What We Learned From This Loss
Everton is a good football club...there is no shame in Liverpool losing by 3 goals...
Just kidding...I understand the OTHER kind of football was played this weekend as well....
Although I picked Texas coming into the game, I was probably the least surprised person at my watching-party that the Longhorns lost. Freshman QB...different dynamic at the QB position...off-the-field legal hiccups...Improved QB on the other side of the ball (and he wasn't that bad last year)... A lot of things pointed to a Longhorn defeat this weekend. So why am I still so disappointed?
Because we looked...ORDINARY....on the big stage.
The better team definitely won...I think if the Horns had been able to pull off some Magic to make it close, Troy Smith would have put the team on his shoulders and matched us. But the sad thing is that we didn't make him do that.
Coaching (game preparation): A I have to say that the team seemed ready. They were saying the right things, strutting just enough (but not too much), and came out with some intensity (especially on defense). Plan to not make your baby-QB do too much, but don't let him feel coddled...run the ball...give him some easy passes, and work a couple of long-strikes into the mix.
Coaching (in-game): F Oh my god! We are running the ball strong, they score on a mistake by us, and we panic and go away from the run game. When you have 2 strong runners, there should be no fatigue factor (especially during a night game), so that's not it. We are left to assume that it was a coaching decision to try to go vertical. On defense, um...does someone want to cover #11? There were very few adjustments to account for Gonzalez, and the look of the Defending National Champion defense bouncing around before every snap like a bunch of 10 yr olds with too-big helmets was simply embarassing.
Players (LB): D- Was this a coaching error or execution? They weren't covering...they weren't pressuring...they seemed to be doing the pre-snap hokey-pokey, then dropping back to cover the ghost of Leroy Jordan.
Players (Secondary): F If I EVER wanted to be a fly on the wall during a film-watching session, it would be today. I'm sure by now, the whole room has whiplash as they turn in their chairs to wait for Brandon Foster's explanation of just exactly what the hell that was. Does anyone else wonder why all we thought that building our secondary from Arlington Bowie products would work, when Bowie has never done anything? Yeah, a couple of those guys can play, but all it takes is one to screw it all up.
Players (Receivers): D It's hard to determine how to explain the lack of production...could be credit due to the tOSU pressure, could be Colt's fault (see below), could be bad routes, good coverage, whatever... But they are graded way down (running backs too) for not bailing out their Freshman QB. Yeah, some of those throws were low or on their back hip...but you HAVE to catch those. Sweed, Pittman and Young for sure, but young guys like Finley too. We KNOW the QB is young and will make mistakes...when he does enough to get you the ball, YOU HAVE TO MAKE A PLAY, Brotha!
Colt McCoy: D This may sound harsh, but the BCS doesn't grade on a curve, so neither will I. This sucked. BUT....it didn't suck worse than I thought it would, and it (alone) wasn't enough to bury us on Saturday. In year 2 or 3 of the McCoy regime, those passes behind the reciever or on his shoelaces will be where they need to be. I'm not worried about that. The Zone Read wasn't quite working as well as last year for some reason...but even so, next year, Colt will be keeping more of those and making the defense respect more options. The coach's decision put him on the spot to make passes he was just not going to make this early in his career at Texas. SO, he did NOT perform, but it should have not been a surprise to anyone. On the bright side, he took their best shots and kept getting back up. Not only getting up, but acting like he didn't even notice (no whining to the ref, no waiting for his linemen to pick him up, no barking at the missed blocking assignment, etc). Ironic to say, but the boy did good to get a D, and not drop it to an F by panicking.
The best thing about this loss is that it all set up perfectly for us...we have all the excuses: "They were #1, we were supposed to lose", it's early in the season, a young offense, we lost our QB/Leader to the NFL....etc. We have plenty of time and tomato cans on the schedule that we can reestablish ourselves before the end of the season.
And THAT'S the good news - that we are disappointedly talking about "only" making it to one of the "other" BCS bowls.
I have faith Colt will get us there...eventually.