As critical as we all may/can be of these Texas Longhorns players and staff, we have to take a moment to realize that 1-1 is better than 0-2. I know it was a 28-21 win against Tulsa, but like I said it was a WIN. I don’t care what you say, I’d rather be 1-1 than 0-2 any day.
Was it a perfectly played game? No.
Is there plenty to work on? Yes.
Can all of our problems be fixed? Also yes.
Considering where this program has been in recent years, it’s going to be a hard climb to get back to where we want/need to be. But I can tell you it starts with beating USC. Are they the USC Trojans of years past? Absolutely not, but it’s still the USC Trojans and their successes speak for themselves. Going 2-1 into Big 12 Conference play will feel a lot better than 1-2.
Some things I noticed from last Saturday’s victory. I won’t hit on everything that I noticed but there were a few key things that stuck out to me while watching the game.
First: One of the biggest things I noticed while watching this game was the ability to establish the run game. The combination of Tre Watson and Keontay Ingram will be something to keep an eye on throughout this season. The ability of Sam Ehlinger to run the read option at a high level adds another level to the run game that can’t be replicated. When the run game is able to get established it opens up the ability to get the passing game going at a different level.
Second: Sam Ehlinger. This was the game that I believe that Sam needed for his confidence to establish that extra level he needs. He was able to get both his ground and passing game going at a level he hasn’t before. Yes, it was the Tulsa defense. But he was still able to put up numbers that he should’ve. Throwing for over 200 yards with 2 TD’s and also running for 55+ yards and 1 TD all with 0 turnovers and a HUGE game clinching drive with 4 minutes left. That last drive of the game was something that I haven’t seen in the past 4 years. Somehow, someway in the past 4/5 seasons the Longhorns would’ve found a way to either go into overtime or lose that game. I personally think that drive was crucial to gaining confidence in order to trust the offense in a game clinching drives for years to come.
Thirdly: Our defense is close. But there’s still plenty of negatives that we have to improve on. One of the main things that we have to improve on is the ability to pressure the QB. Through the first two games of the season, there has been 0 sacks. For something that was supposed to be a huge part of our defense being successful it’s not a good sign for us. Hager and Omenihu need to find a way to simply apply more pressure in some way. With the ability to get more pressure on the QB, it’ll open up the ability for our secondary to not cover WR’s for 5-7 seconds for a play. I don’t care who you are as a DB (outside of a handful) there’s no possible way to cover someone for 5-7 seconds. This young DB group is something to be excited about, and I believe this defense is close. If they can keep us in games until the end then I believe we can make that next step.
Up Next: USC Trojans @ Texas Longhorns on Saturday 9/15/18 at 7pm CST.
I think the Horns pull out this victory 31-21 and take a stride of confidence going into Big 12 Conference play.