Score: Texas: 37, Wyoming 17
I have mixed feelings about the game. There was stuff that I liked, stuff that I expected (good and bad) and stuff that was terrible and needs to be corrected immediately.
- Wow, what the hell happened on the opening drives for both teams? The Horns came out and stunk it up with a quick 3 and out. And Wyomingâ€™s opening drive marched down the field by tearing up the secondary and throwing in some decent run plays with their spread attack. It was as if the opening drives for both teams had reversed success from what we normally would have thought. The only positive for UT was that they were able to hold Wyoming to a field goalâ€¦ I canâ€™t believe I just said thatâ€¦
- Wyoming torched UTâ€™s secondary in the first half. No excuses. Wyomingâ€™s quarterback Brett Smith threw for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns. He did, however, eventually throw 2 interceptions once the defense was able to apply good pressure and make the plays they are capable of in the defensive backfield. But letâ€™s not shy away from the fact that one player for Wyoming, Robert Herron, ended the day with 5 receptions for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. I was very disappointed in the secondary that should be one of the strongest position groups on the team. They did eventually get their act together later in the game so hopefully they were just getting used to actual game play. But you better believe Manny Diaz wonâ€™t be happy with that performance.
- Â Enough about Wyomingâ€™s passing attack, letâ€™s talk about UTâ€™sâ€¦ Honestly David Ash performed about as well as anyone expected. What did you expect of a quarterback who just won the job over another player who simply doesnâ€™t have the arm to play at this level? Ash wasnâ€™t terrible but he wasnâ€™t incredible. He still often stares down his first read on every passing play and thatâ€™s just asking for a defense to pick off the ball (Iâ€™m actually surprised he didnâ€™t throw a single pick all night). I really would like to see him go through his progression more. On the positive side he did seem much more relaxed and patient in the pocket this game compared to last seasonâ€¦ At times too patient. Ashâ€™s play wasnâ€™t terrible but if Texas wants to win at least 9 games he will have to improve his game.
- I was really disappointed in the secondary play. But they picked it up at the game went on and they will bounce back and be all right. Iâ€™m more disappointed with how terrible the offensive line played. I would have expected better from the starting unit but they literally were pushed around all night by Wyoming, and thatâ€™s sad. I know the Horns rushed for over 200 yards tonight but a lot of that was because the running backs were breaking tackles or making guys miss and busting big plays. Offensive line needs work and fast. If they canâ€™t get it together soon then it will be a long season for the entire offense.
- D.J. Monroe finally impacted the game in a way we have all been waiting for. The little speedster touched the ball 6 times (5 carries, 1 reception) for 51 yards (36 rushing, 15 passing) and 1 touchdown. I really hope this will be a recurring theme this season because any added offensive production will be key to this teamâ€™s success since the passing game is currently limited. *While we are on this topic of players showing up, I liked what I saw from Jordan Hicks. He needs to continue to bring it and show us all why he was so highly recruited.
- Jaxon Shipley needs to touch the ball 10 times a game. Simple as that.
- Both Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown carried the offense tonight and started the season off exactly as expected. Even with the offensive line having itâ€™s troubles the duo was able to rack up a combined 215 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Bergeron displayed his bruising style with the ability to rip off big gains and Brown showed off his shifty but physical running style. I know we barely saw any of Jonathan Gray but he showed some quick burst in the limited action he got. He needs to adjust to the game speed but when he does he will add a different third element to a offensive backfield that is arguably the best in the nation.
- Josh Turner is one heck of a back up defensive back. He was making plays on defense and on special teams. Number 25 can make plays and fly around the field (though he did take a terrible angle and whiff on one of Wyomingâ€™s big touchdown plays). He will definitely help the secondary bounce back next week.
- Mack Brown should be riding the medical staffâ€™s butt to make sure they do anything and everything they can to get Anthony Fera Healthy. He is needed for field goals and punts, badly. The difference between Nick Jordan and Anthony Fera is at least two wins this season. I was also disappointed in Alex Kingâ€™s punts after seeing him play in person. But replacing Jordan is more important.
- Case McCoy saw the field tonightâ€¦ But in the complete opposite way that I had envisioned before the game. I expected McCoy to trot out onto the field late in the first quarter or early in the second with his own package of plays. But to my surprise he didnâ€™t step onto the field until the game was pretty much won and it was time for the back-ups to get some reps. Folks that says A LOT about how Mack, Harsin, & Applewhite felt about David Ashâ€™s play tonight. You may have been frustrated but they feel that he did enough to remain in the starting lineup the entire game until it was time to pull the startersâ€¦
Bonus note: The tight end position was one of question before the season started. Though he caught 1 pass for 4 yards, D.J. Grant seems to be the number one guy for that position at the moment. Iâ€™m still curious to see if the tight end (I donâ€™t care which one just who ever takes control of the position) will get more involved in the offense. Having a reliable TE would be big for a young QB, like Ash.
Though itâ€™s just one game, and the first game nonetheless, at the moment I feel as if the horns are an 8-win team. The secondary and offensive line play need to improve immediately for me to feel that they can get to 9 or more wins this season. The kicking game needs improvement too but that isnâ€™t something that can necessarily improve by next week unless Fera becomes healthy. On a positive note the Longhorns won the turnover battle and succeeded in not giving up any turnovers, and that is also big. I came away from this game with mixed feelings. Give credit to Wyoming because they actually played pretty well, especially in the beginning of the game. But practice for the Longhorns should be nothing less than intense this week.
Game next week is at home (in Austin) against New Mexico. Kick is again at 7PM Central and will also be shown on the Longhorn Network for the second straight week.