and say Texas finally snaps the losing streak and finds a way to win over the Mountaineers. It would be on brand with how this season has played out.

Gerald — 38-35 WVU.

Cody — Even with as bad as Texas has been, they should win, but I expect them to find some way to fall behind late and lose.