The grades are in after UT’s 38-7 win over Baylor from McLane Stadium on Saturday. The offense is improving and the defense is on the Dean’s List. More from our Coach Venable on the Longhorns performance.
Texas ripped that good ol’ Baylor line with three DL’s and a barrage of heat seeking missiles disguised as second-level warriors hunting the quickest way to the picnic. It’s an old way of teaching defense. Inspire each other with fun-loving big hits. They feed off each other. They play with both emotion and confidence. They are fun to watch. They are having fun. Best of both worlds.
You will read tons of good things about the ringleaders of this Orlando “wild bunch” all over the net. I will make simple observations because I should. It’s been too many years since I watched a super well coached Longhorn defense treat me to a afternoon delight. Can I get a witness?
Poona Ford is the nuts/bolts/guts of this machine and that’s not up for discussion. Holton Hill is playing way above his career level approaching stardom. Malik Jefferson is playing every bit of his perceived talent level. Charles Omenihu is a full grown man in this league. Deshon Elliott makes plays instead of mistakes. Breckyn Hager is the wildest of the wild bunch. Gary Johnson is a really fast contact player that never takes a down off. Kris Boyd is terrific when focused—a sad mess when his mind wanders. The rest are role playing dudes that flash when preparation meets opportunity.
Here are the grades: (DEFENSE)
I have a strong opinion that we are getting maximum effort out of both sides of the ball. The sad aspect is we are asking too many of our offensive personnel to perform skills they aren’t talented enough to provide positive results while attempting to perform. It’s fun to watch our individuals make talented plays—it’s ugly to watch them break down on assignments outside their range of ability.
We certainly benefitted from the injection of youthful speed into our backfield. They played refreshing—their was zero percentage playing with their efforts. It was attack the LOS regardless—they didn’t hunt and peck, shuffle and dodge, or slide and bounce. They didn’t wait on the light to change. Ah, youth playing the game honestly.
The next couple of paragraphs are my opinion of problems we must fix in order to go to the next level with our current personnel. The Oline isn’t playing winning football overall but once you factor in most of the disaster occurs when “reach” blocking (on the move blocking) in the ground game we really aren’t butt-ugly. We simply aren’t quick/mobile enough to achieve body position to stalemate slanting DL’s and it’s blowing up our rushes behind the LOS.
We can’t handle twists and blitzes period. We get attached to a defender and haven’t found the formula for passing one defender to the next guy while picking up the one defender replacing him on the stunt. It takes time and reps—sadly, we play again next week. Thank goodness it’s TCU—they won’t stunt will they?
Our passing schemes are killing us. Our sprint-out protection has more holes than swiss cheese—we simply can’t sprint and seal (technique used) with the athletic ability of our current six. When you add in a poorly coached QB (sprint-outs were designed to run downhill at the target giving a run/pass option) this is basically impossible. Our QB’s are no threat to turn the corner (design) but instead are giving ground rapidly forcing them to throw across their body.
I realize we have scored a couple of huge plays with this type of execution—my opinion is our QB’s are producing against the grain and that dog won’t keep hunting. While I’m at it I find poor footwork from our QB’s when they throw sideways after a spotty run fake—their must be a happy median where they can shift their feet into a stronger throw. Right now it’s often an all arm throw and it’s late—lower body involvement would strengthen the throw.
Here are my grades—ESPN did me no favors with their poor ass coverage. They missed more than a half dozen snaps panning the stadium and bridge. Oh well.
Here are the grades: (OFFENSE)