Anyone coming into this game expecting a solid or even reasonably functional offense was delusional, but cold reality stings even when you know there's a blizzard outside and you're dressed only in a garter belt and a ball gag leaping from a 3rd story window into a snow bank...
The Longhorn OC came in handicapped with an inexperienced, limited QB and essentially a second team green OL, but we didn't do much to help either with a running game built around 0 yard dives between the tackles and a passing game that didn't advance much beyond kindergarten basic. Watson won't ever be confused with Macgyver. He's not making a supercollider out of twine, a rusty microwave and a ham radio. His history is pretty conclusive on that fact.
Why didn't we go deep more often? Mostly because BYU was in zone with two 25 year old Caucasian gentlemen standing about 15 yards back staring at Swoopes hoping he'd do just that and they could make a play on a guy who wasn't up to game speed. And clearly Watson doesn't trust Swoopes to make reads on multiple routes with a lot going on. My guess is that lack of faith is warranted.
Why didn't we spread the field, go quick tempo and try to use a quick run/pass read game to get those safeties up and take a shot? Because that's something a well-drilled spread offense would do. We run plays. We don't have a system.
Why not try some diversity in the running game? Partly because Swoopes isn't a very useful runner in quick read situations and that eliminates most meaningful misdirection. Partly because we're not very creative.
Let's talk players...
QB Tyrone Swoopes
30-20-176 yards - 1td -1int. Texas was 3 of 15 on third down (20% conversions).
While he showed some composure (he started 8 of 8) and nailed a number of the short throws that BYU's defense conceded early, he also demonstrated in real live action over four quarters that he's not a legitimate running QB who adds a dual threat dimension to the offense. Nor is he someone who can unlock the running game behind a bad OL running zone read. His first step is slow, he's not elusive, he doesn't have good stop-start and he's generally less athletic than his predecessor, much less Vince Young or Colt McCoy. He's a big strong guy who runs a 4.8 40 that would lose a foot race with Andrew Luck even if Luck ran the last ten yards backwards. So let's drive a nail into the coffin housing the corpse of mass delusion fostered by the LHN types who should know better (I'm looking at you, Ahmad Brooks).
There was one dual threat QB on the field and he played for the Cougars.
Tyrone's upside rests in his arm and in his size. I don't know what his rate of improvement will be - he's as likely to regress as progress as defenses throw more at him and he's forced to stare at more 3rd and 13s. The best solution for this team will be in the development of his arm and brain - not hoping that his legs will face 2A competition again.
Johnathan Gray fumbled on our end of the field on the way to 14 carries for 47 yards. Malcom Brown had 14 carries for 28 yards. There were not many holes. That said, Brown dropped on first contact on 12 of his 14 carries. His weird attempt to hurdle a 190 pound BYU safety instead of engage him when he did get some room more or less characterized his night. Perhaps Brown's 4.4 yards per carry career average earned over nearly 500 college rushing attempts is an accurate description of his ability level?
John Harris had a costly fumble, but Gaskamped from then on, including a beautiful effort on a short throw that he tuned into a diving, tackle-breaking touchdown. So far, he has been the bright spot in the 2014 offense. While this is good news for John, it's not good news for the Texas Longhorns.
Everyone else caught largely irrelevant short routes.
Geoff Swaim played pretty well. Caught two balls (take a bow, Bruce Chambers!) and blocked solidly for the most part.
Kent Perkins had my only passing grade. Raulerson certainly tried his best, but had a D level performance. 1/3 of his shotgun snaps were low, he had a bad penalty and he got zero displacement, even when double teaming. Sedrick Flowers likes to chicken fight and probably dominates backyard pool wrassles, but it doesn't do much for creating holes. Marcus Hutchins got beat in protection on 3rd and long several times, but that's kind of what you'd expect from your former fourth string DT lined up at OT facing an experienced 3-4 OLB on 3rd and 14. Taylor Doyle remains on scholarship.
The OL was poor and we did very little to help them out. That's what happens when your experienced center snaps his ankle and your two talented OTs choose pot over football. The easiest way to help them would be to run a slick offense built around an accurate quick passing game or have an adept running QB who could foster misdirection and allow blocking angles, but we can't do either.
Strap in for a frustrating season.