We played two halves of frustrating defense, each in different ways. The first half turned Ertz into Dan Marino and the second half turned Alex Delton into Tommie Frazier.
546 yards of offense at 6 yards a pop and 40 points (albeit after two overtimes, but with two bricked field goals) on the board against a reasonable defense only happens with positive changes in offensive approach and personnel.
Let’s get to it.
In my preview, I wrote that the Iowa State game was a basic competency test. Could our offensive staff show the ability to think expansively about the offense and, if not be proactive in their problem solving, at least demonstrate that they could be effectively reactive?
The Cyclones have an uneven talent level. While I’m generally impressed with their skill players, they lack difference makers in the trenches. If Texas controls the game, it’ll be because our OL can stalemate their front and our defensive line whips their offensive line on running downs so that we can eliminate any guessing games on 2nd and 3rd down.
The premise is simple.
Throw open all 128 FBS jobs. Fire every coach. Forget your regionalism. Where would the smartest, most ambitious coaches want to coach, recruit, win big and contend for championships?
I’m sick to my stomach re-watching that defensive effort result in a loss, though incredibly pleased with our play against an elite QB with a lot of weapons at his disposal. USC’s OL got pushed around at three positions and their receivers are better athletes than football players, but the Texas DL totally dominated the line of scrimmage, our linebackers scraped and filled with abandon (particularly as the game progressed), Holton Hill was good in coverage and Deshon Elliott took major strides forward as the playmaking safety we so badly need.
It’s getting its own distinct write up because I want to illustrate how entire games and field position turn on this unit. I also want to abuse the time-space continuum and show what might have been. Michael J Fox may show up at any moment in a DeLorean.
Does Texas have a plan against real opponents beyond Count The Box, Hey QB Try To Win The Game? Evidence to date says no. I really want to be persuaded otherwise.
I don’t think we beat USC in LA because I lack winnerness, but if the Horns pull off the upset in the Coliseum, it’s a good bet we’ll be able to look to these reasons as to why. Every year we lull ourselves into defining teams early in the year (the LA Rams are going to play the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl you guys!), but as the season plays out, we often find out that the early glimpses were deceiving.