Dazed and Confused

I’m still in daze over the Longhorns meltdown in Fayetteville but after a few days of reading and reviewing key plays online, I’m not so confused.  Steve Sarkisian looked dazed and confused on the sideline during the second half in Fayetteville. His team was as ill prepared as any Texas team I can remember. This includes Tom Herman’s Maryland meltdowns, about 75% of the Charlie Strong era, and Mack Browns 63-14 and 65-13 losses to Oklahoma in 2000 and 2003.

Sarkisian lost the Arkansas game for the Horns before it started with a bad game plan offensively and defensively compounded by not being able to adjust when the tide started turning against them. Distilling what I’ve read this week, the fatal flaws of the Arkansas gameplan include a blocking scheme that Kyle Flood and Sarkisian prefer to run. Unfortunately, the personnel on the offensive line collectively doesn’t have the skill or talent to execute the scheme Flood and Sarkisian want to run. It turns out last year’s blocking schemes were more suitable to the talent currently available than Flood’s and Sarkisian’s.

During his Monday press conference this week, Sarkisian said (I’m paraphrasing) there were a few plays that had they gone differently, the entire game would have taken on a completely different tone. He didn’t itemize the plays, but I will.

  1. The Arkansas punt returner fumbled the punt inside their five-yard line and Texas’s Kitan Crawford recovered but with his toe on the line.
  2. Early in the second quarter on a third and 15 from the Arkansas 34, Card slightly overthrew a wide-open Jordan Whittington in the end zone.
  3. Trailing 16-0 late in the second quarter from the Texas 29, Jordan Whittington drops a relatively easy catch on the Arkansas 28.
  4. Darned if I can find the where and when but Card missed an open Xavier Worthy for a touchdown.
  5. Midway through the second quarter, Cameron Dicker muffs a snap and had his punt blocked and Arkansas recovers on the Texas 6-yard line.  

Yes, if these plays had gone the other way the game would have taken on a different tone, but Texas would still have been dominated on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball which still would have led to a decisive Arkansas victory. Texas’s quarterback and pass receivers need to make plays that they didn’t make in the Arkansas game. Even if they do, Texas fortunes still depend on the play of the offensive and defensive lines.

Sark’s Bad Numbers

To date, Sarkisian’s record on the road as a head coach is 10-22. If you take out his first two years after taking over an 0-12 Washington team his road record is 7-14.

He’s 12-20 versus ranked teams. And did I see a graphic on the screen during the Arkansas telecast that said Sarkisian was 0-18 when trailing at the start of the second half?  I hope that’s not what I saw.

Quarterback Shuffle

Naming Casey Thompson the starter for the Rice seems like the only thing Sarkisian can do now. Going back to the Alamo Bowl and through two games this year, Thompson looks like a decent quarterback. Unless he plays poorly this week, it’s time to end the quarterback shuffle and consign Hudson Card to mop-up duty. After the Arkansas game, I’m wondering if there will be any mop-up duty this year. Nothing against Card long-term, but I think it’s been well documented that a quarterback shuffle isn’t what’s best for the team.

I know some of my fellow baby boomers remember the Roger Staubach-Craig Morton shuffle. How silly was that?


Think what you will about Rice Football, but know this, they were tied with Arkansas through three quarters in Fayetteville.
Somewhere out there Mark Adams is saying, “Those pesky Rice Owls!”

Willie Earl’s Song of the Week

“Life During Wartime” – Talking Heads

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
This ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain’t got time for that now

Oh my god. This is “Greatness.”


Hook ‘Em,

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