Off the top of my head:
- This is the single worst loss in the Mack Brown era at Texas. Texas has been hammered before by Oklahoma — three other times, in fact — but in each case the sooners were far and away the better team. That was not supposed to be the case last Saturday. In fact, it was ou who was apparently suffering from chemistry issues, suspensions and subpar play and Texas, off a close loss to West Virginia, was the team coming together. Not a single word of that turned out to be true. The closest comparison I can find is the 2000 ou game when no one really knew much about Bob Stoops and oklahoma yet, but if we are being honest it looked a lot more like the Kansas State game in 2010.
- That’s three straight losses to the sooners, peeps, and they are getting worse each year. A frustrating 28-20 loss in 2010 gave way to 55-17 last year and the 63-21 score this year. Texas has been outscored 118-38 the last two years with three offensive touchdowns scored.
- You could see it from the outset. Texas came out of the tunnel, ran to the far end zone and did their usual pre-game prayer and went to the sideline. The sooners came out, ran to the far end and did their usual pre-game prayer in the end zone and then, to a man it seemed, all encouraged the Longhorns fans for more cat calls and boos. They were ready for a fight. Texas was not.
- In fact the only emotion I saw from Texas came when Marquis Goodwin got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after Texas scored to cut it to 56-8 late in the fourth quarter and when John Harris went all chest bump-crazy in the end zone after a score on the final play of the game. Both were ridiculous and uncalled for and if it were me everybody runs for that nonsense.
- Who called timeout with five seconds left in the game? They owe everyone that was still there an apology.
- Another Texas/ou game and another star is born … for oklahoma. Last year it was Dominique Whaley, this year it’s Damien Williams.
- So what is it that the defense does in practice? Seriously, WHAT DO YOU DO?
- How in the world could the defense have a player of the game?
- The Cotton Bowl is a HOLE. Where is all the money going for all the overpriced stuff I have to buy there? It isn’t into maintenance or facilities and sure as hell isn’t into the bathrooms.
- It’s 10 am and everything sucks. Everything except ou.
No. 15 TEXAS 21 No.10 oklahoma 63
I said last week that the sooners were coming in with their GTL takes-off-shirt-to-fight attitude and if the Longhorns didn’t respond with a similar attitude they would lose. They had no attitude at all and the result was a disaster in front of a national TV audience. Again. I said this game usually turns on turnovers and one team’s inability to protect the quarterback. That happened to Texas. Again.
Before we break down the game, realize that everyone on the team not named Kyle King or Case McCoy gets an F. Every coach, every player, everyone. The Longhorns were not ready to play physically, mentally or schematically on Saturday and it was obvious right from the start. Let’s take a look at the crime scene.
Quarterbacks — I wish I had an answer as to why David Ash was still in the game when he got hurt, but I don’t. Seems like if Texas doesn’t tackle in practice to avoid injury, maybe get the best player on the offense out of the game when there are less than 10 minutes to play and the other team is up 49-8? I know that’s debatable, but I would have pulled him. He was off all day from the start, throwing behind guys and not making good decisions with the ball and/or just not making good throws. Check out that first interception and you’ll see what I mean. The only silver lining was the play of Case McCoy, who came in cold off the bench but looked sharp, energetic and efficient against the ou backups, going 5-8 for 102 yards and two touchdown passes.
It seems David did not break anything and Mack Brown said “he should be fine” for Baylor, but we will see. That was pretty nasty looking, but he’s a tough kid. I am sure Case McCoy would love another crack at the Bears after his interceptionpalooza last year, and I think they will have them both ready to play, just in case.
Not sure what the game plan was supposed to be for Ash.
Running Backs — A non-factor in the game. No holes, no big runs, no space, no time, no big plays. I’m not sure a healthy Malcolm Brown would have made any difference.
Wide Outs/Tight Ends — While David Ash was not spot-on, he was done no favors by the wide outs and tight ends. There were drops from the tight ends that would have been first downs and the sooner secondary took both Marquise Goodwin and Jaxon Shipley out of the game and made them non-factors. Mike Davis led the team with five catches for 89 yards and a touchdown, but he wasn’t targeted nearly enough as the game plan seemed to be about running Joe Bergeron up the middle and not taking any shots downfield.
Daje Johnson had 41 yards rushing on just four carries and one catch for 12 yards, but it seemed like they abandoned him. DJ MONROE? DJ? ANYONE SEEN DJ MONROE? I AM LOOKING FOR DJ MONROE …
Offensive Line — I don’t have the words. Literally. I don’t have the words because I used up all my profanity minutes this month watching a replay of the game and have to wait until like November 6th before the next month’s allotment begins. I’ll say this: They were disappointing at the start, but when Donald Hawkins went out with an ankle injury, they were … worse.
Defensive Line — The All-American/NFL-ready ends’ stat line against the patchwork oklahoma offensive line: five tackles, one sack, two additional tackles for loss. Oh, and we lost one for the season (Jackson Jeffcoat) with a torn pectoral muscle. They were non-factors, partly because of their inability to make big plays (a dropped interception by Okafor) and partly because of the weird scheme that had them dropping into coverage and not pressuring the worst-under-pressure quarterback on the earth from the edge, which is what they are going to get paid very well to do in the next few years. Not sure I understand what they were being asked to do. Brandon Moore had a frightening moment, lying motionless on the field forever before by carried off on a stretcher, but it seems he will be fine. He did a good job inside at the nose, collapsing the pocket and being a disruptive force with five tackles including three for loss to go along with a qb pressure. But outside of him, there was nothing. J. Gray could not get anything going on the Wildcat, but Blake Bell scored four times on the same play that every single person in the Americas knew was coming. The d-line did not once affect a change there.
Linebackers — Moving on …
Secondary — A 6-foot-2, 256- pound fullback leapt over Mykkele Thompson like he wasn’t even there. Trey Millard caught a pass out of the backfield and headed to the sideline where Thompson came up to meet him. All he did was wait for Thompson to duck/dive/fall at him, which he did, and simply jump up and push Thompson underneath him. As he was in the air, Adrian Phillips ran into him and got knocked down, looking very much like someone who unknowingly walks into a glass door at the mall on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Oh, and Millard hit the ground and raced 40 yards for the touchdown. For a guy who was seemingly benched for missing tackles, I saw Adrian Phillips miss a lot of tackles on Saturday. That isn’t fair to Phillips, because I saw all of the guys in the secondary miss tackles, especially the one that replaced him (Thompson). When Damien Williams danced through the Texas defense on his way to the 95-yard touchdown run, you could hear the collective “here we go again” from the Texas side of the Cotton Bowl. Bad form, bad angles, bad coverage (look how far everyone played off the receivers on just about every play) and bad formations (WHY IS THE ENTIRE BACK 7 SIX YARDS DEEP IN THE END ZONE ON THE BELL DOZER FORMATION AT THE ONE? AND WHY ARE THEY ALL STANDING HUDDLED TOGETHER INSIDE THE TIGHT END?) led to one of the worst defensive performances I have ever seen. I take that back — it was THE worst I have ever seen. It was certainly not all on the secondary, but with no help from the MIA corps at linebacker and little help downfield from the front four, the secondary was the most visible of the units.
Special Teams — The laziest effort of the entire day was on the oklahoma points team when they botched the extra point snap in the first quarter. The snap was low, the holder bobbled it, bobbled it again, and a third time I think, as the kicker triple clutched before finally tapping it forward. As that was happening, the snapper was standing straight up and Chris Whaley was sort of walking through him, getting about a foot from the ball before he blocked it. With his thigh pad, I think. Quandre Diggs swooped in and scooped it up, taking it back 98 yards for the 2-point conversion, but the entire play was a mess before that. It looked like the first-ever extra point attempt in a fifth grade game. But thank you for the botched snap, sooners, otherwise the first half was a complete shut out.
Terrible punt coverage, a missed extra point, no big returns on the many, many kickoffs combined to give Texas the highest grade out of any unit on the day. It was still not good, but it wasn’t a total F like the other units. Well done to Alex King, who averaged 49.6 yards per punt.
BAYLOR (3-2/0-2) @ No.25 TEXAS (4-2/1-2)
Saturday, October 20th
Texas is beat up, both physically and mentally, and must now move forward. The Bears lost at home to TCU without starting quarterback Casey Pachall, but you can bet Baylor smells blood in the water and wants to send Texas careening off into the abyss. After their last two games against Texas and a tape room full of film, you have to think they feel confident they can move the ball against this struggling Texas defense. This one could be another shootout, let’s take a look.
Art Briles is having his own issues in Waco this season as his defense is being torched, but the upside is the offense can be good enough to compensate. Usually. Here are the Bears and what they plan to do.
With Robert Griffin superstar-ing in DC, all Nick Florence is doing is leading the nation in total offense with 404.4 yards per game. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior quarterback has played a lot of football for Baylor, starting in 2009 for the injured RGIII and showing this fall that he is more than capable of producing big numbers in the spread offense. On the season he has 1,874 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He isn’t the dynamic, Heisman-esque runner that Griffin was, but he can move well, averaging 29.6 yards per game on the ground with one touchdown. He has a good arm, good athleticism and knows this offense. He is solid and with Briles calling the plays, Florence has shown he can lead this offense to points and big numbers.
His favorite target is wide out Terrance Williams. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior leads the team with 830 yards and eight scores, which averages out to 166 yards per game. He has all the tools to be an NFL player with size, speed, athleticism, hands and route-running abilities and would be the No.1 wide out just about anywhere he played. If it isn’t Williams, it is Tevin Reese or Lanear Sampson, who rank second and third in receiving yards. Smaller, at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Reese plays inside receiver, where he uses his ability in space to make plays. He’s second on the team with four touchdowns and averages 99 yards receiving per game. He’s deadly when he gets behind the defense with his track speed and they use him on bubble and slip screens to do just that. Opposite Williams is Lanear Sampson, who has running back size at 6-feet, 205 pounds. He is the possession, over-the-middle guy that Florence looks for to move the chains and on the season he has 25 catches, second on the team, for 331 yards and three touchdowns. Florence will find others when he has to, like tight Jordan Najvar who has two touchdowns on only five receptions, but for the most part Williams, Reese and Sampson are the targets for Florence that give Baylor the nation’s top passing offense at 398 yards per game.
Not only is Mr. Griffin gone, but so is running back Terrance Ganaway and his 1,547 yard, 21-touchdown effort last year. Jared Salubi, the 5-foot-9, 210-senior from Waco, is the starter now and leads the team with 357 yards rushing. He isn’t the workhorse that Ganaway was so the Bears split the carries. In short yardage, 6-foot-1, 220-pound Glasco Martin comes in at Ultra Back, whatever that is. He leads the team with five rushing touchdowns and when he’s on the field, the Bears are usually running. You will also see Lache Seastrunk, the former Oregon Duck and Temple, Texas super recruit that was caught in the Willie Lyles mess a while back. He hasn’t really exploded yet, but his high school numbers say he could at any time. These backs are not premiere, but they run enough to keep defenses concerned with stopping them rather than focus completely on the passing game.
With the way Baylor runs plays, snapping the ball at 30 seconds on the play clock or even earlier, it’s hard to get a great read on the offensive line. Ivory Wade, a tackle that moved to center this year, is excellent and will probably play on Sundays. The rest of the unit is big, athletic and obviously in great shape with the tempo they run and they are solid. They aren’t great, but solid. They allow two sacks a game, which isn’t great, but it isn’t the worst thing in the world. Their job is to keep the defense occupied long enough for Florence to throw it and they do a good job of that. They aren’t going to overwhelm you, but they get the job done.
We all know how this is going to go: Baylor is going to spread Texas out and run the ball, just like ou did, just like West Virginia did and just like Oklahoma State did. They are going to snap the ball quickly, giving the Texas lb’s no time to look to the sideline to get set up — THAT was one thing that was better last week — and they are going to make Texas tackle in the open field. Expect to see them throw underneath if Texas plays off for fear of a deep route and expect that underneath stuff to go to Reese, who can look like Stedman Bailey in the open field if left unchecked. They are going to take their shots down field to Williams, Reese and Sampson because that’s what this offense is geared to do, but they will run it until Texas makes them stop. Book it.
This defense is awful. No, really. It’s awful. There are 120 teams in the Division I football and Baylor has the 120th ranked defense. They allow 41.6 points per game (118th), 372.4 yards per game (119th), allow a 158.18 passing efficiency (117th), 186.4 yards rushing per game (88th) and average 1.6 sacks per game (86th). There is no way around it — this defense is awful. It doesn’t matter what names or what talent they trot out there or how good they were in high school, this defense is terrible. They don’t really do anything well at all right now, despite Bryce Hager (Britt’s son) starting at mlb for them.
Expect them to bring everyone on just about every play. They laid back against Geno Smith and he torched them for historic numbers. David Ash will be less than 100% if he plays and Case McCoy will be starting his first game in nearly a year if he doesn’t, so Baylor wants to lay some licks on the qb and force turnovers and poor decisions. They know they don’t have the talent to shut down Texas, so they want to slow them down enough to get them one dimensional like they did last year, when the turnovers starting coming. They need a few stops to spot their offense the lead. Only oklahoma has been able to do that against the Horns this year, so can Baylor slow Texas down enough to get the ball back? No. No way. NO. WAY.
The punter is good, averaging 44.4 yards per punt with five of 12 going over 50 yards, but they give up 20.3 yards per punt return, which means a frightening 36 yards per punt net. They allow 20 yards per kickoff return which is nice, but they only average 19 yards per kickoff return, which is not good at all. They are a train wreck kicking field goals as they are 5-9 with one blocked on the season.
They don’t do much to impress on special teams, but I said the same thing about WVA I think. I expect, like the Mountaineers, they will be going for it on fourth down because they need the points to keep the lead and there is zero trust in a .500 kicker to connect.
As I said last week, you can’t let a loss beat you twice. We have the luxury to complain and vent and yell, but the team does not, otherwise you get the same mess we have this Monday next Monday. It’s over, and no amount of complaining or crying or fifth-guessing is going to change that. You tighten up, you circle the wagons, you close the blinds … whatever phrase suits you best. You focus on the task at hand and that task is Baylor. Nothing else matters but that right now. It’s a little cliché to say and you surely have heard it before, but these guys aren’t playing for us. They are playing for each other. They don’t want to let each other down, or their coaches down, and when things start going bad you either fall apart because you are many or you pull together because you are one. In 2010, Texas fell apart. I said that the ou game reminded me of the game at Kansas State that year, but that isn’t entirely true. I didn’t see the mailed-in effort like I did there. I sure didn’t see the intensity that ou brought, but I didn’t see anyone quit, either. That means this team is not fractured. Frustrated, yes, but not fractured. I’m saying there is a chance.
At 4-2 and No.25 in the BCS, nothing is over. The Horns have many attainable goals in front of them, but they have to get there together. They have to circle up, block out the distractions and play football. There were rumors of finger pointing and players calling each other out after the ou game. Good. I hope the ride home Saturday night and the film on Sunday was a reality check for everyone. EVERYONE. The staff, the team, everyone. I hope fingers were pointed and words were exchanged, and it wouldn’t bother me in the least if some arguments had to be broken up. Clear the air, fellas, because something isn’t right. Sometimes it needs to get ugly to get it all out, but after that it almost always gets better. Get all the cards on the table and let’s move forward. In or out. If you are in, get in, if you aren’t, get out. It’s all about us right now, “us” being the guys in the locker room. And we can have a squabble among “us” sometimes, but we will still always be “us.” All the pieces are in place, guys. Get the trust back.
There are three or so coaches that are masters of circling the wagons and regrouping a team after a loss: Stoops, Les Miles and Mack Brown. And right now Brown has a big job this week, because this team is surely low and down on itself after the effort last week. They heard all weekend how bad they are, how poorly they played and how they were intimidated by ou. I see a team that lacks confidence right now. Confidence in each other and confidence in their own play. The goal this week is to get that confidence back and put it on the field Saturday night. How does that happen? Let’s see.
Open it up. I don’t know if Brian Harsin has been intentionally sitting on the ball the last two weeks or if he was told to sit on the ball, but it has to stop. The offense has stagnated under one 2-yard run up the middle after another. Open it up. Throw it down field and make this terrible defense make a play. If they do, great, if they don’t, even better. Trust everyone to do their job. Get DJ Monroe and Daje Johnson more touches, because they are electric with the ball in their hands. Mike Davis is playing great, so feed him on streaks and deep posts. It doesn’t matter if McCoy or Ash is playing, you have to trust your playmakers. The o-line is banged up, so it’s time to get the ball out quickly to the playmakers. Guys followed McCoy last year, so if he has to play let him play and cut loose. Texas cannot sit on the ball for fear of the other offense making plays. You have to trust your defense to do their job.
This defense is terrible and was torched by a redshirt freshman in his second-ever start last week. And that was at home. Open it up. That’s what Texas does and scores some points this weekend, and I see a big night from the kids, and DJ Monroe, who roars back to life with a huge night.
This is what I think. I see a bunch of guys who don’t know or understand exactly what they are supposed to be doing. And what happens on the field when you are uncomfortable or unsure? You over think, which means you aren’t going 100% because you don’t know where to go. This, to me, is as big an issue with the tackling as the lack of contact in practice. Everyone seems lost. They are obviously all talented players, some next-level talented, but they don’t seem to know what they are supposed to do and it is affecting them. I said last week Texas needed to simplify everything. That’s this week again, but even more so. No more fire blitzes or whatever it’s called. No more exotics on defense. Let’s just play some football.
It should be a brutal week of contact for everyone involved. It needs to be, because this format isn’t working. Get on the ball, hit somebody and make the tackle. Across the bow, arms locking … textbook stuff. Enough with the disguised coverages and trying to confuse the quarterback. The only people confused are the guys trying to confuse the quarterback. Full speed ahead, violent contact, wrap up. It’s not rocket science and it shouldn’t be over anyone’s head: Get your front four on the ground in a stance, and get your ass up field and hit somebody. Get your linebackers lined up, give them the few keys they need to read and get them to light someone up. Strong, physical jams at the line of scrimmage to disrupt routes and safeties that don’t wait for contact but initiate it and get the ball carrier down. With their arms. There should be endless reps, as many as the NCAA allows, this week. You will tackle and tackle well or you will not be on the field. And we will start over and find someone who will. End of story.
I think Texas dials down the cerebral defense and dials up some punch-you-in-the-face defense and gets after Nick Florence. Jackson Jeffcoat is out, so Reggie Wilson gets the start. I think he plays well, as does the rest of the front four and a much better effort from the Texas secondary results in some turnovers. I think Baylor will score some, but I think Texas starts to look like it did a few weeks ago.
If Quandre Diggs is ever going to break a punt return, it will be this week against a team that allows 20 yards per punt return. Of course, Texas needs to make them punt for that to happen. Who is kicking for points now? I am confused. Still, the points team at Texas is better than it is for Baylor right now, so I don’t expect either one to be a big factor in the game.
I think Diggs can make something happen. I can’t be wrong every week, right? Right?
In Conclusion …
I am not a coach, but it’s clear that some things need to change on this Texas team if there are any plans for post-season play. The defense seems overly complicated for the personnel running it, and I think it’s affected the basics. The offense seems intentionally deflated to compensate for a defense that is struggling. Each side has to trust the other side to do their job: The offense has to play their game and trust the defense will get the stops necessary. The defense has to trust each other and NOT THINK SO MUCH AND FORM TACKLE.
This is an emotional game where attitude is as big a factor as ability. Texas needs some swagger in a big way, and I think this week in practice Mack Brown is going to “introduce” some attitude with physical, tough and spirited practice where violence and intensity will be demanded. Energy will be high, and I think by Saturday the team will be ready to unleash on someone else. And I think the result will be the effort and intensity we expected last week
Last Week in the Big 12
Saturday, October 13th
No. 23 TCU 49 BAYLOR 21
Turns out I was very wrong on this one. The TCU defense is still the TCU defense and, as I said, the Baylor defense STINKS. New starting qb Trevone Boykin threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns, all on third down, and Southwest Purple forced six Baylor turnovers. Well done, Frogs, nice rebound.
No. 5 KANSAS STATE 27 IOWA STATE 21
I said last week this would be a fight and it was. The Cyclone defense played bend-but-don’t-break, allowing 364 total yards and letting K-State keep the ball for over 40 minutes, but they were right there at the end of the game, needing a stop that they could not get and losing by six. Collin Klein was a beast as usual, rushing for 105 yards and three scores and throwing for 187 on the night. The Wildcats keep chugging along.
OKLAHOMA STATE 20 KANSAS 14
I was wrong about this one. The Jayhawks rallied from a 20-0 deficit in the 4th quarter with two touchdowns in terrible rain and turned it over on downs at the Oklahoma State 41 with 2:42 to play. Wes Lunt sat and JW Walsh played the entire game for OSU, but the star was KU’s James Sims, who rushed for 138 yards on the day.
No. 4 WEST VIRGINIA 14 TEXAS TECH 49
I said last week I was curious how they would handle the week-to-week stuff and I honestly I thought this was the effort we would get last week in Austin. They were just off, converting only one of their six fourth down opportunities this week instead of all of them, and their defense was just as bad as Tech rolled up 676 yards of offense, including 508 passing, in a route that Tech led 35-7 at half. Well done, Tubs, I had this all wrong about you this season.
This Week in the Big 12
No.24 IOWA STATE (4-2/1-2) @ OKLAHOMA STATE (3-2/1-1) 11 am F/X
I think the Pokes had their wake up call last week. I don’t think they score 50 on Iowa State, but I think they win this one going away.
No.4 KANSAS STATE (6-0/3-0) @ No.13 WEST VIRGINIA (5-1/2-1) 6 pm FOX
The shine is off this game, which means the pressure is off WVA, but not K-State. I think the home crowd ends the Midwest Purple run and the Mountaineers win it and even up the Big 12.
KANSAS (1-5/0-3) @ No.9 oklahoma (4-1/2-1) 6 pm FSN
I used a luggage cart as a chair Saturday night. THAT is a hotel party, my friend.
No.17 TEXAS TECH (5-1/2-1) @ No.23 TCU (5-1/2-1) 2:30 pm ABC
This should be lots of fun. It seems the Red Raiders play some defense now and so do the Frogs. TCU got a nice win last week, but I’ll take the experience of the Tech quarterback over the redshirt freshman for TCU. And I think plenty of D/FW Raiders will fill the stands of Amon Carter Saturday afternoon to see Tech win this one.
That’s it for this week. See you at DKR Saturday night. You can reach me FromTheStands@gmail.com or on Twitter @TreyMcLean.