Four downs: Texas' first road test 

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
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Each week Sean Adams takes a look at some topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

1st Down: First road trip

Texas goes on the road for the first time this season. While it is not going to one of the upper tier SEC venues, it is still going to the south where most everyone cares about football. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will be rocking and everyone will have a full afternoon to get relaxed and prepared to cheer on their Rebels.

Safety Adrian Phillips talked to me about the freshmen contributors playing for the first time on the road.

[+] EnlargeStacy Searles
John Rivera/Icon SMITexas has brought a few assistant coaches over from SEC schools, such as offensive line coach Stacy Searles.
“It’s a different atmosphere out there,” he said. “It can be overwhelming sometimes if you are not prepared. Stay in the playbook and do what you came out there to do.”

I would offer to freshmen playing for the first time all over the country something that Lou Holtz told me a long time ago: “The most important thing to know is that a fan has never made a tackle, never made a block and never scored a touchdown. They don’t matter.”

This is a great first road trip for Texas especially with a really tough environment two weeks after the Ole Miss game in Stillwater to open conference against Oklahoma State.

2nd Down: Are the SEC comparisons impossible

Mack Brown said that he wanted to build his teams more like the SEC teams that have won every national championship since Texas won in 2005. He made hires at offensive line, defensive coordinator and defensive tackle coaches all from SEC schools. Throw in the fact that Major Applewhite came back to the University of Texas from Alabama and you see an overt attempt to get closer to the SEC in every way shape and form.

Are Texas fans barking up the wrong tree assuming that the current iteration of the Texas offense can ever resemble the smash mouth play of the SEC's offense?

Texas has the personnel to play smash mouth football even if it does not have the depth. It will all come down to the play calling of offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and David Ash's ability to execute the offense at the quarterback.

There is a need to grow the trust between the OC and quarterback. As Ash takes hold of the offense, he will be given more opportunities to run the full breadth of the playbook. Information transfer is so important as it really does not matter how much Coach Harsin knows as much as it is about how much Ash learns.

3rd Down: Stats do matter

Ash is a thinker and I like that. He is figuring out ways to manage himself with the media, the fans and the notoriety that comes along with playing quarterback at a place like the Texas.

During the post game of the New Mexico game he made a statement that I am still trying to process. "Stats are for losers," he said.

While I fully agree that statistics do not tell the whole story in any industry, divorcing yourself from the value of the quantifiable is silly and dangerous. Statistics tell a side of the story whether it's good or bad.

Oklahoma State beat Savannah State 84-0 and was ranked 16th in the country. The Cowboys loaded up on the stats that day. Then they went out and gave up 59 points in losing to unranked Arizona. Statistics, as they built up on the first week, did not mean much.

Statistics over the course of a season, over the course of a conference season and over the course of a career mean a lot. The fact is, you never find a winner without finding stats to somewhat support the success.

4th Down: Adams’ Big 12 Power Poll

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