Five random thoughts following Texas’ 56-50 win over Baylor.
1. Details matter
Texas is still in need of some serious attention to details. I still see receivers rounding off routes and dropping balls. Even though the tendency is to assume that players learned how to tackle in middle school, Tackling 101 could be a full course at Texas. The Texas defense needs to run through the tackles and square opponents before the hit. There are still a lot of glancing blows coming from the Texas defense and some of those blows end up being missed tackles.
Popular opinion will tell us that Texas is what it is right now and things will not change. I do not agree with that notion. Texas can work the details in practice and, in the games, one better play will end up being the difference between winning and losing. Texas will be in tight games for the duration of the season and these seemingly small things could equate to wins.
2. Coaching is a two-way street
For every screaming rant by Steve Spurrier, Will Muschamp or Nick Naban, there is an assistant coach that comes behind them and encourages the players. For every hug Bobby Bowden doled out at Florida State there was Mickey Andrews or Chuck Amato building the attitude of the Seminoles with tough love. That is part of the question when it comes to Mack Brown. If Mack Brown is the good cop, who is the bad cop? Who on the Texas staff merits a healthy amount of fear from the players? Where does the killer mentality come from?
3. Eat what is on your plate
My father used say, “Don’t overthink stuff, just eat what is on your plate.” Is Manny Diaz too smart for his own good? Besides the fact that this is a fundamentally horrible defense, it is seemingly always in the midst of being overthought. There are struggles to get the play in. There are issues with coverage calls. There are exotic blitz calls that are not getting to the quarterback and exposing the back end of the defense to big play vulnerabilities.
After the game, Manny Diaz and by Mack Brown both said that winning the games was the only goal now and that stats did not matter. Texas played with tremendous passion, a lot of energy and tried to play as fast as possible.
The Texas defense gave up 607 yards of total offense (255 rushing and 352 passing). The plate needs to get smaller. That huge number still shows that Texas is trying to digest way too much on defense.
4. You have to love ugly too
Texas got the win against Baylor, but man was it ugly. Giving up 607 yards was bad enough but Baylor was also 7-for-7 in the red zone to go along with the Longhorns giving up 50 points again.
And what can I take from the Texas offense besides the fact that they probably got Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett fired? With all due respect to the Texas offense, which got things straightened out after Oklahoma, Baylor was ranked dead last in total defense before giving up 525 yards to Texas.
Texas fans should prepare for ugly for the rest of the season. There are going to be ugly games and even uglier defensive performances. Every Texas fan just has to hope that those ugly games come with wins as opposed to losses.
5.Numbers don’t lie
The Longhorns are breaking records but they are the wrong kind of records. The 50 points given up to Baylor is the most points ever allowed in a win in Texas history.
Texas is on pace to allow 6,138 yards for the season and that would break the school record by more than 1,300 yards.
For the first time in school history the Texas football team has allowed 30 or more points in five straight games. I referred to ugly football above, and the numbers only reinforce that this is one of the worst defenses in the long and storied history of Texas.
History suggests that teams do not make monumental shifts in play during the season, so expect these numbers and the carnage that goes with them to continue.