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Analyzing the Texas offensive mistakes and suggesting a major tweak

The Horns offense played well against against the Sooners, but was consistently self-destructive.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Amid the biggest offensive explosion in the showdown between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners since 1999 and second-most all-time, there were a number of mistakes by the Horns offensively.

Again, the 482 total yards were the most this season and the most by the team since putting up 682 total yards in the memorial game for Darrell K Royal against Iowa State in 2012.

The mistakes, however, were inexcusable and in some ways inexplicable.

After scoring the final touchdown of the game, Texas lined up to run a two-point conversion in the hopes of narrowing the Oklahoma lead to 31-28 to potentially tie the game with a field goal. As a result, for the final drive of the game, the Horns could only stop the clock once on the final Sooners drive, which ultimately kept the offense from having enough time to mount a game-winning effort.

Play caller Shawn Watson said that he was experiencing technical difficulties on the two-point conversion and throughout the game.

"My headphone went out is what happened," he said after the game. "They didn't hear the personnel come out of my mouth, and that's why we started eating up clock ... [the headset] was in and out most of the day, I actually had to switch seats with a GA [graduate assistant] to get it fixed."

On Monday, however, head coach Charlie Strong said that part of the issue was sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes wanting to make sure that he received the call correctly from the sideline. Another part of the issue was new junior center Taylor Doyle not getting snaps off quickly enough, one of which resulted in a false start on redshirt freshman right tackle Darius James.

When Doyle met with the media on Monday for the first time as a Longhorn, he took responsibility for the third-down snap on the goal line that resulted in Texas settling for a field goal on the game's first drive.

In the post-game press conference on Saturday, Strong said that there were some noise issues starting out the game, but two of the false starts happened on the Texas side of the field and one on the Oklahoma side. The game in the Cotton Bowl isn't a road game, but it can be loud enough that perhaps the team should have gone to a silent count earlier.

Strong said that they started going on first count on the Oklahoma end of the field, but that apparently wasn't a change that was made until half time.

Earlier, the first drive featured multiple penalties by Texas -- three false starts and a delay of game. Prior to a 32-yard pass to Jaxon Shipley on an out and up, the Horns had a false start and delay of game on consecutive plays.

All told, 10 of the 11 penalties in the game were on the Horns offense, including the holding call on senior wide receiver John Harris that negated the 73-yard run by Tyrone Swoopes.

Overall, however, the Texas offense had an excellent game, with the attack really starting to click late in the game when the Horns went into a hurry-up offense. In the game against UCLA, that was also the case, leading to some speculation that it might become a bigger part of the attack.

But don't expect for the Horns to use it particularly often.

"As we continue to grow him and grow our offensive line, there are a lot of people we are considering, we've played well in it, but we've also hit some speed bumps in it," Watson said. "We dominated the clock, which is part of what we try to do. The speed aspect, we have to be able to stay on the field and execute. That's why you see us in and out, because that's part of our defense too, us possessing the ball and keeping the ball. So, Charlie [Strong] and I are back and forth during the game of when to and when not to. So, as we grow our guys, we are gaining more confidence in it with them."

As always, this goes back to Strong and his desire to keep his defense fresh and off the field. Right now, with pretty limited depth in the front and the back of the defense, that makes sense.

The hope is that the two can figure out the right times to use it to provide some boost to an offense that is improving in fits and starts, but still hamstrings itself with too many mistakes that still represent the crucial and needed area for the improvement.