Coach V’s Grades: Texas 33, Mizzou 16

Michael Dickson, Texas Bowl MVP (Will Gallagher/IT)

Michael Dickson, Texas Bowl MVP (Will Gallagher/IT)

Our Coach Venable grades the Longhorns after UT’s 33-16 win over Missouri in the Texas Bowl. Improvements across the board equal a great offseason and expectations in 2018.

DEFENSE

Newsflash! UT’s defense ain’t soft like reported for the last few years. Consequently, they are terrific fun to watch. We still have a few that can’t understand their responsibilities enough to produce consistent positive results but we ain’t exactly playing barefoot out there. The Orlando way is relentless and it’s obvious that the kids love playing his way. Even when we bust there is zero finger pointing—they just smile and line up again ready to kick ass and take names. I love it even when I cuss it.

I’m amazed at how fast (without complications) we get our defense called. It’s communicated on the run and yet all 11 know what’s expected of them down after down. Tempo plays havoc allowing defenses to adjust along with getting a play-call. There are few times when we get caught flipping. We are one well conditioned football defense. We are one well coached football defense.

Take your hat off to the way we practice. Tip your hat to the pace we must coach these guys. Give a standing ovation to this Yancey fellow.

We basically took four warriors (three positions) and stuffed their OL into submission. Poona made tackles for loss and tackles 15 yards downfield. He never takes a lazy step. He’s the perfect role model for ages. Poona Ford makes me smile.

Charles Omenihu played extremely well—the biggest difference tonight was he finished better than ever. We will have a stallion if Charles comes back.

Hager doesn’t have a clue how hard this game is but he understands hitting is more fun than getting hit. Hager has figured out running fast means harder hits so he loads up with the best of them.

Roach is exciting to say the least. He may take unconventional routes to the party but he will arrive with nasty on his mind.

These four are fun to watch.

Gary Johnson has the knack. It also helps he has unreal talent, starting with track speed and ending with a terrific instinct for finding the ball. He will be the leader of this defense next year.

Wheeler made a tremendous play scoring on the fumble return. He didn’t have a good night reading plays. He went the wrong way/wrong gap more times than I cared to count. He was one lost puppy on too many plays. If he starts next year I bet Orlando stunts him every down to insure he plays the correct gap/read.

Kris Boyd is becoming a weapon at corner. He makes others better around him. It took a while but it was worth it.

Davante Davis had some confidence return and he made several athletic plays. It’s always nice when guys getting a second chance show they deserve it—Jason Hall says hello.

Antwan Davis is another that took a little time to arrive but he has made up for developmental time in a big way.

P.J.Locke returned at a new position and overall had a good game. It will be interesting to see where he plays this spring.

Brandon Jones is a great athlete that makes big time plays when he’s coming forward. Jones has been extremely tardy on covering deep—he doesn’t honor the cardinal rule of a deep safety. Always stay/be as deep as the deepest receiver no matter what. He needs to learn that now.

Jason Hall found a lemonade stand in the middle of a practice field. John Bonney finds a way to contribute wherever he’s needed.

Here are the grades:

95—Ford—A-

32—Roach—A-

90—Omenihu—A-

60—Hager—A-

45—Wheeler—B-

33—Johnson—A-

2—Boyd—A-

11—Locke—B

18—Davis—B+

31—Hall—B+

19—Jones—B

7—Davis—B+

Michael Dickson and Josh Thompson earn A-‘s for special teams play.

Collin Johnson (Will Gallagher/IT)

Collin Johnson (Will Gallagher/IT)

OFFENSE

There are several problem areas in our offensive approach that must be addressed before we become a complete offensive attack. We need an offensive makeover—serious upgrade may be a too light in the delivery at this time. I defy any football man to explain the thought process behind what the hell we are attempting to accomplish as an offense.

The few times we actually build off a previous play (good success) we never re-visit again. It’s like we give the opponents too much credit for adjusting without them actually having to adjust. Why can’t we make them prove they are up to the task?

One excellent example is the two passes off play-action to Danny Young in the first quarter—if it ain’t broke don’t fix it sails over our eyes in the sky booth. Too busy finding another “empty” set to protect as we outsmart ourselves yet again.

The building blocks just don’t gee-haw in any form of rational thinking. The play-calling reminds of a drunken sailor persuading the queen of the ranch to dance the last dance with him. The one consistent in our offense is the effort level at all eleven positions. We grade out pretty damn high in that category. Now if I could just get someone to explain our rotational thinking.

We played spotty at QB for the most part. Both QB’s had some really positive plays where they looked the part. The lack of remaining consistent in their fundamental skill set jumps on their back too often for them to carry this football team. Both need a strong springs reducing fundamental mistakes while perfecting footwork and decision making—the two early arrivals will be nipping at heels of any sign of slacking.

The RB’s are getting better and it shows big-time. Young is a player that might have a D. Foreman type of career in his future. Old Katy remains a steady guy every team needs on the roster. Drayton is my kind of coach.

Is it just me or did Moore run the best routes for us last night? He improved to the point that he became one of our best offensive players over the season. Good job by coach and player.

I must admit route running has changed since I walked the practice fields. I don’t recognize crossing routes anymore. I don’t understand a one yard route when it’s 3rd and 4. I try hard to find a receiver that will drive off the LOS, come under control by gathering their momentum, and then cut sharply to the precise point of designation in order to catch a timing route. Dreaming I guess.

What I see every week is a rotation of three deep running what I assume is “option” routes where they decide what to do according to the technique of the defense—hopefully the QB will read the same page. My biggest concern with this approach is there never seems to be a right or wrong on either end. That barely noses out the refusal of said receivers to help a scrambling QB by finding an open area to throw—shuffling sideways isn’t much help.

The OL played hard. Those five (six counting Moore) did a workman like job despite running uphill with some of the play-calling. Yes, Shack had a couple of ugly snaps. We had problems with several reach blocks and our screen game went south except for one dandy. The positive was we bit and clawed into enough good blocks to make a play. We need some serious spring competition. We need quickness, strength, and especially better footwork across the board. Most of all we need a offense that fits players and coaches alike.

Here are the grades:

7—-Buechele—B

11—Ehlinger—B

21—Porter—B

32—Young—B+

1—Burt—B+

3—Foreman—B+

6—Duvernay—B-

9—Johnson—B+

13—Heard—B

14—Joe—B

17—RHM—B+

88—Moore—B+

72—Rodriguez—B-

77—Vahe—B

56—Shackelford—B-

64—McMillon—B

68—Kerstetter—B-