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Offensive Grades: Baylor

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Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas offense showed signs of life in a 38-7 win over Baylor. Sophmore quarterback Shane Buechele got the start in Waco while Sam Ehlinger remains in concussion protocol.

Let’s take a look at how the offense graded out:

Quarterback

Shane Buechele played a relatively solid game in his first start since the Iowa State game. Buechele finished the day 27 of 34 for 256 yards and a touchdown. He also added 9 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown. The sophomore displayed good accuracy in the passing game and seemed to moved around the pocket comfortably. His lone mistake of the day was a forced pass to Dorian Leonard that was intercepted.

The utilization of the quick passing game helped make Buechele’s job easier for much of the game. With the running game still inconsistent, the offense is at its best when the ball is getting out quick and the pass is setting up the run. Buechele did everything the coaches asked of him today, and there is no reason the coaches shouldn’t be 100% confident in him if Sam Ehlinger is not able to play next Saturday against TCU.

Grade: B

Running Back

The youth movement at the running back position was on full display in Waco. Toneil Carter and Daniel Young saw the majority of the carries, with Chris Warren only carrying the ball twice for 3 yards. Carter led the way with 15 carries for 70 yards and looked very comfortable in the lead back role. Young displayed good power and vision between the tackles, and capped off his day with a 31 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter. I was even more impressed with both backs’ ability as blockers and catching the ball out of the backfield. Texas still struggled mightily to run the ball for much of the first half, and the running back group as a whole still continues to run laterally too much instead of cutting upfield, but progress was made.

At this point, Texas knows what it has in Chris Warren and Kyle Porter. Porter was still banged up with a shoulder injury and it helped open the door for Carter and Young. The Longhorns have to find a way to run the football effectively down the stretch, and continuing to give the freshman duo more carries may be a way to do that.

Grade: B-

Wide Receivers/Tight End

It was a busy game for the wide receiver corps, with 6 receivers recording a catch. Lil’ Jordan Humphrey paced the unit with 5 catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. Collin Johnson recorded his highest catch total in 3 weeks with 6 catches for 36 yards. I am still not sold that the coaches are using him to his fullest potential, but maybe there are things the coaches see in practice that we do not. Lorenzo Joe saw a lot of action and finished with 4 catches for 53 yards. Armanti Foreman found his way back onto the field and caught 2 passes for 12 yards. There was not one receiver that really stuck out during the game, but the unit as a whole contributed solidly and kept mistakes to a minimum. Oh, and John Burt needs to see the ball more.

Cade Brewer had a very good game blocking and also added 2 catches for 18 yards. He is guy who has improved every week and his willingness as a blocker has made him a 3 down tight end that never has to leave the field.

Grade: B

Offensive Line

Despite the overall offensive output, the offensive line still had a shaky day. There were numerous times when the 3 interior guys allowed heavy pressure right up the middle. Tristan Nickelson and Denzel Okafor split time at left tackle, and both still struggle with speed rushers coming around the edge. Terrell Cuney looked more comfortable at center than in his previous starts at guard, but still allows far too much pressure in pass protection. His run blocking was average, including a pancake block on a Toneil Carter touchdown run that was somehow called holding.

This offensive line unit is not very good when you ask them to move and try to block people at the same time. The sprint rollout passes and speed sweeps result in a defender breaking through the line far too often. TCU and Gary Patterson are going to give the offensive line fits next week. There is no way around it, but it will be interesting to see if Texas makes adjustments to help make the offensive line play enough to where it is not a complete liability.

Run Block Grade: D+
Pass Block Grade: D

Offensive Play Calling

It was a mixed bag of results for Tim Beck and the offensive staff. However, it was encouraging to see them bring back the screen game and quick passes that not only help out a quarterback, but a struggling offensive line. The wildcat package is something that can be effective down the road, but after the first 4 times Texas ran it unsuccessfully, it should have been shelved for the remainder of the game. Beck chose to reach into his bag of tricks a few times, and both plays were drawn up nicely and should have been touchdowns.

It was hard to tell if a poor Baylor defense or better play calling was the reason for an improved offensive output, probably some combination of both. What is certain is that it is obvious the coaches are willing to try anything to get this offense moving the ball. Whether that is good enough to get wins in the final 4 games remains to be seen.

Grade: C+

Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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Commitment Spotlight: Tyler Owens

Texas has landed a commitment from highly coveted safety Tyler Owens. What does he bring to Todd Orlando’s defense?

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Following the “Stars at Night” camp in July, Texas extended several offers to prospects who impressed the coaches throughout the evening. One of those offers went to 2019 Plano East safety Tyler Owens, who won the fastest man competition. The Longhorns quickly became the front runner in his recruitment, and the intriguing prospect ultimately chose to shut down his recruitment and pledge to Texas.

Owens joins a secondary class that already has commitments from Mayfield (CA) S Chris Adimora, Grayson (GA) CB Kenyatta Watson II and Alvin CB Marques Caldwell. The 6’2, 202 pounder currently ranks as the 44th best safety in the country and the 631st player overall, according to the 247sports composite rankings. Owens chose the Longhorns over offers from 14 other schools, including Baylor, Houston, Nebraska and UCLA.

Player Information

Name: Tyler Owns
Position: S
High School: Plano East
City & State: Plano, Texas

Measurables

Height: 6’2
Weight:  202
40-yard time: 4.48
Shuttle: 3.29
Vertical: N/A

Statistics

No stats available.

Film

Tyler Owens Junior Season

Pros:

  • Very reliable tackler. Wraps up and takes good angles to the ball carrier. Good technique.
  • Has a knack for squaring ball carriers up and laying some pretty solid hits.
  • While his straight line speed isn’t as noticeable as it may be when he is in shorts, Owens definitely shows the ability to stick his foot in the ground and get downhill quickly.
  • Shows a good football IQ. Diagnoses plays well and knows where to be on the field.
  • Very good special teams player. Uses his speed to get down the field on kickoffs and always seems to find the ball.
  • Played very good competition. Had highlights against 6A state champion Highland Park and plays in the same district as state powerhouse Allen.

Cons:

  • Needs to continue to develop his ball skills. Shows the ability to defend the pass, but will need to work on getting his head around and finding the ball.
  • Positional fit. Owens best fit could be at linebacker after he spends a season or two in a college strength and conditioning program.
  • Tests extremely well, but you don’t see those athletic traits translating much to his tape.
  • Seems a little stiff on tape, so that will be something to take monitor when his senior tape comes out. Could factor in to where he projects long-term.

Summary

When you turn on the film for Owens, the first thing to stick out is how projectable he is. He could easily add weight and spin down to linebacker, which wouldn’t be bad at all considering his reliability as a tackler and how well he defends the run. It is easy to see why Todd Orlando and Craig Naivar like Owens. He has a nose for the football and his athleticism will allow him to be utilized in multiple ways. 2018 signee DeMarvion Overshown had a similar build to Owens coming out of Arp (6’3, 200 pounds), and there are definitely some similarities in the way the two  play.

If Owens sticks at safety, he will need to continue to work on defending the pass. His speed helps him tremendously when tracking down the ball in the air, but there will be a learning curve as he adjusts to the passing game at the college level. Owens possesses great athleticism, as seen by his testing numbers, but it is a bit concerning that you don’t see that explosiveness and twitch on tape much. Is he a combine warrior or does he just need more time in the incubator to unlock his potential? It will be interesting to see what the senior film beholds because it could be a solid indicator for what his development curve is.

Final Verdict

After hearing how Owens performed in the camp setting and watching his film, there should not be any doubts about whether he is a take for Texas. The loaded 2018 defensive back class should allow almost all the 2019 signees in the secondary to be eased into action. Owens has a very high ceiling, and the Texas coaching staff feels confident they can tap into his potential.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: TCU

The Longhorns had many positives and some negatives to analyze after a big win over TCU on Saturday

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Photo via: Bethany Hocker, USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight week, Texas physically outplayed a ranked opponent. The Longhorns opened Big 12 play with a 31-16 win over TCU. Similar to last week, the win featured a lot of good and not a lot of bad, but let’s take a look at some takeaways from an impressive victory over the Horned Frogs:

The Good

The Secondary

Entering Saturday’s contest, there were a lot of questions about how the Texas secondary would hold up against a TCU passing attack that featured several talented playmakers. The Longhorns defensive backs ended up surrendering only 197 passing yards to Shawn Robinson, and came away with three interceptions. Kris Boyd, Brandon Jones, Caden Sterns and Devante Davis all had big moments. Sterns in particular continues to shine as a freshman, recording both interceptions and playing well in run support. Boyd and Davis each had a few plays they would like to forget, but the duo played well overall.

Collin Johnson

It is no secret that Collin Johnson has the skill set to take over games at the receiver position, but #9 turned in one of his most memorable performances in a Texas uniform. Johnson recorded his 3rd 100+ yard game in his career, finishing the night with 7 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. In addition to his big game catching the ball, Johnson also had a huge block to help spring Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s  game-clinching 38-yard touchdown reception in the 4th quarter.

Johnson’s talent has never been in question, but Saturday’s performance proves that the junior can be a matchup nightmare and has what it takes to be Sam Ehlinger’s #1 receiver.

Turnover-Free Sam

For the third consecutive game, Sam Ehlinger played a turnover-free game. Don’t look now, but the sophomore has now thrown 8 touchdown passes compared to just 2 interceptions. Tom Herman commented after the game that a lot of Ehlinger’s progress is due to the offensive staff calling plays he is comfortable with and not asking him to do too much. There may not be a play that describes Ehlinger’s development more than his touchdown pass to Humphrey, where Ehlinger stood in the pocket, thought about bailing, but took a few steps back before finding Humphrey over the middle of the field.

The Bad

Slow Start

In 3 of the 4 games for the Longhorns this season, their opponent has scored on their first possession. Yesterday, the Horned Frogs drove down the field with relative ease before having to settle for 46-yard field goal by Jonathan Song. Although the sample size is still relatively small, the Texas defense needs to do a better job of settling down early in games and not letting their opponents draw first blood.

Short Yardage Situations

Facing a 4th and 1 in the second quarter, Texas did something that I haven’t seen since 2016: playing under center. The result? A pitch play on the short side of the field to Daniel Young that resulted in the loss of a yard. In real time, I agreed with the decision to go for it, but the play call and personnel that matched it were very questionable. It didn’t end up hurting Texas in the long run, but the offensive coaching staff needs to do a better job of sticking with what makes sense.

The Ugly

Special Teams

A week after nailing all 3 of his field goal attempts, Cameron Dicker came back down to Earth by making only 1 of 3 field goals, missing very badly on his final attempt. Ryan Bujcevski averaged 39 yards on 5 punt attempts, but it is obvious that Tom Herman does not have a ton of confidence in his punter. Herman chose not to re-kick following an offsides penalty on a punt, likely because he didn’t want to risk a possible block or a shank from the freshman. D’Shawn Jamison made a mistake on during a kickoff return, bringing out a kick that went 3 yards into the endzone, resulting in a short return and a holding penalty, forcing Texas to start a drive at their own 5.

Special teams mistakes have not cost Texas a game to this point in the year, but if the Longhorns plan on competing for a Big 12 title, they must make corrections. 

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Sights from the Texas win over #17 TCU

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Photo: Andrew Dieb, USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns snapped a 4-game skid against the 17-ranked Horned Frogs on Saturday for their 3rd straight win. Texas defensive back Caden Sterns had 2 interceptions, and quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another. With his effort on Saturday night, Ehlinger became the first Texas quarterback since Colt McCoy (2008) with at least two passing TDs and one rushing TD in three consecutive games.

The Longhorns will travel next to Manhattan, Kansas to face the Kansas State Wildcats, where they haven’t won since 2002.

View sights from the Texas victory over TCU below.

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Texas drops #17 TCU 31-16

Tom Herman got his first signature win over Gary Patterson and TCU on Saturday

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Photo: Bethany Hocker, USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns entered Saturday’s game looking to put an end to a nasty trend of losing to TCU — a team they have historically had their way with.  Recent history has proven this task difficult, with TCU winning five of six since joining the Big 12, including four straight against the Longhorns. As a Big 12 member, TCU has a perfect 3-0 record in Austin. On Saturday afternoon, the Longhorns emphatically ended the losing streak to Gary Patterson and TCU in front of 95,124 fans, proving they are a legitimate contender for the Big 12 Championship this season.

TCU began on offense after Texas won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Horned Frogs worked quickly behind quarterback Shawn Robinson, marching 46 yards on 8 plays. The drive was capped with a 46-yard field goal by Jonathan Song which gave TCU an early 3-0 lead over Texas.

Texas failed to answer Songs’s field goal on their first offensive possession, with freshman kicker Cameron Dicker missing his first field goal of the season on a 42-yard attempt.

The Longhorns would make up for it on their next possession, with quarterback Sam Ehlinger engineering a 65-yard scoring drive which was capped off by a five yard touchdown run by Tre Watson. Texas led TCU 7-3 at the 4:09 mark of the quarter, their first lead over the Horned Frogs in four years.

After two rushing plays on the next possession, Robinson would complete a 50-yard pass to Jalen Reagor, setting TCU up for a first and goal at the Texas 4 yard line.  The Texas defense held steady, forcing the Frogs to settle for a 23-yard field goal, Jonathan Song’s second of the day.

The Longhorns maintained a 7-6 lead after one quarter was in the books.

Cameron Dicker’s 34-yard field goal represented the first points of the second quarter, extending Texas’ lead to 10-6 over TCU.

TCU would take a 13-10 lead into the locker room at the half, on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Jalen Reagor.

Texas started the third quarter on offense but quickly went three-and-out.  On the next possession Robinson was intercepted by Brandon Jones, but the Longhorns would fail to capitalize.

Song extended the TCU lead to 16-10 at the 8:44 mark, making good on his 3rd field goal of the night, this time from 29 yards out.

Texas regained its lead with less than a minute left in the quarter after Sam Ehlinger found a stretched-out Collin Johnson in the end zone for the score. Texas led TCU 17-16.

On TCU’s next possession, Caden Sterns intercepted Shawn Robinson for the second time on the evening and returned it for a touchdown. After review by the officials, Sterns stepped out of bounds at the TCU 2 yard line.  Sam Ehlinger finished the short drive by taking the first down snap and running it in untouched for a touchdown.

Headed to the fourth quarter, Texas held a 24-16 lead over the Horned Frogs.

The fourth quarter belonged all to the Longhorns, who scored a lone touchdown courtesy of Sam Ehlinger to Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and played solid defense en route to a 31-16 win.

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the win and rushed for one touchdown. Collin Johnson led the Longhorns with 124 yards receiving and one touchdown. The Texas offense totaled 367 yards of total offense compared to TCU’s 372.

Cade Sterns and Brandon Jones each had interceptions against TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson, who threw for 197 yards in the loss.

The Longhorns improve to 3-1 overall and are riding a three-game win streak, something they haven’t accomplished since the 2014 season.  Additionally, Texas defeated it’s second consecutive ranked opponent in two weeks.

While the win over TCU was important, Tom Herman knows he has a lot of work ahead if his team wishes to leave the Manhattan with a win next Saturday:

“We’re going to celebrate it, enjoy it, and we’re going to wake up tomorrow knowing we got to go on the road for the first time in a month against a Kansas State team that’s always, always tough to handle and especially when they’re playing at home. That is a tough, tough place to play. ”

Texas will travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the Kansas State Wildcats next Saturday at 2:30 PM.

INJURIES

  • True freshman running back Keaontay Ingram returned to the field against TCU after missing the USC game with a knee injury. Ingram left the game in the first half after suffering a hip pointer. In his postgame presser, Herman said he doesn’t expect Ingram’s injury to be anything long-term.
  • Defensive back Jarmarquis Durst sustained a severe shoulder sprain.
  • Offensive lineman Calvin Anderson played through some knee issues in the game and will be evaluated on Sunday.

GAME NOTES

  • Texas improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big 12 Conference with the win
  • The Longhorns are now 3-1 for the first time since 2012
  • Saturday’s win marks the first time UT has beaten Top 25 teams in consecutive weeks since 2008
  • The Texas defense forced four turnovers in the win
  • Collin Johnson’s 100-yard receiving performance marked the second straight season, and seventh time in school history, that a Longhorn receiver has eclipsed the century mark against TCU.
  • Sam Ehlinger has 2,893 career passing yards, surpassing his high school coach Todd Dodge’s career passing mark for 15th all-time in school history.  Ehlinger also becomes the first Longhorn QB since Colt McCoy in 2008 with at least one passing and one rushing TD in three consecutive games.

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