Texas football review
A team in retreat: Injuries and QB's conspire as Mizzou crushes the Longhorns
The Texas defense did their job. Holding Missouri’s offense to 17 points is an accomplishment. It’s the fewest points the Tigers have scored in a game this season. Missouri's D did their job as well, holding Texas to their lowest point total of the season—5 (incidentally, it also the fewest points Texas has scored in a game since 2004 against OU).
The game score, 17-5, might look like a close, well-played defensive football game. It wasn't. The game wasn't close, and after Texas first possession of the second half, the game was never in doubt because...
Texas offense was indeed offensive. Granted, they played short-handed. Jaxon Shipley, the best Longhorn receiver, didn't even travel to Columbia due to injury. Then, 30 minutes before game-time, Texas announced Joe Bergeron was suffering from a sore hamstring—he didn’t play; and Malcolm Brown’s turf toe was still too painful—he didn’t play either. During the first quarter it got worse. Fozzy Whitaker injured his left knee and was lost for the game and maybe longer.
Freshman David Ash and sophomore Case McCoy seem no farther along today than during game one against Rice.
A fourth string running back won’t beat Missouri alone, Texas' quarterbacks had to make plays, and they did not.
The Texas offense showed sheer ineptitude. Their total output just a little over half of what they ran for last week. The passing stats were worse. Texas QB’s completed fewer than half their passes, David Ash threw an interception.
When I said last week that Texas needed to throw the ball down field, I didn’t mean every pass. I meant strategically. Sure, Texas threw a couple of screens and a couple of passes across the middle, but the vast majority went deep and many went deep to the sideline. That sideline route is a safe pass—if your guy doesn’t catch the ball it probably goes safely out of bounds, but it’s also a tough pass to throw well. Ash and McCoy clearly are not up to it.
To make matters worse, the Texas offensive line returned to its poor form. The Missouri defensive front four played lights out. The O-line gave up two sacks, not generally a horrible stat, but they played much worse than that. Missouri shut down everything Texas tried up the middle. Texas rushed for only 76 yards and was in the Texas backfield more often than the Horns own tailback.
The Tiger defense could afford to sell itself out by stopping Texas running game because the Texas passing game stinks. On a day Texas needed to throw the ball well—the top three runners hurt and out of the game—they could not.
To say the offense is inept is to be kind. The Texas offensive coaching staff may be good at a lot of things but coaching up quarterbacks clearly is not one of them. David Ash and Colt McCoy both looked clueless in this football game—missing open receivers, holding the ball too long, over-throwing, under-throwing, throwing to the wrong side, wrong shoulder, wrong guy and overall just seeming to play slow. At times it appeared David Ash was throwing the ball simply in order to get it out of his hands as opposed to trying to actually gain yards. Right now Conner Brewer, the all-everything Arizona High School QB coming to Texas next year, can't get here fast enough.
Enough negativity, give some love to that nasty Texas defense. They shut down everything Missouri tried to do, including making a 3 play goal-line stand inside the one yard line. The defense forced and recovered a fumble, the special teams blocked a punt for a safety (they also allowed a blocked punt) and they generally dominated the Missouri offense.
This Texas defense is making a statement. They play tough and aggressive football, and when the offense was desperate to get the ball back, the defense delivered.
It's time to make a quarterback committment and coach that kid up by spending 95% of your time with him. This maybe Ash... maybe McCoy stuff needs to stop now.
Texas is a good football team. Good enough to beat Oklahoma State, and good enough to beat Missouri. Losing those games is on the coaches and on the quarterbacks—mostly the coaches. Freshman David Ash and sophomore Case McCoy seem no farther along today than during game one against Rice. The poor decision-making continues as does the poor skills play. And please don’t tell me how great it was that Ash threw the ball away a half dozen times rather than take a sack. Sure, that’s a smart thing to do. But you get credit for that when you actually start completing passes.
Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin is doing no favors for his QB’s. When it became clear Ash—and in the second half McCoy—was not on target, one would think it might be time to give him a few simple dump-off passes in order to help him build confidence. If you just keep slinging it down field, as Texas did, you risk losing your quarterback's confidence, as they did. Ash got worse as the day went on.
It's time to make a quarterback committment and coach that kid up by spending 95% of your time with him. This maybe Ash, maybe McCoy stuff needs to stop now.
Next week a monster in the form of Kansas State comes to Austin. Texas faces the best team it’s played since the Oklahoma schools. The Longhorns better pray for some quick healing, and they better start re-working their game plan, because holding K-State to just 17 points is a stupid thing to hope for, and because the Wildcats will steamroll the pathetic offense that showed up in Columbia, Missouri today.
And the season gets no easier. Two huge emotional rivalry games follow Kansas State—the Aggies and Baylor. Texas is more than capable of hanging with those teams if they play their best football. The Longhorns that showed up today will get blown out again… and again.