Hello Texas loving friends. I hope your week was great after a fine Texas win at Baylor. Over the last few years, Baylor has been tough to handle. But the good news for Texas fans is that it seems Coach Sark and company have turned that corner nicely. On paper, Baylor may just be one of the worst Big 12 teams we'll play all year. So we expected a Texas win. Our larger goal, in all honesty, was for Texas to gain more team chemistry early in the season before the game stretch gets difficult.
Side Note: The #1 OT in the country signed with Texas last week and noted in his decision process that blocking for his man Arch was one of his motivating factors in the decision. So let's just say this now. Arch is going to redshirt for this exact type of reason. He is pre-planned. So all of the "Let Arch get some 4th Quarter time" people gotta stop. There is a plan and it aint this year. Honestly, one of the big complaints in the 09 title game is that Garrett Gilbert didn't get enough 4th quarter work behind Colt McCoy during the season and wasn't game ready. Arch is planned, Maalik is the backup. Maalik needs those reps. Period.
Ok, back to reality. The Baylor game showed us some bright spots and places where we need to keep growing. One of the most glaring growth spots is starting the game and first half play. Texas under Sark seems to start a lot of games either blazing saddles on fire or slow as Christmas. And more seem to be slower than we'd all like to see. I don't know what it is. Personally, I think Sark is overthinking it or Quinn just needs reps to get his head in the game. Maybe both. Whatever it is, we need stronger starts on offense and we're not getting them.
The good news is, it seems the offense is adjusting better as the game goes on. Rice and Bama adjustments came in the 4th quarter, Wyoming was a 3rd quarter fix and we started to see improvement against Baylor at the end of the 2nd quarter and into the 3rd. I like the adjustments and that the players are starting to put it all together.
Another challenge for Texas is the passing game. When Quinn is hot, he's lights out. When he's not, the timing with his receivers is noticeable. While we can't blame everything on Quinn, there are too many times he's either flat out missing the receivers or they're flat out missing the ball. Either way, that's has to get fixed if we want to play clean games against Big 12 opponents that know our player and game calling tendencies. My personal belief is that Quinn is still a sophomore and it improves with time. But it has to adjust if we want to keep the streak going.
I am excited about our run game. JBrooks finally got the touches he needs to get the wheels going and it showed. I have said in previous posts that Brooks has the potential to have similar stats to Bijan with the right O Line. And he's got that. Now, to clarify, Bijan outruns Brooks with the same O Line. But with an improved blocking game, Brooks is plenty good to have great Texas numbers if he's allowed to tote it enough. Sadly, Sark is a running back by committee kind of guy and sees something in Baxter that, personally, I wish he would redshirt. But, hey, I'm not the coach. All in all, the run game is improving and I think we just need to keep feeding JB.
The defense doesn't have to change much. And why should they. The only team to score more than 10 on our Texas D is coached by the greatest college coach of all time. We have an interception in every game we've played and our sack rate is more than respectable. This defense may have more NFL talent than either of our two title game teams and that's saying something. In fact, i saw a stat the other day where one of our freshman safeties has some crazy good numbers all around and like a single play that gained yards when he was targeted. Don't recall his name, but can't wait to see more.
On paper, Texas throttles Kansas. However, we all know that the Jayhawks have improved coaching. What they lack in stars, they make up in covid Jr and Sr experience. In a lot of ways, this team is like Rice but with even better players. Top of all, their quarterback, Jalon Daniels. While all will agree, Kansas hasn't really played anyone, Daniles is still scoring out as the number 16 quarterback in the country. His deep ball is really pretty and he can run if they let him. The question will be, is Kansas the type of team who wants to beat Texas at all costs or are they the type of team that plays smart by considering the outcome of the entire season? To be sure, this has trap game written all over it.
If Kansas plays smart, Daniles won't run a ton. And that's what I expect. However, the concern is his feet under pressure. Give him space and he's got speed and wiggle. Remember, he surprised Texas two years ago in Austin but was unable to play last year. He is a good player and we need to be ready for him to make some plays.
If Kansas is going to win they are going to have to run Daniels and hit us hard deep. And both are possible. If the Kansas coaching staff took anything away from the Baylor game is that there are occasional opportunities for some big plays. Not many I'm glad to say, but they are there.
For Texas to win I think we need to control some clock with the run game and just pound the ball at them. We need to wear them out in the trenches and then take smart strikes when the iron is hot. We don't have to get fancy. We don't need X throwing bombs. We just need to play them straight up, hit them in the mouth, rinse and repeat. if we can do that and protect the ball on punt returns, we should be just fine. I expect Texas to start slow on both sides of the ball on the first few drives and then to dial it in for the rest of the game. Kansas will lead for some of it, but Texas has too much depth. Kansas will be tired by the end of the 3rd and Texas should pull away nicely. Daniels is good enough I don't expect him to throw an interception this game or for Texas to sack him much. But if we can keep him on the run and spy him down for short gains, that's it for Kansas. Their team rises and falls with Daniles.
Overall, I like Texas 34 Kansas 21 Hook 'Em!