As Texas quarterback David Ash performs better the play and statistics of the Longhorns receivers are moving in step. Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis combined for 15 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown on Saturday night.
Texas opened in the wishbone Saturday, a tribute to former coach Darrell Royal, who introduced the formation in 1968. Royal died Wednesday at age 88.
They both had big-time and drive-saving catches. While Shipley had his first 100-yard receiving game, he has 16 catches in the last three games. Davis has over 100 yards receiving in three of the last four Texas games and four touchdowns.
Offense does not exist in a vacuum and the receivers are playing well because the running game makes the offense pause, which helps the offensive line handle the pass rush, which allows Ash to be comfortable in the pocket.
It all works together.
2. If you gave up on Ash last year ...
Ash did not have a great game even though he threw for 364 yards. Yes, I said it. That is where Ash is in his game. He was 25-of-31 and will look at this film and know that he underthrew some balls that could have been scores and had some great catches by his receivers that saved some average throws.
Ash had pretty good numbers but was not sharp. Shipley bailed him out a few times. Players have games like this and that’s why the receiver group has to be good enough to catch those balls, regardless of where they are placed.
Ash is trying to be perfect. All quarterbacks are. The moral of the story is the change in mindset from last year. For everyone that wrote David Ash off last year, read what I am writing. I have a critique for a guy that was 25-of-31 for 364 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-7 win.
Ash is going to be a baller. Actually, he already is.
3. Give the defense some respect
Nobody wanted to give the Longhorns defense respect after getting things turned around in the second half against Kansas. The defense played pretty well against Texas Tech with a second half that was really good. Texas gave up 213 yards to Iowa State in the first half and then held them to just 64 yards in the second half.
Adjustments have been huge for the Longhorns in the last three games. Teams have struggled moving the ball against the Longhorns once they have gone through their scripted plays and the Longhorns defensive staff has had time to adjust.
They are still not a great defense but they are a lot better than the outfit that played against Oklahoma in Dallas. As some point out everyone had to stop worrying about expectations coming into the season and think about what is really happening. What is really happening is that the defense was not as good as expected but is getting better. This is an offensive team and the defense is getting better each week.
The game was already set up to be the game in which Texas was going to recognize the military veterans. These games are always great in a pride-driven states like Texas. With the passing of Darrell K Royal, the emotion of the game considering his legacy was really high.
Texas announced the crowd at just over 100,000 but that was the largest crowd that I have ever seen that was silent.
The players did not worry about the crowd that seemed out of it for most of the day. The team played well and disciplined. While they might not be considered flashy, they played a very solid game in from of a "ho-hum" crowd.
That is what a good team does. Fans can get down and start flat. The band can start flat. The cheerleaders can be late to the game. The only group that cannot afford to be flat is the players and the coaches and they were in it from the start.
5. Texas is 8-2
A few weeks ago, Texas was left for dead at 4-2 after losing a close one to West Virginia and then getting pistol-whipped by Oklahoma.
Whether or not you believe in the value of the competition is not really the question. It was a team on the decline and was thought to be holding together the psyche of this team with kite string and bubble gum.
After winning four straight and seemingly getting a number of their issues fixed, the Longhorns are looking at going into the last week of the season at 9-2 with a BCS bowl on the line when they take on Kansas State on Dec. 1.
As Bill Parcells says, "You are what your record says you are."