Oklahoma State Pre Game

Ponders

Strength of schedule

Texas’ first three opponents had a bad day last Saturday. Notre Dame lost at home to football powerhouse Duke 38-35, UTEP lost to Southern Mississippi 34-7, and California lost to Arizona State 51-41. The combined record of Notre Dame, UTEP, and California is 4-8.  Do we all agree that beating Notre Dame wasn’t such a big deal after all? Did you know that UTEP lost to Army a couple weeks ago 66-14? Could it be that we don’t know yet how competitive Texas will be for the balance of the season?

Coordinators

In 2015 the Texas offense ranked 100 out of 128 teams nationally. Not so good. Charlie Strong brought in a new and ballyhooed offensive coordinator in Sterlin Gilbert accompanied by new offensive line coach Matt Mattox, who worked with Gilbert at Tulsa. Voila, the Horns offense, through three games in 2016, is 22nd nationally averaging 44.7 points per game. The offense scored 41 points in a loss to California. No, that’s not a typo. Remember, Texas scored two points on a safety which resulted from a blocked punt.  A hyper-analytical reader might say, if you’re not including defensive and special teams scores in total offense statistics, Texas is averaging 44 points per game. Right.

In 2015 the Texas defense was ranked 106. Again, not so good.  Strong didn’t make defensive staff changes for 2016 standing pat with defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and most of his defensive assistants.  So far this year based on total defense statistics, Texas has improved to 66th nationally.  Still, the defensive is under-performing allowing 34.7 points per game which is 107th nationally.

Strong the football coach

Could Charlie Strong upgrade the defense the way the offense has been upgraded by replacing defensive coordinator Vance Bedford? If so, what is Strong, a defensive specialist, bringing to the table in fundamental football coaching?  We can be pretty sure Strong is an excellent recruiter and talent evaluator but is he so overwhelmed by head coaching responsibilities he cannot coach up the defense and  make positive contributions in game-planning and in-game adjustments?  I guess we’ll find out because Strong has said in his last two press conferences that he is re-evaluating his defensive coaches and will become more involved in defensive schemes and game planning.  I’m not holding my breath.

Kent Perkins

If the truth be known, I wouldn’t want to be judged by my behavior at age 21. Maybe not at age 41 either for that matter. Still, it’s a head-scratcher that a senior starter and team leader could be so drunk that he fell asleep in a fast food drive through and blew a .178. I was a little surprised that he only drew a one-game suspension from Strong. Did Strong lower the bar for Perkins because he’s a valuable player and his job security would be at risk if his team suffers a meltdown this season?  I’m not sure, but playing devil’s advocate, perhaps because Strong has had almost three years to get to know him, he’s already made the judgment that Perkins is a solid citizen who deserves leniency for a first offense.

Quarterback Shuffle

During the second half of the California game, the Texas offense gained 219 yards scored 10 points compared to 359 yards and 31 points in the first half.  The biggest factor in the second half drop off was two holding penalties that wiped out a first and ten at the Cal 7-yard line, and a first and ten at the Cal 13-yard line, and two false start penalties that stalled drives resulting in punts.  Surface analysis puts the blame on the offensive linemen who committed the penalties and maybe that’s where all the blame belongs, but something else was going on during these drives that may have disrupted the rhythm of the offense.  Texas changed quarterbacks six times during these drives.  Watching the game in real time and reading the drive chart just a minute ago it just seems dumb. Considering the manic quarterback shuffle and that Sterlin Gilbert called no running plays on Texas’ last drive of the game, I think the game got away from him in the second half.  Hopefully, he’ll be a better in-game manager going forward.

Oklahoma State

This game will provide Charlie Strong a legitimate test of his vow to get the defense fixed. Oklahoma State with veteran quarterback Mason Rudolph is the eleventh ranked passing team in the country averaging 340 yards per game.  The game is in Stillwater and Strong is 1-5 in his last six road games, his only victory coming in Waco against a depleted Baylor offense.  Last week I said I didn’t like night games on the road against passing teams.  Kickoff this week is 11am. Under Strong, Texas is 3-4 in games starting at 11, 1-3 on the road.

Texas is a two  -point underdog in this one which looks about right to me.  I see Mason Rudolph having a big game against a not yet fixed defense with the Texas offense keeping the Horns in the game but eventually falling short. Call it 44-42 OSU.

Upon Further Review

I joined a Writer’s Meetup Group this week so I was reviewing the Willie Earl archives for a writing sample to bring to my first meeting.  I sure have been writing about a whole lot of losing and frustration during the last three years and we know it wasn’t much better the three years before that.

Here’s to all of us living long enough to see the Longhorns winning big again and to see the Mopac improvement project completed.

Hook ‘Em

W.E

Oklahoma State Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: Predict Winners. Scores aren't required



    Tennessee @ Texas A&M
  • Florida St. @ Miami

8 Comments to “Oklahoma State Pre Game”

  1. I am beginning to doubt Charlie Strong will work out. It took him 3 seasons to finally bring in an offensive scheme. And now in this critical season he fields a woeful defense. And I have seen enough blocked extra points. That is poor coaching and poor preparation. How in the hell does that keep happening? He lucked into that kicker to begin with. Just think about the kicking fiasco we might have had if that kicker had not fallen into his lap. It’s frustrating that I see little measurable improvement from last season. Oh well. End of rant. I am officially less invested now and it’s only week 4.

  2. Heading to “chicken street” in Hanoi after a 12.5 km hash run in the hills west of town. The chicken BBQ is pretty good there and the beer should be cold. Kickoff at 11 pm thereabouts our time should be doable for at least the first quarter on the tedious ESPN gamecast, my only option for catching the game while you wankers as we say in the hash get to tune into the big screen from the comfort of your couch, unless you are making the ill-advised trip to beautiful Stillwater. Enjoy it. I hope it will be a shootout as advertised with the D raising their game just enough to carry this one for our lads. Hook ’em from Hanoi.

    • You seem to be doing a lot of running for a 59 year old ex wanker

  3. Some defensive specialist. The recruiting and energy are great but the failure to execute is baffling. I get the feeling Chuck/Vance have a ‘vision’ but don’t have the players in the secondary to execute it. I don’t watch tape or anything, just a feeling I have.

    I have watched two OSU games this year out of morbid curiosity solidarity with my former roommate and found they are not a very good team. If I hadn’t been at the Cal game and if “The Stronghorn’s” (ugh) road record wasn’t such a disaster I would be confident we would beat them.

    The aftermath of the Cal game was more amusing than I would have thought given the circumstances. The students who live in frat houses adjacent to the stadium were playing “We Are the Champions” on a loop, which I thought was quite a statement. Two Cal alumns in a bar invited my group to share their table and asked how much Texas had won by (“we don’t watch the games”).

    A Cal frat guy in a tank top, who was evidently indifferent to the temperature, was trying to bait Texas fans by offering high fives to UT fans who were gritting their teeth and trying ignore him. He seemed both baffled and disappointed when I smiled and returned his high five and clapped him on the shoulder, “hey man, good game.” “Uhhh… thanks…”

    Get it together Chuck, I’m tired to defusing situations where I’m being taunted by 19 year olds.

    • Former roommate here. I agree with your assessment. OkState isn’t that great. They’re pretty similar to last year’s team, except they’re not getting the 50/50 plays that won them close games and came to define the season last year.

      Through the first 3 games, similar to last year, the Pokes have been a one trick pony. Throw the ball deep because the run game is ineffective. However, last week against Baylor a freshman running back busted out 122 yards and a TD. Look out for Justice Hill this week. Okstate hasn’t had a running back with two consecutive 100 yard games since Joseph Randle. Fans are hoping that OkState can start balancing the offence this week with this freshman running back.

      I’m worried about Texas. They seem to have a fight in them this year that I haven’t seen in a long time.

      Go Pokes!

      • Interesting observations by the roommates …. perhaps I’m overly pessimistic about the Longhorns’ chances in Stillwater

        • Watching Stanford at Washington. Still burns my ass we didn’t get Chris Petersen.

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