Football

Culpepper: Texas at 2-2

Shane Buechele. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Shane Buechele. (Will Gallagher/IT)

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I don’t know that I’ve seen the Texas defense tackle as poorly as they did in the first quarter of the football game in Stillwater.

It was ridiculous. I mean arm tackling at it’s worst. Just go down the defensive lineup and one by one they allowed Oklahoma State to break loose for first downs, long gains, or scores. If they tackled in the “Mike Campbell way” – head across the bow making the ball-carrier go down or change directions – Texas would have won this football game.

​Once again the wheel route where the receiver goes out and one goes inside cost Texas an easy touchdown. Same difference as California. No excuse for that.

​This I know, if D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren had not gone down with injuries, Texas could have made this game much closer. They both again went over 200+ rushing yards but neither could go in the heart of the fourth quarter. So that meant the Texas offense was DEAD. Very simply with the handoff to Foreman or Warren, the Texas offense is a problem for any team because Shane Buechele can come off the fake to the two Longhorn bruisers and throw downfield. Without #33 or #25 at running back, Kyle Porter can not carry the load at this time.

​What concerns me is the lack of passing attack into the middle of the field. Everything Buechele throws is outside short or deep and the opponents middle 10-15 yards deep has nobody even lined up to protect. Just before halftime, blocking-tight end Andrew Beck caught at TD from Buechele but that was it. The rest of the game Oklahoma State’s secondary spread out and all Texas had were short outside throws. Nothing inside. Too bad.

​I certainly admire the work of Sterlin Gilbert as offensive coordinator but he must threaten the middle of the opponents defense with the passing game or this offense is in serious trouble.

​There were times in the game when the Longhorn defense made plays but since their tackling was so poor, there was no consistency.

​After the game I met guard Patrick Vahe’s mother. She was proud of her son’s efforts as well as his classroom work. She was wearing jersey No. 77 with pride and headed to wait by the team buses. She and her son will not quit.

​I wish I knew the answer to these obvious Texas Football problems. I just observe from high up in the stadium and “scout” them like I would if I were preparing to play against Texas.

​For the most part this is Charlie Strong’s team, and now at 2-2, it does not look good. I believe if Foreman is healthy vs Oklahoma, the Longhorns have a chance but if they are not, I don’t see a way to defeat Oklahoma, K-State, Baylor, TCU, or West Virginia.

​I mean the Texas offense was nothing after Foreman and Warren couldn’t play. That’s scary. ​Three blocked extra points and the first one with a defender shooting right between the snapper and the offensive guard for another 2-point play.

​Texas was ready to play. They had the lead several times but couldn’t hold on. That is what hurts.

​It was a bad joke to have these XPs blocked. Instead of moving forward, the Texas staff has to backtrack and try to correct errors.

​There were lots of loyal Longhorn fans including yours truly in Stillwater while their stands were not full and all of us were on our feet until it was hopeless. Buechele was trying, even scrambling for some first downs but there was no chance. I never gave up until Foreman couldn’t go after a short run near the Texas bench. With Warren already on the sidelines injured, the only thing Texas had were short flat passes and screen attempts. The Texas defense did play spurts of good play in the second half, but without the help from their offense, there was no way to win.

​There were moments when it looked like Texas would take this game over — one was a brilliant 62-yard burst for a touchdown by Foreman behind great blocking by the Texas left side of the line.

​I have never seen a UT team go the first four games without a real turnover, especially an interception. “Not even close” is the best I can say.

​There will be those that start up a “negative” attitude about coach Strong. Once again Texas is a young team and suffer from lack of dependability.

​I don’t think getting rid of Strong is the answer and certainly not now as the Oklahoma game approaches. Texas fans have to hope Foreman and Porter can produce versus the Sooners or at least one of them. If not, the Red River Shootout could be a blowout.

​The Baylor offensive strategy developed by Art Briles is to position wide receivers near the sidelines that stretches the defense, then a solid running game that eats up yards inside. For three games, Gilbert has made that concept work for Texas but without a true threat inside something has to be done before Texas goes to Dallas.

​Last year, UT went to the Cotton Bowl following a 50-7 wipeout by TCU in Fort Worth. From somewhere deep inside, the Horns fought from opening snap for a brilliant 24-17 upset over the No. 10 Sooners. I know the emotion coming down that ramp. It was one of the reasons I went to Texas. Outland Trophy winner Scott Appleton used to throw up in the bathroom before the rivalry every year I played with him.

​These 2016 Longhorns have pride, love their head coach, and unless I am badly mistaken, will put up a battle at 11AM this Saturday.

​I will be there and stand up every play. I wish I could still play. I loved the OU Game.

Hook’Em

Pat