The Texas offense struggled all afternoon in a 13-10 loss to Oklahoma State. Let’s take a look at the offensive grades:
The entire offense struggled, but Ehlinger in particular had a very up and down game. The freshman finished the game 22 of 36 for 241 yards and an interception. He also added 16 rushes for -10 yards and a touchdown, with the majority of the negative yards coming on a fumble that Ehlinger ultimately recovered, but cost 34 yards. The interception is what everyone is going to look at, but #11 struggles went far beyond that one play. Ehlinger was constantly under pressure from an offensive line that couldn’t block 3 and 4 man rushes. He missed several open receivers on rollouts and scrambles. I expected Texas to have success against the Cowboys defense, but it ended up being a game to forget for Ehlinger.
With no offensive line or play calling help, it’s tough to grade the QB’s performance. Ehlinger is the only running game Texas had for the first 3 and a half quarters and has had to shoulder the offensive load pretty much since the USC game. He scored the Longhorns only touchdown, but the bad outweighed the good. There will be much better games from the young QB, and he will just have to learn from this.
Texas chose to abandon the run game from pretty much the opening kick. Chris Warren led the group with 12 carries for 33 yards, with the majority of those yards coming in the 4th quarter. He also added 2 catches for 12 yards. Toneil Carter had 1 carry for 3 yards, and has not been used on any runs that help utilize his speed and shiftiness since the Kansas State game. Daniel Young saw some action in the first half and actually caught a pass that went for a 6-yard loss.
Chris Warren was blown up on several blocking assignments. The running back group as a whole contributed very little and the coaches seem to feel that Ehlinger gives the team a better chance to gain yards in the rush game.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
A largely overlooked part of the game was when Reggie Hemphill-Mapps exited with an injury. After his exit the receiving group never seemed to get anything going. It was good to see John Burt have a big game, and his 90-yard reception was a perfect example of the skill set he brings to the table. He deserves more playing time going forward.
Jerrod Heard and Dorian Leonard each contributed some nice catches. Am I the only one that notices that seemingly every reception a receiver has to make involves tip toeing the sideline to stay in bounds? It just speaks volume to how often Ehlinger is having to scramble and receivers are having to improvise and come back to the ball. Collin Johnson was held in check the entire game and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey played sparingly compared to his usage in past weeks.
Cade Brewer struggled in the 2nd half, getting called for a holding penalty (haven’t seen the replay so who knows if it was legit) and wasn’t able to hold onto a key 3rd down pass in the 4th quarter.
I’m not going to spend too much time here because everyone watched the same game. Cuney, Vahe and McMillon all struggled mightily at different points. Shackelford had snap issues again on the first drive and got beat multiple times in pass protection. Denzel Okafor and Derek Kerstetter were asked to do a lot of run blocking where they were having to move laterally, and both are not in a place right now to do that successfully.
Run block grade: F
Pass block grade: F
Offensive Play Calling
The QB speed sweeps had some success early in the game but stopped working in about the second quarter, yet was called numerous times in the second half. Texas simply has no creativity on offense right now. The offensive line and lack of a running game already puts Texas in a bind, but the play calling is making it nearly impossible for the Longhorns to sustain drives. I thought the offensive coaches were beginning to figure out how to use their personnel, but now I am beginning to have my doubts again.