The Pretender

Paraphrasing the great Jackson Browne, I’m caught between the longing to write about the Longhorns and the struggle for the legal tender.  In other words, a confluence of new work, neglected ditch digging work, and a personal life have temporarily pushed Willie Earl to the back of the line. I missed my deadline for a post OU game blog so I’m going to post a combination OU, Iowa State column on Friday including the results from the OU Over/Under.

In the meantime, here are a couple of must read articles if you’re still in interested in 2016 Longhorn Football.

Hook ‘Em,


Kirk Bohls

Scipio Texas from

Here are some quick thoughts without the benefit of film review:


672 yards surrendered. A 300+ passer, a 200+ rusher, a 200+ receiver. That’s the futility trifecta for a defense, demonstrating that we took away no part of OU’s offense. A basic idea of defensive football is to take something, anything away, narrow the offense’s options, then try to guess right based on their declared tendencies. Nope.

Texas did force 4 turnovers. Roach’s was the most impressive force as he knocked the ball out of the TE’s hands to #14. We also got a lucky break on the Brandon Jones PI, but whatever. The other two fumbles were honestly earned. Mixon, you clown.

Jason Hall played another solid game for us. He’s a solid walk-up safety right now.

If our blitzes were any more telegraphed, we’d need to do them in Morse Code. Terrible timing, personnel use and angles.

We’re horrendous on 3rd down. 8 of 12 when it mattered, 8 of 14 overall. We don’t recognize game situations from the booth and we don’t think strategically.

I’ll give some examples of this:

1. We go with a blitzer/chaser look on 3rd and long on an overload blitz early in the 1st quarter. It opens up perfectly. Except our standup edge guy is big Poona Ford. He has an open shot on Mayfield but he doesn’t get there in time. Completion. 1st down OU. If it’s a small coming at the correct angle, it’s a sack and strip. This stuff matters.

2. On another 3rd and 5, Sooners up 8, late in the game, OU is near midfield. They go 5 wide. We clear out and run a ridiculous coverage game with PJ Locke and McCulloch both occupying the same space outside (they’re literally touching each other) and Mayfield runs the wide open QB draw. He isn’t touched in his first ten yards. 1st down Sooners. This was the obvious offensive call on that down and distance in the larger game context. We don’t even honor it.

3. Mayfield runs the same draw in the red zone for an easy TD. Go re-watch our contain on Davis Webb in goal line against Cal. Then re-watch the Hager telegraphed edge stunt against OSU’s Rudolph for his 19 yard TD scamper. Every OC in the league has this in their back pocket against us in these situations because we’re so fundamentally unsound and predictable.

Horrible mental errors in single coverage from Davante (79 yard TD iso route on backside), Kris Boyd (stops running with ball in air…just because) and Holton Hill (42 yard TD surrendered on double move when he had no safety help over the top). When all of your players are dumb on the field, it stems from your staff on the sideline. Clay Jennings is stealing his paychecks.

This is an incredibly low football IQ defense. All of these guys can’t be this dumb independently.


OU was squatting on short routes, outnumbering the LOS (extra man crash from outside to hit our running game) and allowing single coverage outside. It was really just a matter of time before we connected, forced deep safeties and then ran Foreman up their ass. Which is what happened. It just took a half – which was a quarter long. Sometimes, offense comes in floods, not steady rain drops.

The OL lost in the first half and won in the second half. There were schematic reasons for this, but they needed to compete better early, even when the defense is outnumbering them.

The Swoopes Package out of a regular spread set is asinine if we don’t threaten a throw. It just allows the defense to overload and win. Either run it with power personnel and go dick on dick, or show that you’ll punish extra men in the box. C’mon Sterlin. You’re better than this.

OU repeatedly crashed an extra outside defender in the first half to stop our inside running game. That’s solved with a jet sweep or running formations that disallow him standing there. We chose the latter. So Foreman ran for 127 in the second half. That adjustment needs to happen more quickly.

#7 for OU was Deion Sanders in his prime in the first half. Amazing. Sometimes you have to tip your cap when he breaks up a perfect throw. He regressed to the mean quickly in the second half when we got him with Duvernay for 62 and Leonard for 45 yard touchdowns, respectively.

Buechele is a work in progress, but his arm strength outside is costing us YAC if he doesn’t throw with anticipation. Obviously, left some meat on the bone out there, but man, he really competed.

Love Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson. More please. John Burt. You’re making it tough to play you. How did it come to this?


Great job. Really. We returned kicks, covered kicks, made a good decisions and forced a turnover on the guy who like to knockout 100 pound girls.

Dickson is a monster and if we had a real defense, we could win a hell of a lot of games just playing 1980s football running Foreman, throwing deep and letting Dickson create 90 yard fields.


If you told me we’d force four turnovers, have only two penalties, play well on special teams and score 40 points, I’d have nearly guaranteed that Charlie would be wearing the Golden Hat again.

But the Texas defense.

You can’t fix a defense you lost in the spring and summer in one week. 

3 Comments to “The Pretender”

  1. My study/leg-day/college football watch buddy “Justice Case” texted me about the Herbstreit hot take during college game day. I can only assume suppressing my anger to Herbie’s comments are what led me to flip-out and start shouting back at a local AM Sports radio show loudly enough that people in other cars noticed on the way to the gym after the OU game:

    Texas fans just need to be patient… the program was such a disaster and the culture was all wrong when Charlie Strong got there, just give it a chance things are definitely improving… I don’t even think they should have fired Mack–honestly


    My primary enjoyment for the rest of the season is probably going to be derived from watching Mike Leach and Chris Petersen turn the Pac-12 upside down for $3.6 & 2.86 million a year respectively. Washington, as I’m sure everyone is aware by now, has not had a recruiting class ranked higher than 31 since Petersen took over 3 years ago and is playing with one of the youngest starting rosters in FBS. I don’t think anyone can make a colorable argument the level of competition he faces in the Pac-12 is lower than the BIG XII anymore.

  2. Oh . . . and let’s get our priorities in order. What’s with this work and personal life crap?

  3. When did you go all coach-speak on us. And this is WITHOUT film review?

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