Positional Report Card | Texas vs. Kansas State 2020
– CJ Vogel
Let’s dive into these grades following the 69–31 victory for the Longhorns over Kansas State.
Like basically everyone else on the offense, Saturday was a good day for quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The senior quarterback finished with 274 passing yards on 20/27 passing and two touchdowns. The best part about the afternoon was Texas was able to put points on the board without having to ask Ehlinger to do too much.
I really liked what I saw from this Texas offense. The Longhorns really utilized the middle of the field against Kansas State and did well in the regard of vertical passing. On throws over the middle of the field past 10 yards down field, Ehlinger was 4/5 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown. It was great to see.
Ehlinger was great when he was not under pressure. On passing attempts where the pocket was clean, Ehlinger was 17/21 for 195 yards. The quick and easy throw approach really paid off.
It would have been nice to see Casey Thompson attempt a few passes. He entered the game with around 9:40 left in the 4th quarter, but was not given the green light to sling the ball around.
Off the bat, this was the best ground game I had seen from the Longhorns since D’Onta Foreman ran for 341 yards on 33 attempts against Texas Tech in 2016. As a team, Texas rushed for 334 yards on 33 carries, almost identical to Foreman’s output.
Let’s talk about the freshman. Bijan Robinson was absolutely incredible. Robinson rushed for 172 yards on just nine carries, an absurd clip that was aided by the 75-yard touchdown. It took me by surprise to hear this was Robinson’s first touchdown of the season but he wasted no getting back into the endzone. We have been waiting for a true breakout game for Robinson, and he had been getting real close over the last few weeks, so to see him make some of the Kansas State defenders look foolish was great to see. Robinson also added 55 yards through the air on five catches.
It is unfortunate that Roschon Johnson’s day was overshadowed by Bijan Robinson’s breakout game, but I want to take this time to give him his due. I know there have been some conversations in the comments recently about the hierarchy in the running back room. Saturday should have eliminated any thought that RoJo was at the bottom of the totem pole. The converted quarterback rushed for 139 yards on 14 carries. Oh yeah, he also found the endzone three times.
Shoutout to Gabriel Watson for getting his first carries as a Longhorn. The DII “Heisman” will be able to tell his kids about that.
Wide Receiver / Tight End (B+)
Despite most of the shine coming on the ground, the Longhorn receiving corps still had a solid day through and through. No one broke out necessarily, but that’s not a knock.
Jake Smith led the way with four receptions for 55 yards. I get giddy anytime I see Smith with space in front of him. He shined a few times making the first defender miss then capitalized on a 33-yard reception.
I mentioned it in By The Numbers, but props to Jordan Whittington producing when he was on the field. It was only 11 snaps, but Whit touched the ball four times which combined for 50 yards and a touchdown. The reverse was a great opportunity to get him involved in a creative way, I would like to see more of that. Whit also looked great on his 32-yard reception on the catch and run.
Following a big week against Iowa State, Brennan Eagles followed up with a solid performance against Kansas State. Eagles had four receptions for 41 yards, but was key in some late down conversions and RPO’s. There were two balls that Eagles wasn’t able to hang onto that need to be hauled in.
Speaking of RPO’s, it was nice to see Joshua Moore involved on a few bang-8 routes. If you remember the first play of the season was a 75-yard TD to Moore on the exact route and it feels like he hasn’t seen enough of those routes in the weeks leading up to now.
Jared Wiley went down with an apparent shoulder injury, which allowed for Malcolm Epps to see some snaps. Epps ended up scoring on what I believe to be the first real successful flip pass following a read option Texas has run this entire season. Good to see and much deserved for Epps.
That same play that scored Epps worked again for Cade Brewer who was somehow able to tip-toe down the sideline and find the endzone.
Offensive Line (A-)
We’ll start with the freshman center Jake Majors. I’ll admit off the jump that I was impressed with the former Prosper Eagle. For his first start, Majors did a hell of a job. Now Kansas State was probably the best defensive line to get your first snaps against but props to Majors. He did allow 3 pressures and a sack so there needs to be some improvement in the passing game, but Texas was able to rush for 133 yards on six carries and three touchdowns when they run to either A gap. Majors also got my attention on a screen to Bijan Robinson, Majors was stride for stride 17 yards downfield looking for a block.
Man, I am hurting for Derek Kerstetter. If you saw the injury, I’m sorry and if you didn’t, well, it was Dak Prescott-esque. Absolutely brutal way to end his career as a aLonghorn. He looked very solid at right tackle. Kerstetter looked great in space on the number of tunnel screens Texas ran early on.
I really liked what I saw from Andrej Karic. If he is able to build off what we saw this weekend and put up a similar performance against Kansas, I am going to have very high expectations for him next fall. Karic looked great in space on Whittington’s reverse touchdown and did not allow a pressure in 26 passing snaps. He graded out as Texas’ highest rated pass blocker.
Junior Angilau had a pretty solid afternoon as well. He has consistently rated out as one of the best run blockers on the offensive line in recent weeks.
As for Denzel Okafor, the Longhorns found great success running to the right side of the offensive line. Okafor had a great push into the second level on Roschon Johnson’s 1st touchdown of the day. However, the best part of Okafor’s game on Saturday game was his pass blocking. Only one pressure on 57 total snaps. Not bad.
Christian Jones struggled in the passing game. I know he had to bounce around from left to right tackle and vice versa, but the same problems have applied on both sides of the line. Jones just struggles laterally. He got beat on a twist that should not be as difficult to pick up for a starter this deep into the year. Jones ended up blocking Junior Angilau on the play in the redzone that resulted in Ehlinger’s arm being hit on the throw.
Keep the quick and short throws in the game plan moving forward. It will cloak the weaknesses of the OL and get the ball to playmakers in space. New England Patriot special.
Defensive Line (C+)
For the first time in a long time, the defensive line was not the best part of the Longhorns defense. The Kansas State running game was finding lanes all day. In fact, the Wildcats had one of the best days on the ground any team has had against Texas this season. On 46 carries, KSU racked up 274 yards for a 5.9 clip.
Among the few defensive linemen who did play well was Keondre Coburn. The big man finished graded out as the best defender on the team by PFF. He finished with two tackles and a pressure.
Shoutout to Jacoby Jones. While opponents give most of their attention to Joseph Ossai in pass protection, Jones was able to rack up four pressures. He’s come a long way since the beginning of the season. Jones also should’ve had a scoop and score, but I’ll never complain about a fumble recovery.
Speaking of Ossai, he got his sack and added two tackles for loss to his tally. A typical day at the offense and one more example of elite game film that will likely land him in the first round of the 2021 Draft.
Alfred Collins and T’Vondre Sweat are both very disruptive in their own ways, though neither helped much in run support. Collins is very good at getting off the ball quickly, though sometimes it works against him when he loses gap integrity.
Moro Ojomo had a tough day. He struggled to hold his gap a few times and missed an important tackle.
TaQuon Graham had a quiet afternoon as well. He also had a pretty personal foul penalty on a 3rd & 16 run. Can’t have those.
Depending on who you asked, the linebacking group either played very well, or very poorly. Which means it just makes sense for the rating to be rather average. Like I mentioned with the defensive line, the 5.9 yards per carry mark was not a good look for the LBs. I will admit, Deuce Vaughn is probably the toughest back in the conference to corral in space and he was in space quite often.
A problem that happened several times for Overshown and Mitchell was their overpursuit of outside zone runs. The cutback lanes were there all day for Deuce Vaughn and he took advantage. Overshown got torched a couple of times on jerk routes by Vaughn over the middle of the field as well. A tough day all the way around by Overshown.
I want to add that I am excited for Jaylan Ford. One of his strengths coming out of high school was his athleticism and he was able to showcase that with his 33 snaps. Ford had eight tackles and was able to put a lick on a number of ball carriers in the process.
And good looks by David Gbenda. His first career interception was a nice play on a poorly underthrown ball. Gbenda still needs some tune-up in terms of responsibility in the run game and play recognition.
I liked what I saw from the secondary on Saturday.
Chris Brown is hands down the best player in the secondary. Brown led the team with 12 tackles and had a huge pass breakup with a big hit on a 35-yard pass in the first quarter. Brown had a great game all the way around, despite allowing his first touchdown of the season.
It’s unfortunate D’Shawn Jamison dropped an INT because it really would have topped off a phenomenal day.
Mad props to Jerrin Thompson for his first career interception! I am a big fan of Thompson and think he has the instincts to really be a player for the Longhorns. Thompson got his hands on another pass and had it been thrown again, likely would have intercepted it. He needs to improve on his angles however, Thompson missed a team-high four tackles, but that is almost expected for a true freshman making his first start.
I thought Josh Thompson’s biggest impact came in the run game. Before being injured, Thompson was a menace coming off the edge and being a force on plays he should not have been involved in. Thompson was not targeted on the afternoon and
It is worth noting that Kitan Crawford was the first cornerback off the bench for the Longhorns on Saturday. That comes with Jahdae Barron and Jalen Green OUT, but Crawford played well. He had a real nice form tackle on an outside run play that really drew my attention.
Anthony Cook played sparingly, but was active. He was targeted twice and allowed two receptions, though they went for just 17 yards.
As for Chris Adimora, it was a quiet afternoon. So much so that even on the re-watch I didn’t notice him a whole lot. Adimora had just one tackle, one missed tackle and was targeted just twice. However, when you don’t hear a cornerback’s name for an entire game, it’s normally a good thing.
Special Teams (A)
D’Shawn Jamison is electric in the kickoff game. It is still crazy to me that he didn’t have the opportunity to return every kick since he’s been a Longhorn. His 99-yard return looked effortless. He added another 37-yard return as well.
I believe it was DT who brought up the hype about Cameron Dicker that just hasn’t been followed up with the necessary production and we saw it once again with a missed 30-yard field goal.
The Latest | Who is Signing on NSD1 & Early Enrollees
– CJ Vogel
Believe it or not but we are just five days away from the first National Signing Day for the 2021 class. Texas currently has 19 members in the #trUTh21 class so let’s review who is expected to sign early and those slated to become early enrollees.
Commits in the 2021 class:
WR Jaden Alexis – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
S JD Coffey – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
OL Hayden Conner – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
LB Terrence Cooks – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
OLB Derrick Harris Jr. – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
TE Gunnar Helm – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
CB Jamier Johnson – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
DT Byron Murphy – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
P Isaac Pearson – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
QB Charles Wright – Signing on NSD1 and enrolling early
LB Morice Blackwell – Signing on NSD1
RB Jonathan Brooks – Signing on NSD1
WR Casey Cain – Signing on NSD1
ATH Juan Davis – Signing on NSD1
CB Ishmael Ibraheem – Signing on NSD1
ATH Ja’Tavion Sanders – Signing on NSD1
DE Jordon Thomas – Signing on NSD1
OL Max Merril – Still working to confirm when Merril is signing.
OL Michael Myslinski – Will not sign on NSD1, waiting for the second National Signing Day.
In total, 17 or 18 of the 19 commits in the class signing on the first National Signing Day is a tremendous sign despite the hoopla surrounding the coaching staff. I’ll get a piece up tomorrow about where Texas can add in the late signing window and who they will be focusing on.
For those keeping track at home, that is ten expected early enrollees. While the general consensus is that this will be a down class talent-wise, having them extra semester in the weight room and around the program should go a long way for the development of this class.
- Charles Wright
- Gunnar Helm
- Jaden Alexis
- Hayden Conner
- Jamier Johnson
- Derrick Harris Jr.
- Terrence Cooks
- JD Coffey
- Byron Murphy
- Isaac Pearson
Four on the offensive side of the ball and five on the defensive side of the ball. Plus, the next punter will making the trip from Australia to his new home in Austin, Texas. There is a lot of reason to be optimistic about the early enrollees and their possible development if spring ball is played.
It is worth noting that Myslinski is not signing on the first opportunity. If you remember, Myslinski and Texas OL Coach Herb Hand are family friends and with the future of the entire staff up in the air, it’s a fair assumption to think the two are linked to one another regardless of school. I’ll check in with him and try to find more.
New College Football Playoff Poll | Week 15
– CJ Vogel
Texas entered back into the College Football Playoff top 25 poll this week after a dominate 69-31 victory over Kansas State this weekend. While this year has not gone according to plan or expectations, at the very least, Texas will be entering the bowl season ranked unless Kansas does that thing again.
Here’s the top 25.
- 1. Alabama
- 2. Notre Dame
- 3. Clemson
- 4. Ohio State
- 5. Texas A&M
- 6. Florida
- 7. Iowa State
- 8. Cincinnati
- 9. Georgia
- 10. Miami
- 11. Oklahoma
- 12. Indiana
- 13. Coastal Carolina
- 14. Northwestern
- 15. USC
- 16. Iowa
- 17. North Carolina
- 18. BYU
- 19. Louisiana
- 20. Texas
- 21. Colorado
- 22. Oklahoma State
- 23. NC State
- 24. Tulsa
- 25. Missouri
Texas is back in the top 20. Kansas remains on the conference schedule, then it’s time to go bowling.
Upcoming Decisions to Watch
– Super K
From what I gather, Texas is eying three decisions expected to be announced in the near future.
***Shemar Turner – As Darius noted, this one will be decided in the next week or so and Texas appears to be running a bit behind Texas A&M and Alabama. Doesn’t sound like the Texas staff has given up here. So the fight continues but Darius doesn’t seem particularly confident so I don’t either.
***Keithron Lee – CJ saw Keithron recently and got the impression that Texas was the leader here. However, Lee has gone a bit quiet as of late. Don’t sense any panic from Texas but am doing some double checking here. Lee’s decision is expected to come on Christmas Day.
***LJ Johnson – This one is a bit of a mystery. LJ was locked into Texas and then slowed things down. Since then he’s been very quiet. I do know that he completed applications to OU and Texas (and I would assume to Texas A&M, as well). But with OU likely landing Camar Wheaton, I’m not sure where they stand with numbers. I’m checking on that. Simply do not have a good read on this one. What does seem clear is he wants a reason to go to Texas. The question is whether the coaching situation can be resolved (either Tom is staying or going), quickly.
CDC Likes Fireworks | Sourced
– Super K
Was speaking to the source I referenced in a recent post regarding CDC, who has worked with CDC.
I mentioned the idea of CDC going after Dan Mullen to which source said, that that makes sense, “CDC wants fans in the stands.”
But to that end, “He wants to improve the offense. That’s the same thought process he had in 2014 when he pushed the change at TCU.”
I asked, “So he likes offense?”
To which source said, “No. Fans like offense. Probably why Tom ran up the score last weekend on K State…really good offense has proven to win this conference, even if your defense is suspect. OU has proven that”.
So, perhaps not a huge surprise but expect whoever comes (if there is a change) to be an offensive guy unless of course it’s Gary P in which case, you can guarantee there will be an elite offensive coordinator paired with him.