A tough loss in Dallas.
The Longhorn offense started about as passively as possible against a Sooner defense dying to get downhill. The lack of misdirection and failure to attack an aggressive flowing defense was notable. There are ways to help your QB and OL against that philosophy and little lateral flips behind the line of scrimmage or slow developing plays aren’t it.
Bright spots from players like Joe Ossai, Anthony Cook, Collin Johnson and Roschon Johnson notwithstanding, the Horns were out coached and in some spots, certainly outplayed, in Dallas. I think the latter flowed from the former.
The better prepared team was obvious, evidenced by the Sooners outgaining Texas 511-310 and averaging a sizzling 7.7 yards per play on offense. Meanwhile, the Texas offense surrendered 9 sacks to the Sooners, losing some 1 on 1 battles (Shack, to a lesser extent Kerstetter and Angilau), but mostly because of an inability to block or schematically attack Grinch’s signature stunting, multiple fronts. They were no mystery. And certainly no change up.
The one touchdown win by the Sooners belies the fact that the Longhorns were kept in the contest by two Jalen Hurts turnovers in the Longhorn red zone (with great individual plays by Cook and Jones). Once Riley got back to operating Hurts on a joystick and not allowing him to think, that cleaned up, and the Sooner offense dominated with 24 second half points and multiple wins by simple formation. Hurts is a fascinating player: dominant when playing through Riley’s Nintendo controller, average to below average when he has to look past his first or second read and do QB stuff.
As I wrote in my preview, Sooner holding on both sides of the ball is a feature, not a bug. It’s coached there. And it’s probably smart football. Either you coach through it with your players highlighting the holds and demanding the flag, mirror it on the other end with your team doing it to OU, or consider why you lack the ability to articulate it to the officials pregame and in-game enough to draw the calls. Those holds prevented several big plays in the Longhorn passing game, but they also led to some big drops in key moments that would have resulted in huge chunk gains. They got in our heads.
In the first half, Texas struggled to contain Hurts and prevent easy scrambles.
In the second half, OU ran the ball at will by simple formation - winning before the snap because the Longhorns still don’t have a plan to hold the edge when we’re in our 3 man tite front. We spill to a soft edge manned by small defenders who aren’t clear on their responsibilities. Our edge proscriptions are bad football and have been for a year and a half.
Tackling and angles in the secondary continue to be lacking. I counted nine missed tackles in the second half.
And another Longhorn defender - team captain Malcolm Roach - earned a targeting ejection and personal foul call.
At some point, you cannot continue to attribute the same errors to individual player mistakes, youth, and injury.
The good news is that the Horns might get another crack at OU in Jerry World. There’s a lot available on this game film for our coaches to consider.