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BON Roundtable: Assessing the program on the bye week

At least Texas can’t lose this week...

Texas v Oklahoma State Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Longhorns’ loss to Oklahoma State was _________.

Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - Deja vu. I thought Texas might’ve turned a corner in the comeback victory against Iowa State but another blown lead and it feels like a step back. But despite the strong 2021 vibes in the loss, I truly think the program is in a better spot than it was a year ago. Oklahoma State was just better coached on Saturday.

Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - Disappointing. Pre-season I had that down as a loss, but it was very frustrating to watch unfold in real-time for multiple reasons. Ewers’ being off all day, the large disparity and penalties for both sides, and the defense taking steps back in tackling and discipline. All frustrating things and despite it all, Texas could have still pulled out the game down the home stretch. This game will be up there with the trip to Lubbock come to the end of the season, because Texas was in a position to win the game, but couldn’t get out of its own way to make it happen.

Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - Frustrating. Like Seahorn, I had OSU as a loss for Texas based on returning talent and the fact that it was the first of eight-straight games without a bye. Even if I predicted it as a loss, much like watching the Alabama game, seeing Texas with the opportunity to win the game only to choke it away made me want to scream. The opportunities to win the game were all over the field and Texas simply wasn’t able to capitalize on those opportunities.

Cody Daniel (@CodyDanielSBN) - Unsettling. That marked back-to-back weeks in which the Longhorns played relatively poorly and allowed double-digit second half leads to slip away. It wasn’t as magnified with Texas coming back to beat Iowa State, but the collapses are clearly still a theme haunting Steve Sarkisian’s program.

I think we all can agree Quinn Ewers struggled in the loss, completing just 19 of his 49 passing attempts and seemingly never on the page with his wideouts. Do you chalk it up to the fingernail injury? The wind? First road game? Or just a bad game from a freshman?

Cameron - I’m not a doctor nor am I QB expert but I’m leaning toward a combination of his first road game + Gundy’s defensive scheme. As much as we want him to be on the same level as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, he’s just a teenager who hadn’t played competitive football in two years. Let him work out the growing pains and it’ll pay dividends down the road.

Daniel - D, all of the above. I think it was probably several things that led to the sloppy performance from Ewers. Even against Iowa State, he wasn’t as off as we saw him in Stillwater, so something definitely seem to have been uncomfortable and he was never able to shake it throughout the game. Part of me wonders if he is hitting that freshman wall given he only has a few starts under his belt at this point, so the bye week comes at a good time to help him get a mental reset before the last portion of the schedule.

Gerald - I think it depends on the factor you’re looking at. Some of the overthrows? Probably the fingernail and the wind. Locking in on his first receiver and ignoring the easy yards? Road game and freshman game. I think there’s something to also be said about Texas’s inability to balance the run after Oklahoma State figured out the scheme. It was honestly just a perfect storm for a crap performance from the offense and Ewers.

Cody - I think it was a blend. I’m sure the wind played a fairly significant factor, and he seemed a bit rattled when it was clear it just wasn’t his day. But there were also some items he just didn’t get the necessary help from receivers, like the post fade to Xavier Worthy that could have given Texas a late lead. Sometimes, it’s just not your day.

Factoring in your preseason prediction, how do you feel about this team halfway through the season?

Cameron - For me, the ceiling of this team was 9-3 and the floor of a good season was 7-5. Both are still in play along with 8-4 obviously. I think both the fans and the media got a little too excited after the Alabama game and started dreaming of a trip to Arlington (and maybe beyond) but everyone would’ve taken a top-4 finish in the conference and that’s what Texas is on pace for.

Daniel - This team can still hit my preseason prediction (I believe I had them at 8-4 as a best-case scenario). This team has at times surpassed my expectations for the year and then at others has fallen beneath them. Weird place to be in during the bye week, but I still think this team has some really good football left in them this season as long as they can navigate some bumps and bruises down the home stretch.

Gerald - I had them at 9-3 before the injuries to Angilau and Neyor and while I think that this is still within the range of possibility, I think 8-4 is very much still in the realm of possibility. I think the impact of missing Angilau is lost in a lot of the conversations about the ceiling for this team and we saw that against Oklahoma State. Texas pulled a freshman guard and replaced them with a different freshman, two players that would have in all likelihood be backing up a fifth-year senior.

Cody - I think I had Texas going 8-4, and probably having two or three losses at this stage. At 5-3, that’s still a realistic outcome. KSU and KU will be handfuls, but Texas can manage those, and Baylor isn’t what they were last season. Beating TCU will be a tall order, but if Texas just plays its game and doesn’t get in its way, they’ll finish 8-4.

There’s been quite a bit of high and lows in the first eight weeks of the season. What’s been your favorite moment of the season thus far?

Cameron - The atmosphere at the Alabama game.

Daniel - Watching them absolutely disassemble Oklahoma is probably the easy answer, but I also really enjoyed watching them compete with Alabama for 60 minutes even though they came up short. That performance told me that this team has the talent and ability to compete with anyone on their schedule and so far that has held true.

Gerald - This is one probably because I am terminally online, but after the Iowa State game Roschon Johnson tweeted “Five Star Win” and I couldn’t have been happier.

Cody - I think the obvious answer is completely dominating Oklahoma. The Sooners suck this season, but even coming in, you never really know what to expect in that game.

As Texas enters the bye week, Sark and Co. sit 4th in the Big 12 standings behind Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and TCU. Can the Horns still find a way to Jerry’s World for the Big 12 Championship?

Cameron - Texas would have to go 3-1, at the minimum, in the final four games to reach the Big 12 Championship and I think that a stretch with how tough the final four games are and how banged up the secondary is. Getting the three best teams scheduled against you in three straight games is pretty tough scheduling.

Daniel - I think the remaining portion of the schedule sets up too difficult for this team to make it to the Big 12 championship, but I do think they will come close to achieving the goal.

Gerald - Can they? Absolutely. They have two of the three teams ahead of them still remaining on the schedule and this is a year where everybody in the conference is beatable. That being said, they’d have to go 3-1 at worst to do it though and I’m just not confident. Everything has to break right, but there’s a world where they go into the Baylor game on Black Friday with a “win and you’re in the scenario.” From a talent perspective, Texas can do it, but from what we’ve seen on the field thus far, I wouldn’t put money on it.

Cody - They’d have to win out for that chance, and I just don’t see that happening. I wouldn’t entertain that idea unless Texas is 7-3 after the TCU game.