Here are five thoughts following the Longhorns' 63-21 loss to Oklahoma:
1. Was it all offense?
Coach Mack Brown called the Texas offense inept in his postgame press conference. While I have no problem with him saying that, it was strange that he isolated it there. Texas gave up 407 yards in the first half to Oklahoma while Texas had just 65. Damien Williams averaged 9.1 yards per carry for a total of 152 yards in the first half, and Landry Jones threw for 201 yards.
The Texas offense did nothing to help its defense and gave up a 14-play, 75-yard drive to start the game. While the second half was stronger, it still gave up a total of 677 yards.
This beat-down at the hands of Oklahoma was a collective effort. The Longhorns got to this state as a team, and they will pull themselves out of it as a team.
2. He always said they needed two quarterbacks ...
Brown talked us blue in the face that he wanted to have two quarterbacks ready to play in case one of them got hurt. Now it seems that he was planning for the future. While everyone is pulling for David Ash to be OK and be ready to play vs. Baylor, his wrist injury did not look good. Case McCoy came in and was 5-of-8 for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Yes it was in mop-up duty, but he is one of the most tenured backup quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference. I have talked to plenty of people about the Ash injury, and I have heard everything from it being a season killer for Texas to it not being a huge deal. I tend to think that McCoy is prepped to play and can lead Texas as well as any backup in the country. With that said, the injury -- when coupled with the defensive issues -- puts Texas in a tough position moving forward.
3. Where is this team mentally?
Losing two weeks in a row even in different fashion has to be mentally draining for this Texas program. I wonder where the psyche of this team is. Texas has been bad in every phase of football for the last two weeks. Its momentum is going downhill. Texas could be missing its best linebacker, starting running back and starting quarterback when it takes the field on Saturday against Baylor. The offense seems to be calling plays in a passive way, and the defense seems to be one of the most leaky in the country.
Brown is seen as a motivator. Manny Diaz is seen as a great communicator and innovator. Bryan Harsin is thought to be one of the better offensive minds in the country. If any of that is true, it will be tested over the course of the rest of the season.
This series of injuries, losses, substandard play and negative momentum could break many teams and send them into a nose dive that could be unrecoverable. It happened to Texas in 2010. There is no reason to conclude that it will not happen again.
4. Too complicated for its own good?
Is the Texas offense too complicated? One of the good things about Harsin’s offense is that it is broken up into personnel groupings that try to utilize individual skill sets and give players the ball in their optimal situations. The problem with that style of offense is that the offensive staff is in a constant effort to use each of these grouping to get playmakers the ball. When things do not fit within the plan, you get days like Saturday, when an electric player like D.J. Monroe never got his hands on the ball. While Texas probably will be forced to utilize McCoy, it also might be wise to streamline much of the offense and make it easier to get its weapons the ball.
5. Where does Texas go from here?
Texas is now 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the Big 12. Baylor is bringing its 4x100 meter relay team (its wide receiver group) to Austin next week. That will be followed by a trip to play a terrible Kansas team. The Longhorns then close the season at Texas Tech, vs. Iowa State and TCU and then traveling to play Kansas State.
This is a year that can get away from Texas in a hurry, because the momentum is already headed in that direction. Kansas is the only bad team left on the schedule, but it could be argued that Kansas could be thinking the same thing about Texas. After the conference-opening win against Oklahoma State there was general agreement that Texas should be favored in every game left on the schedule. Texas probably will be favored only against Kansas now. Texas will qualify for a bowl game in 2012, but its season goals have been dashed. It will have to restructure its goal plan and try to send its seniors out in a great way.
Recruiting is on the line. The possibility of strong seasons for 2013 and 2014 must be built on momentum built in 2012. Texas might not know where it is going, but it better figure it out quickly and start moving in that direction.