Texas Tuesday

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…

Texas is BACK….

in Austin, Texas again this weekend to host the Horned Frogs of TCU….lol got you guys

 

But seriously, what an incredible atmosphere last Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Largest crowd ever in Austin, Texas to watch a Texas Longhorns football game. Chris Del Conte has officially gotten my attention. What he’s done in the short amount of time he’s been on campus is truly incredible. He’s brought the magic of a Texas Longhorns gameday back to Austin for the first time in awhile.

Now for the game. What an incredible game played by our defense after the first few drives by USC. The Trojans came out and score on two of their first three possessions and being up 14-3 after the end of the 1st quarter. Texas went onto score 34 unanswered points and go onto win 37-14. The defense was phenomenal in the last 3 quarters of this game and Texas dominated the last 45 minutes of this game in all 3 aspects of the game.

3 keys to the victory:

  1. There were 3 players that really stuck out to me on the defensive side of the football. Obviously the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, Gary Johnson is one of them. We’re seeing why Johnson was a heavily recruited LB coming out of JuCo. His ability to roam the linebacker position from sideline to sideline is a huge plus for Texas, especially with Big 12 play approaching next week. The other two are the Brandon Jones and Kris Boyd. These two guys are playing a huge role in this secondary being able to lead by example and give these freshman some time to make the transition. Brandon Jones is showing the big time ability to roam the secondary and showcase his heavy hitting and unique play making ability. Kris Boyd has finally grown into his game and has become the definition of a workhorse on an island. He’s shown the ability to make big stops and huge plays in big situations. This defense can be really special, if the pass rush can find some more consistency then it will be fun to watch.
  2. Sam Ehlinger and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Once again, he was able to take care of the football and display his ability to change a game with his ability to tuck it and run and also by design. His completion percentage this week was something that isn’t a problem. I repeat it isn’t a problem. Our plan on offense was to take advantage of USC playing man coverage on basically every play. We took many chances downfield and this is a reason why that completion percentage was lower than other times. He’s a gamechanger and as long as he can take care of that football then I don’t see us having any issues. LJH is showing the big play ability that we’ve been dying for in recent years. He’s able to be that safety blanket for Sam in different situations and has that speed you can’t teach. He will be a huge part of our success going into Big 12 play for years to come.
  3. Special Teams. Ladies and gentleman, we have found a kicker that we can trust. Cameron Dicker has a special leg. He is able to be that safety net that we haven’t had the ability to have in the past 5 years or so. He has brought the ability to hit kicks with plenty of range and show the talent that he showed at Lake Travis for many years. He’s had PLENTY of huge kicks during his time at Lake Travis and he’s showing that ability so far on The 40 Acres. The play that changed the course of this game for the Longhorns was the big time FG block by Caden Sterns that was scooped up by Anthony Wheeler and taken to the house for a touchdown. This brought the game to 30-14 instead of 23-17 and was ultimately the dagger in USC.

Up Next: Texas Longhorns vs TCU Horned Frogs at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas at 3:30PM CST.

Prediction: If Texas can control the line of scrimmage and hold TCU’s big play ability at bay then this can be a game the Longhorns should win. If not, then TCU’s offense can have a field day with the UT defense. Both teams will have their first Big 12 game and it’ll be another rocking atmosphere in Austin. With that being said, I like UT coming off a big win against USC and keeping the momentum rolling while a TCU team comes in deflated off a tough loss to Ohio State.
Texas wins 31-27.

Hook ‘Em

-Ozzie

Texas Tech might be good!

Well, how about that game… Not at all how I expected game 3 to go, but I think Tech fans everywhere will gladly take a 2 two touchdown win over Houston. We’ll do the usual here, break down both sides of the ball, then talk about what it means going forward.

 

Offense

If you had told me a week ago that Tech would be missing starting RB Da’leon Ward, backup RB Tre King, and lose both offensive lineman on the left side (Madison Akamnonu and Travis Bruffey), I would have predicted a tough day in Lubbock. But that’s exactly what happened, and the red Raiders put up 63 points against a talented Houston defense. It all started with true freshman QB Alan Bowman. A guy who many (including myself) questioned whether or not he should even be on the field, now looks like a future star. The kid put up over 600 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 70% of his passes… In his SECOND career start! Every question I had about Bowman was answered. Through the first two games, Kingsbury kept a tight leash on Bowman. Other than a couple red zone fades, most throws were short. A lot of screens and short patterns. Against Houston, that all changed. Kliff let the kid sling the ball around and the results could not have been better. Maybe the most impressive part about Bowman’s performance so far this season… Zero interceptions, one sack! The kid simply hasn’t made a mistake yet. Any questions about who should be the starting QB for this team should be answered. This is his offense.

He wasn’t without help though. Tech’s inexperienced WR corps stepped up big time. TJ Vasher (shout out Wichita Falls) caught a handful of passes for close to 100 yards and two big touchdowns. Ja’Deon High caught 7 passes for 120 yards. And Antoine Wesley, take a bow young man. The junior caught 13 passes for a Texas Tech record 261(!!) yards and 3 TDs. Keep in mind some of the receivers that have passed through Lubbock… Crabtree, Welker, Jakeem Grant, Amandola, Keke Coutee, Eric Ward (shout out Wichita Falls again), Robert Johnson, Jerrett Hicks, Joel Falani, and Jace Amaro. None of them ever did what Antoine Wesley did this past Saturday. It seems this WR group has developed some nice chemistry with their new QB.

As I mentioned above, Tech was missing their top 2 running backs for the second strait week. It wasn’t a problem against Lamar, but I was concerned about that position going into game 3. But true freshman Ta’Zhawn Henry stepped up big time with 111 yards and 4 TDs on 24 carries. Credit the offensive line as well. Not only did the render all-american DL Ed Oliver ineffective, but they did so with two backups for most of the game. I feel like more should be made by the fact that this Oline has shut down the best defensive player in the nation for two years in a row.

 

Defense

This is complicated… I honestly have no real feel for if this defense is good or not. Coming off of a shutout vs Lamar, they allowed 49 points to Houston. Some context might help to explain such a high point total. For starters, just like last season the Cougs scored on their final drive of the game when the outcome was already decided. They also scored quickly after Dequan Bowman muffed a punt and they took over in the red zone. AND they benefited from the most baffling missed call I have ever seen in a football game when the Houston offense threw 2 forward passes in the same play. They got about 30 yards on the play. Had a flag been thrown, I believe it would have been 3rd and like 30-something. If you take those 3 away, thats 28 points…

However, the pass defense is clearly an issue. Ja’Shawn Johnson has still not played a snap of football this season and it shows. Until he comes back, the pass defense will be the biggest weakness on this team. But the run defense, especially in the second half, was very good. The LBs played great, big Joe Wallace and Preston Wilson made some big plays inside, and Tony Jones got a sack for the 3rd consecutive game. Overall, I am optimistic about this defenses ability hold their ground enough to give the Red Raiders a chance to win most of these games. Especially if the offense continues what they have shown the past two weeks.

 

Moving Forward

The Red Raiders finished up their non-con schedule at 2-1. Obviously, everyone would prefer 3-0 (and I would love to see Ole Miss again with the current stability now at QB). But considering how the Ole Miss game went, 2-1 ain’t bad. Beating Houston was absolutely essential to any hopes at a Bowl game, and they did that. They open up Big12 play this week against Oklahoma State, who they have not beat sense 2008(!!). OSU is 3-0 and coming off of a nice win over Boise State, they’ll for sure be favored at home (night game) against Tech. I haven’t seen much of them so far so I will save my prediction for the weekly Pick’Em blog. But I will say, I’m extremely encouraged about what Kliff has been able to do sense the opening loss to Ole Miss. Saturday night is an opportunity to take a huge step forward and get people in Lubbock excited about this team for the first time in at least a few years. It should be common knowledge at this point, but I’ll say it again… This is a game Kliff needs to win. Doing so could swing the momentum for his job status after this season.

To wrap up… I have seen some scoff at beating Houston, acting as if Houston is some push over. Well, The Cougs have won 8 out of their last 10 games vs Power 5 opponents. Those two losses came to Texas Tech the past two years. And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing Coug fans reminded that they would be a door mat in the Big12. I look forward to reminding them again in a few years when these teams matchup again.

Guns Up!

-Josh-

 

College Football Pick ‘Em- Week 3

Week 2 results-

Josh: 10-5

Ozzie: 10-5

Overall Record-

Josh: 10-5

Ozzie: 10-5

–Week 3–

OU Vs Iowa St-

Ozzie- Oklahoma

Closer than people expect but OU offense is too much for ISU.

Josh- Oklahoma

Iowa State is super overrated this year. OU wins big.

LSU Vs Auburn-

Ozzie- Auburn

I think Auburn’s offense is a tad better than LSU’s offense. Auburn by a TD.

Josh- Auburn

Close game, but LSU doesn’t have the offense to win these games yet.

Boise State Vs Oklahoma State-

Ozzie- Oklahoma State

Mike Gundy loves his postgame “smoothies” Drinks another one after a victory.

Josh- Oklahoma State

I want to pick Boise here, just can’t take the leap. OSU by a FG.

Alabama Vs Ole Miss-

Ozzie- Alabama

Closer than people will think but Tua and offense just too much.

Josh- Alabama

Ole Miss stays close for 2 quarters, Bama pulls away in the 3rd.

Missouri Vs Purdue-

Ozzie- Missouri

Tigers offense better than Purdue’s defense.

Josh- Perdue

This feels like a game Missouri loses every year.

Washington Vs Utah-

Ozzie- Washington

Huskies start route to Pac-12 Championship

Josh- Washington

Browning and Gaskin just too much for the Utes.

Duke Vs Baylor-

Ozzie- Duke

Duke surprises most people and beats Baylor.

Josh- Duke

Still waiting for Baylor to impress me under Matt Rhule, this one gets ugly.

UNT Vs Arkansas-

Ozzie- Arkansas

I think UNT makes game close. But Arkansas just has a few more athletes to pull this off.

Josh- UNT

My adopted mid major of 2018 pulls off the “upset.” Mason Fine introduces himself to the CFB world as one of the best QBs nobody has heard of.

Houston Vs Texas Tech-

Ozzie- Houston

I don’t think Kliff and Co. can pull off this victory.

Josh- Texas Tech

Every year I hear how Houston should beat Tech… Once again, not going to happen. Close game, but Tech by a TD.

A&M Vs ULM-

Ozzie- Texas A&M

Aggies beat some school from Louisiana.

Josh- Aggies by a lot.

Ohio State Vs TCU-

Ozzie- Ohio State

Ohio State firepower on offense just a tad much for TCU.

Josh- Ohio State

I want this to be a close game, but I don’t see it. OSU by 20.

USC Vs Texas-

Ozzie Texas

Herman and Co. make a statement and get a big win.

Josh- USC

UT looked better last week, but still only won by 7. Low scoring game, the Trojans win a close one.

Looking Back on Week 2: Texas A&M, TCU.

We’re through the first two weeks of college football season, before we dive into some huge week 3 match ups later this week, lets take a look back on week 2 for some of the Lone Star teams.

Check out our weekly UT and TTU blogs here and here.

Texas A&M:

How about that game, huh!? Color me impressed with the Aggies for the first time since Johnny Football’s Freshman year. I was skeptical in Jimbo Fisher’s ability to change the toxic culture left behind my Kevin Sumlin this quickly, but it seems like he has done just that. After falling behind by a couple scores, Kellond Mond and company refused to give up and they were SO close to forcing overtime against one of the two most talented teams in America.

Of course this game had some controversy attached to it… So lets address that.

The whole “fumble in the end zone is a touchback” rule absolutely sucks! I don’t have an alternative for that occasion, but there has to be a better option than what they currently enforce. Having said that, I DO believe the officials made the correct call. The best camera angle came from the goal line cam, where it looked like the ball leaned slightly to the left of the pie line, meaning the ball did go into the end zone before going out of bounds. Having said that, even if it was the wrong call, it didn’t even matter. The Aggie defense stepped up and got the ball back. The Kellon Mond hits his receiver in the end zone and gives his team a chance to tie. Here’s where more controversy came up… Jimbo is a fantastic coach, but could he have made a worse call than what he went with on that 2 point conversion attempt!? Rolling Mond out to right and packing 22 players all on one side of the field gave the young QB no lanes to run or throw. I thought that was a huge mistake by Jimbo.

Nonetheless, I expected a blowout. So A&M should feel great about themselves right now. It looks like they could be in for a really good season.

UP NEXT: UL Monroe @ Kyle Field

 

TCU:

The Horned frogs once again had a cupcake opponent in week 2, and they did exactly what they should have by blowing out SMU. Honestly, there wasn’t much to take from this game, we still aren’t completely sure how good this TCU team is. So far they have taken care of business against week opponents. This week is where we really find out if this team is legit or not. Facing off against Dwayne Haskins, JK Dobbins, and Nick Bosa’s Ohio State Buckeyes will be a huge challenge for this TCU squad. As always, expect Paterson to have the defense prepared. But this Ohio State team still could put up big numbers. The question will be whether or not Sonny Cumbie can get his offense prepared to block Nick Bosa and protect QB Shawn Robinson. So far in 2018, this team has been impressive, but subtle. This week, they’ll need to be loud.

UP NEXT: Ohio State @ AT&T Stadium in Arlington

What to make of Texas Tech’s 77-0 win

Not sense the days of Ruffin McNeal, Jamar Wall, Joe Garcia, and Darcell McBath has a Texas Tech defense allowed a goose egg on the scoreboard. That was way back in 2006 vs South Eastern Louisiana. Nobody thought much of that shut out because of the opponent, so we really should treat this shut out the same. This was against a BAD Lamar team (picked 10th out of 11 in the Southland Conference). But my hardcore fandom goes back to 2005, which means this is just the second time since I started closely following this team that I have seen them allow zero points… So gosh dangit I enjoyed it! I was just two years ago that La Tech scored 30+ against this defense, seasons before that we saw Central Arkansas and UTEP put a lot of points up as well. While Tech won all of those game, they were never as satisfying as they should have been. This game, while it was against a bad, overmatched football team, was satisfying.

Speaking of satisfying performances… 77 points ain’t bad! True Freshman Alan Bowman got the start as expected and he couldn’t have played much better. Once again, Bowman was not asked to do much. Kliff relied heavily on the run game, calling 7 run plays that ended up in the end zone. But the best thing you can say about Bowman right now is that he does not make mistakes. With a 42-0 halftime lead, the second half belonged to back up Jett Duffey and 3rd string walk on Colt Garrett. As I wrote last week, I really wanted to see what Duffey could do in game action. We got that chance and saw both the good and the bad that has been reported about Duffey. The good: his athleticism jumps out of the TV screen. He’s fast and he has a much stronger arm than any of the other QB’s on the roster. The bad: he threw one of the most unexplainable interceptions you will see at the power 5 level. I left that game with the conclusion that if Duffey can get past his turnover tendencies, he will be the starting QB for this team before the end of the season. The ball just has more energy coming out of his hands than the other two options (Bowman and injured week 1 starter McLane Carter). In addition, his ability to run the ball gives Kliff so many more options (especially in the red zone) for play calling. Personally, I would like to see Bowman remain the starter, but give Jett some red zone action and take advantage of his athleticism. Bowman has done nothing to lose the job at this point, but I question if Tech can be effective with the conservative game plan that is required with Bowman under center once they start playing Big12 teams (or even this week vs Houston). As improved as the defense is, you’re gonna have to have someone back there willing to make plays. Jett can be that guy in my opinion. But he has to prove that he can protect the ball first. We’ll see what happens, but I don’t think this QB discussion will be settled anytime soon.

 

UP NEXT: Tech Vs Houston @ Jones ATT Stadium. This is a monster game for Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech. A loss would likely seal Kliff’s fate at the end of the season as a path to 7 or 8 wins would be all but closed.

Prediction: Tech’s defense carries them through a tough offensive game. Both QB’s play and Tech wins 24-17.

 

Check out @ozziedaniel‘s weekly UT blog here. And my thoughts on TAMU and TCU here.

Texas Tuesday

1-1.

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.

Houston Texans Preview/NFL Predictions

Houstons Texans 2018-19 Preview

I know we have all been celebrating the return of football for over a week now. But if we’re being honest, we all know that football is not fully back until week 1 of the NFL season. Well it’s here folks, so celebrate away. Here, I will be celebrating by sharing my thoughts on the Houston Texans 2018-19 season. So lets go!

The 2017-18 Texans may have been the most fun 4-12 team in NFL history. They had about a month in half run where they were absolutely must watch TV. Once Deshaun Watson took over the starting QB job from Tom Savage, Texans fans got to watch a legitimate QB for the first time sense before Matt Schaub lost his eye sight. For 6 weeks or so Deshaun carved up defenses through the air, and some on the ground as well. He went toe-to-toe with Tommy GOAT in an exciting shootout vs the Patriots, ran all over the Bengals, and torched the Legion of Boom defense in Seattle. Unfortunately, that game in Seattle would be his last of the season, as he suffered a torn ACL during practice the next week. But seeing the way he moved this offense during that stretch has Houston fans as excited as they have ever been. For this upcoming season, Watson is back and has weapons all over the field. At WR, Deandre Hopkins has solidified himself as a top 3 player at his position. Will Fuller V showed outstanding chemistry with Watson last season, and the Texans drafted slot receiver Keke Coutee out of Texas Tech. Coutee has allegedly been a standout in training camp. Despite a mid-camp injury, he will likely be a factor, along with Bruce Ellington, in the slot this year. At RB, Lamar Miller returns as a consistent presence in the back field. Health and age could be a factor for Miller this year, so it’s important that second year back D’Onta Foreman gets healthy (he’s currently on the PUP list). Short yardage back Alfred Blue could be a factor once again this year as well. The biggest issue for the Texans offense this year will be the offensive line. A handful of high draft picks have not worked out for the Texans Oline over the past couple of seasons, leaving a thin and inexperienced group tasked with protecting the young superstar at QB. If the Oline can step up, this might be the most explosive offense in the league.

Defensively, health might be the only concern. Romeo Crennel is back at DC after taking a season off. While Mike Vrabel was an easy guy to root for, I think the Texans defense is in better hands with Crennel in stead. There is plenty of experience in the defensive back field. Veterans Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson are back (Jackson now at Strong Safety), offseason additions Tryann Mathew (FS), and Aaron Colvin (CB) will play major roles, and Kevin Johnson (CB) is back and will play a big role if he can stay healthy. I’m really excited to see this group, mostly because of the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathew. The front seven may be as talented as any front seven in the NFL, if (and this is big if) they can stay healthy. Superstar DE JJ Watt is back and says he feels as good as he ever has and OLB Whitney Mercilus is back as well. They’ll be rejoining pro bowl OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney (coming off of his best season as a pro) and a duo of solid ILB’s in Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney. This is a defense that struggled defending the pass last year, but despite losing 2 key pieces up front ranked in the upper half of the league in rush defense. A fully healthy Texans defense could be a nightmare for the rest of the AFC. I expect minor improvements against the pass, but the front seven will hold teams well under their averages in the run game this year. This is a really good defense.

The schedule overall is fairly easy, and I do think health will be on the Texan’s side this year. Having said that, I think the Jaguars remain the favorites to win the AFC South. The Texans can make a playoff run, but I’ll tamper my expectations a bit and say they go 10-6, earning a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.

NFL Predictions

There’s a really cool website called NFLpredictors.com. This site allows you to go week by week through the regular season picking games, and it does all the standings/tie breakers for you. Once you finish the regular season, it will show you what the playoffs would be based off of your predictions, then you can predict the playoffs. Here’s what I came up with…

IMG_2174  IMG_2175IMG_2176

There you have it… Rams over Cheifs in the Super Bowl, book it!

But also, I have no idea what’s going to happen, so don’t hold me to it… Football is back! Enjoy it folks!