Bevo Takes a Buckstache Whipping
Well, Longhorn Fans, I'm going to sub in for Scott and Jason tonight to give a same day breakdown of tonight's reality check. As Mr. Boswell informed, he's on the road and has to be up early for a business function. I assume Mr. Patlan turned on an international soccer game after Ohio State went up 24-7.
At first I wanted to say the game could have been ugly early with Troy Smith missing a wide open receiver early keeping the game scoreless. But the reality is the Billy Pittman fumble at the two yard line line balanced out that play.
And to be honest, this game turned in about a two or three minute sequence bridging the halves. After the Longhorns may have been bailed out by an iffy roughing the passer call, Colt McCoy may a tremendous pass to Billy Pittman at the pylon to tie the game. But then things turned for the worst.
On the ensuing drive, Ohio State went right down the field in under two minutes and secured a halftime lead on a touchdown pass from Troy Smith to Ted Ginn, Jr., over Aaron Ross, who looked quite pedestrian tonight. Some may say the lack of pass defense in the first half was due to Tarell Brown's absence. That's an excuse that allows us to say Mack Brown's and the university's integrity kept the team from competing tonight. The reality is, yes Brandon Foster struggled mightily in coverage against Anthony Gonzalez and Ross faltered against Ginn. Put Brown on Ginn and Ross on Gonzalez and the game may have been very different. However, the safeties appeared to have their issues as well, which presents a problem for the remainder of the season.
It could be that Michael Huff's jock strap was too big to fill and there will be growing pains as the secondary adjusts. And we'll see if the injury to Marcus Griffin may have had an effect tonight.
Having rendered the lead to Ohio State going in at the half, Texas needed to start strong in the third quarter. McCoy did just the opposite. He threw an interception on Texas' first play reminding everyone Texas has a freshman quarterback and setting up a Buckeye field goal.
The good news is, minus the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter when the Horns appear to have accepted their fate, the defense limited Ohio State's offense a great deal in the second half. Although, let's not forget Smith overthrew a wide open Ginn for what would have been a key touchdown in the the third quarter. In addition, McCoy appeared to have made a couple of plays late that could have put the Horns in position for a comeback, but tight end Jermichael Finley dropped a pass and left tackle Tony Hills was tagged with holding on what would have been a first down run by McCoy. The kid has moxie. Now he needs experience.
And if it wasn't obvious enough, this team misses Vince Young. Not necessarily because of his big play ability, though. (Okay it couldn't hurt.) This team had the talent to win the game. (Slow down. I'm not pulling a Matt Leinhart here and saying they were the better team.) But they didn't have the swagger of last season. You see little things in a game where instead of making plays in key situations, players are dropping easy passes or being indecisve on defense. It was a different team when everyone played relaxed knowing they didn't have to be the playmaker on the team. It will be crucial for McCoy to adjust quickly and lead the team back to that swagger mode.
Finally, I'll close this analysis on a positive note, one directed at an unlikely recipient: Greg Davis. I have to say he had a great gameplan. It didn't exactly translate in execution, but he made wise decisions going into the game. Knowing he had a freshman quarterback, he leaned on his two-headed running attack. Selvin Young and Jamal Charles darted and dove through a suspect Ohio State run defense controlling trhe clock and keeping the game close. It helped keep the game off McCoy's shoulders for as long as possible and gave the Horns a real chance to win. I figure, we hammered Davis for his game plans when he failed with blue chip guys like Chris Simms and Young. We should give him credit for giving McCoy at least a chance to succeed.
So with a solid running attack and hopefully more good game plans (although how many years has it been) you have to feel good about Texas' chances in what is proving to be a wide open Big 12 conference which may allow the defending champs to sneak back into the BCS title picture.