Football

Culpepper: Texas at 3-3

Devin Duvernay. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Devin Duvernay. (Will Gallagher/IT)

In case you missed it Iowa State scored 20 points VS TCU, 42 points VS Baylor, and 31 points VS Oklahoma State.

​For a defense that has been a joke for the last three previous games and had to be overhauled by head coach Charlie Strong it was rock solid performance that showed his firm hand.

​The Longhorns played most of the game with four defensive lineman instead of three. It made a huge difference. Poona Ford got some help and the Longhorns jammed up the Iowa State running game. Finally, the Texas secondary looked like they knew what they were doing. It was enjoyable watching the Longhorn defense tackle again.

​There were some useless, unexcused penalties after the plays were over by the Texas defense-one by Breckyn Hager and another by cornerback Kris Boyd that don’t need to happen again. Whatever was worth celebrating didn’t need to be over an already downed opponent. It hurts the Texas offense to start 15 yards backwards.

​Malcolm Roach is becoming a top-notch defender for the Longhorns. The true freshman at 6-foot-2, 263, gets into the game with passion. I don’t quite understand his role as an outside linebacker-defensive end but he makes opponents play left handed because his play on the left side of the Longhorn defense causes problems.

​Paul Boyette finally woke up from his non-existence defensive play versus Oklahoma State and Oklahoma and made a difference at defensive tackle.

​It looked to me like the Longhorns quit flip-flopping their defensive lineman from either side and anchored them firmly to one position left or right. It was a step forward and paid results.

​​At games end Texas made a strong goal line stand which resulted in the best Longhorn victory over Iowa State in at least 5 years. The only way the Cyclones got in the Texas end zone was in pregame warm-ups! In todays fast moving, spread formation football that is a very rare feat to say the least.

​The Longhorn offense started slowly. Except for hammering inside runs by D’Onta Foreman it was short passes and punts. The Iowa State secondary spread out-with no worries about covering the middle of the field and did a good job of tackling the sideline passes from Shane Buechele. The two field goals by the Cyclones held up for a long time, or so t seemed.

​Before the game, I met wide receiver Devin Duvernay’s dad. A quite energetic fellow with a great smile. I could tell he was excited that the Longhorns offensive staff had discovered the weapon that his son was for their offense. The TD catch he made versus Oklahoma in Dallas was a breakthrough and was followed by another in this game for 75 yards. He has rare acceleration and soft hands-a deadly combination for a wide receiver in this sideline passing offense.

​It seemed Buechele was determined to only throw to his right side in the first half even though 6-foot-6 receiver Collin Johnson was single covered to the Texas left side. That stopped in the second half and Johnson even broke a route into the middle for an important catch.

​Armanti Foreman had an excellent punt return and an impressive catch in the second half as the Texas offense came to life. They had time to do that because it was the first time their defense made a real difference in a football game since the UTEP game! The rest of those games-Cal, OK State, and OU-the Texas offense had to respond early and often or it would have been ridiculous slaughters like what happened in Lubbock this last Saturday with WVU and Texas Tech.

​There was a large, enthusiastic crowd for this football game. Coach Strong asked for true Texas fans to show up and support the players despite the losing record and they, we did. Yes, all the talk is about Coach Strong’s job is discouraging in many ways. The man has recruited so well and this is a young football team. They are showing improvement-2 weeks now without a blocked extra point of field goal try! This is a football team at 3-3 with 6 football games in front of them. If the Texas defense contributes to improve the young guns on offense could make for some exciting times for Texas football fans.

​My hope is that Charlie Strong will be given time to see his recruited team grow up. Time will tell and for sure it’s a tough week at a time.

​The last time Charlie Strong took his Longhorns to Manhattan, Kansas it was a disaster. Tyrone Swoopes and his teammates got pounded by the Wildcats Coach Snyder doesn’t go with a spread offense-it’s QB running system with an occasional downfield pass. It’s an early 11:00 AM game and the Longhorns have to wake up early in the first quarter and not let K-State got the upper hand.

​It looks like the Oklahoma VS Texas game at 45-40 will be the closest the Sooners get in the remainder of the Big 12 schedule with the possible exception of Baylor or West Virginia and that wont come up for the Sooners until November 12-19th.

​This is my hope that the Longhorns will finish strong in their next 6-games securing a Bowl Game, setting up another solid recruiting season and in 2017 be a team that regains the National Spotlight.

​The K-State game will be a real life test for the Texas defense. There were lots of defensive Longhorns playing with intensity Saturday Night in Austin, Buechele was on target deep and short in the second half and Foreman was pounding for 136 tough yards to keep the sticks moving. That type of play can beat K-State and nothing less. It won’t be easy because the Wildcats make very few mistakes.

​For sure the Longhorns have a tough and dangerous road ahead but if they love their head coach like they say they do and want to have a successful season this step at Manhattan is more than just another game.

​For some reason I think it will happen this next Saturday morning.

Hook’Em

Pat