There was so much to like about the Texas effort on Saturday. Get your unicorn balloons ready.
The Longhorn crowd. They showed up and did so in force. That was a packed, rowdy stadium and a hell of a College GameDay environment. They also stuck with the team through adversity. Several friends and family at the game said it was deafening and their ears were ringing afterwards. Terrific game day environment. You did your job Longhorns.
The Texas offensive staff. They game planned the hell out of a defense that was Top 10 last year and returned 8 of their starters. Throwing deep on 2nd and short, excellent misdirection attacking LSU reads, false keys aplenty, route diversity, constantly attacking from four wide. Even if results didn’t match the process in the first half, they stuck with it and the big plays eventually came. They fired all of their bullets, anticipated LSU’s game plan beautifully (heavy man across the board, an early shade on Johnson outside) and made them pay for over pursuit. 38 points and 530 yards reflects exactly how well they coached and schemed this contest. Texas even broke the big play criticism of last year with chunk gains to Eagles and Duvernay. The Texas staff married ball control with big plays (Texas had a 20-10 2nd half TOP advantage) and scored on every single drive in the second half.
Texas S&C. Take a bow Yancy McKnight. LSU had twelve stoppages of play for “injuries.” Oddly occurring whenever Texas had momentum on offense and the LSU D started dragging. SEC gonna SEC. Texas had one stoppage. For an actual injury. In the second half, it was clear which team was better prepared for the heat and for four quarters of play. The disparity was so obvious, Ed Orgeron tried to fictionalize Texas not allowing AC in the visitor’s locker room. SEC gonna SEC.
Player Effort. Texas didn’t always play perfectly, but effort was never lacking. Even on the exploited Longhorn defense. The Longhorns went down 20-7 at halftime with LSU getting the opening 2nd half kickoff. Looked grim. In minutes, we had a six point ballgame.
Joseph Ossai. We have ourselves a B-Backer. The sophomore is terrific against the run when he’s lined up on the LOS, he gets amazing drops in pass coverage (his 2nd INT of the season, a 3rd was called back) and he can pass rush (1 sack). I’d like to see Orlando play him more on the edge, but there’s a lot of great football in Ossai’s future.
The Longhorn OL. Already better than last year’s unit, this group is physical, nasty and competitive as hell. Parker Braun has infused us with bad attitude and devastating run blocking, Shack is a stabilizing force inside despite a nagging injury, Angilau has much better athleticism than billed, Kerstetter has improved considerably and Cosmi is dominating enough to make NFL draft boards as a 3rd year sophomore. They won more than they lost against some big strong athletes. Tip your cap.
Sam Ehlinger. He started a little slow, but dominated over the course of the game. He accounted for over 460 yards of offense, threw for 400+, accounted for five touchdowns and didn’t have a turnover. Absolute stud and competitor. Foxhole guy.
Ro Johnson. I love #2. A true freshman QB with two weeks to prepare to be a RB injected the Longhorn offense with spirit, power running, reliable hands and elusiveness. He even blocked. Football player.
The Longhorns have WRs (plural). LSU expected to dominate with man coverage and an early shade on CJ to take him out of the game. Not a bad assumption from Aranda. They found out the hard way that Brennan Eagles has major deep speed (5-116-1) and hands, Devin Duvernay (12-154-2) can’t be put on the ground with one man (right, Grant Delpit?) and Collin Johnson even heated up in the second half after a first half shutout. Add in freshman Jake Smith’s nifty post TD (1-20-1) and you have a formidable unit that’s only a little depth away (let’s go Epps and Burt) from being one of the best in recent memory. Defenses will have to play this group honestly and that’s bad news for Big 12 defenses who used to be able to double the Longhorn primary on key downs. Who exactly is our primary?