Coach V’s Grades: Texas-Baylor

Shane Buechele celebrates Texas touchdown. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Shane Buechele celebrates Texas touchdown. (Will Gallagher/IT)

It was a crazy Saturday in college football. The No. 9 Texas Longhorns held onto the win over I-35 rival Baylor. Coach Venable drops his game grades. Positive signs sprinkled with some guys that need progress reports. 


We knew it was coming. The good news is we hired coach Hand last spring. The bad news is we don’t fully understand finish despite preaching to the choir all off season. The even better news is we still won. Thank goodness for off week. We can mend and hopefully reflect where we are and where we are going.

The offensive line played extremely well as a unit. The WR bunch played extremely well. The RB’s were very good. It’s hard to figure but we still found a way to limit our scoring opportunities to just two td’s and attempt four FG’s despite playing well above average at so many positions. Yep, we found a way to keep the issue in doubt until the final whistle.

If wishes and buts were candy and nuts we will find a OC that specializes in play calling. This would allow coach Herman to go back to doing head coaching things instead of dividing his time between media events and film study. Right now we can’t stand prosperity. We find a way to pitch in a clinker in every drive. It’s almost always a play from left field that doesn’t come close to matching a successful series that counteracts the most obvious defensive adjustment.

Here are the grades:
















Notes from the bleachers:

Collin Johnson (9) is not only a great player but also a true clutch player—throw in a bunch of leadership and you have CJ. Zero disappearing acts this year.

LJ Humphrey (84) is a great player with toughness and awareness abundantly visible. You win championships with the LJH’s of the world. He’s fun to watch.

Calvin Anderson (66) had his best game as a Horn. It’s a genuine pleasure to see a quality technician operate in close quarters. Yes, he’s gotten better and so have we.

Shack (56) played well but still has problems with delayed stunts/blitzes. He gets involved in a double with the OG and never recognizes the blitz, twist, cross.

Beck blocked well but had one drop, one miscommunication, and penalty on his dance card.

Shane (7) had some rusty to rub off and found his way to get that done. It wasn’t the loss of accurate throws nor the lack of smoothness in the exchanges that were the disturbing part of Shane’s game to me—it’s the fact that Shane still tries to escape the rush by going backwards instead of peeling it and eating it upfield. He is serving up his OT for a sack despite the OT doing his job—plus turning the bad play into a bigger loss than necessary.

Ingram (26) is wise way beyond his years. Plus he’s talented as they come.

Rodriguez (72) had a very solid game—he might be our most under appreciated offensive player. Both guard positions today.

Great win. We did make it too interesting though. Heal them up and get ready to finish the quest.

Charles Omenihu on the sack. (Will Gallgher/IT)
Charles Omenihu on the sack. (Will Gallgher/IT)


The best thing about our defensive effort yesterday was the individual performances by quality players playing up to their standard. We had so many missed tackles, poor angles, and worthless reactions to thrown balls it’s a wonder we won. That’s the key to a winner though—win when you don’t play very well. Mission accomplished.

We had guys sell out—sadly, they kinda ran out of gas because we failed to find any semblance of rotational integrity despite the obvious need at most positions. Going thru the motions is no way to play a football game. We need better eyes on that problem—that needs to come from the top. It’s probably going to take a loss to get this corrected.

We won’t grade out very well this week. We still basically play nine against eleven in most situations where we are forced to attach miscast individuals into areas they can’t be successful. The problem is the number of areas that they can’t function is growing and it’s now out of hand. I no longer believe that “accountability” applies on defense in certain cases. We still won and that’s the bottom line. It will catch up to the offenders though. Always has—-always will.

Here are the grades:
















Notes from out of bounds:

Foster (25) did not play pattern match pass pro very well in a seldom used role. Foster did play lights out against the ground game and was a terrific blitzer. I would love to have twin BJ Foster’s–this guy is the real deal.

Omenihu (90) is one fine football player. He does the grunt work without fanfare and always manages to make something happen. He may not make the tackle or sack but if you look closely enough he’s at the center of disruption time after time. Dependable and salty at the same time.

Nelson (97) makes all the plays he is supposed to and then some. Thank for coming back. You have done yourself proud.

Johnson (33) is a special talent. He got tired yesterday. GJ can run down a tornado once he spots the swirl—he just has some brain freezes at times.

Wheeler (45) made two good plays each half yesterday. I refuse to type the number of bad plays. It’s getting very old watching this while Jeff (23) watches in wait. I will say the coverage assignments are well hidden and even better performed.

Boyd (2) had an excellent game. Far too many hate him and he does act human at times—remember Kris is often given the toughest matchup. We forget that too often.

Jones (19) really got tired and it showed. He made five star plays and allowed easy efforts to succeed.

Hager (44) gave his typical performance—aces on pass rush/disruptions but hidden in the grunt work too much of the time.

Locke (11) made three nice plays yesterday. He had many more bad plays. He had several really bad plays. I don’t think this system fits his talent very well. If some might wonder exactly why he’s still playing every down I refer back to the “accountability” issue mention somewhere sometime.

We think so much of his abilities we have now assigned him “man coverage” against their best receiver in GL defense. Yep, I looked up and there’s PJ on the island versus their top WR guy. Our plan worked—they threw too high to a wide open slant/short post. I’m not sure I would continue to bank on that happening much more.

We won—it just wasn’t very pretty. Correct mistakes and get healthy is next week’s assignment.


My grading system is based on total points earned against number of plays played. The points are awarded individually on each and every separate play. There are five different possible grades for each play. Players may earn a plus three (3) for a five star type play—-plus two (2) for above average execution—-plus one (1) for doing their job successfully—-zero (0) for getting beat but knowing and attempting their assignment—-and minus 3 (-3) for a missed assignment.

Each player has a total number of points and a total number of his own individual plays. You divide the total number of plays into the total number of points which gives you scale. The grading scale is as follows:

Any player averaging one point per play (1.0) grades out a B which is winning football. If a player plays 60 plays with 60 total points he would earn a passing grade—each point he goes over the total number of plays raises his grade accordingly. The system is built around rewarding any player that doesn’t beat himself or his team with mental mistakes.

The system also punishes any player that knows what to do but loses too many individual battles. If a player plays 60 plays but loses 10 of those with zero special plays (60 plays—50 points) he falls below the 1.0 needed for a passing grade of B.

I use the plus/minus (A-, B+, etc,) when the numbers indicate a partial add or subtract from the grade. This system was used by my first coaching staff and I kinda carried it with me for thirty years—it’s not perfect but it gives the position coach a measuring stick for his individual players.
The only way to earn the highest grade of A is to play a perfect game. I’ve had exactly zero up to right now so great games still can be better so A- is a very popular second best. This system and my grades will always be subjective filled with agree and disagree opinions. It’s entirely fair for disagreement (without it we might not have horse races) but it’s important to remember that each play only counts once instead of allowing a big mistake to have major influence on an individual’s final grade.

Justin was born a sports fan. From the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers, he fell in love with sports at a young age. Justin lettere...