Football

Culpepper: Texas at 2-1

Malik Jefferson. (Justin Wells/IT)
Malik Jefferson. (Justin Wells/IT)

“Be thankful for failure. Success would not exist without it.” – a wise man

I didn’t see this coming.

In perhaps one of the worst displays of coverage in the Texas secondary, Cal came from behind in the fourth quarter to win this game. Besides brilliant running from Chris Warren and D’Onta Foreman, and outstanding run blocking by the Texas OL and Andrew Beck, the UT offense was erratic to say the least.

Freshman Shane Buechele looked like he was still at Arlington Lamar at times after getting run over by Cal defenders on a pass rush. I believe had Texas left Tyrone Swoopes in the game after Buechele had to be taken to the dressing room in the first quarter, Texas would have won this game.

​Part of the Longhorns’ problem was poor kickoff coverage. With the score 31-21 Texas after Buechele had come back into the game and thrown a TD bomb to Jacorey Warrick, the Horns kickoff team let Cal run the ball back to its 43-yard line. Eight plays later, Cal hit a wide-open wheel route touchdown pass down the Texas sideline to make the score 31-28 Texas. The method that Cal used would come back to haunt UT at game’s end, as Cal QB Davis Webb mixed quick screen passes with deeper crossing routes to pull off the upset. Webb looked like an NFL prospect all night.

​These young Longhorns must understand whenever they come to an opponent’s stadium it will be filled, although there were 65-35 Cal-to-Texas fans at Berkeley, and most of the time the home team will play at their very best. It’s just the facts of life when you play for Texas. It was in the 1960s and it is today.

​There were excellent individual efforts by the Longhorns including freshman Brandon Jones blocking another punt, which rolled back through the end zone, important sacks by Malcolm Roach and a dandy by Breckyn Hager, tremendous runs by Warren and Foreman, who had a 47-yard TD run early in the 4th quarter that put Texas up 40-35. Of note; Jones, Roach, and Hager must see more snaps on the defense. Period.

​With 10:40 left to play in the fourth quarter the score was 43-40 Cal, and Texas came out firing. Here’s the script:

1-10 Foreman rams ahead for 12 yards

1-10 Foreman again for two yards

2-8 Buechele hits Armanti Foreman 15 yards

1-10 Foreman runs for three yards

2-7 Pass to Armanti for nine yards

1-10 Foreman gets nothing over right side

2-10 Buechele throws a bomb incomplete

3-10 Devin Duvernay runs a good out route and after a replay, another first down

1-10 on Cal’s 26-yard line, Foreman charges ahead for five yards

2-5 Swoopes bulls ahead for first down but Texas is caught holding (huge penalty)

3-10 Foreman fumbles but recovers — no gain

4-9 Field Goal by Trent Domingue ties it up, Cal 43 Texas 43

​Then it got messy as the Golden Bears had receivers wide open and a huge 2-10 screen makes 13 yards. They end it with a touchdown pass to make it 50-43.

​With the kickoff, Texas can’t move the ball with under four minutes left and have to punt.

Dylan Haines. (Justin Wells/IT)
Dylan Haines. (Justin Wells/IT)

Texas has to all-out blitz and Cal breaks a big run were its running back stupidly drops the football just before he crosses the goal line, recovered by UT safety Dylan Haines. But the refs, from the Big 12, decide h didn’t recover it quick enough, whatever that means. Cal coach Sonny Dykes, who now has beaten Texas twice, sits on the lead and the clock runs out; Texas is 2-1.

​So the Longhorns have an bye week and then the Big 12 conference schedule begins in Stillwater. This team should be determined to improve and also mad at themselves for blowing this golden opportunity to make up as a real contender.

​Most of the time when you run the ball for over 300 yards, out-gain the opponent in total yards, 1st downs, and time of possession, you win, but the Texas secondary was a disaster.

​If you think the Cal enthusiasm was loud in the stands, make sure you go to Stillwater in two weeks. I plan to be there. I want to see if this young Longhorn team has the determination to come back like a real top unit.

​I would be very upset if I was Charlie Strong with what was happening in the secondary, and I would hope his attention will be on that unit.

​Buechele should be determined to come back ready to see if he can win a Big 12 football game against an opponent on their home turf with fans banging bats on cushions fitted on the walls of the stadium.

​Texas shouldn’t have lost this game but they did. It’s over. Learn and move on.

Texas must be resilient. It’s part of life to see what you do after being knocked down. We all have to face such situations and sports offer a great stage to teach us to fight back. We’ll find out a lot about the 2016 Longhorn football team October 1st at Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Hook’Em

Pat