The Texas Longhorns are playing a football game this evening. After losing each of their last three games, that’s not quite as exciting news as it was a few weeks ago. But alas, Texas has a three-game losing streak to snap.
The BON staff discussed how Texas can salvage its season, snap its losing streak, and more.
A somewhat successful season — record-wise, that is — is still within reach for Texas, which could finish at 8-4 if they can close the season on a strong note. At this point in the season, the team mostly is what it is, but what can Texas do to see the next month be far more successful than the last?
Daniel Seahorn — At this point I think it’s important to make sure you are planning forward towards the future and getting an idea of what you have with the roster heading into 2022. I think the main focus needs to be getting bowl eligible so that you can get the younger players as many practices as possible so that they can benefit from it heading into spring ball.
Gerald Goodridge — I would be curious to see if they can get some of the young receivers some run, especially if we see the older players struggle with consistency. I’d love to see what they have in a guy like Kelvontay Dixon or Jaden Alexis as they head into what will likely be an active offseason in the transfer portal.
Cody Daniel — Win? But seriously, there’s plenty of potential depth chart adjustments or schematic tweaks we could see, but to me, the biggest possible fix falls on Sark and his staff doing whatever’s necessary to improve the culture and psyche of the team. The collapses and clear lack of confidence that equals Texas becoming a shell of itself when things get difficult just can’t carry over into 2022.
Second-half collapses are why a maximum of eight regular season wins is now the ceiling for Texas’ success. To pinpoint it on one general reason, what’s the biggest cause of Texas’ three collapses?
Seahorn — One of the main culprits is not knowing how to finish off games or opponents. That’s a culture thing that needs to be instilled from the head man on down and right now it’s clear that hasn’t made its way into the team. I’m not sure if it’s psychological or physical, but the team seems to fade for one reason or another as games wear on.
Gerald — The consistent thread I’ve seen in all three games is a lack of complimentary football, primarily on the offensive side. Against both Oklahoma State and Baylor, the defense came up with stops in the third and fourth quarter but the offense was unable to land a knockout blow. If in either situation if the offense scores following those stops, the opposing team will likely have to go against trend and lean into the pass — which hopefully swings the advantage to the defense.
Cody — I’ll second what both Seahorn and Gerald said, and I’ll also add that this team just isn’t as talented and developed as it should be. Texas’ lack of offensive playmakers outside of Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy is jarring, as is the offensive line’s porous play, and defensively, far too often guys just can’t win their individual matchups. When you’re losing one-score games, having those bona fide playmakers matters a ton, and Texas just doesn’t have many of those.
Texas beats Iowa State if...
Seahorn — Plays a clean game overall and shows the ability to move the ball down the field through the air when the Cyclones get aggressive against slowing the run game.
Gerald — WVU found a lot of success going wide and/or empty sets and forcing Iowa State to defend the whole field. Iowa State wants to get into a war of attrition, so if the offense can spread them out and put up points quickly, the game falls on Purdy and I think that gives Texas the advantage.
Cody — I wish I could say something more thoughtful, but Texas wins if they just simply don’t implode. This is a team that’s built comfortable leads in each of its last three losses, so Sark’s team can certainly play well at times. Just be consistent, don’t implode and they’ll win.
Prediction: Does Texas notch its biggest win of the season or fall for the fourth time in as many games?
Seahorn — Last week didn’t do much to inspire confidence that Texas can win this game. Take the Cyclones on the moneyline.
Gerald — I’ve picked Texas every week this year but literally nothing I’ve seen thus far makes me feel good about this game. I’ve got Iowa State 35-28
Cody — I think we’ll see exactly what we’ve seen of late — Texas start fast and build a lead, only to let it slip away in the second half. Iowa State, 34-27.
Bonus: Texas football is trending in the wrong direction, but basketball season is about to begin and Chris Beard’s squad is ranked No. 5. So, what’s your prediction for the Longhorns in 2021-22?
Seahorn — The team is talented and experienced on paper. I think the expectations of being right in the thick of things for the conference title and a solid seeding in March are about right.
Gerald — Chris Beard said it wasn’t going to be a rebuild and his work in the portal ensured that. This feels like a team that has a shot to win a second-consecutive Big 12 tournament title for the first time in school history.
Cody — Given the wealth of talent, depth, and experience on this team, there’s no reason Texas shouldn’t be very much in the mix for a Big 12 title and capable of winning at least a couple games in the big dance. If they gel, things could be mostly easy for Chris Beard’s first team.