First of all, tip of the cap to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. They are a very, very good football team that I didn’t give nearly enough credit to last week. All the issues they had at West Virginia seem to be resolved, and they are now hitting on all cylinders after handing Texas their worst home loss in the Mack Brown era. Good luck against Baylor, fellas.
And yes, that was the worst home loss of the Mack Brown era. Thank about that: not the losses to K-State in 99 or 07. Not UCLA or Oklahoma State in 2010. This was it. And it was the eighth straight loss to a ranked team at home. Eight. Straight. EIGHT. The last win versus a ranked opponent in DKR came October 25, 2008, when No.1 Texas beat, ironically, No.7 Oklahoma State. That’s a long, long time ago. If a guy were a true freshman in the middle of a redshirt year on the sidelines for that game, he’d be a year out of college already. Let that sink in for a minute.
And now all the momentum built up from the six-game winning streak is pretty much gone. No one remembers the Hail Mary at Iowa State, or the overtime drama at West Virginia. What they remember now is God-awful special teams play, the Oklahoma State quarterback running for days and interceptions. The Longhorns need every minute of this off week to regroup and rebuild … we will get back to that shortly. First, the autopsy of Texas/Oklahoma State.
No.12 OKLAHOMA STATE 38 No.24 TEXAS 13
Nothing went right for Texas. Nothing. Trailing 14-10 with a little over a minute to play in the half, Texas had OSU in 2nd & Long at the Longhorn 12. If Texas could hold them to a field goal, they’d get the ball to start the second half with a 17-10 deficit. Clint Chelf threw a fade to the end zone and Adrian Phillips intercepted it. OK, I thought, Down 14-10 at the break and getting the ball to start the second half … But as that thought went through my mind, the ball slipped right through his fingers and into the arms of Tracy Moore. Instead of an interception and Texas’ ball at the 20 trailing 14-10, it was 21-10. And it went downhill from there. Most of things that went wrong weren’t accidents or freak instances, but rather being in the wrong place at the wrong time and/or not making a play when it was needed most.
Here is what I saw on Saturday afternoon:
Quarterbacks: It was the old Case McCoy. He finished 26-39 for 221 yards, but the biggest stat of the day was three interceptions. He was careless and gunslinger-y with the ball, just as he’s been doing the last few games, but this time there would be no comeback. Trailing 21-10 after the Phillips play in the end zone, Texas went all in to get some points before the half. At their own 36 with 30 seconds left, McCoy throw an absolutely terrible pass to a completely covered receiver on the outside, and cornerback Justin Gilbert housecalled it, making 28-10 at the break. If you changed the jersey color and the side of the field, it could have easily been the same pick-six from Waco in 2011 or K-State (the one where he dropped the ball at the one) last year because IT WAS THE EXACT SAME PLAY. You can’t be late outside; you can’t be anything but laser-accurate and 90 miles per hour outside. And that ball thrown was late, not accurately and not anywhere close to 90 mph. And never mind he was covered like a blanket. After trading field goals to start the second half, Texas was on the move after a nice Daje Johnson run and a personal foul by Oklahoma State, but looking over the middle on 1st&10 from the 40, McCoy never saw linebacker Caleb Lavey, who intercepted the pass at the Texas 44 and returned it to the 21, where one play later OSU scored and nailed the lid shut, 38-13. Three plays later McCoy was picked off again, the second for Justin Gilbert. It was the still the third quarter.
Texas needed a brilliant day from McCoy, like he had in Dallas, to win this game and they didn’t get it. Instead they got the risk-taker, the gunslinger, and the result was disastrous. It certainly wasn’t all on McCoy at all, but they needed his best effort and they didn’t get it.
I don’t have anything sarcastic or cute to say about Tyrone Swoopes. I wish I could give you insight or rationale behind his three-plays-in-garbage-time-every-four-weeks package, but I can’t. It boggles the mind. BOGGLED.
Running Backs: The touchdown Texas had when it was 14-3 was one of the best drives of the season. They simply lined up and ran over people. The entire first half it seemed that all the backs were a step away from breaking it, and I have little doubt that if the turnovers and absurd special teams were better, Texas could have kept hammering away at the Cowboys defense and made this a game. But they didn’t get that chance. I thought Joe Bergeron was the better back on the day, making some big plays in the passing game and the running game, but the mistakes were too many for the backs and the ground game to overcome.
Wide Outs/Tight Ends: Mike Davis finished with nine catches for 112 yards and had one big play on a 41-yard catch, but the ball was so underthrown he had to wait on it and was caught from behind. A better throw and it would have been 28-17 to start the second half, but he was tackled and Texas settled for a field goal.
I would have liked to have seen more deep shots rather than bubble screen that Texas just can’t run. It’s time to ditch that screen game, because Texas can’t execute it. Time and again I watched OSU db’s run through or around the blocks outside and make plays at the line of scrimmage or behind it because the wide out in charge of clearing space on the bubble screen cannot clear that space. That has to be scrapped or reworked, because the current version is not good at all.
Where was the wheel route? Not one, all day? And let’s just give Geoff Swaim a lineman number and be done with it, alright? You aren’t throwing it to him, we all know that.
Offensive Line: A decent job. I thought they were keeping McCoy clean and I saw some holes for the running game. They didn’t take over the game, but I thought they were doing things well enough to keep Texas in it. There were issues in the game, but not many on the offensive line.
Defensive Line: I thought the offensive line for Oklahoma State did a terrific job of handling the Texas ends, which had no impact in the passing game other than a batted down pass by Jeffcoat. JJ had a nice game, finishing with eight tackles including two for loss, but he and Cedric Reed (two tackles, no pressures) never got close to Clint Chelf. We saw the future a little bit with Shiro Davis flashing out there, making a nice play on a sweep, but I thought the ends would have a decided advantage over OSU’s tackles, but they did not.
I thought the tackles played very well, eliminating the tailback up the middle, but when the quarterback is chewing you up and spitting you out running the ball and has all the urgency of catching a pop fly in practice throwing the ball (which means no urgency at all), you aren’t controlling the line of scrimmage or pressuring the passer like you were supposed to or expected to.
Linebackers: Sometimes stats are misleading. This is one of those times. The lb’s were TERRIBLE at recognizing and identifying the quarterback run, and at times Chelf had blockers running with him that had nothing to do. And the inability to slow down the qb run, AGAIN, is what doomed the Horns.
Edmond had a great game at West Virginia, but last week he seemed out of place and unsure at times and it showed.
Defensive Backs: I am really getting tired of the “Find 21” game that opposing offenses seem to play every week now. It wasn’t all on Thomas though: the ridiculous breakdown on the 3rd&10 that led to a first down at the Texas 12, the Adrian Phillips play, the fact no one seemed to remember that the quarterback could run on either of his touchdowns. And Duke, if you are going to push a guy out of bounds near the end zone, my man, you HAVE GOT TO MAKE SURE HE DOESN’T CATCH THE BALL. Ugh.
That was a hell of an interception by Mykkele Thompson in the end zone in the first quarter, unfortunately OSU’s secondary made more plays.
Special Teams: I’m breaking out a word I haven’t used in a while … horrifical. It’s a combination of horrible, horrific and terrible as well as the intent of several NC17 words. I’ll use it in a few sentences to show you what I mean:
- The Texas specials teams are as horrifical as they have ever been.
- What the horrifical was Daje Johnson doing trying a Willie Mays basket catch on that punt at the five yard line?
- The reverse on the kickoff to start the second half was a cluster horrifical.
- The kickoff coverage to start the game was absolutely horrifical.
Make sense? I invite you to use as you see fit.
I don’t understand how Joe B. fumbles twice in two games and gets benched, but Daje Johnson gets the chance to muff a third punt. And make no mistake that was a back breaker. Trailing 7-3, Johnson muffed an OSU punt back to the Texas four. Two plays and a stupid bubble screen later, Texas punted and Oklahoma State took over at the Texas 42 and five plays later it was 14-3.
I didn’t think it was possible for the special teams to get worse, but they did. A 41-yard kickoff return allowed to start the game, the incredibly bad decisions to bring kick after kick out of the end zone, the muff, the reverse that put Texas on the six to start the second half and absolutely no big plays from the block team, cover team or return team.
You can’t lose the special teams battle and expect to win the game against good teams and, coupled with the bad qb play, the specials were the biggest reason Texas lost on Saturday.
TEXAS (7-3/6-1) BYE
Defensive tackle Malcom Brown said, more or less, that he was disappointed in the fans for being gone in the third quarter. I understand, Malcom, but understand those fans are disappointed, too. They want Texas to be great and, right or wrong, they expect it. It isn’t a problem unique to Texas. Fans are fickle and if you want them back, you need to win them back. It isn’t fair and it isn’t right, but that’s the way it is.
So what now? Well, now you get healthy, watch film and get ready for Tech. Rumors about changes are rampant on the internets, but the guys on the team and the staff have to move on and focus on the next game. They can’t control what’s being said about them and, frankly, they shouldn’t comment at all because what’s being said about them now is a direct result of their play on the field. Again, it isn’t completely fair but that’s the way it goes and everyone on the team, from the big man to the true freshmen, knows the score. Some will block it all out and others will use what idiots like me say as fuel.
If I’m the coach, I’m circling the wagons and making this about us. We can’t control them. We can’t control what they say. What we can control is us. We can control how we respond. We can control how we handle adversity. Last week we didn’t respond or handle adversity very well. We threw picks, we dropped passes, we blew assignments, we tackled poorly … and we got our horrificals kicked. No one likes getting their horrifical kicked and none of you in this locker room came to Texas to get your horrifical kicked. The team motto is “for the man on my right and the man on my left” and that’s us, right here in this room, and that’s who you play your best for, each other. This week we will correct the coaching mistakes, and by Thanksgiving Night we will be ready to show Texas Tech, the fans and everyone else how we respond and handle adversity.
But that’s me. I hope the plan is something along those lines.
We will talk Texas Tech and turkey next week.
Last Week in the Big 12
Thursday, November 7th
TEXAS TECH 34 No.5 BAYLOR 63
The Bears put 675 yards on Tech, including 335 and three scores through the air. Backup backup tailback (both guys in front of him are hurt) Shock Linwood rushed for 187 yards and Baylor broke open a competitive game with three 3rd quarter touchdowns and coasted to the victory. Tech is reeling in a big way right now.
TCU 31 KANSAS STATE 33
Jack Cantele kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to win the game and make K-State bowl eligible, a feat I never expected. His response to his weird celebration perfectly sums up the entire team after their fourth straight win. “I didn’t know how to react,” Cantele said. “Someone hit me from behind and I fell to the ground, and I just started beating the crap out of the ground. I didn’t know what else to do.”
IOWA STATE 10 No.18 oklahoma 48
Butterflies taste with their feet. A butterfly’s sense of taste is coordinated by chemoreceptors on their tarsi (lowest part of leg) and works only on contact. It is used to determine whether an egg-laying insect’s offspring will be able to feed on a leaf before eggs are laid on it.
WEST VIRGINIA 19 KANSAS 31 11am Fox Sports Network
The overwhelming response from you all is the crowd at West Virginia was terrific. They were nice, polite and hospitable. I’m glad to hear it. I wonder if they are still feeling so nice after losing to Kansas, which is the worst thing you can do as a football team. The best part of the entire game was the KU guy in the stands with the sign that said “We want Bama.”
This Week in the Big 12
TEXAS (7-3/6-1) BYE
TEXAS TECH (7-4/4-4) BYE
TCU (4-7/2-6) BYE
WEST VIRGINIA (4-7/2-6) BYE
No.4 BAYLOR (9-0/6-0) @ No.10 OKLAHOMA STATE (9-1/6-1) 7pm ABC
Essentially this is for the Big 12 Title, because Baylor will be favored over Texas in Waco and the Pokes will be favored over ou in the Bedlam game and, let’s be honest, they should both with those games. That means the winner of this game has the inside track for the Big 12 Championship. There will be opportunities for the Bears in the passing game, but I also think the Cowboys will spread Baylor out and run on them, as Baylor often does. This is going to be close, but I think OSU ends Baylor’s run.
No.20 oklahoma (8-2/5-2) @ KANSAS STATE (6-4/4-3) 11am Fox Sports 1
Here’s something terrifying: Between 1902 and 1907 one tiger killed 436 people. The Champawat Tiger roamed the Nepal/India border for nearly 10 years, evading hunters and the Nepalese army, before she was finally shot.
KANSAS (3-7/1-6) @ IOWA STATE (1-9/0-7) 7pm Fox Sports 1
How in the world is this game on TV? I think the ratings would be better for the story on the Tiger, but they didn’t ask me what I thought. So Kansas wins, or they don’t. I’ll read the box score later, because there is a 100% chance I will forget this is on.
See you next week.
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