Positional Breakdown | Grading the TCU Game
– The Football Brainiacs
For once the defense looked better than the offense. Here are our grades for the TCU game:
Darius has the offense
Position Group Report Cards – TCU
Sam Ehlinger completed just 45% of his passes, going 22-for-48 in totality, and threw for only 99 yards in the second half on 24 attempts. Ehlinger threw a career-high 4 interceptions against the Horned Frogs with 3 of them coming in the second half.
I’m a Sam Ehlinger believer and it’s been no secret to anyone that has watched this Texas team play this season that the Longhorns will go as Sam goes. The bottom line is that this past Saturday Texas didn’t have a chance and Sam is the primary reason for that. He also seemed reluctant to use his legs, which was puzzling to me because he moved the chains at least 3 times when he scrambled.
Due to some questionable play-calling (Texas threw six incompletions on first downs in the second half and usually followed each incompletion up with an ineffective run), Texas repeatedly found themselves in 3rd-and-long situations in the second half and it was too much to overcome. As Texas fell behind, Ehlinger began to press and force plays that weren’t there, which resulted in Texas losing the turnover battle in spectacular fashion. This was the worst performance that we’ve seen from Ehlinger since his freshman season, but at the same time, it was an equally poor performance by whoever on staff is in charge of what Texas does on Offense.
Running Backs (C)
Keaontay Ingram had a very solid first half, rushing for 60 yards on 11 carries. He added a score through the air on a wheel route out of the backfield on a play that we saw often last season with Tre Watson. He would only receive 5 carries in the second half and was rendered useless, like the rest of the Texas offense, after adjustments were made. Ingram looked to be moving as well as he has all season for the second week in a row. I have a hard time placing any of the second half blame at his feet, as he was very rarely put in a situation to have success.
Roschon Johnson was completely ineffective in this ballgame. He had a 1-yard score and finished the game with 9 yards on 5 carries and 1 catch for 5 yards, less than 2 yards per touch against the Horned Frogs.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (C)
Devin Duvernay had a huge day, racking up 173 yards and a score on 8 receptions (21.6). Duvernay was the intended target on the first interception of the game when he and Ehlinger appeared to have a miscommunication. Duvernay settled, while Ehlinger threw the ball inside as if he were expecting him to keep working across the field. You don’t expect to see that from two captains.
When they were on the same page, Duvernay gave the TCU Secondary all that they could handle.
Collin Johnson definitely gets officiated differently than any other Wide Receiver that I’ve seen in Big XII play this year. Defensive Backs are allowed to grab and hold on to him and he’s expected to play through the contact, but not be overly physical in the process. It can be really frustrating to watch at times. Johnson went over the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, finishing with 7 catches for 101 yards (14.4).
Brennan Eagles was a healthy “DNP” after missing practice for “personal reasons.” It seems to me that Super K’s report from last week wasn’t far off at all. Not having that third option appeared to severely hinder Texas’ passing game, especially after Cade Brewer went down and was replaced by Reese Leitao, who has never been any type of threat in the passing game during his time at Texas.
I thought that Jared Wiley looked decent. I don’t know what value John Burt brings if he’s not being used to take the top off of defenses.
Jake Smith and Malcolm Epps were virtually invisible, especially Epps. Jake Smith could be seen allowing defenders to step in front of him on two separate interceptions, as well as muffing punts when he has return opportunities.
Offensive Line (C+)
I thought that the Offensive Line did a solid job overall against the Horned Frogs. TCU only registered 1 sack during the ballgame and 2 TFLs in total. Sam Ehlinger’s interceptions weren’t due to being pressured.
In the run game, Texas is credited with 126 yards, with only about 30 of them coming in the second half. I think that was more a byproduct of Texas practically abandoning the run, especially on first downs, instead of the Line being unable to generate lanes. Texas didn’t consistently win at the LOS and I attribute some of that to a complete lack of creativity offensively. The big guys up front weren’t dominant like they were at times early in the season, and frankly, they haven’t been very good recently, but they weren’t bad this past weekend. Texas could have won with their performance on Saturday.
CJ has the defense
Defensive Line (C+)
This was one of the best games I have ever seen out of Malcolm Roach. He was everywhere. The official score card credited the senior captain with four tackles for loss with one being a sack and a quarterback pressure as well. Where has this been all season, I’m not sure, but he played great.
I truly don’t understand how there is such a lack of pass rush. Whether it’s scheme or personnel, this year’s pass rush has been unacceptable.
Keondre Coburn recorded three tackles and continued to be a bright spot. TCU ran away from him when they could. The massive nose tackle also saw double and triple teams on most pass protections from TCU. Quite a compliment from Gary Patterson.
I hope the Oscar Giles really emphasizes the get off for T’Vondre Sweat this offseason. Perhaps it was the weight gain in the offseason, but Sweat looks slow off the ball and as a result isn’t the same pass rusher he showed in HS.
Moro Ojomo on the other hand is one of the fastest on the team at exploding off the ball. If you get a chance to watch him next week, he’ll surprise you with his burst. Unfortunately for him, he’s just wasn’t disruptive enough at nose to make an impact against TCU.
There really hasn’t been much to show for for both Marqez Bimage and TaQuon Graham which is more than disappointing considering the hype each had this offseason and fall camp, Graham more than Bimage.
The linebacking group has been a concern for the past couple of weeks, but to be honest, they played fine against TCU.
Once again, containing the quarterback and eliminating the QB run was a problem. But the longest run on the afternoon was just 14 yards. The Horned Frogs ran for just 162 yards on 41 carries, which will go down statistically as one of the best games of the season for the rush defense.
One week after playing the majority of the game, Byron Vaughns was sidelined once again, he finished with just one tackle.
It truly is a shame that Joseph Ossai isn’t used as a pass-rusher more. The lack of opportunities to get him in the backfield and be disruptive is criminal. Ossai was just one step slow on the 3rd and 14 pass to Taye Barber that basically ended the game. But it was the best look any Longhorn LB had at the QB all day.
Welcome back to game time, Juwan Mitchell. The former JuCo LB recorded a sack and seven tackles in an overall very solid game.
I wasn’t too friendly to Ayodele Adeoye last week, but he played well against TCU. The Horned Frog offense plays into his strengths, as he’s not asked to chase flex HB and WR around as much with TCU being a rather downhill offense compared to previous teams.
Defensive Backs (C+)
A relatively tough game to judge in my opinion. Unlike many previous games, the secondary was in the right position for most of the afternoon, they just didn’t execute. Max Duggan threw for a career high 273 yards… yuck.
Brandon Jones made a great play sinking into his cover three middle of the field zone and picking off Duggan in the first quarter. Freshman Tyler Owens was called for an incredibly soft personal foul for unnecessary roughness which resulted in a 40-yard change in field position.
I get trying to bracket Jalen Reagor. He’s TCU’s best WR and one of the best Texas will face all season. But Texas DB’s have to be aware of other personnel on the field. TCU’s first TD went to TE Pro Wells, who coming into the game, had eight receptions for four touchdowns, all in the red-zone. What did he do against Texas? One catch for one touchdown right on the brink of the red-zone.
Montrell Estell was also very late and looked quite bad in his attempt to break up the first TCU touchdown.
Back to Tyler Owens. What a tough game for the true freshman. However, don’t sell your stock on him. Owens was in position for most of the afternoon, just some great throws and incredible catches were able to beat him. He was beat deep on a 50-yard completion after Texas took a 20-13 lead which took the air out of the sails. But the Taye Barber catch is something I cannot necessarily blame him for. He played well.
D’Shawn Jamison was torched once again in cover three where he was caught peeking into the backfield. When you’re one-on-one with Reagor, that’s the last thing you can do. He’s been beat deep a lot recently, not sure why he hasn’t been moved to the slot for Cook and Green on the outside.
I honestly didn’t notice much of Jalen Green in his return, which is more of a good thing than a bad thing. He recorded a tackle for loss as well.
Special Teams (C+)
Man, the 26-yard field goal by Dicker really would have changed some momentum in this game. What a shame he pulled it left.
Before getting hurt, Bujcevski averaged 45.3 yards per punt, not bad at all. His replacement Chris Naggar came in and booted one for 54, very good, especially for coming in cold.
Texas only gets worse in the punt return game, I have no explanation for why they are the only team in the nation that can’t positively return a punt, but they are. Jake Smith dropped another punt, and Texas ended the afternoon with -7 net yards.
Only one big return for TCU on the afternoon as well. Darius Anderson took a kickoff back 30 yards for the biggest dent in the return game, still, not bad at all in terms of kick coverage.
Recruiting Updates | Taye McWilliams & Slot
– Super K
***Late last week, Texas offered 2020 Baylor RB commit, Taye McWilliams (Lamar Consolidated).
McWilliams was offered by Todd Orlando so it appears the offer was made for linebacker.
Taye is a special athlete at 6’2 200 lbs running a 4.48 40 (SPARQ verified).
However, here is where I have to scratch my head at this offer a bit. I’ve known Taye’s father for years. His father was a starting cornerback at TCU many many years ago. Taye is a great running back but just about anyone around Taye will tell you, Taye included, that he is not a linebacker.
***Another head scratcher for me is that based on what I’ve heard, Texas is still looking to push for Kelvontay Dixon (Carthage) at WR, while Dajon Harrison is still on the market.
The fact that this hasn’t happened yet tells me that perhaps there is some debate about it inside the building but the fact that it would even be up for debate (if that is indeed the case) is interesting.
I know there is a lot of subjectivity in football evaluations and making any grand claims about one kid being definitively better than another can be arrogant.
But, man, the difference between Harrison and Dixon seems pretty stark.
Harrison looks like a future star and is a quality young man. He was an early eval by TCU and was committed to them at one time.
He gives someone who could end up being truly special at WR and player you could turn into a corner – if you end up needing it. I know Dixon is a longer athlete and he also has great speed but the difference in short area explosion and demeanor is strikingly noticeable to me.
Talking Point | A Tale of Two Halves
– CJ Vogel
For a number of reasons, Saturday’s game against TCU was one of the more frustrating games I’ve watched over the past couple of years. That says a lot with how some losses have gone in the past, the block fest at Oklahoma State, Taysom Hill turning into Barry Sanders, the bowl game vs. Arkansas all have this one topped, but regardless this one is near the top.
Never would I have thought Sam Ehlinger would throw four interceptions in a game, especially with the way he’s been playing this season. Most of his interceptions felt rather forced, with only one of them in the direction of his safety nets Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay.
Still, I don’t necessarily blame the INTs on Ehlinger as the Texas offense was behind the chains on all four of his INT.
- INT #1 – 2nd and 10
- INT #2 – 3rd and 7
- INT #3 – 2nd and 13
- INT #4 – 4th and 9
For most of the game, and especially in the second half, it felt like Texas was playing at a down and distance that was disadvantageous for any offense. A look into the results of first down from each half show just why Texas was behind the chains so often in the second half.
Texas passing the ball on first down by half:
- First Half – 4/9 passing for 73 yards
- Second Half – 3/10 passing for 7 yards
Texas rushing the ball on first down by half (designed rushes)
- First Half – 8 attempts for 38 yards (4.8 YPC)
- Second Half – 3 attempts for 1 yard (0.3 YPC)
Ehlinger did have two scrambles in the second half that resulted in 26 yards, but both were him taking off as a result of no one being open.
Outside of those two scrambles, the longest play Texas had on first down in the second half was four yards! That’s absurdly inefficient.
The first downs in the second half went as followed:
- 4-yard run
- 4-yard completion
- 1-yard run
- 1-yard completion
- 2-yard completion
- -3-yard run
- 10-yard scramble by Ehlinger
- 16-yard scramble by Ehlinger
- 3-yard run
It’s hard to put into words how bad the playcalling and execution was on first down in the second half was. There’s no wonder Ehlinger was forcing throws into tight windows to receivers that don’t normally get targets, if he wasn’t creating extra plays, the offense was going nowhere.
Texas faced a distance of 8 or more yards on 10/15 second downs they faced in the 2nd half. With two second downs being inside the 10-yard line, that makes it just three times in the entire half the Longhorns gained more than 3 yards on first down.
I’d love to know what y’all think about the difference in halves of football in the TCU game and what y’all would like to see changed moving forward.
Bijan Robinson | The Latest
– Super K
Earlier this week, I reported via sources on Bijan Robinson. One of the things I noted, again via sources, was that Robinson hasn’t had any communication with Ohio State.
This information came from a source inside the building at Ohio State.
However, yesterday a 247sports reporter spoke directly with Bijan and Bijan said that he has indeed been in contact with Ohio State. It would seem that Ohio State has been trying to keep their communication with Bijan as low key as possible. It happens sometimes so as not to alert the team you’re trying to steal a player from.
So, I bypassed the Ohio State sources and went straight to Bijan’s mother. We spoke for about half an hour yesterday. I may pull some quotes later but for now I’ll summarize what I took from the conversation.
***She said a number of schools have been in contact with Bijan, including, yes, Ohio State. She also said Alabama, LSU and USC are in contact. She couldn’t recall all the schools that are in touch with him but did mention those specific schools.
***Robinson’s mother said that the contact has been less of an attempt to try to convince Bijan to reconsider their school and more of the coaches staying in touch with him on a regular basis (which we all know is them lying in wait). So, the bottom line is Ohio State and others are indeed still recruiting Bijan.
***But how much of an effect is it having? His mother described things with Texas as “steady”. She said that they didn’t make their decision to pick Texas just because of their potential to win games. She says for them and Bijan, it was more than that. So, the fact that the season hasn’t been what was expected, she noted has had little to no effect on them.
***The sense I got is they are solid, at the moment. She did say there are schools like LSU trying to get Bijan on an official visit. She didn’t rule out the possibility of it happening but she was skeptical that it would. I just didn’t get the sense that they are really looking to reopen things up to new schools. Again, she didn’t say there is no chance they won’t take their final two official visits but she did make it sound unlikely.
***I mentioned fairly recently that there has been some negative recruiting coming from inside the building at Texas. Towards the end of our conversation, she did mention that Bijan has received some of that. She didn’t go into who said what but she did note that he’s heard rumblings and it sounded like it was coming from kids. I don’t know if that’s from current players or from recruits or even other coaches.
***But she said, for the most part, they’ve just dismissed it.
***I did ask her who ended up second in their recruitment back in the summer. She said it was Ohio State that came in behind Texas, followed by USC at third. So, my guess is if they did start to look around more seriously, I’d imagine it would still be one of those two schools.
***Again, I may pull some quotes later for you all but for now the above should suffice.
If you would like to read Super K’s ‘Sourced Team Notes & Coaching Change Speculation’ article, please check the Donor Board.