Game 4 (W) - Texas 31 vs TCU 16 (Part 2 - Defense)

Published by David Macias

As I mentioned yesterday in my post about the offense, the offense did enough, but man... the defense really pulled it out for us in this one. 4 turnovers! Granted, the INT by B Jones was basically gifted to us, but still, very well done by the D. This team has a lot of speed, and while we did let up some yards, we only allowed 1 touchdown. That's how you win a big game.

While I'm not enjoying the slow starts, I am enjoying how this team makes half time adjustments. TCU only had 3 points in the second half. Overall, this defense performed really well. Yes, their wrs got behind us a couple of times, but those are good players. Good players on well coached teams will get theirs, but you have to limit how much they get, and our D did just that.

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On to the game.

CBs winning 1 on 2 battles. Sure, Davis and Boyd will occasionally get burnt (what corner doesn't?), but these guys are great at taking on and avoiding blocks AND making open field tackles. Davis just shrugs off Turpin and makes a nice open field tackle on a big boy. 

Watch Davis make a similar play on the same drive. It's great how he's the aggressor and pushes the wr back couple yards and makes the solo tackle. That type of play from our corners gives the defensive coordinator more freedom to mix things up and run different types of packages with the D.

Graham punkin' the right guard. #49, Graham doesn't get the tackle here, but he pushes the right guard two yards into the backfield, causing the RB to side step in the backfield and giving G Johnson and B Jones plenty of space to make the stop at the line of scrimmage to force a field goal. Plays like this save 4 points - love it.

3 > 5? Watch this play, and you'll see what I'm talking about. The play is designed for 2 of the TCU o-lineman to immediately go to the next level and try to block a safety/LB. However, when the other 3 o-lineman all get driven back 2 yards on the snap (1 of them gets driven back 4 yards by Hager), the play doesn't have a chance. This is another play where G Johnson cleans it up as a good LB should and essentially gets the credit in the box score, but the push by the d-line should get the assist.

Shark sets the edge part 1. Actually, I don't even know if this is setting the edge or just making a 'splash' play. Shrugs of the LT and gets the QB for a 5 yard loss. Another play that essentially saves 4 points. Bend but don't break worked for us this past Saturday. Also, I've said it before, but the Shark may be more than 'not a drop off' from Roach, but actually better suited for OLB, because it appears he has more speed. Methinks some of those jet sweeps by Maryland could have been halted if the Shark had been on the field.

Caden. F'n. Sterns. This guy is just a flat out baller. Through his first 4 college games (as a true freshman), he has 3 INTs and a blocked FG. Stay with me here through this hypothetical. Sterns scoops and scores the same field goal he blocked against USC, and he doesn't step out at the two yd line in his second INT of the game. He'd have 3 INTs, a blocked FG, AND 2 TDs in 4 games - that's "Heisman watch" material for a true freshman. Sure, it wouldn't last, but it would be pretty sweet.

This appears to be a pretty straightforward INT by Caden Sterns, but it takes discipline to stay in your zone, which is how he gets this pick. Many players young and old will follow the first wr to cross their zone too far, which is what the QB expected here, but not Sterns - he too good. My favorite thing about this play is how he undresses #1 Reagor at the 30 yd line on his run back. I hope Reagor had his ankles double wrapped.

Shark sets the edge part 2. Later in the game, McCullough does it again. It's just good ol' assignment football. He just gets in the way of 3 guys, who all seem to be giving like 50% effort for some odd reason, and then G J comes in yet again to clean it up for a nice loss. I wonder what the coaches will do if/when Roach comes back this year. I'm thinking we need to keep the Shark and OLB and Roach can rotate in at DE. 

B Jones must lift weights. Real quick, how bad of a throw is this? I think his could have been a TD, though Sterns could have made the play on a deeper throw. I just don't know what the QB saw or was thinking, but I'm thankful for it. Best part of the play is how B Jones just throws down the wr with his left hand. Very beast mode of him. Not only do our Safeties get INTs, but they embarrass wrs afterwards. Also, I didn't show many plays of it, but B Jones was all over the field making very good tackles. I think it's "safe" to say our safety play is back up to DBU standards, or at least damn close.

Finally, another crucial 3rd down stop before the comeback. First, Shark takes on 2 blockers, but again, our DBs just don't get blocked on these sideways plays. Locke, who I've said before is better near the line, attacks his blocker and dives to slow down the QB. And Boyd, he just straight up runs around his would-be blocker and ensures the QB isn't even getting back to the line. Love how got off the field on a ton of 3rd and shorts. 

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Game 4 (W) - Texas 31 vs TCU 16 (Part 1 - Offense)

Published by David Macias

Can you say, "Winning streak!"? This blows my mind - we outscored USC and TCU by a combined 38 points while going 1-1 vs Maryland and Tulsa with a net score of +2. Whatever, I'll take it, and I'm excited for the rest of the year again. 

After going through the entire game, I ended up with 18 GIFs, 8 for O and 10 for D, so I figured I'd split them up into 2 posts this week. I also decided to start with the O to save the best for last - the difference in the game was clearly the 4-0 turnover victory. Note, if CJ doesn't make the spectacular TD we could've been up 3-0 in turnovers to that point while still trailing 16-10. Our O did the job, but there is still room for improvement.

Textbook from the WR, QB, and Oline. Great (simple) route from CJ, o-line picks up the blitz, and Sam drops a dime. All the moving parts operating together like this make a 40 yd catch and throw look easy. It's not, but it's a good sign that our O can make big chunks look easy.

But Beck had to ruin the fun. Dare I say, NO MORE SIDEWAYS! This play never had a chance and TCU is known for their speed. Over and over it appears we're solid running between the tackles, but Beck likes to make things interesting, so he called a option that has zero chance of success. The drive ends in a missed field goal. It wasn't causation by any means, but this sort of play doesn't help the cause for ending the drive with points.

Speaking of running between the tackles. Watch 6 offensive lineman block 7 defensive lineman here. In particular, watch our LT grad transfer, C Anderson. He essentially blocks 3 guys on this one play by first getting enough of DE #40, and then getting to the next level and blocking the LB while also kind of getting in the way of the Safety (or linebacker). That's sexy run blocking if I've ever seen it.

Sam with a nice throw. Sure Sam somewhat under throws this pass, but it's great execution on 3rd down to easily get the first. What's extra nice about this throw is how he's thrown this same pass (rolling left) into the ground a few times this year, but he was able to get his shoulders square before bring his arm back on this one. There's a handful of NFL QBs that can make this throw solely with their arm while ignoring technique, but it's good to see Sam's fundamentals on this play.

Just good solid football. On this play you have 2 deep safeties and essentially 5 guys 'in the box' (4 d-lineman and 1 linebacker). Pretty simple math, call the run and block 5 with 5. Correct play is called, and what happens? Hey, our guys execute! 5 hats on 5 hats, the RB doesn't get touched until 6 yards down the field and he gets another 6 or 7 yards after first contact. Who said football is hard?

Ugh, bad Sam. So, I just showed you a nice fundamentally sound throw on 3rd down, and a great run to get in the red zone, and then Sam starts playing make-believe Russell Wilson, except he's not Wilson. This was a coverage sack that could have been avoided to get to 2nd and 10. Look at the down and distance on the GIF above. Instead, we end up with 2nd and 15 and ultimately another Dicker missed kick (bad game for Dicker, but hopefully it was a one time thing).

Finally, good Sam. I skipped a couple TDs which were essentially made by the Defensive (Sterns INT and run back, and CJ's O-mazing catch), but this is high quality from QB and WR (even our LT getting one last late shove). It's great how Sam steps up and back in the pocket and keeps his eyes downfield - obviously, he's built a level of trust with LJH to wait for him to get open.

And LJH, 2 weeks in a row! The guy just works hard for a first down and turns it into a nail-in-the-coffin 38 yard TD. By the way, I hope he has a son one day and gives him the same name, so we have a Lil' Jordan Humphrey Jr. That would just be swell.

Game 3 (W) - Texas 37 vs USC 14

Published by David Macias

I would say apologies for no post after the win against Tulsa, but I think the Horns should be apologizing to us for having to watch that gar-baj. 

Anyway, how awesome was waking up on Sunday morning after this win? It's way too rare these days. I really hope we get to feel it several times over this season, but I'm not about to go down anymore paths of predictions. 

Do I think we can beat TCU? Yes. Will we? If we play really well, meaning even better than we played against USC, then yes. If we play like we did in the first 2 games, we'll get rolled. That's called thorough analysis. 

We won special teams, the ground game, and 3rd down conversions while tying in the turnover department. Do that again, and we should get the W - it just won't be as easy to do. USC clearly out UT'd us with so many costly penalties and weird mistakes.

On to my thoughts on the glorious victory over the Will Ferrells. 

D Davis with the busted coverage. He's playing man when it appears he has the outside 1/3 responsibility, and should let the outside WR go instead of sticking with him. Not sure we will be able to recover from 14-3 deficit as easily against TCU - let's not dig ourselves a hole so quickly.

The TD is on B Jones in my humble opinion. Yes, K Boyd over pursuits, but he bounces off a should-be sure-tackler way too easy. Also, even if Hager is getting held, don't get thrown to the ground so easily by a tight end. C'mon.

WRs blocking. This play makes a former under-sized high school wr (who had more plays called for him to block than to catch) warm and fuzzy inside. 4 guys in particular make this 3rd down happen, none of which are the QB - he doesn't get touched until he crosses the first down line. Duvernay (WR #6), Watson (RB #5), Beck (TE #47), and Cosmi (RT #52) make it happen. Duvernay especially - guy had 1 catch (big one albeit), but blocked like this on 3rd down. Love it, and so do the football Gods. Good things come to those who do the dirty work. That's a saying, right?

Speaking of Andrew Beck, I'm starting to eat my words on him, but you know they taste alright. I was high on Brewer over Beck. However, as long as he keeps blocking like he did on the play above and making DBs look like they're playing flag football, then we good. (Still don't like my TE wearing 47, just looks too fullbacky.)

Praise for one Beck, and turds for the other. Tim Beck. Stop with the SIDEWAYS! It doesn't work. I don't know if it's our personnel or what, but we don't do this stuff well, and it just killed the momentum on our first scoring drive. Can't say this would've been a TD drive for sure, but these plays are infuriating. Even if Jamison gets the ball, I'm not convinced it's a successful play, he's 7 yds behind the line and running backwards. The USC defender would have definitely had the angle on him.

I felt like this was G Johnson's best game thus far. Plays like this are a perfect example of why I think that. He diagnoses the screen immediately and patiently waits behind the (incredibly useless) USC o-lineman to use his speed and make a nice 4 yd tackle-for-loss.

Locke. I will give it to him, he made a great pass deflection later while playing zone, and he's not awful when he's up near the line, but this guy can't cover anyone. He gives nearly a 10 yard cushion here and just gets burnt, nothing special about the route either (though it was a nice throw). He doesn't have the hips or recovery speed to cover in man situations. I would target him all day if I could recognize which coverages he's in straight up man. Hopefully GP up in Ft Worth doesn't do it much on Saturday.

Good Ehlinger. This is picture perfect. QB at full sprint hitting his WR in between the 8 and the 4 at full sprint on 3rd and long was a site to see. These are the flashes I hope we get to see more of.

Bad Ehlinger. Not showing you the safety - yes, it was a safety, I'm dumbfounded by the call, but maybe it's slight redemption for Dez's catch against Green Bay (giant leap there, I know). What really annoys me about this sack just a few plays later (after the Roughing the Punter call) is that it's like he didn't learn his lesson from the should've-been-safety. Throw the ball away as soon as you get to the hashmark when you see no one is open. The GIF above shows you can convert a 3rd and 8, but this careless sack mostly nullifies the next play. Also, our punter is NOT going to bail you out like he did last year. Those yards matter. The remedy: he's got to better understand when to flip the 'hero ball' switch.

LJH quickly gaining 'favorite Longhorn' status. Cool name. Cool hair. Cool moves. He's a RB turned WR who's kind of a possession WR (meaning he gets a lot of shorter to intermediate throws and runs option routes), but he just keeps turning simple 'let's just move the sticks' type of passes into 40+ yd TDs. Me like.

And totally redeem yourself, B Jones! B Jones running down the RB is a thing of beauty. Not only does he keep him out of the burnt orange zone, he gets him for a loss. His speed is impressive, because for a second it seems he almost takes a bad angle and goes up field too soon, but I guess that's why I'm writing a blog for free and he's making plays at DKR on Saturdays.

C Nelson eating the USC oline's lunch. This is a really tough block for the center as Nelson is already shaded toward the direction of the play, but still, the fact that he blows this play up 5 yards back and allows the Shark to clean it up is awesome. Really want to see this more against TCU, the best way to stop speedsters is to never let them get started.

CJ being CJ. This catch was awesome, and he almost did it again on the next play if it wasn't for the CB getting his hand it at the last second. I think I've said it before, but I think we should see this type of catch at least once a game. It's interesting how the plan appears to be to throw a ball a little more on a line, but still somewhat high so that CJ can go up and get it. However, it seems he's got a step on his guy, and with no safety help, I wonder why not just air it out and let him potential catch and run it in for a TD. Oh well, still nice.

Final thought - we now have some depth. Roach will be out for several weeks with a fractured foot, but we have the Shark filling until then. He was already playing some, and frankly, it didn't appear to be a significant drop off. See how he blows this play up at a crucial time. We just fumbled, and then they completed a long pass (which thankfully, their WR fell on the catch or it was 6). This play made it 2nd and 12, and put them behind the sticks, which then led to a 50 yard FG attempt and you know the rest. Anyway, if we can keep recruiting decent classes, we'll be able to sustain high quality play through injuries. That's what top programs need to be successful. Hopefully we're on our way.

Game 1 (L) - Texas 29 @ Maryland 34

Published by David Macias

Normally, I'll do more of a recap of the game, but this week I'm going to give you:
1. My feelings on Saturday in 3 GIFs
2. Pessimistic, realistic-ish, and optimistic outcomes for the rest of season 
3. 3 things I didn't like and 3 things I did like on Saturday

1. These 3 Michael Scott GIFs sum up my Saturday

After starting off the game with 5 3-and-outs in the first 6 drives. Replace "you" with "the Longhorn". 

Pretty much the whole game except the 2nd quarter, and when we briefly took the lead in the 3rd.

Having to face any non-UT fans and sadly even some UT fans.

2. Pessimist, optimist, or somewhere in the middle

I'm not going to tell you whether you should go glass half-empty or half-full from here on out. That's your call. However,  I did take a shot at how our wins and losses would have to shape out depending on a pessimistic or optimistic outlook. Basically, I think the 6 games in orange are the toughest 6 we have remaining - 4 ranked teams and 2 tough road games. You could swap out W's and L's among those 6, but I just put an estimate to show you how it might shape out. Ex: I'm not saying we're for sure going to lose to OU, but they are currently the highest ranked team on our schedule.

Here's a little chart of what I think the likelihood is of our final regular season record and how that will make me feel. Basically, I think there's a 75% chance we go 7-5 or 8-4. Originally, I had us going 9-3 with a win over Maryland.

3. 3 things I didn't like from the loss at Maryland: (beyond the obvious: penalties, late game turnovers, and Tim Beck still being our OC)

Losing 3rd downs on both sides
 - Texas was 20% on 3rd down (3/15)
 - Maryland was 33% on 3rd down (6/18)
        However, that number is really 40%, because UT committed two pass interferences on 3rd down - 3rd and long no less (One by D Davis and one by K Boyd). Both of those drives ended in FGs,  so 6 points we helped give away, and we lost by 5 points. Just saying. I won't say we lost solely because of 3rd downs, but when you lose 20% vs. 40% in 3rd down conversions, it sure doesn't help.

DB play
   I just mentioned the 2 egregious PIs, both of which were just CBs getting beat and then not turning around for under thrown balls that could have been INTs. Speaking of almost INTs, Kris Boyd - catch the ball! Throw in Kris Boyd getting badly beat on a quick slant (for 30+ yrs) 3 plays after his PI, BJ Foster with a bad roughing the passer (why push the QB in the face?), and the broken assignments on the 65 yard TD pass in the first quarter, and this DB group looked far from "DBU" quality.

Lack of pass rush
   1 sack.
   By CB Kris Boyd.
   Not going to cut it.

Bonus thing I didn't like. Beck getting more TE play than Brewer:
See Brewer beat this LB to the inside even when the LB had inside leverage (meaning, the LB was lined up to the inside of him). I just don't see Beck running this type of route. Need to have Brewer out there as much as possible.

3 things I liked: 
Let's be honest, it's hard to like anything when you lose a game by 5 points when you're a 13.5 point favorite. Still, I'm stomaching my real feelings to say some positive stuff here.

- WRs making big catches
  I'll just show them to you:

Note on Duvernay's great TD catch. Sam almost overthrew him when had about 3-4 yard window to drop it in to. Thankfully he didn't, and Duvernay made the great full extension grab. Just pointing out accuracy isn't just completion percentage, which Sam's was lower than ideal again. Imagine if this was in the middle of the field - it would be a 40 yard gain, but not a catch and run for a TD.

I did like the accuracy by Sam on this throw, but also the body control by LJH to turn and catch it with his hands. I know LJH missed one later, but that was slightly behind him, but overall, I think he has a very nice set of mitts.

Finally, CJ's TD catch is what I hope we get to see once a game. Physical, big, good hands, and stays in bounds. Love it.

- Keontay Ingram
  He played well and showed he deserves more PT and carries, but coaching got in the way. Funtastic.

Looked to me like he had the most burst or acceleration of all the RBs. See here.

Great vision and quick decision to plant that foot and break back to the left.

- We're playing Tulsa this week. 
  What's worse than starting off 0-1 with a loss to an unranked team, starting off 0-2 with losses to two unranked teams. I'm confident we'll get the home W against Tulsa. Hopefully it's a complete and utter blowout, or I'm going to start taking oil painting lessons on Saturdays. Lot of good Bob Ross videos on the YouTubes.

Excuse the lack of copy editing. Ain't nobody got time of dat!