Appalachian rain couldn't stop Longhorn reign. Texas finally got a break - of Will Grier's finger - in a season that had featured precious few. Grier's middle finger was the best six-Point Break since Patrick Swayze was robbing banks and Johnny Utah wasn't having it. The Texas-West Virginia Postmortem: Offense and Defense.
Much of our consternation about defensive recruiting has been focused on the Defensive Line. For good reason. It's always crucial to get yours there every year. But even after Herman's purging and our inability to secure 2018 DEs, the youth on our roster is more promising than the conventional wisdom holds. Holdovers like Nelson, Roach and Omenihu are proven assets. And I can make a pretty compelling argument that we'll have good depth behind them (barring multiple injuries and bad luck) with players like Cummins, Fitzgerald, Wilbon and Graham on developmental schedule. Holes start to show up in 2019 (which is why the 2018 DL matter), but we have to trust the development process.
The Longhorns dominated a respectable Bear offense and held Baylor to their season lows in points (7) and yardage (249). The defense continues to excel on 3rd and 4th down holding the Bears to 1/9 conversions in the first half and 5/23 total for the game. It's hard to win with a 21.7% conversion rate if you're not hitting big plays.
The 0-7 Bears have had a dubious start under new head coach Matt Rhule. Early season non-conference losses to Liberty, UTSA and Duke suggested Bear football the likes of which we hadn't seen since Kevin Steele and Dirty Dave Roberts, but the Bears have slowly turned the corner from laughing stock to scrappers in the space of a few weeks.
I don't think we beat USC in LA because I lack winnerness, but if the Horns pull off the upset in the Coliseum, it's a good bet we'll be able to look to these reasons as to why. Every year we lull ourselves into defining teams early in the year (the LA Rams are going to play the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl you guys!), but as the season plays out, we often find out that the early glimpses were deceiving.
This is a series on coaching turnarounds (or attempted turnarounds ) at Texas, starting with the Royal era. I think there are some learning points to be gleaned and, at the risk of doing the reveal too early, I think they portend favorably for Herman. All Texas coaching hires - like presidential elections - are a lesson in oversteering. The tendency to hire what the previous guy was not is predictable. The things we focus on also tend to be shallow and useless.