Make an evaluation first off on practice and then on production in a game. You can practice your ass off, but if you don’t make a play to me it means nothing. That’s how we base our decisions.
The X’s are interchangeable - play the guys who you think practice well, punish the guys who you think don’t practice well, and assume that your judgements will cleanly translate to game day in defiance of all available evidence.
Every offensive coach, presumably
This was never set up to be a high-octane offensive effort in Fort Worth.
Hell, once the news came down that we’d see Terrell Cuney at center with Shackelford out, I damn near dislocated my wrist lunging to bet Texas under 19.5 points for the game. So once TCU put 17 on the board, this one had probably already gone a-glimmering.
But man...if you’re going to ask your guys on the field to compete for four quarters and give it everything they have, return the damn favor.
Splitting Cade Brewer out from the formation on close to half of your offensive snaps isn’t giving your best effort, and it’s not even close - and that’s not to insult Brewer, it’s just a fact that he’s not giving you an advantage in the pass game nor setting you up with any exploitable mismatch.
Abandoning the curl/flat and trips-based RPO game that made you look like a real offense isn’t giving your best effort.
Giving a metric fuckton of snaps to Leonard, Foreman, Joe, et al when the quick jump-ball game to Humphrey and Johnson was your only identifiable and successful offense in this game, against this opponent isn’t giving your best effort.
Running Wildcat once - with stretch zone blocking - isn’t giving your best effort.
Giving a lot of snaps to Daniel Young (who was your only realistic shot at a remotely threatening ground game) was laudable, but that ain’t enough.
There’s no way to prove or quantify the full opportunity cost of lining up with Brewer/Leonard/Joe/Foreman split out from your formation rather than Johnson/Humphrey/Hemphill-Mapps/Burt...but I’m gonna tell you right here and right now, it’s high.
Humphrey balled out on the snaps he was given. Young got what he could behind some dire blocking, and also made a hell of a grab split out to keep (an ultimately failed) drive alive. Buechele made some good throws, managed a couple of good runs and probably held the ball too long on a few chasedowns and sacks - but we ticked up past 50 on the season-long “Run three or four receivers off the TV screen with no short options and endure a QB pressure or sack” counter. When you combine dubious pass-game design with a continued inability to coach your OL to handle a simple T-E stunt, that’s bad juju for whoever’s taking the snaps.
This was never going to be a gorgeous offensive effort on the road against a Top Ten defense.
But we chose to make it look as bad as it did.
The D fucked itself with two personal fouls on the first drive (one of which was dubious on Hill as he hit a guy who was still in the air after jumping out of bounds,) with less than six inches’ worth of reach by Chris Nelson on a fourth-down gadget play, with a questionable decision to not spy Trill Hill on 3rd and 17 behind a three man rush, and with an unavoidable substitution situation that saw the second-team DL get blocked out of the play on Kyle Hicks’ second-quarter TD run.
But other than that, the story was this:
Until it was this:
The Longhorn D was Leonidas & Company at Thermopylae all night long, kicking ass and stacking bodies in an ultimately futile cause. They weathered a storm of arrows on Trill Hill’s constant 0.8 second WR screens early before decapitating him for the rest of the game while clamping the Frogs’ waterbug receivers and constantly making stops against TCU’s dangerous ground game.
Malcolm Roach was a stallion, showing his freshman-year 245-pound quickness at 270 to single-handedly derail multiple third-down chances.
Antwaun Davis probably won the least-contested Gaskamp race in history on one play as he bitch-slapped a third-quarter screen attempt.
Poona Poonatrated, Malik and Gary Johnson ran dudes down and the secondary held Hill to a decidedly un-Trill 5.6 yards per attempt.
Hats off again, gents. Sorry you didn’t get more support.
Texas came in ranked dreadfully in field goal efficiency, kickoff efficiency, kick return efficiency and punt return efficiency while looking great on punts.
Texas left the same way, minus a ding on punt efficiency the one time Michael Dickson hit a 60-yarder and the coverage team couldn’t handle business.
Nice work, Michael Dickson.
Everybody else...where you at?
THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line is that there’s no great shame in dropping a game to a tough team on the road at home...but the same flailing shenanigans on O meant that this loss dropped the record to 4-5 rather than 6-3.
The Longhorns will get back to .500 next week against an execrable Jayhawk squad.
And everything from 8-5 to 5-7 is on the table after that.
We can, quite simply, choose to go 8-5 by maximizing what we can do on offense in 2017 rather than pretending we’re already at 2019.
Here’s hoping that we make that choice.