I don’t even know where to begin after the way that game ended, so I’m just going to hop right in and see where things go. That was a winnable game that Texas let get away from them against a top 10 opponent.
No amount of moral victories should make anyone in burnt orange feel better about how this one played out.
1. The offense is a complete and utter mess across the board
From the personnel, to the game planning, to the play-calling the offense is a complete wreck. They can’t execute basic, vanilla things and when they do, the play is more than likely coming back due to a penalty. The offensive line is horrid right now. The injuries have piled up on this group and they are huge eye sore right now, constantly putting Sam Ehlinger under fire and running for his life. You have to do your best to give a young quarterback a chance and hang in there. I am starting to worry that the offensive line’s play is going to start having long-term ramifications on Ehlinger’s development.
Speaking of Ehlinger, he’s going to have to have to own that interception that ended the game. I hate that so much is running through him and that he’s in a horrible situation right now, but situational awareness there tells you to put the ball in the third row if it’s not there and live to fight another day. You don’t take a sack and you certainly don’t leave that ball in the field of play for a defender to make a play on it. I want to chalk it up to youth, but man that’s a tough one to swallow all things considered.
Offensive coordinator Tim Beck is going to get beat up and it will certainly be justified, but his personnel aren’t exactly helping things by any stretch. The players still have to execute blocks, catch passes, and make the throws. It’s not pretty from any aspect on this side of the ball.
2. Todd Orlando’s bunch played their asses off
When your defense holds one of the most potent offenses in all of college football to 13 points in a game that goes to overtime, you should win the game. Orlando’s defense has continued to show that they aren’t the same group that opened the season against Maryland and allowed 51 points. They forced three and outs, they had a goal line stand, and most importantly they gave the team a chance to win both in regulation and in overtime.
The only way this team puts up a better performance in my book is if they come up with a couple turnovers they had chances at and pitches a shutout, but nobody was expecting them to keep the Cowboy offense off the board going into this one. This group can hold their heads high and be damn proud of the effort they gave from the opening whistle to the final snap.
This defense will give Texas a chance to win games, but they can’t do the offense’s job for them.
3. This team is finding ways to lose instead of ways to win
You can tell this team as a whole isn’t used to winning because they continue to find a way to lose rather than finding ways to go win the game when the opportunity presents itself. No matter how bad the performance has been for Texas they’ve been competitive in each game, which is an improvement from the blowouts we became accustomed to, but simply being competitive isn’t enough.
The fumble in overtime against USC, the coverage bust last week against Oklahoma that proved to be haunting, and this week with the turnover in overtime. All were absolute killers that ended up changing the outcome of the game. I like that this team fights and claws each week, but eventually you have to start turning all that scratching and clawing into wins.
This is the third overtime contest Texas has played this year and it’s the second time they’ve shot themselves in the foot with a turnover that ended up costing them. Brutal, brutal, brutal.
4. Losing Reggie Hemphill-Mapps is a loss the offense can’t afford
Hearing that RHM went out of with a knee injury is brutal news for an offense that is struggling to find their way right now. RHM has been a bright spot for the offense all year long (when he’s been on the field) and he has proven to be a reliable target for Ehlinger when Texas needs to move the chains.
Losing RHM means that Armanti Foreman is likely to see snaps if he can’t return in short order and Herman recently made the statement that Foreman needs to be a better practice player so that he earns the trust of the offensive staff. While Foreman has made some clutch plays during his time in Austin, he has been inconsistent and is no doubt a downgrade from RHM.
Maybe this means more touches for Lil’Jordan Humphrey? That would be my preference if I had an opinion that mattered in the offensive meeting room.
5. Holton Hill is turning in a very nice year
Even though I already commemorated the defense as a whole for their effort today, I wanted to give Hill some extra love. When a corner is tasked to shadow a team like Oklahoma State’s top receiver, you figure he is going to concede some yards. James Washington is a stud and Hill held him to 32 yards on 4 catches. That’s impressive as hell.
It’s already been discussed that teams are looking other directions with the way Hill is playing this year, but seeing him play at this level is really fun to watch and he isn’t just blanketing receivers. Don’t think him coming up and making open field tackles is going unnoticed in the eyes of NFL evaluators. This kid is playing his ass off and making himself some money in the process.
I hate that Hill couldn’t get right last year due to off the field stuff, but he has made up for lost time with the way he is performing right now.
This going to be a game that haunts the players and coaches for a while and it should for the reasons I laid out above.
On to Baylor. And even though the Bears haven’t won a game this year, you can bet your ass they are going to come out and give Texas their best shot and try to get in the win column. This will be their bowl game.