Friday, November 23, 2012
Five thoughts: Loss is on the offense
By Sean Adams
Following Texas' 20-13 loss to TCU, here are five things that stood out:
There have been some variables in every bad showing this season for the Texas Longhorns. There have been arguments to be made about mistakes on both sides of the ball, even in the win over Kansas. For all of the balking at a defense that came into the season with most of the hype, then spent the course of the season not living up to expectations, I am taking them out of the lion’s share of the conversations about this loss against TCU.
TCU, on the first drive of the game, went 94 yards in 14 plays and used up more than seven minutes of the clock. Manny Diaz talked about why TCU had so much success on the first drive of the game, saying, “They did change their mentality. They went from a team that was predominately an empty team to a predominately two-back team. We didn’t adjust to that as well and as fast as we needed to.”
With that said, the Texas defense dealt with four turnovers and sudden-change defense and in the end only gave up a total of 20 points. At the University of Texas, the Longhorns should win every single game if the defense holds the opponent to 20 points.
This loss is on the offense, and there is really no other way to look at it.
Ash or McCoy?
As much as nobody wanted to have this conversation, it is where the Texas Longhorns are in regard to the quarterback. David Ash had a really rough night. He finished 10-of-21 for 104 yards and two interceptions. He had two rushing yards and a lost fumble that nobody can figure out how it happened.
The Texas staff decided to send Case McCoy in with 1:34 left in the first half. My first thought was, “Doesn't he have to start the second half, too?” Bryan Harsin did say, “David was struggling there. He needed to calm down. Then go out in the second half and regroup and we get ourselves back in the mix. We were moving the ball but just turning it over.”
Who knows what is going to happen at quarterback for the Kansas State game?
I don’t care how good you are or think you might be in 2013 and 2014 -- if Texas does not finish the 2012 season with one quarterback, forget about it. If they are planning to spend the offseason, spring football and the fall deciding on a quarterback again, then everyone had better settle in for a big dose of mediocrity.
You win with one quarterback, period. That is one place where you listen to history.
Look, I get it. Turnovers are the key to sports of many kinds. Head coach Mack Brown referenced the turnovers in summing up the loss to TCU, “We can sit here and talk about it all night. Four turnovers to one means you’re going to get beat.”
Is it just about the turnovers or is it a bigger problem? Are the turnovers a symptom of bigger issues within the team and coaching staff?
I asked Jaxon Shipley if everything can be chalked up to turnovers and he said, “I don’t think it can be just chalked up to turnovers, but I think that’s a really big thing.”
In its simplest form, turnovers are the reason that games are, more often than not, won or lost. Can turnovers be the result of passive play-calling or is it the result of poor play?
In this case against TCU, it really is that simple. Ash, a guy who has made huge strides over the last year, had his worst game of the season on Thanksgiving night against TCU.
Ash has to throw the ball with authority. He has to stop throwing to a man and throw to a spot or a route. His interception on the first drive of the game was a touchdown if he throws Mike Davis open as opposed to throwing to him. Ash had plenty of room to lead him and nothing but green field in front of Davis.
Ash will have brighter days, but this will be a head-scratcher on his resume from 2012.
Kansas State next
Kansas State was the top-ranked team in the country before they lost to Baylor in Waco. Even if Texas had won against TCU and played a great game, the Wildcats were going to be a huge test for Texas.
Kansas State has been to Texas what Texas was to Nebraska during the Cornhuskers' Big 12 days. Mack Brown is 2-6 against Bill Snyder and has lost his last four against Kansas State.
Now Texas goes on the road to play a top-10 team with something to prove. Texas will travel to Mahnattan, Kan., with questions at the one position where you don’t want to have questions going on the road.
There is a big different between finishing the regular season 9-3 and 8-4. The former gives you opportunity to still win 10 games, a mark that has become a benchmark for success in the Texas program. There is some debate as to whether that is a healthy benchmark for a football program.
All the rest…
I am ready to issue an all-points bulletin on running back Malcolm Brown. They said he was ready to go and healthy. While I’m at it, how about real carries for Daje Johnson and maybe one, just one carry, for D.J. Monroe on senior night?
I wrote before the game that this game would come down to the Texas offensive line and their ability to control and manage a pretty good defensive line from TCU. While TCU only had two sacks, we probably all walk away assuming the TCU defense won the night at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Mack Brown said earlier this week, “Our fans are smart; they know we are about to be good again.” That opinion took a hit on Thanksgiving. We’ll need another heat check after the Kansas State game.
Peter Jinkens is going to be a good linebacker. He flows to the ball, can fight through traffic and plays with passion. This is a defense that can use all the passion it can muster.
Bryan Harsin’s script to start the game is always nice. It gives the defense a ton to think about and gives the offensive staff an indicator of what the defense is capable of doing. Again, you just can’t turn the ball over and dig holes for yourself.
McCoy did provide some energy when he came in the game. The Texas staff has created quite the position between a rock and a hard place. There is no denying that McCoy plays with a moxie and flair that makes most Texas fans think that they just might have a shot.
Johnathan Gray had three carries in the second half. Yes, I understand that Texas was behind, but they were not behind enough where they could not still run themselves back into the game.