FROM THE STANDS: End of Season

Lots of rumors, lots of refuting of rumors, lots of stuff going. Honestly I have no idea who to trust and what to believe. As soon as something definitive is done, I’ll be the first to talk about it. Until then, I’m staying off the topic. Here. I’m staying off the topic here. If I run to you at happy hour, that might not be the case. Let’s get to the final game of the regular season, shall we?

Game 11

No.24 TEXAS 10 No.9 BAYLOR 30

It was cold, it was wet, it was on Fox and, in short, it sucked. Texas played the heavily favored Baylor Bears off their feet in the first half, but second half mistakes and breakdowns doomed the Horns and helped send Baylor to the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 Champions. Let’s take a look at the mess on the Brazos. Here’s what I saw on Saturday afternoon:

Quarterbacks: As I watched the game I kept having the same scenario go through my mind: It sure would be nice on this day, this cold and wet day where both teams struggled to throw the ball, to have an athletic quarterback that could move the chains with his feet. Texas was rolling between the tackles against the smallish Bears d-line until they adjusted and loaded everyone inside. Don’t you think on a day when the ball was as hard as a cement block it would have been beneficial to have a running threat at quarterback on the field? A big guy, like say 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, that is strong and mobile and could really hurt an over-pursuing, aggressive defense as they caved down inside on the running back? A guy that might not pick up 40 yards on that play, but could get eight yards, and do that consistently enough to force the defense to defend the entire field when thinking of the running game. Do we have a guy like that on the roster? I’m not sure. It would be a shame to have a guy like that on the roster and not use him. Unless he’s redshirting, because that would be a different story. With blowout wins against TCU, Tech and Kansas and a blowout loss to Oklahoma State, it seems you could have probably gotten that guy, if he exists, enough live game reps to get him ready for a situation like Saturday, where you pull out all the stops and exhaust all resources with an outright Big 12 Title on the line. But only if he’s not redshirting, because not playing him in those blowouts, not redshirting him and not playing him with a ring on the line and the starter struggling so badly would be absurd.

 

Running Backs: Malcolm Brown was ballin’ in the first half and was the entire offense, rushing for 131 yards on 25 carries and scoring the only touchdown for Texas on the day with a two-yard touchdown catch on the only play Case McCoy made worth talking about. He led the team in receiving yards with 19 as well. He was tough, physical and moved the chains … until Baylor realized Texas had no passing game and loaded everyone at the line to stop the run. It’s hard to run the ball when 10 guys are at the line of scrimmage, isn’t it? It is.

A effort Mr. Brown, and an incomplete for Daje Johnson, who made some nice plays on the four touches he had. Four. Four touches for the guy that the gameplan was centered around at BYU. Four touches for the one guy that could make some plays with his feet without needing the ball 20 yards downfield via the pass. Four. I don’t understand.

 

Wide Outs/Tight Ends:  Mike Davis looked cold. Not sure why he’s getting so much grief over that screen pass that was picked off, because it looked to me like Case McCoy just absolutely bombed the throw. It was so badly overthrown to the running back that it looked like it was to Davis and he didn’t make the play. I saw Davis trying to block and the pass being so hella horrifical it looked like it was to him. Still, the senior needed to be better on Saturday.

When the ball wasn’t airmailed or overthrown, it was being dropped. Forgettable day for everyone involved, which is really disheartening considering what was on the line.

 

Offensive Line:  I thought they played very well. Had the staff let them take over the game in the first half and stopped trying to mix in downfield passes that had no shot at working, I think it could have been 14-3 Texas at the break. At least. But they didn’t let them take over the game, and when Baylor got the 14-point lead they simply dared Texas to throw and they could not. Not on you this day, fellas.

 

Defensive Line:  I am going to miss these defensive ends next year. Jackson Jeffcoat solidified his 1st-Team All Big 12 selection (it’s coming) with an 11-tackle, 2-sack day. He beat the tar out of Bryce Petty all day and he was everywhere. Opposite him Cedric had a pressure and four tackles and hemmed Petty in the pocket all day. Inside the tackles did a very good job of not allowing anything big. Desmond Jackson and Malcom Brown combined for 11 tackles and are going to be the top tackle tandem in the Big 12 next year.

I thought the Texas defensive line did more than enough to keep Texas in the game …

 

Linebackers: … but the back seven really let them down. Dalton Santos mishandled a fumble and WHY WAS HE ASKED TO GO OUTSIDE AND COVER THE RUNNING BACK? You could see Bryce Petty watching him as he went wide with the back in motion and then he calmly flipped the ball out to him on the sideline for a 25-yard gain on 3rd & 11. Why was the 250-pound linebacker on the hash in coverage? Why is the 250-pound linebacker out there on 3rd & 11? Texas needed a great effort from the understaffed unit, and they got a solid effort. I don’t really fault them, but it sure could have been more productive. It was nice to see Peter Jinkens and his 12 tackles, but they couldn’t make a game-changing play, like the mishandled fumble.

 

Defensive Backs:  One gets posterized after getting run over, another drops a sure fire interception and a third got picked on like the kid from My Bodyguard.

Explain this to me, defensive backs and/or coaches: Why, WHY, is everyone in the Texas secondary playing 12 yards off the line of scrimmage when Baylor is on the 10? What is the point of that? If the point was to get undercut for a touchdown, or to have a teammate run into them allowing a touchdown, then mission accomplished.

Why is Duke Thomas covering their best wide out the entire game? WHY?

 

Special Teams:  23-10, a little over seven minutes to play. Texas punts. Baylor’s return man inexplicably tries to grab the ball at about the seven. He drops it. Texas has three guys on the ball and it looks like the Horns have it at the Baylor three. Of course Fox being Fox just goes to break as the replay shows the Baylor player touch it and the Texas players falling on it, but they give the ball to Baylor. Surely after seeing the limited replay I saw this will be overruled and Texas will have the ball at the three. That’s the way you fight back and win the Big 12 Title. As the commercials rolled on, I thought to myself “OK. We’ve made it back. Punch this in and kick it deep, and it’s 23-17 with five to play. If the defense can make a play, we have a chance.” As bad as Case McCoy played, he might just get a chance to win a ring.

And then, upon further review, none of the three Texas players within two feet of the ball at the five yard line after it was touched could hold on to it. Instead they Keystone Cop-ed it out of bounds at the three. Baylor ball.

Texas’ special teams was a dumpster fire this year, Anthony Fera aside, and they seemed to get worse as the season wore on. Saturday was no different.

 

So …

So here we are, 8-4. The same place we were last year and a game better than we were in 2011. It’s the first time in the Mack Brown era a senior class did not win at least a share of a division title and the Horns are headed to the Alamo Bowl to play Oregon rather than the Fiesta Bowl to play Central Florida. Yes, that sentence is correct.

Lots of things got Texas here, some good and some bad, and we will break down what those things were in the next few weeks. For now, Texas is bowling and they are preparing for the banquet.

I am not a breaking news type of guy, but I have my ears and my eyes in various places and it sure seems like something is going to happen. Lots of things coming to a head right now, and I think after the banquet things will go down.

When something happens, we will talk. Until then, everyone remember this is fun, dammit! FUN! Right? As Hans Gruber said in DieHard, “It’s Christmas time, Theo, so be of good cheer.”

Have a good week. Back next week with bowl info for the entire Big 12.

 

This Week in the Big 12

KANSAS STATE (7-5/5-4)   BOWL GAME PENDING

TEXAS TECH (7-5/4-5)   BOWL GAME PENDING

WEST VIRGINIA (4-8/2-7)   SEASON OVER

TCU (4-8/2-7)   SEASON OVER

IOWA STATE (3-9/2-7)   SEASON OVER

KANSAS (3-9/1-8)   SEASON OVER

 

No.17 oklahoma 33 No.6 OKLAHOMA STATE 24
DieHard is definitely one of my favorite Christmas movies. And Scrooged, The Ref and the Bing Crosby White Christmas. What about you? Send’em my way.

 

The Big 12- End of the Regular Season

Six of the Big 12’s ten teams are bowling while four are done for the year. Here’s the list:

 

No.6 BAYLOR  (11-1/8-1)   FIESTA BOWL

No.11 oklahoma (10-2/7-2)   SUGAR BOWL

No.13 OKLAHOMA STATE (10-2/7-2)   COTTON BOWL

TEXAS (8-4/7-2)   ALAMO BOWL

KANSAS STATE (7-5/5-4)   BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL

TEXAS TECH (7-5/4-5)   HOLIDAY BOWL

TCU (4-8/2-7)   SEASON OVER

WEST VIRGINIA (4-8/2-7)   SEASON OVER

IOWA STATE (3-9/2-7)   SEASON OVER

KANSAS (3-9/1-8)   SEASON OVER

 

See you next week.

Follow me on Twitter @TreyMcLean or email me- FromTheStands@gmail.com

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