Positional Report Card | Texas vs. Iowa State 2020
– CJ Vogel
We posted ahead of the Iowa State game that we shouldn’t expect the Longhorns offense to come out rusty after 20 days of no football. And they did not disappoint. Led by several chunk plays, including a 59-yard pitch and catch to Brennan Eagles, Texas led 10–0 after its first two possessions.
Sam Ehlinger finished the afternoon with 298 yards on 17/29 passing. He added a touchdown through the air to Jared Wiley and another on a 17-yard scamper down the left sideline. Overall, it wasn’t a bad afternoon for No. 11 on Senior Day. Once again, Ehlinger finished as the Longhorns leading rusher with 65 yards on 15 carries.
It was a welcoming sight to see so many well-thrown deep balls. On the afternoon, Ehlinger finished with 4/9 on passes 20+ yards down the field, which resulted in 161 yards.
RUNNING BACKS (C+)
Texas came out against Iowa State with a gameplan similar to what we had seen over the last couple of games – with a run first approach. On the first two drives, Texas and specifically Bijan Robinson rushed for 41 yards on nine carries. Those numbers would look much prettier had the right side of the offensive line not been exploded on a four-yard loss near the goal line. Robinson looked good once again, he finished with 16 carries for 54 yards.
Roschon Johnson hopped into the rotation mostly in the third quarter and looked like his same old self. RoJo only accounted for four carries on the day, but had 26 yards. Johnson also added 22 yards on two catches. Listen, I know Bijan is the prettier back of the two, but any time you can get the ball in Johnson’s hands with room in front of him, you’re doing something right.
I’ll admit it was a strange game schematically for the Texas running backs after the first quarter. On the first two drives, Texas RB’s had nine carries, on the last eight possessions of the game, Longhorn RB’s account for just 10 attempts. I do appreciate Sam Ehlinger and his ability to scramble and make nothing out of something, but feed the two most elusive guys on the team. The ceiling for explosive plays is infinitely larger with the ball in Robinson or Johnson’s hands.
Wide Receivers & Tight Ends (B-)
How about that day from Brennan Eagles. Man it was nice to see what had been expected of him coming into the season finally coming to fruition. Eagles was able to beat Iowa State cornerbacks easily all afternoon and make contested catches look rather simple. He nearly tripled his season-high with 142 yards on five receptions.
However, outside of Eagles, the group was quite lackluster.
Tarik Black had an excruciatingly tough fumble on a perfect pass over the middle. Texas was driving right after Iowa State cut the lead to 10–7 and the turnover kind put the Longhorns’ offense in a funk afterwards.
I was hoping the return of Jordan Whittington would allow for a wider range of play design. But Whittington played just 17 snaps. For what it is worth, when Whittington is on the field, he is targeted at a much higher rate than other Texas WRs. Whit had 4 targets on his 17 snaps which resulted in three catches for 26 yards.
It was a rather quiet afternoon for Jake Smith as well. Smith was held in check to just two receptions, but one at a very important time on an Ehlinger roll out to the left. Smith was able to haul in a two-dragging reception on the sideline for 30 yards.
Other than the three above, only Joshua Moore was targeted more than once among the remaining WR bunch. Moore has been quiet since his hot start to the season and that continued on Friday. Moore finished with one reception for 11 yards and a drop on four targets.
It was nice to see Jared Wiley targeted in the red zone and it paid off too. Wiley hauled in a seven yard reception for a score. I really hope whoever is calling plays next fall utilizes him more inside the 10-yard line.
I understand tight end is not a deep position on the team, but Texas has to receive more than what Cade Brewer is giving them right now.
Offensive Line (C)
In what was his final game as a Longhorn, Sam Cosmi was nails once again. The future NFL Draft pick did no allow a pressure or hurry on the afternoon and Texas averaged over 7.0 yards per carry when running behind him.
Derek Kerstetter is in a boot now after spraining his ankle, but he too had a very solid afternoon against ISU. Kerstetter will be missed next year, there is no doubt about it. It will be interesting to see what happens this weekend if he is unable to go. The Longhorn OL could be in real trouble.
I thought Junior Angilau was the second best OL on the afternoon. Angilau graded out as PFF’s best lineman for the Longhorns, though Texas was unable to get much movement when running behind him with just 11 yards on four carries.
And now, time to talk about the right side of the OL. My least favorite part of every week. You know what’s about to happen, and yet there is nothing done to prevent me from writing the same recap after every head-scratching performance each Friday/Saturday afternoon.
I mentioned Bijan Robinson getting blown up on a run inside the five yard line on the Longhorns’ opening possession. That was Denzel Okafor. Now let’s look at the 4th and 1 that ultimately cost the Longhorns the ballgame. Ehlinger kept the ball and went right behind Christian Jones, Okafor and Brewer. Nothing.
Add in the holding call on Christian Jones on the first play of the Longhorns’ final drive of the game and that’s about where we stand with the left guard and left tackle right now. Until the play from those two improve, there is not much reason to believe this offense will ever return to it’s original scoring pace.
Defensive Line (B)
The stat sheet won’t show it, but the Longhorn DL played quite well. It wasn’t there best game of the year, not close in fact, but it was far from bad.
Iowa State did a good job of scheming away from Joseph Ossai and Ossai was held in check for the most part as a result. Ossai had two missed tackles, one of them being on the goal line for Iowa State’s go-ahead score. Still, Ossai finished with a tackle for loss and two QB pressures.
I thought Keondre Coburn was phenomenal. He recorded a sack, had two other quarterback pressures and even a batted pass. Coburn was very good and he will be a staple of this team next year.
Another very strong performance from TaQuon Graham as well. I think he will shock some people when the all-conference teams come out at the end of the season. Props to Graham for really putting together a strong season.
Jett Bush saw three snaps and recorded a tackle at the LOS. Good play.
I didn’t notice Alfred Collins or T’Vondre Sweat a whole lot this weekend. Each recorded a pressure per PFF, but neither really made much of an impact as the game progressed. It would have been great had one been able to match what Coburn did to disrupt the Cyclone offense.
In the end, Iowa State rushed for 121 yards on 29 carries. One of the nation’s best runningbacks, Breece Hall, was held to a modest 4.55 yards per attempt mark, his second lowest output of the season. This was also the first time Hall was held to under 100 yards rushing in any game this season.
The combination of Juwan Mitchell and DeMarvion Overshown combined for 18 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a QB hurry. Like the defensive line, the linebackers were superb in the run game. It was in the passing game, as I hinted at leading up to the game, that would be a problem.
Iowa State was able to run their tight ends Charlie Kolar and Dylan Soehner up the middle of the field with ease against Texas. The two of them combined for 11 catches and 200 yards on the afternoon. It was clear where Iowa State wanted to go with the ball and they made it happen. Yes, the LB’s could have received some help from the fellas behind them, but there were no passes completed beyond 20 yards down field, leading me to believe the LB’s are more at fault.
Still, however, Overshown and Mitchell played well enough to warrant a B grading this week. The improvement between the two of them has been remarkable. The duo combined for just three missed tackles on the afternoon.
Defensive Backs (C+)
Caden Sterns, in his final game as a Longhorn, played alright. His stat sheet would indicate he played much better than he did with a team-high 13 tackles. But Sterns was once again pedestrian at best in coverage. The former Cibolo product was targeted seven times by Brock Purdy with five completions going for 87 yards and a touchdown. The biggest issue, and this is different from other Texas safeties, is once a pass is completed on Sterns, there is almost always room to run. Sterns allowed 33 yards after the catch on Friday and a perfect 158.0 passer rating when targeted.
Iowa State did not feature many of their outside wide receivers for most of the game, but when they did they were met with some solid resistance from the Texas cornerbacks. Josh Thompson was targeted twice and allowed just one reception for six yards. Thompson also made a very nice TFL on a corner blitz.
Thompson’s counterpart D’Shawn Jamison was targeted four times and allowed three receptions for 33 yards. Jamison also added five tackles, though was called for a penalty as well. Overall a rather ‘meh’ game.
Another player that saw a big chunk of snaps but did not make their presence known was BJ Foster. Foster recorded two tackles in 30 snaps, though he did allow a 44-yard reception. Was hoping for a bigger impact from him.
Friday was probably the worst game in coverage for safety Chris Brown as well. He was targeted seven times and allowed five receptions for 57 yards. Brown added six tackles to his tally as well.
Jalen Green looked to be pretty solid in his limited snaps. He was in great position on a pass to the endzone on the play that ended with him limping to the sideline with a sprained ankle.
The Latest | Starting OL vs. KSU
– CJ Vogel
Get ready for a first look at a true Herb Hand offensive line this weekend against Kansas State. Take that however you want, but that is what we are expecting to happen following Tom Herman’s Monday press conference.
Texas has had some issues with the offensive line this season, specifically in establishing a consistent running game. Left tackle and senior captain Sam Cosmi has already opted out of the final two regular season games and will be entering the NFL Draft. But yesterday, head coach Tom Herman mentioned another four year starter that may not be available for the Longhorns come Saturday.
Center Derek Kerstetter suffered an ankle sprain Saturday against Iowa State and has since been in a walking boot in the days following the game. Tom Herman listed Kerstetter yesterday as “questionable” however, it’s appearing that it may be more doubtful at the time. Consider the ankle injury as a reason for Kerstetter to artificially opt-out in his own sense.
With that said, there will be some new faces and guys in new places come Saturday for Herb Hand.
While the offensive line has not been a staple of this Texas team, it’s game to game continuity cannot be overlooked. The Longhorns have recorded 624 offensive snaps this season, here is the top 10 OL in terms of snap count:
- Sam Cosmi – 605
- Junior Angilau –605
- Derek Kerstetter – 605
- Denzel Okafor – 605
- Christian Jones – 605
- Jake Majors – 19
- Andrej Karic – 19
- Rafiti Ghirmai – 19
- Tope Imade – 19
- Isaiah Hoofkin* – 19
Basically, the replacements for Cosmi and Kerstetter will be playing their first snaps since the UTEP game, and their first meaningful snaps of the season.
For the time being, the offensive line is expected to look something like this for the first drive of the game against Kansas State.
- LT – Christian Jones
- LG – Junior Angilau
- C – Jake Majors
- RG – Denzel Okafor
- RT – Reese Moore
The Longhorns used this group yesterday in practice and should Kerstetter officially be declared out, this is what to expect come Saturday. It will be the first we see of Reese Moore all season.
Christian Jones will move from right tackle to left tackle, true freshman Jake Majors will take over the snapping duties and Reese Moore, who saw three total snaps in 2019, will be in charge of commanding the right tackle position.
Regardless, how the OL performs will really give an indication of what to expect for 2021. New names could hop in the mix for a starting spot, like Isaiah Hoofkin who is out of the year with a shoulder injury, but this group is expected to be the nucleus.
Tom Herman mentioned Tyler Johnson yesterday as well, though he had been battling a mysterious sickness that has hindered his ability to make much progress. On the bright side, Johnson was able to crack the two-deep as recently as two weeks ago which is a good sign that we could potentially see him in the final two weeks.
This will be the ultimate test for Herb Hand on Saturday with his two best OL likely out and replacements occupying his offensive line.
If It’s Not Meyer – CDC Controls the Pace of Play
– Super K
***First, in terms of where things are with Urban Meyer, we continue to hold the same position we’ve held for a bit now. Meyer is who Texas wants, they’re willing to pay a lot of money for him, there is a chance he ends up at Texas but we’d say it’s not a great one at the moment.
***But in trying to figure out what direction Chris Del Conte (CDC) might go should Meyer not work out, I spoke with someone who has worked with CDC.
***Source said that CDC is the type that wants to make a splash hire but said that he also is the type who would want the hire to be ‘his hire’. In the case of Urban, the play is just too big to say no too, but source seemed to indicate that it’s not necessarily his style to look for someone who wouldn’t be CDC’s guy. In other words, not sure you get a ton of credit as an AD for throwing a bazillion dollars at one of the best coaches of this generation.
***Source did add that they wouldn’t be surprised if the idea of replacing Herman with Urban, given there is a bit of a divide between the two, isn’t sitting well with CDC. Said it’s not his style to attract that kind of story, if you will.
***In terms of where he would turn if Urban didn’t take the job, source said that CDC is going to go after his guy. If it’s not Urban though, source believes CDC is going to stake his reputation on this next hire – as in, he will take the credit and the blame for it. Someone like Brian Kelly would be a safe hire in that an AD isn’t losing his job for hiring Kelly and it not working out. That’s like landing a 5-star that doesn’t work out. You lose your job when you stand on the table for a 2-star and it doesn’t work out. But source said, CDC will want this hire to be about his choice and he will want the hire tied to him. Source believes CDC is that confident in his ability to find the right guy.
***In other words, it may not be the hire the fan base wants but it’ll be the hire CDC believes can win. Although at this point, short of Nick and Dabo, I’m not sure CDC can appease the fan base.
***I asked the source if he felt like CDC would return to his old stomping grounds and try to bring Gary Patterson in. Source said, he wouldn’t be surprised if he had an informal conversation with him but couldn’t say whether it would be anymore than that. Source said, Gary was actually offered the TAMU job before Jimbo and apparently Gary turned it down.
***I do know that Patterson doesn’t involve himself with the offense at all and we know what Gary can do when his defense is paired with a good offense. So, should the Urban Meyer thing not work out, I for one would have no problem seeing Gary and a guy like Graham Harrell at Texas. I know that probably won’t be a popular take here but after reading tweets and comments this past week, again, Urban Meyer’s name ruined the chance of a large swath of Texas fans being open to much else.
One on One’s | Texas vs. Kansas State 2020
– CJ Vogel
Believe it or not, there is still a game to be played this weekend.
One on One number one: KSU EDGE Wyatt Huber vs. Texas OL Christian Jones
An All Big 12 selection from a year ago, Kansas State defensive end Wyatt Huber is wrecking havoc once again in 2020. Through eight games this season, Huber has racked up nine sacks, seven hits on the quarterbacks and 24 hurries. Huber also forced two fumbles as well. Needless to say, but the kid is an animal. Huber is widely considered as the best defensive player on the Wildcat defense and he will be giving whoever lines up across from him, lots of trouble.
With that said, who will be lining up across from him with left tackle Sam Cosmi opting out? Well right now, it is expected to be Christian Jones. It is yet to be known how the move from right tackle to left tackle will impact Jones’ performance, but he will have to make the adjustment quickly with Huber’s pass rushing ability. Texas would be smart to throw a tight end or running back to the side of Jones to slow down Huber on passing downs, however it will be near impossible to shut him out for the duration of the game.
One on One number two: KSU CB Ekow Boye-Doe vs. Texas WR Brennan Eagles
Texas wide receiver Brennan Eagles broke out against Iowa State with 142 yards on five receptions. His down field presence was a tremendous relief to what had been a sluggish few weeks for the Longhorn offense. With Sam Ehlinger looking to have recovered from what was ailing him in the middle of the season, the vertical offense should continue against Kansas State. However, Eagles will have his hands filled with Kansas State cornerback Ekow Boye-Doe.
Boye-Doe is currently ranked as the fourth best cornerback in the Big 12 conference according to Pro Football Focus. So far this season, Boye-Doe is allowing a reception every 21.9 snaps he is on the field, that ranks second in the conference. The redshirt sophomore has really broken out this season after being used as a reserve last year. Boye-Doe has allowed just 12 receptions in the entire season, and just one touchdown. He will be a tough task for Eagles this season, but one Eagles must overcome for the Longhorn offense to have the same vertical passing game as the Iowa State game.
Last week’s One on One’s: (Iowa State)
Charlie Kolar vs. DeMarvion Overshown
Kolar had a monster day. Kolar’s season high coming into the Texas game was 4 receptions for 66 yards.
6 catches for 131 yards and a TD.
Latrell Bankston vs. Derek Kerstetter
Bankston was destructive all after.
Sourced | Urban “Wants Complete Control”
– CJ Vogel
Early on in this Urban Meyer saga, the chances of landing Urban appeared to be good. Recently we noted those chances had dwindled. Then, as K reported, this past weekend a source informed us that an increased offer was made to Urban, clearly signaling that Texas wasn’t going to let this go without a fight.
I talked with a source with ties to the administration that stated “Urban wants complete control” of the Texas program before he agrees to any deal.
What does that entail? Well Urban wants the ability to name or replace the following:
- His entire coaching staff (with three year guaranteed contracts)
- All individuals that work in football support
- The Assistant Athletic Director that overlooks football
- Academic support staff
- Physicians, trainers and physical therapy team
Urban also wants to have input on facility upgrades. He mentioned the possibility of Urban wanting a promise of an upgraded indoor facility from the Texas administration.
Something odd that was also mentioned was the desire from Urban to have a grass practice field and two turf fields, each with different turf.
Let me be upfront by saying in no way does this confirm Urban to Texas is a deal done. However, this, along with reported contract offer Texas unofficially made earlier in the week, is the price it may take to get Meyer to Austin, Texas.
Know Your Opponent | Kansas State
Head Coach – Chris Klieman (2nd Season at KSU)
Offensive Coordinator – Courtney Messingham (2nd Season at KSU)
Defensive Coordinator – Joe Klanderman (2nd Season at KSU)
On Offense …
Kansas State is unlike traditional Big XII Offenses. They aren’t explosive vertically and you won’t see a ton of Spread or Empty Formations from the Wildcats. They want to create confusion with misdirection and hit you right in the mouth.
QB – #15 Will Howard
FB- #36 Mason Barta
RB – #22 Deuce Vaughn* and #2 Harry Trotter
– Will Howard is a very questionable decision-maker as a passer. He’s much more decisive as a runner and he represents the first true outright run threat that Texas has faced at the position since the Longhorns beat Oklahoma State earlier in the season.
– Deuce Vaughn is the workhorse in the backfield and has the appearance of a guy that gets stronger as games wear on. The Texas Defense can’t get tired of tackling this guy on Saturday. The Wildcats throw it to Vaughn often, as well.
WR – #13 Chabastin Taylor
WR – #4 Malik Knowles
TE – #0 Briley Moore
– Knowles is a talented prospect that would be much more effective in a better passing scheme.
– Moore is a Grad Transfer from Northern Iowa that is tied for the team-lead in receptions. Moore rarely comes off of the field.
LT – #73 Christian Duffie
LG – #76 Josh Rivas
C – #69 Noah Johnson
RG – #63 Ben Adler
RT – #50 Cooper Beebe
– I’m a big fan of the blocking schemes that Chris Klieman and co. brought with them from North Dakota State. Very unique.
– This is a stiff, physical group that wants to brawl on every play. Texas has the better athletes, but this matchup will be decided by who is tougher on Saturday.
On Defense …
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Kansas State runs a 4-2-5 Defense.
DE – #56 Wyatt Hubert*
NT – #59 Drew Wiley
DT- #92 Eli Huggins
DE – #29 Khalid Duke
– This is one of the better Defensive Lines that Texas will see this season. I’m highly concerned about Texas’ ability to keep Kansas State from consistently reestablishing the LOS.
– Wyatt Hubert was an All-Big XII guy a year ago and he’s even better this year. He’s got 7.5 sacks.
MIKE – #32 Justin Hughes
WILL – #0 Elijah Sullivan
– The Linebackers aren’t anything special on their own, but the guys up front afford them a lot of freedom to track down the football and make plays.
CB – #25 Ekow Boye-Doe
S – #19 Ross Elder
Nickel – #12 A.J. Parker*
S – #31 Jahron McPherson
CB – #6 Justin Gardner
– Parker is one of the better cover guys in the Big XII and a probable draft pick.
– McPherson is the team’s leading tackler and a team captain. Rock solid.
Overall Thoughts …
– Texas almost never plays well in Manhattan, Kansas. When you include the opt-outs that have taken place this week, it is extremely difficult to imagine this team as being in the right state of mind for a 60-minute bare-knuckle brawl in chilly and windy conditions at 11 a.m. in the Bible Belt with nothing on the line. I hope I’m proven wrong.
Darius (5-3) Kansas State 27 Texas 21
Will (5-3) Texas 28 – Kansas State 20
C.J. (4-4) Texas 30 – Kansas State 21