Monday, November 5, 2012
Inconsistent Horns must get rid of 'lulls'
By Carter Strickland
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown certainly knows Texas' record.
And the Texas coach knows where that record stands in comparison to 2011, 2010 and even all the years before that. (Of all the things that can be uttered and mumbled about Brown, having a faulty memory is not one of them.)
Mack Brown says his team is 'headed in the right direction.'
But while Brown certainly knows where this team stands in comparison to those of the past he has refused to hold that measuring stick up.
"I said in preseason that our league is so much tougher than it was last year that we could have a much better team than we had last year and not have as a good a record," he said. "So you measure it in practice. You measure it in depth, which we are still lacking. In our past we have been able to have injuries like we have had in our past two years and survive. And they have really, really hurt us in the last two years.
"And you measure it in confidence, in swagger and in being physical," Brown added. "And we are showing signs of being physical again."
Those physical traits really have just surfaced in the past six quarters on defense. Texas held Kansas to 75 yards in the second half as the offense worked its way back into the game. Likewise, when the offense failed against Texas Tech in the third quarter, the defense, while not perfect, at least mitigated what could have been a disaster with a two-point conversion denial and holding the Red Raiders to a field goal.
"We are obviously headed in the right direction," Brown said.
But while Brown said that it is hard to tell, just yet, if this team will continue in that direction.
"If you want to just say that we are inconsistent, go ahead and say it," said quarterback David Ash.
OK, Texas is inconsistent.
It's hard to put a finger on a team that scores 56 against Baylor and needs 14 in the fourth to beat Kansas 21-17. Even in the Texas Tech game, the Longhorns were able to score on their first three drives and then only get 10 points the rest of the game.
"Lulls," Ash called them.
The Longhorns tend to mash the gas pedal uphill and coast down the other side. Brown said some of that is a function of being a young team. But he said the coaches have to do a better job of getting the players ready at halftime. The third quarter has statistically been Texas' worst.
Now here comes Iowa State, a team by which Texas' failures can be measured. It was the Cyclones who upbraided the Longhorns following their last win over a top-25 team back in 2010.
"We took the cheese after beating Nebraska," said guard Mason Walters. "We're not going to get tricked into that again."
Maybe. Remember this has been an inconsistent team. And this is an 11 a.m. start. Texas has struggled in both of its 11 a.m. this season, a blowout loss to Oklahoma and a come-from-behind win at Kansas. But if Texas is able to leave the game with only two losses, that would mean it has eight wins. By any measure that is the same number, after 10 games, that Texas had after 13 games last season. Ultimately it is the record by which this Texas team will be measured by everyone.