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3 things we learned from the Texas loss to Oklahoma State

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At some point, it’s going to be impossible to blame these issues on anything other than poor coaching.

NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

So, um ... yeah.

The euphoria of the season opening win for the Texas Longhorns over the then-No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish is long gone and after two losses in as many games following a No. 11 ranking, things aren’t looking up for Charlie Strong’s Longhorns.

What once looked destined to be a program-changing season now looks to be at the beginning of a downward spiral with several losable games remaining throughout the schedule.

After two weeks of promising change and adjustment after Texas lost to Cal after giving up 50 points, the ‘Horns are still winless on the road this season after allowing 49 more points in Stillwater.

Based off the performance we just witnessed Texas suffer through against Oklahoma State, it seems apparent that this isn’t the Longhorns team we thought they were a few weeks ago and the embarrassment at Cal wasn’t a fluke.

Here’s a few thoughts from the first Texas loss in Stillwater since 1997.

If Charlie Strong’s seat wasn’t hot before, it’s scorching now

Considering the circumstances, I’m not sure there’s much Strong can do so save his job in Austin. Following the 2-0 start and No. 11 ranking, Strong’s team has dropped its last two games and collectively, for the first time in school history, his defense has given up at least 45 points in three of the first four games.

Hypothetically, one could argue that beating Oklahoma next week and dropping no more than one more game throughout the season will ensure Strong returns for a fourth season in Austin, and that’s likely true.

But considering how atrocious and lost the entire defense has looked and the points in bunches they’re handing out to opposing offenses, it’s hard not to imagine Texas coming out on the losing end of a few more shootouts.

It’s also worth noting that Strong’s game management was concerning. Not calling a timeout on the Trent Domingue field goal before the half led to a delay of game penalty and consequently, the LSU grad transfer missed a 47-yard attempt that was likely good from 42 yards.

In the second half, a ref had to essentially let Strong know that he would be wise to accept a penalty on Oklahoma State that otherwise would have given the Pokes a first down.

Most concerning, though Texas was pretty much out of the game, Strong’s decision to punt on 4th and 14 with just under five minutes to play was evidence that he had given up.

That’s not what you want to see from a coach that should be coaching like his job depends on it each time out.

It doesn’t help that all eyes are on Houston’s Tom Herman and Les Miles is now on the available list after being fired at LSU.

The defense looked as bad as ever

Two weeks of preparation and some personnel changes, such as Brandon Jones starting at nickel, looked completely irrelevant after seemingly countless missed tackles led to an Oklahoma State 14-point cushion after its first two drives. That trend continued throughout the afternoon to a point where the sheer number of missed tackles and the way in which they were missed was almost laughable.

By the end of the day, Texas allowed 555 total yards, nearly 400 yards through the air and the aforementioned 49 points, while failing once again to force a single turnover. The defense did a good job of getting pressure of Mason Rudolph, though two of the three sacks came from a safety and far too many opportunities to wrap Rudolph up in the backfield were missed.

Across the board, this is a team that just looked lost and unconfident. Strong said after the game that confidence can be fixed, but I’m not sure how easy that will be after giving up 49.5 points per game in the last two and headed towards an Oklahoma game that could result in a three-game losing streak.

The special teams is bad and not improving

There’s still nothing special about the Longhorns special teams units. Well, unless the ability to have three extra point attempts blocked is special.

One of those point-after attempts was returned for two points by Oklahoma State, the second such play by a Texas opponent this season. After four games.

Jak Holbrook quite simply looked unfit to handle the snapping duties there, as blocking is a part of that.

While it may not have much much of a difference down the stretch after the Smash Bros were both sidelined with injuries and the offense went stale, the deficiencies on special teams led to a five-point swing in favor of the Cowboys.

And that was just on extra points — throw in the missed field goal and it was eight points total.

That can’t happen when you’re trying to win games on the road with a severely struggling defense.

Even Michael Dickson wasn’t able to flip the field the way we’ve grown accustomed to, averaging 45.2 yards, though he did down three inside the 20-yard line.