Last evening, the Texas Longhorns had an opportunity to make a statement against a rapidly improving Kansas State team– and they did not.
In spite of a solid effort by the Texas defense– who managed to keep Collin Klein in check for most of the game–the Longhorns could not find consistent enough production on the offensive side of the ball to come away with a victory.
Texas QB David Ash has yet to show a combination of arm strength and accuracy. On deep balls, the throws which Ash has made suggest that being able to get the ball there is not an issue, what is the issue is a lack of accuracy. Last evening–as in weeks’ past–Ash had Mike Davis open on long routes and either underthrew or overthrew the ball by several yards.
While watching the game last night, my friends and I were debating whether this has more to do with Ash’s lack of accuracy, or poor routes being run by his receivers who aren’t on the same page with the young QB. Either way, it’s more than obvious how valuable Jaxon Shipley actually is to this team, and how much it misses his crisp route-running and ability to create separation when he is not on the field.
The running game was decent on Saturday, but did not provide enough to help make up for the lack of production in the passing game. It’s apparent that both Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron are not 100%. Both men had trouble hitting holes with the same explosiveness that they did earlier in the season. While they each had nice gains on the night, the confidence just wasn’t there overall.
Does this go back to the inability of the offensive line to get the push necessary to allow the run game to succeed, and give whichever QB is in the game a chance to throw out of an unabated pocket?
It seems that way with each passing week.
The dominant offensive line which we saw against Kansas and Texas Tech has not been nearly as forceful over the past two games. Are the Missouri and Kansas State defensive lines that much better? It’s hard to believe, but I suppose it’s possible.
As per usual, I have very little negative to say about the Texas defense. The pressure on Klein was solid throughout the evening and pursuit and cover by the second-level defenders was solid–with some small exceptions–throughout as well.
Unfortunately, for Texas things don’t get any easier. With an upcoming trip to College Station to face the Aggies for the last time in the foreseeable future and a December 3rd tilt with giant-killer Baylor, Mack Brown and his team have yet to write the final chapter of the 2011 season.
Will Texas finish at .500, be relegated to a low-tier bowl, and play in that bowl to salvage a winning season?
Or, will this team somehow find a way to grind out two wins against quality opponents in the next two weeks and finish strong, building momentum into the bowl season and into the 2012 season?
Sit back, get your favorite couch ready and watch it unfold.
We’ll be here breaking it down each step of the way.