One of the things I love about football, and College football in particular is how much things can change from week to week. About a month ago, Maryland, yes the mighty Terrapins came in and flat wore out the Longhorns…In Austin. Everybody and their dog was lined up to talk about how bad the season was going to be etc. The thing they didn’t count on is that the guys in the locker room were willing to get down in the guts and the grit and find the type of performance they need every day to get it done. Nobody gave em a chance in L.A. a couple of weeks after that home loss, but a team with a whole lot of heart rode into the Coliseum that night and darn near pulled off a huge win. After handling the Cyclones a week ago, the same team that just wore out the Sooners on their home turf, the Horns rode into this game with not many people picking Texas to get it done against Bill Snyder’s Wildcats.
A few changes that needed to be made were at the tackle position. After Connor Williams went down, I was among those screaming for Okafor to play more. Watching Nickelson struggle mightily was one of the toughest things to see so far this year. Coach Warehime gave true freshman Derek Kerstetter the start against Iowa State at RT, and this week against the Wildcats. Okafor also got plugged in there at left, while Terrell Cuney came in there and did a heck of a job at center. Only Vahe & McMillon are the only day one starters still in those spots right now.
In years past it seemed that Coach Mack Brown would reel in 5 stars by the droves, only to watch them not always have a lot of want to. I’m here to tell ya, that a lot of times the want to is a hell of a lot more important than the how to. This team showed guts, grit and character Saturday night, and may have found out who they were. After going down 10-0 early, the Horns clawed their way back, and on this play, the guys looked as good as I’d seen em in a goal line set so far this year. A hat on a hat with a clear lane for Kyle Porter to get through, and it was just what they needed early.
Against a Bill Snyder coached team, he’s not going to give you anything. Seeing a balanced goal line look is something that’s rare these days. Normally you can count on having a numbers advantage either left or right, but the Cats were lined up evenly with 4 left and 4 right. The advantage or even count is to the left, and with the QB run game, you have a plus 2 if you go back left here.
What I was very pleased to see besides the Horns going left, is that they didn’t whiff on a lot of blocks Saturday. Here, Kendall Moore and Okafor do a really nice job caving down the left side, while Kerstetter made his guy go inside out on the backside. The Cat defenders are caught up behind the Moore block on the left, and that gives Porter a clear path home. Really nice execution down by the goal line and something we haven’t seen a lot of so far this year.
At the snap, the Horns had a chance here to blow this thing up. If they’re going to stop this QB run game play, those three guys all gotta get on their horse and initiate contact a yard or two behind the line. They can’t wait and catch blocks. I was thinking to myself Saturday, whatever happened to wrong armin’ somebody and blowin stuff up?!
They get there a tick too late and the backup QB Delton squirted through that inside lane for a play that could have been dead to rights if the guys attack it instead of catching it.
At this point in the season I’m in the Sam Ehlinger camp. I just like how the kid plays. He showed me a lot against USC, and would be someone I’d like to block for. The guy’s got some stones. The O Line did a good job here, picking everyone up they could, but in some cases, the QB has to account for the free rusher which is what he does here. The thing that impressed me was that he knows his hot route is Humphrey to the bottom, and what was even more impressive was that he didn’t rush it. He stood tall in there and got a nice throw off in the face of pressure.
Lil’Jordan tried to be Air Jordan here, and while he got up there pretty good, he didn’t take the ball with em. Still it was a heck of a play and showed great effort all around. Chris Warren was Johnny on the spot to scoop this thing up and keep the drive alive.
Here’s another play I think you gotta fly up and blow up. Yeah yeah, there’s a lead blocker and all but rip his guts out and make the dang play!
He catches it instead of blowing it up, and Delton goes in again. I guarantee you this is something that Orlando has the guys working on this week. That backside run support in blue has to close that gap down quicker as well.
To end the game, I think that this run by Chris Warren, and the entire team will be the one they point back to as the play that changed the year. Like I said earlier, the want to is a heck of a lot more important than the how to. What’s crazier about this play is that it was blocked to the right side, but Warren completely missed the hole back in there behind Kerstetter. Him and 58 probably tee up about the green x if he gets up in there.
A tick later the hole widens, and I can’t help but believe he still scores if he gets in there behind Kerstetter. For whatever reason he decided to cut it back. Ehlinger is standing there like oh crap, where you goin man?
At this point I want you to look left to right in blue arrows where….Kerstetter, McMillon, Okafor & Moore are. By now, Warren is all the way back across the formation, and four Wildcats got em sunk. Remember…want to > how to…
How you do things is way more important than what you’re actually doing, and at this point, Warren is getting wrapped up. It’s hard to see what’s going on down on the goal line as a blocker, and it really, truly speaks to how much these guys cared about who won this game. McMillon & Okafor are still on the ground at this point, but they’re looking to see the play still alive. Moore and Kerstetter are still on their feet pushing and trying to help out…
Then, the guys jump up and all get involved. Warren’s fighting his tail off to stay up, and McMillon & Kerstetter have got good leverage along with Moore. Okafor is getting ready to get in there as well as Ehlinger back on the five.
Now everybody’s in there a tick later, and when your starting QB is involved , it speaks a TON about how bad the team wants to win. Humphrey’s now coming over to help, and if you remember how this play started and where these five blockers were a few frames ago, this tells me all I need to know about this Texas team.
They found a way to win this damn game, and for a young team with a new coach, this could be a program changer. These guys are starting to round into form, and if I had money to bet with I wouldn’t pick against them in the Cotton Bowl this weekend. The Sooners are struggling to find any heart, while this Longhorn team has it in Spades. These guys are starting to believe, and I tell ya what…it wouldn’t shock me at all to see them win this weekend and a lot more with these kind of guts.