Week 7 - (L) UT 21 at KSU 24

Quick intro/disclaimer: I'm not an aspiring writer or journalist, and am no more qualified to analyze football than your average Joe who played high school football in Texas. I'm literally "just another Longhorn fan", but I'd like to share my UT football opinions on a weekly basis with GIFs for a more pleasurable viewing. (If anything just scroll down to the GIFs and ignore everything I say.)

Week 7 - I guess it doesn't matter who's coaching, because winning in Manhattan is just something UT doesn't like to do. Mack Brown was 1-4 in Manhattan, and Charlie Strong is now 0-2, and that's how Charlie's record will end. That was the nail in the coffin, or 2nd or 3rd nail depending on your opinion. I personally think his invitation to leave was post-dated a few weeks ago.

I think at this point we're all a little numb and indifferent about what happens with this team moving forward this season. Sure, you always want to root for your team and you're excited when they win. But, saying it's an understatement that our expectations have been tempered is an understatement. (Apologies for getting all meta on you.) At any rate, these players (excluding seniors and probably Foreman) aren't leaving with Charlie, so we'd like to see some improved play and especially confidence from them.

So KSU's average team beat our average team in a very average game. Re-watching it was as boring and frustrating as watching it the first time, but here are a few of my thoughts with GIFs.

The O
The offense has definitely cooled down recently, and watching the same 4 plays over and over is less entertaining when you can't convert a 3rd down and struggle to finish drives. Think about it, we run a variation of 4 plays: run between the tackle, outside wr screen, wr stop (outside the hashes), wr go (outside the hashes). Maybe I'm being greedy, because watching Gilbert's offense over last year's turd-fense is so much easier on the eyes, but we're constantly leaving some meat on the bone with some of our unfinished drives and 3rd down play calls. Undecided if I'll miss Gilbert or not, but leaning towards probably not as I'm sure we'll have a similar offense next year with whoever we bring in.

Lack of variety
Obviously I'm being facetious about the 4 plays, but here are the ONLY 3 pass plays that were not thrown outside the hashes, and 2 of them were caught on the hash mark. Worst of all, the first one didn't come until there was 6 min left in the game.

(Q4 - Stop to Oliver)

(Q4 - Middle screen to Foreman. Nice design with the C getting out in front. Why not throw more to Foreman? He's soooo good!)

(Q4 - TD to Leonard. Again, barely on the hash. I guess he redeems himself here, but that 4th down drop on the slant was killer.)

RT's abused all day
It was a combination of Nickelson/Hodges average talent and #75 Jordan Willis supreme talent. Not surprisingly, he made the Hendricks pre-season watch list (award for the best DE). While both RT's fared rather poorly against 75, I thought Hodges played better, and I've said before that I think he's the better player. I know he had some injury issues earlier this season, but I would really like to see him out there as much as possible. Nickelson is playing more, and it's pretty frustrating to watch. See below:

(Q2 - Nickelson, 1st "ugh" play)

(Q2 - Nickelson, 2nd "ugh" play. There were several more, but for brevity sake I'm just showing 2.)

(Q4 - Hodges. Actually not as bad as Nickelson, and you can argue Buechele needs to step up in the pocket. Still, #75 making plays left and right.)

The D
More of the same - missed tackles, bad angles, poor to average coverage. While the ultimate responsibility still falls on Charlie, it seems the effort/confidence just isn't there with some of these guys - they've even said as much. I think a few of the things that really frustrated me in this game were the early jumps offsides, how easy it was for KSU to convert 3rd downs with passes, and the lack of pass rush lane discipline.

The questions I posed last week was if our D had made improvements or turned the corner. Considering they moved through our D like a hot knife through butter, I think we know the answer. Mind you, we also got bailed out by the goal line fumble and KSU not going for it on 4th and 2 in our half of the field when they most surely could have easily gotten it.

Here are a couple of there TDs if you need reminding.

(Q1 - Ertz 1st TD run. Hager has the QB on this play while the LB has the RB. He should have forced Ertz to pitch, but surprise, Hager is undisciplined and lets Ertz walk in.)

(Q2 - Ertz 2nd TD run. I don't think it's a draw, but the FB/RG get up field to block pretty quickly. Wheeler's terrible angle and Bonney's bad effort at tackling make this 19 yd run up the middle by the QB look especially easy. I think Freeman might have taken Wheeler's spot after this game - not sure it matters too much though.)

Week 6 - (W) UT 27 vs ISU 6

Quick intro/disclaimer: I'm not an aspiring writer or journalist, and am no more qualified to analyze football than your average Joe who played high school football in Texas. I'm literally "just another Longhorn fan", but I'd like to share my UT football opinions on a weekly basis with GIFs for a more pleasurable viewing. (If anything just scroll down to the GIFs and ignore everything I say.)

Week 6 - Sorry for not posting about OU and being late with these last few posts. Ok, enough about me. The Iowa State game felt like we were in the "Upside Down" (Stranger Things reference in case you haven't watched it yet). What I mean is the defense consistently did its job while the O didn't get firing on all cylinders until the 2nd half. Who expected a 6-3 half time score? I know I didn't. 

I think the question going in to tomorrow's game against K State is - is the D figuring it out/turning it around, or was the ISU performance fool's gold? Iowa St did put up 42 and 31 in back-to-back weeks against Baylor and at Okie Light, respectively, so that's some evidence toward the former. However, we've watched this defense give up too many yards and too many points to assume everything is peaches after one game.

Before I get into the GIFS, here are my thoughts for that question:
Figuring it out/Turning it around
- Boyd and Bonney at CB: I really don't think either are that great at man cover, but they're both aggressive and tackle well. Our other corners hadn't been covering or tackling, so at least these guys bring something to the table. As long as our DBs can keep from busting coverages (poor coverage is one thing, but no easy rides to the endzone please), tackle well, and attack screen plays, our D will look much better.
- Pass rush: 8 sacks, niiiice! Better than the total amount of sacks was the amount of sacks/pressure we got with a 4 man pass rush (this also helps the DBs). Hughes played one of his best games in a while, and Omenihu/Roach/Hager continued to bring it off the edges. The interior d-lineman also got great push up the middle on pass plays, which we hadn't seen a lot of.
- Less rotating: The starters at LB and CB played pretty much the entire time until the game was out of reach. I realize the DB situation hasn't been solidified, but the LBs should never have been rotating unless they were absolutely gassed, so thankfully, we saw less of it this last game.

Fools gold
- Average competition: While ISU did put up points on Baylor and OSU, it really appeared as if they shot themselves in the foot quite a bit. I saw a handful of wrong routes run, which led to the QB holding the ball and a sack. There were also a handful of errant throws, and what seemed like mixed signals on the pass blocking scheme. It did appear like we were beating them across the board, but they definitely made it easier on us.
- Missed opportunities: Not nearly as many missed tackles as we have seen in recent weeks, but a few uninspiring plays from some of our top players (Malik missed sack below) doesn't reassure that we've turned the corner. Finally, and no surprise here - we lost the turnover battle, ugh.

Kris Boyd playing aggressive. Yes, he gets too many dumb penalties, but at least he's not playing scared.
(Q1 - Boyd pass break up in the redzone. Sure, a better WR would have held on, but at least he was there.)

(Q1 - Boyd big hit. Well timed even if he didn't wrap up.)

(Q2 - Boyd recognizes the screen and avoids the block, something our other CBs can't seem to do on screens.)

Pass rush.
(Q2 - Hughes flying by the RT for the sack. Awesome by him, but that RT looked like Sheroid Evans trying to make a tackle.)

(Q1 - 2 true freshman in on the sack. Hager starts it against that awful RT, but hey, the future is bright!)

(Q1 - Elliott with the clutch stop inside the 5. Stands his ground and makes the tackle. His injury will hurt us, but at least he has 3 more years.)

(Q2 - Malik missed sack. How Malik doesn't bring him down here is beyond me. He must be better, that's not Big Ben or Cam Newton.)

Offense. A couple TDs from the O to get excited for tomorrow. Hopefully we see this in the first half.
(Q3 - Duvernay TD. Watch Buechele look left and take the safety to the single WR side. They're playing Cover 3, and the single CB got caught in a situation that our CBs have got caught in several times - 1 guy trying to cover 2 guys. Looking left by Buechele also ensures the CB goes with the outside WR on the post. Great call, throw, and catch.)

(Q3 - Foreman TD run. Love how a RB that big forces a safety to take such a bad angle with his speed. We've yet to see him catch many passes out of the backfield, but he reminds of me of the Cardinals' David Johnson - great feet and speed for a big back.) 

Week 4 - (L) UT 31 at OSU 49

Quick intro/disclaimer: I'm not an aspiring writer or journalist, and am no more qualified to analyze football than your average Joe who played high school football in Texas. I'm literally "just another Longhorn fan", but I'd like to share my UT football opinions on a weekly basis with GIFs for a more pleasurable viewing. (If anything just scroll down to the GIFs and ignore everything I say.)

Week 4 - ... (<-- That's me at a loss for words). By this point you've read or heard so much about when, not if, Charlie will be fired, and the likelihood of getting Tom Herman from Houston. I'm going to refrain from getting caught up in that conversation (at least on this blog) as that debate is likely to be settled within the next several weeks if not days.

Being that I'm at a loss for words, I'm going to keep my writing (otherwise known as gibberish) short on this post. There's really nothing new to share. Defense was BAD - two weeks to prepare, and we looked even worse than we did against Cal. Watching our PAT unit was as uncomfortable as watching Michael on The Office for the first time. Offense still put up a ton of yards, but maybe finishing drives a little better and not starting series with Swoopes and bringing in Boo-shell on 3rd down to throw a pick (same thing that happened at ND) wouldn't hurt. 

Since we're not winning the national championship this year, maybe we can still beat OU, who still sucks. Surprisingly, Charlie has had good game plans/execution against OU (though he can't say the same for Iowa St. - weird.) So let's root on our Horns against OU tomorrow and let the future take care of itself.

Here are gifs with thoughts from OSU:

- Linebacker play - not just the secondary, was unimpressive, and that includes Malik. I really think Wheeler had one of his worst games.

(Q3 - Wheeler is near side LB. Unless that's a poorly timed/executed blitz, Wheeler guesses on this play, and completely takes himself out of it.)

(Q1 - Malik is playing two-hand touch when everyone else is playing tackle (kidding, most of our secondary also played two-hand touch last Saturday). That wasn't Lamar Jackson that shook him.)

(Q1 - Wheeler with the great effort again. Vaccaro's effort was even worse.)

- Scheme and Def. play calling - We must be tipping our hand too easily on what type of defense we're playing, because every time we had a zone called, it seemed like OSU called the perfect play. It doesn't help that our players haven't executed any type of zone defense well this season. If we're not going to stop running zones, we need to do a better job of disguising it. Charlie took over this week for Bedford (finally), but we'll see if it's a change for the better, or more of the same very soon.

(TD Pass against zone - great call/execution by OSU. Not surprising that we were out-coached on this side of the ball)

(TD pass after hurry up - defense unprepared. I'm not sure if this is a busted coverage, or OSU dictating our coverage with hurry up (not allowing a defensive play call), and picking the right play against it. It looks like both players are playing zone, but maybe the Safety should be in the middle third and not shaded toward the single wr side. Regardless, there needs to be better preparation on coverage scheme for uptempo/hurry up plays like this.)

- Personnel - No more Sheroid Evans! Please! Great story, and I'm sure he's a good kid, but the guy tackles like Deion Sanders and covers like the exact opposite. This week's released depth chat shows he won't be starting, but he really shouldn't see the field at all anymore. I also don't love how much we rotate our secondary/linebackers in general. Defensive line is where rotating players is needed, but at the other spots, the best players need to be playing as much as possible.

(Q2 - Evan's playing 8-9 yds off, not breaking on the play, and getting stiff-armed to the ground)

(Q1 - Evans scared to tackle on the TD pass. Should have been tackled at the 37.)

(Q1 - Boyd being aggressive on the screen. I know Boyd has his own issues and he should be behind Hill and Davis, but seeing a little nastiness from our corners is much needed.)

 - There's hope (hopefully?) - Yeah we did some good things, and we have players that can make plays, so here are some UT highlights to get excited about OU, and to keep this from being an OSU blog. OU SUCKS!

(Q1 - Hall's first sack. Crushes the RB and makes the sack on the blitz. I really like him near the line - not as much 15 yards off of it.)

(Q1 - Leonard with the nice hands catch and turn for a near TD. Give me a step or two slower than Burt, but better hands.)

(Q3 - Foreman TD because big dudes with breakaway speed are awesome and I love him, and so do you.)