Quick thoughts on the Red River Debacle

Tom Pennington - Getty Images

So, how was your Saturday?

I don't know. It is what it is. They just hit us. I don't know how to define it in one word.

-Mack Brown

That is just one of many headscratching gems offered by Mack Brown at the post game press conference, which I had the regrettable opportunity to attend.

Longhorn fans are struggling to limit their expletive-filled responses to one word as well. Resignation is one word that comes to mind but it has different meanings and contexts that might be applicable.

Resignation with the fact that Mack Brown can't handle Bob Stoops, this game, or the current state of the program.

Resignation that this run defense - or any part of this defense - will not be good this year and will cost Texas more games before all is said and done. I'm guessing at least three more losses, with every game theoretically up for grabs, much like two seasons ago.

How many games has Mack won when giving up over 6 yards per carry and 200 rush yards? Zero. And that's happened against every BCS Conference opponent Texas has faced this season with the exception of Ole Miss, who only needed one more play to reach 200.

There's also the resignation that should be demanded of Mack Brown at the end of the season. And Manny Diaz come Monday. But neither are likely to happen. Unfortunately, that's not how things work at Longhorn, Inc.

I'll hit on a couple of quick thoughts from the game and then I'll open up the discussion for stupid hiring suggestions (Nick Saban isn't walking through that door folks) and general cathartic ranting. Let's try to avoid defamation of the players and stick to the facts about what's taking place on the football field and how it possibly might be fixed in the near future.

I understand the frustration that once again comes with the Oklahoma Sooners pounding the Texas Longhorns back into reality. The reclamation project is dead. Cultural change needs to occur, starting at the top.

63-14

65-13

55-17

63-21

Crunch those numbers, Deloss.

1) Texas Run Defense

I warned you that OU had the right personnel to hammer all of our glaring flaws. They didn't go so far as expanding the Belldozer package to 1st down offensive series (and Stoops bristled when asked why not) but they hardly needed to. Their sasquatch fullback Trey Millard had 164 total yards of offense and they did perfectly fine leaving the job of finishing drives to their back-up QB.

They attacked Quandre Diggs' height with WR Justin Brown. They used motion to distract Texas defenders from the intended play target and after blowing a few Inside Zone runs and slants through the vacated spots they started using motion and then play-action. They're not the first team to put a clinic on Manny Diaz this year, but it certainly was the most efficient one.

On Millard's 76 yard catch and run, they brought both fullbacks on the field and ran double-lead Iso right up the gut of the Texas defense. They had multiple plans of attack for our weaknesses and everything was working and accumulating in effect.

This run defense is so miserable that I can't state with any confidence that it won't make a 100 yard rusher out of Jared Salubi next week. You can forget winning the Iowa State game as well if there aren't improvements. And K. State will dominate this Texas team in the trenches. Kansas is now officially a toss up. That's how bad this loss was, and not just because of the injuries. This will leave an emotional and physical scar on a team that was just on the brink of reassuming its identity.

2) Suffocating Sooner Defense

At halftime, Tony Jefferson was leading their team with three tackles and two of them were behind the line of scrimmage. That's my favorite stat for demonstrating their utter domination of our offense.

They understood our concepts, as usual, and were well positioned on every snap to completely shut down whatever we threw at them. They got pressure with four rushers and blanketed our receivers with Hurst and Colvin, which is easily the best corner tandem in the nation.

It appeared that Harsin thought that the Sooner DL would be susceptible to being pushed off the ball on Inside Zone. I can't fathom why he thought this was the case from film study. At one point Jamarkus Mcfarland delivered a blow to Jonathan Gray that exceeded anything Texas hit Oklahoma with all day. He also flattened Trey Hopkins on his way to delivering one of many unblocked hits on David Ash.

This is a very good defense, but if you don't create multiple stress points with misdirection, packaged plays, and attacking their weaknesses then they will fly to the ball and smother everything you do.

The absence of Monroe and Daje from the 1st half gameplan was nonsensical. Harsin's excuses are getting old with regard to getting our most dangerous playmakers involved. Where was the direct snap to Daje in the first half when misdirection could have slowed down an aggressive Sooner D that came out of the gate like the '91 Canes? This looked like the 2001 game with Simms and a loaded WR roster beset by tentative playcalling, indecision, and crappy OL play.

Mike Stoops is putting on a clinic for how to build a sustainable defense in the Big 12. They substitute and scheme around the offensive strengths, they utilize 4-man rushes and 4-5 man zone blitzes for pressure that leave sound coverage behind them, and everything is focused on soundness against the run.

If a spread team can't run the ball on a 2-deep defense they aren't going to beat you very often. Stoops understands this and his defense is designed with that comprehension. They don't allow you to out-leverage them with the passing game and then they bring safety run-support to control the run game. The DL and LB corp aren't full of heroes but they do have guys that can understand where to be and spill the play for pursuit to clean up.

They aren't finished causing problems for teams and I won't be shocked if they run the table from here on out behind this defense and an offensive identity built around their Pistol/fullback formations.

I understand the transitive property doesn't work in college football but it's worth noting that they demolished Texas Tech in Lubbock last week and it should now be clear that this was no small feat. Tech is a legitimate team this year.

3) There are no solutions this year

Texas' linebackers aren't going to start playing well next week, or the one after that. Even with Hicks coming back this will be a poor unit. Similarly, the offensive line isn't going to become a powerhouse overnight either. This is still a solid offense but it's not up to the task of keeping up with teams that have the opportunity to play against our defense.

There are whispers around the program that there is big division in the defensive locker room and some players aren't buying into the scheme. This hardly seems revelatory when considered with what is taking place on the field. It should be clear that the defense is not playing with confidence in their assignments. They aren't making mistakes at full speed.

This team has been told they will be a physical unit. Dominating the trenches on both sides of the ball, imposing their will, and winning as a cohesive unit. We've been told that this is what we would witness and with the presumed talent in the ranks, why not believe it? Instead, we're sorting out a mess befitting a ponzi scheme meltdown. It feels like we've been lied to and it's not the first time.

In reality there have only been two teams in Mack's era here that could dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and it's been seven years since the last one.

It seemed that Greg Davis was incapable of building a power running game without a spread-option superman at QB but I don't know how to conclude anything other than that Mack himself is incapable of building or even facilitating that kind of program. He's the common denominator with different staff, different players, and different opponents. Unless you want to pin all this on Bruce Chambers.

It's time for change and hopefully Mack accepts this reality sooner than later or more of these blowouts will be in store.

Thoughts?

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