From the Stands – Trey McLean

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Randy From the Stands   Trey McLean

randy

Editor-in-chief at hookemreport
Randy Maltz is a die-hard sports fan, with passion for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns. He is Founder & Editor of Silver and Blue Report and Hook 'em Report. He still idolizes Roger Staubach and Tom Landry.
Randy From the Stands   Trey McLean
Randy From the Stands   Trey McLean

From the Stands
Trey McLean (Always … my favorite author)
Coopgameday.com

TEXAS VS. OKLAHOMA STATE
That was a new kind of awful this season.

Last week Texas was flat and uninterested in being there in the loss to K-State. In games against Iowa State and UCLA, mistakes from the offense and special teams put the defense in terrible situations. In the loss to ou, it was the defense and special teams that made mistakes. Against Baylor, a few plays here and there and things go differently. That was not the case against Oklahoma State.

I saw energy, passion, some creative play calling and a crowd ready for a big win. The problem this week was the opponent was just better. In every possible way. Texas couldn’t cover anyone, couldn’t tackle anyone, couldn’t get any pressure on the quarterback, couldn’t bust a big run, couldn’t make an ESPN highlight reel catch or throw and couldn’t break anything on special teams. In short, Texas brought the right attitude and right effort but got their heads caved in by a better team.

I think this loss might bother me more. The other four you could point to a certain play or two and say, “if this goes differently then …” but not Saturday. The better team won and did so convincingly, sending Texas to 4-6 and further down the stairs to the Big 12 basement. Now the Horns need to win the last two to get bowl eligible. Can they do that? Of course they can. Will they? Let’s find out.

First the Oklahoma State post-mortem.

OKLAHOMA STATE 33   TEXAS 16

Oklahoma State has the inside track to winning their first ever Big 12 South Title. They are a complete team and they have an offense that can really light it up. The defense might have some issues to address, but that o can cover up a lot of mistakes. Good luck, Pokes, I’ll be rooting for you. Here’s what I saw on Saturday night:

Offensive Line: With a freshman starting his first game and another starting his second, the line did a pretty good job Saturday night. Paden Kelly had two false starts, but I’ll give a guy starting his first ever game in his second year of college a pass on that. 358 yards of total offense, 3.8 yards per carry and two sacks allowed. Considering the youth playing Saturday night I don’t have a lot to be upset with.

Maybe I’m settling. No, with three freshmen starting, I thought they did okay.

Running Backs: Another day, another running back hurt. Fozzy Whittaker appeared to re-stinger his stinger and was out for the game. Cody Johnson looked energetic and strong in replacing him, rushing for 68 yards and a score on 16 carries and catching two passes for 14 yards. Of course, most of that came in the second half.

And yet another game and the running backs couldn’t find a hole or crease or make a play to turn the tide. I said the o-line didn’t play bad, but they certainly didn’t pave the way for the backs to run the ball and let Texas control the clock and the backs didn’t do much with the space they did have when the game was still a game.

Where was DJ Mon… Never mind. Doesn’t matter.

Wide Out: A big blow came when Mike Davis fumbled the ball after a catch on Texas’ opening drive. It sure looked to me like he was down before the ball came out, but for some reason the officials declined to review it and it was Oklahoma State’s ball. Thanks for that, by the way. Davis had another good game, catching five balls for 70 yards and looking sharp, fumble not withstanding. Quietly James Kirkendoll is coming on, leading the team with 71 yards receiving on four catches. It should have been more, but another review overturned an obvious catch he had on 3rd & 11 about a ½ yard shy of the first down marker. They seemed to review it for the spot, but instead overturned the call completely, which was ridiculous. Thanks for that, too.

Again, the numbers look decent but this was a TERRIBLE pass defense that Texas couldn’t take advantage of and, when they did, it was only two of them. John Chiles? Chiles? Chiles? John Chiles? He must have been home sick with Ferris. I’m tired of saying that. There is too much talent on the field and far too much talent standing on the sidelines not to have some combination of guys that can make plays.

Quarterback: I don’t know why Garrett Gilbert is so unwilling to run the ball, because when he does he is a great offensive weapon. It seemed to finally click in the third quarter that if the defense is going to give you 20 yards on the ground, TAKE IT. He was better this week than last, but there were just too many times when I saw him throw deep into coverage and not give his receiver a chance to catch the ball. I don’t know if it was him or if it was the wide out, but the deep ball just doesn’t really come off as threatening to me.

I thought he made much better decisions Saturday night, but 19-32 isn’t going to beat too many people.

Why isn’t that bootleg with a back dragging underneath the staple of this offense?

The effort and the toughness were there and I saw flashes of the big play ability. He just needs good things to happen to get some confidence right now.

Defensive Line: And he sure as heck wasn’t getting anything good from anyone on the defense. You will see this throughout the defensive reviews: 532 yards of total offense and 33 points. The defensive line allowed Kendall Hunter to rush for two scores and 116 yards and got to quarterback Brandon Weeden only once on the night.

Where is Eddie Jones? What did he do?

Linebacker: 532 yards of total offense and 33 points.

Secondary: I said in the Oklahoma State preview that Justin Blackmon would make some plays matched up with Aaron Williams. He did. Leading 9-3 in the second quarter Blackmon caught an absolutely perfect pass from Brandon Weeden and out-muscled Willliams to go 67 yards for a touchdown. It was a killer and sucked all the energy out the stadium and the team seemed totally deflated after that.

The secondary seemed so worried about getting beat deep that they just let the OSU wide outs run free and catch the ball. And yet they still got beat deep.

Of the 532 yards of total offense, 409 come via the air.

Special Teams: Texas needed something great from the specials to start the game. What they got was a kick out of bounds and OSU starting at the 40. Awful.

Adrian Phillips seems terrified to return a punt. It’s like he was telling the referee when he walks out there that he’s going to fair catch it before it was kicked.

Blocked extra point notwithstanding, there was nothing from the specials that was special.

Now he’s not even out there returning kicks anymore.

Florida Atlantic Owls (4-5/3-3)   @   TEXAS (4-6/2-5)
November 20th
2:30 pm
FSN Plus

I’m changing this up some this week. Florida Atlantic University is 4-5 and winners of three straight. They come from the Sun Belt Conference and have a big-time, brand name coach in Howard Schnellenberger. You remember him and his “sooner nation” stuff from the early 90’s, yes? I’m sure.

They come from arguably the best football state in the nation in Florida and are located near the beach. This is a Division I school, meaning the guys on this team are Division I football players, which are the elite of college athletes. They get room, board and the athlete aura in Boca Raton, Florida and all the trappings that come with it. They are the fastest startup program to win a bowl game in college football history as their program played it’s first ever game in 2001 and won the New Orleans Bowl in 2007.

Why the Wiki entry on FAU? I want you see who Texas is playing and give them the respect that a Division I football team with two bowl games in the last three seasons deserves. They’ve earned it.

And what I’ll tell you now is that it doesn’t matter. We can talk all day about their offense, their defense and their special teams. I can tell you that they rank 112th in rush offense (102 ypg), 110th in total offense (300 ypg) and 109th in scoring offense. We can discuss the 2.67 sacks allowed per game (97th nationally) and the 17 turnovers they have committed, including fumbling the ball 21 times and losing nine. I could explain to you how their defense is statistically bad, but so far this year that doesn’t matter. Texas has played bad defenses before and it didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t take advantage, and FAU is 98th in rush defense and 53rd in scoring defense. I could follow up with their atrocious special teams and their 38-yards-per-punt average and 104th best kickoff return team. But I won’t.

Because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because Texas cannot lose this game.
They cannot. It doesn’t matter if Florida Atlantic is ranked No.1 in the nation in passing, sacks, points per game, whatever. This is a game the Longhorns cannot lose. Florida Atlantic is not a small pond Great White like Boise State and TCU with tons of big game experience and a track record of playing well on the national scene. This is a 4-5 team that sits in the middle of a mid-major conference race. A win at Kansas or Washington State or Indiana is something the fans and program of those schools could probably withstand. But this isn’t Kansas or Washington State or Indiana. This is Texas and a 4-5 Florida Atlantic team cannot come in here and win this game.

Now understand that I am not saying Florida Atlantic University is unable or will not win this game. What I am saying is the Texas Longhorns absolutely and positively cannot lose this game. It is not an option to consider FAU coming to town and winning. The Owls will not be intimidated coming to Austin and that would be the case if Texas was ranked No.1 and undefeated with 10 shutouts. Every team and every player on every team playing Division I football thinks they can and will beat the other Division I football teams if they play well. That doesn’t mean it will happen. Ask Indiana how they felt going to Wisconsin last week and I’m sure you’d hear them say to a man they thought they’d win. (They lost 83-20.) Confidence does not always mean success, and I don’t care how confident the Florida Atlantic University Owls are this weekend because it cannot matter. They don’t really do much well and it shouldn’t matter if they did because Texas cannot lose this game.

This program cannot lose to that program at home. That probably sounds elitist and unbelievably arrogant, but it is true.
I don’t care what they do or well they do it: Texas needs to do it better.

Texas

Offense

So what does Texas do to make sure this game goes as it needs to? It starts with the quarterback. The offensive line played well enough last week and limited the hits and hurries on Garrett Gilbert in the pocket. I expect that to carry over this week against a team that doesn’t get to the quarterback much at all. GG has to trust his initial read and run when it is there — and it will be there. He has to make the Owls respect his ability to run and address him, which will only open up his receivers down field. Watch for Gilbert to parlay the success on the ground into big gains for James Kirkendoll, Mike Davis and DeSean Hales when he throws. Watch for Gilbert to use the threat of Cody Johnson running between the tackles to get outside as the defense focuses on Johnson inside, then expect to see more Johnson running with it later as the defense starts to pursue Gilbert outside. Look for that bootleg option drag to be used and force the defense to commit and look for a tough, fiery and emotional Gilbert to be in command of this offense. I think the rest of the unit feeds off that and everything looks better this week.

Defense

­­The defense was beat up and shoved in a locker last weekend. That cannot happen this week. This isn’t the high-flying Oklahoma State offense or the ou offense with multiple darkhorse Heisman candidates. There is no Robert Griffin on this team. Texas needs a fast and positive start to be successful and the defense can do their part to ensure that by playing assignment football, shutting down the run and forcing FAU into 3rd & long situations. They don’t run the ball well, they don’t throw the ball well and they don’t score many points. If isn’t going to get fixed this week then when will it?
The confidence on this team is on the ocean floor. The defense, facing a bad offense, can bring it up to sea level quickly. Make it happen.

Special Teams

Pull your weight, because right now other than Justin Tucker this unit is a mediocre anchor pulling the team down to the bottom of that ocean floor.

It cannot happen this week.

Misc.

I’ve heard that at times when things go badly Mack Brown can be a bit doom and gloom and scare his team into bad situations. He might have done that after Iowa State and even said as much this week. Well now they should be scared. All of them, from the staff to the trainers. The Horns have backed themselves into a must-win situation to stay alive for a bowl game by losing four straight at home, which is the most consecutive home losses since 1956. During that streak they have lost to teams they usually mop the floor with and two of the four losses were blowouts. A loss to FAU would make Texas 4-7, making it the most losses since 1997. With that loss and the high-flying Aggies only five days away, there would be a very real chance the Texas Longhorns go 4-8, making it the most losses for a Texas football team in 54 years.

That isn’t going to happen because it cannot happen. IT CANNOT HAPPEN. Call it doom and gloom, call it a threat, whatever label you think applies, the bottom line is Florida Atlantic cannot come to the DKR on Saturday and beat Texas.

Pick up this chip and put it on your shoulder, guys, and let’s end this losing streak and move on to the Aggie game.
Find a way.

Last Week in the Big 12

TEXAS A&M 42   BAYLOR 30
That Aggie offense is coming on. Since taking over for Jerrod Johnson quarterback Ryan Tannehill is undefeated. The Aggies rallied from a 16-point deficit to win going away. Tannehill threw for 280 yards and a score and Cyrus Gray scored four touchdowns and rushed for 137 yards in the win. The Ags are already talking about next week.

IOWA STATE 14   COLORADO 34
I guess CU did not embarrass themselves. Dan Hawkins was fired last week and his son Cody took it out on Iowa State, throwing three touchdown passes and 266 yards. Apparently Dan Hawkins was there, watching from the north end zone. Good for him sticking around to watch his son. I can’t say I’d be as noble. I’d probably be badmouthing them at a restaurant/bar and rooting for the other team.

KANSAS 3   NEBRASKA 20
It wasn’t that YouTube video of the track meet disaster like I thought. It was sort of a boring one, like watching kids jump on a trampoline or something.

MISSOURI 38   KANSAS STATE 28
I’ve never been a big fan of Gary Pinkel, but his defense looked good. The Wildcats did whatever they wanted to Texas, but a physical Mizzou defense proved the difference as they forced turnovers, one on an Aldon Smith sack that was scooped up for a touchdown and looked very similar to Brian Robison meeting Rhett Bomar back in the day.

TEXAS TECH 7   oklahoma 45
Did you know the short stabbing spear created by Shaka Zulu (born Shaka kaSenzangakhona) and used by the Zulu warriors was called an iklwa? The name is apparently the sound it would make when used on someone.

This Week in the Big 12

No. 14 oklahoma (8-2/4-2)   @   BAYLOR (7-4/4-3)   7 pm   ESPN2
Shaka Zulu created the famous “buffalo horns” battle formation. There were three parts:  the “chest”, which engaged the enemy and kept them in a fixed position as they fought; the “horns”, which would flank the enemy from both sides and encircle it, closing in and destroying the enemy as the “chest” pressed forward; the “loins” were the large reserve forces that could be committed wherever the enemy threatened to break out. This was common knowledge to all the troops and second nature to everyone. It was all coordinated by hand signals and messengers and was, obviously, devastatingly effective.

KANSAS STATE (6-4/3-4)   @   COLORADO (4-6/1-5)   1 pm
Kansas State wins! Or they don’t! There is a reason this game isn’t on TV. I say Daniel Thomas runs wild and the kids from CU don’t care because the Broncos are on Monday Night Football next week. Tim Tebow!

No. 10 OKLAHOMA STATE (9-1/5-1)   @   KANSAS (3-7/1-5)   11 am   FSN
Total let down alert. The Cowboys smacked Texas good and surely are feeling pleased with themselves. This is the sort of game they would lose in the past. It will be early, probably cold and everyone in Lawrence will be sleeping off the win over North Texas in basketball the night before. This could be the 2004 Texas/Kansas game all over again. OSU wins, but it’s a little ugly and a little scary.

No. 16 MISSOURI (8-2/4-2)   @   IOWA STATE (5-6/3-4)   6 pm   FSN
Mizzou wins big. They need to stay with the Huskers if they have a shot at the Big 12 North and the Cyclones put up a fight early before getting knocked out.

No. 9 NEBRASKA (9-1/5-1)   @   No. 19 TEXAS A&M (7-3/4-2)   7 pm   ESPN
I guess I need to stick to my guns this off-season and “root for anyone” playing Nebraska this year. I didn’t realize you would be playing so well, Ags, because if I did I surely wouldn’t be rooting for you. You are the most annoying fan base in the world when you are playing well, and this comes from another annoying fan base when things are good. So, Whoop! Let’s go Ags! Hullabaloo and uncover … I can’t do this. I need a shower.

Weber State (I-AA school) @   TEXAS TECH (5-5/3-5)   2pm

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