Here are some initial thoughts from the Longhorns’ latest loss. (To be updated)
Overall, this just isn’t a good football team. At the end of the day, that’s the reality of the situation. If it weren’t for some late-game heroics from Sam Ehlinger and a questionable third down passing call from Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma cruises to a safe regulation win. Although the heroics aspect was notable, at least offensively, Texas needed heroics and some luck to stay alive in this one, just as they didn’t against Texas Tech. We’re now reflecting on three straight efforts against three teams in Texas Tech, TCU, and this year’s edition of Oklahoma that aren’t exactly elite. This is a team that’s simply undisciplined, inconsistent, and poorly coached, and that’s been the case for nearly an entire month now.
Texas still can’t get out of its own way. This ties back to the glaring lack of discipline and is most evident in the form of costly penalties. Texas entered the Red River Showdown as one of the most penalized teams in the country and proceeded to commit 11 more. These penalties include a roughing the passer penalty on an early third down stop that extended the drive and led to an Oklahoma touchdown, and on the first drive the second half, an illegal block on Brennan Eagles led to a stalled drive and on the big punt return, punter Ryan Bujcevski was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Three plays later Oklahoma found the end zone. Beyond the penalties, turnovers were once again costly, including Keaontay Ingram’s fumble on Texas first drive and of course, Ehlinger’s interception to seal the deal. If Texas want to establish any momentum this season, they simply can’t help the opposition nearly as often as they have thus far.
Jordan Whittington should be a factor going forward. Whittington has missed the the first couple conference games due to injury, but he returned and started against Oklahoma, and his presence was felt, finishing with a team-best 10 receptions for 65 yards, including a crucial 10-yard catch on 3rd and 9 in overtime to keep the drive alive. Whatever success Texas has offensively going forward, Jordan Whittington quite simply needs to be involved.
The Texas offense, in general, is a mess. Having Ehlinger be able to muster heroic moments is good, but for the most part, the Longhorns offense under first-year coordinator Mike Yurcich is a mess. The offensive line is, to put it frankly, horrible, failing to provide Ehlinger with adequate time in the pocket, and the ground game has been fairly non-existent because the line can’t consistently create running lanes. Whittington flashed at receiver, which was to be expected, and Joshua Moore flashed early on, but overall, Ehlinger is lacking that reliable go-to guy week in and week out. The result has been an offense that enjoys spurts here and there, but for all of its talent, remains inconsistent and out of rhythm far too often.