Five Quick Thoughts | Texas vs. Arkansas 2021
– CJ Vogel
Five post game thoughts following the loss to Arkansas. DT did a great job on the instant reaction and I will try to differ from what he hit on, though there will be some points that overlap I am sure.
Man, props to the Arkansas faithful and those who made the trip in Orange because that stadium was rocking. It was my first time in Fayetteville for a game and it truly was an awesome experience. I believe the official attendance was announced at over 74,000 people and it surely felt like there were no more than a handful of empty seats. The Arkansas broadcast team did a great job keeping the fans involved from the get-go. When the game was in the bag, the Sam Ehlinger “We’re Back!” Clip was played on the big screen and you can imagine how that played in the stadium.
2. Can Only Go Up
I won’t sugarcoat this. That was the worst Texas Football I have seen since Charlie Strong. Special teams miscues, abysmal offense and poor defensive adjustments were all over the field. For whatever reason, it just did not feel like Texas was up for this game from the jump. While there was a bolt of energy when Casey Thompson came into the game in the late 2nd half, it was too little, too late. Make no mistake about it, I have all the faith in the world in this coaching staff to figure this team out, but that was an ugly showing in Fayetteville and a rude awakening to the 2021 team.
This should be a fun conversation this week. I am not going to sit here and pretend to give you an answer on what Texas should do at the position, but I will share my opinion on some thoughts that I feel are being overlooked following the game. One of Card’s best traits coming out of camp was touch and accuracy. That was missing last night. The three deep balls that were off target could have really turned the tide in the game. Missing Whittington in the endzone, a really poor throw to Worthy who had a step on a defender and another miss to Whittington later on basically described the night. Card also battled drops by WR’s but he could have certainly performed better. Not scoring a point in the first half should never happen at Texas. As for Thompson, I thought he played well. Obviously the two rushing touchdowns will agree, but he played fast and with confidence. Again, I am not advocating for a change to be made but rather sharing my thoughts on both quarterbacks’ performance. I would love to see more of both against Rice. (Edit: A change has been made)
4. Paper Wall of Austin
We knew the OL had questions coming into the season, and while I felt admittedly a little too confident about the group, I did not expect it to be that bad last night. Arkansas had three down defensive linemen and three safeties for most of the night and Texas running backs averaged 3.11 yards per carry. No one on the line played well, though some played noticeably better than others. The issues that plagued the 2020 season remain this year. Really, the running game relied solely on Bijan making 2-3 guys miss at the line of scrimmage and hoping he fell forward after contact. The team will go as the offensive line goes and until it gets fixed, temper expectations for the immediate future.
Again, no sugar coating. The optics of the loss is brutal and will be recognized by recruits on the trail. A loss alone would have been tough to overcome, but to be blown out from buzzer to buzzer is not good. If you want to find a silver lining in this, the staff can really pitch early playing time to a lot of recruits, though then Texas is stuck in the underclassman cycle they seemingly could not get rid of over the last ten years. I’ll be on the road some this week to get reactions to the game and thoughts on Texas moving forward.
Quick Thoughts | The QB Situation
– Charlie S
Steve Sarkisian has announced Casey Thompson will start at quarterback against Rice this week in place of Hudson Card who won the starting job following spring practice and fall camp.
I am here to say…I don’t think I like it.
As a guy who has spent more time covering OU than Texas solely because of the way we at TFB are set up (I have no ties to either program), I wanted to share a few quick thoughts that may not be as emotionally charged as other opinions.
1. Why now? Yes, Card did not play well. he looked unsure of himself at times, he didn’t trust his reads, and he flat out made some poor throws against Arkansas. I get that, but this feels like a knee-jerk reaction to a degree, in my opinion.
2. Card was not the biggest issue, again in my opinion, against Arkansas. The game was lost in the trenches as you all know so I am not telling you anything new. The offensive line was flat out bad and that will tend to spook a young QB making only his second start. Arkansas was getting pressure with a three man front in most cases. Losing 3 on 5 (sometimes 6-7) battles is not a winning strategy.
3. Could Casey have given Texas a better chance to win that one game against Arkansas because of his ability to improvise? Perhaps. But he didn’t win the job to start the year…so I’m going to venture a guess that the staff saw things they liked in Card over Thompson while also knowing the limitations (to some degree) of the offensive line.
4. Many of you questioned our (TFB) rather modest predictions for Texas for the season (most of us saw a 3-4 loss season) and Hudson Card’s lack of experience was part of our (mine at least) reasoning behind our predictions. I expected Card to stumble and stub his toes on occasion, but my larger concern was the offensive line (I thought the defensive line would be more productive at this point). There is no magic wand and Kyle Flood will need some time to see if he can get that unit on the right track.
5. To me, this is kind of like putting a band-aid on a gash that requires stitches and I would rather see Card maintain the starting role because I believed in the staff’s initial decision and I feel like this move will set him (Card) back. The staff watched Card and Thompson more closely than any of us ever have or will over the course of Spring and Fall camp. He won the job. He had a bad game…feels a little dicey to make this move, in regard to building him up for the seasons ahead, not just this one season. Texas is not in a position to run the rest of the table with the issues they have in the trenches. They just aren’t.
Casey Thompson may have made the game against Arkansas more competitive. Perhaps he would have even given Texas a shot at the win (I don’t see it, but you never know). I just feel like making the change after two games is not the way I would go about things.
Texas has two very winnable games directly in front of them as they face Rice and Texas Tech prior to getting into the meat of their schedule. I expect Casey will guide the Horns to two rather comfortable victories. I also believe Hudson Card would have led the Horns to two rather comfortable victories if he was given the opportunity.
Unless this is a change in offensive philosophy (which I hope it is not) from power run to more of a spread attack, I would rather see Sark pick Card up, dust him off, and send him back out there. Or, at the very least, Start Card and bring Casey in the game earlier, like each player takes three consecutive series against Rice and go from there if you want to get a more real time evaluation following the Arkansas game.
I know some of you applaud this move and I am not discrediting your thoughts as it very well may turn out to be the correct move. You know just as much as I do in regard to the quarterback situation. I just am not sure now was the time to make the move as I do have concerns about the decision-making process as it feels like an overreaction to a game where the QB play was not the main issue (again, in my opinion).
Interested in hearing your thoughts.
Commitment Analysis | ’22 DL Jaray Bledsoe
Football games are won in the trenches and Texas has made a concerted effort this cycle to add some quality beef along the Defensive front. So far, it’s been mission accomplished for Bo Davis and co. Recently, Texas picked up a big commitment from 4-Star Marlin Defensive Lineman Jaray Bledsoe. Bledsoe became the 5th DL commitment in the class and 19th commitment overall in the class.
What’s Texas getting in Bledsoe?
Ranking: Consensus 4-Star, National Top 150 prospect
Size: 6’4 265lbs
Offers: Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oregon, Alabama, A&M, TCU, Baylor
Projected Position at Texas: 3T, 5T, possibly some End
Player Comparison: Henry Melton (Texas 2005-2008)
Analysis: When I watch Bledsoe on video the first thing that comes to mind is how natural of an athlete he is. This isn’t a lumbering, heavy-footed human being by any means. He’s got clips playing WR, Running Back, etc., very impressive. His movement skills alone give him a higher upside than the typical run of the mill FBS DL recruit. Bledsoe has been a man amongst boys at the 2A level in Texas playing at Bremond High School. Now at 3A Marlin, we won’t get to see Bledsoe until January when he plays in the Under Armour All-American Game after being ruled ineligible by the UIL following his transfer.
With his unique blend of athleticism and size, he will enter college with the ability to fit into a 3-Man front as an End or as a Tackle in a 4-Man front and likely maintain that position and scheme flex through his first few seasons. He has no issues whatsoever disengaging from blocks at the high school level, but he will need time to refine his technique and learn how to use his hands at the next level as he faces bigger, better athletes.
Being a small-town prospect with some well-publicized work to do academically (I don’t anticipate him having issues qualifying), Bledsoe doesn’t come without risk and it could be argued that his floor is as low as his ceiling his high. With all of that being said, he is one of the top handful of Defensive Line prospects available in the state this cycle and he is a big coup for Texas.
Instant Impact Rating (1-10): 4. I don’t anticipate us seeing a ton of Bledsoe as a True Freshman, although I wouldn’t completely rule it out.
Long-term Impact (1-10): 7. Bledsoe has All-Conference upside if he is able to reach it during his time on campus.
By The Numbers | Texas vs. Arkansas 2021
– CJ Vogel
It is not going to be pretty.
Texas has been rotating a lot on the defensive side of the ball through two games. The defense obviously did not have a good game but I want to run through some notable snap counts from Saturday. Arkansas had 66 total offensive snaps for reference.
- Anthony Cook – 59 (led team)
- Jerrin Thompson – 52
- Josh Thompson – 52
- Demarvion Overshown – 46
- Luke Brockermeyer – 44
- Ray Thornton – 40
- Jacoby Jones – 38
- Jahdae Barron – 27
- Alfred Collins – 26
- Ovie Oghoufo – 24
- Jett Bush – 21
- Jaylan Ford – 21
- David Gbenda – 20
- Brendan Schooler – 20
- Chris Adimora – 12
- Darion Dunn – 10
- Ben Davis – 4
Can’t Run Left
I knew the rushing numbers were going to be bad, but I did not know they would be this glaring.
Rushing yards by direction.
- Off left end – 1 carry for 4 yards
- Off LT – 3 carries for -2 yards
- Off LG – 2 carries for -2 yards
- Between LG & C – 4 carries for 9 yards
- Between RG & C – 4 carries for 8 yards
- Off RG – 1 carry for 3 yards
- Off RT – 7 carries for 53 yards
- Off right end – 6 carries for 18 yards
Sticking with the offensive line, here is a look at total pressures allowed by each member on the OL. Texas allowed just two total sacks, but Card and Thompson were scrambling around for most of the evening.
- LT Christian Jones – 4 pressures allowed
- LG – Denzel Okafor – 1 pressure allowed
- C – Jake Majors – 3 pressures allowed
- RG – Junior Angilau – 0 pressures allowed
- RT – Derek Kerstetter – 3 pressures allowed
Keep in mind the three man fronts for Arkansas may have these skewed just a bit to the tackles but the numbers are ugly regardless.
Not in the Cards
After going 13-13 against Louisiana on throws under 20 yards in week one, it was a bit of a different story for Hudson Card in week two against Arkansas. Card finished 8/15 for 61 yards and no touchdowns.
- Throws behind LOS: 2-2 for -2 yards
- Throws 1-10 yards downfield: 4-4 for 27 yards
- Throws 11-20 yards downfield: 2-4 for 36 yards
- Throws 20+ yards downfield: 0/4 for 0 yards
Found this stat to be surprising. Coming in I expected Texas to really utilize play action off the running game with Bijan, though that was not the case.
- Play Action pass plays: 8
- Pass plays with no play action: 29