The Longhorns lost a heartbreaker at home to the Mountaineers despite forcing four turnovers, driving up and down the field between the 20s for four quarters and out gaining West Virginia 536-383. But the scoreboard determines Ws and Ls, not the box score.
The 7-1 West Virginia Mountaineers comes to Austin ranked 10th in the nation, the Big 12’s surprise dark horse. They’re the anti-Texas – a team of media-starved veterans exceeding expectation. The only thing they seem to have in common with the Longhorns is their willingness to balance their spread attack with the running game and a base 3-3-5 defense.
Unlike us, they installed their defense in August.
I wanted to share a few thoughts about our now controversial personnel grouping and see if we can make some sense of our options going forward. Maybe we can also clarify what we’re actually getting out of it instead of relying on recency bias and the emotions of a tight game.
The Texas Longhorn defense surrendered 16 points in the 1st quarter against Texas Tech (could’ve been 17, if not for Poona’s paw) as the Red Raiders employed muscle memory blitz beaters and easy pitch-and-catch to whip our normal defensive looks. Patrick Mahomes has never seen a slot blitz before! Whatever will he do? Besides throw to his hot route for an easy 20…
Charlie Strong notched his 2nd road win in his last eight and put Texas over .500 and in a favorable position to finish the season with real momentum. The home date against West Virginia looms large.
But let’s talk about the here and now…
Long ago, I coached my high school girls powder puff team. If you’re not familiar, powder puff is a flag football game between the junior and senior girls that takes place in the spring. Basically, a battle for class pride and who can look cutest in half jerseys and eye black.
Let’s talk Red Raiders and consider a few thoughts on how the Longhorn defense can remain gluten free in the land of the tortilla tossers.
It’s hard to praise a defense that surrendered over 600 yards of offense and defended the running game like my stomach against Nuevo Laredo street meat, but the effort level was good and there were some old reliable bright spots along with some encouraging developments in the secondary. Five or six guys played good football for us. Home games seem to at least ensure some degree of focus.
A sign of a good offense is when you’re largely unimpressed with the play-calling, but it produces anyway. For the average football consumer, play calling and offensive production are synonymous, but they’re same-same-but-different as my Laotian house boy(?) likes to say.
The Baylor defense was supposed to be a major handicap for the Bears in 2016 after a rash of suspensions, injuries and various self-inflicted wounds.
It hasn’t played out that way.