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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dominating Defensive Stance but Offense Needs to Pick it Up

Dominating Defensive Stance but Offense Needs to Pick it Up
by B.R. Battle
Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas had another dominating defensive win this past Saturday against Baylor.  I know we’re talking about a winless Baylor team; however, a win is a “win.”  For starters, the Texas defense was outstanding…again.  From their first defensive stance (which ended in a interception return for a touchdown) until their final series, the defense was nothing short of amazing.  

Speaking of defense, the Longhorns compiled a defensive success rate (SR) of 61%, an astronomical 16% better than the NCAA average.  The thing that was impressive to me was that Texas was its strongest on defense to start and end the game, with 1st and 4th quarter SR’s of 71% and 62% respectively. The defense also only allowed 3 explosive plays for the Baylor offense, substantially limiting the big-play ability of the Bear offense.  
The Texas defense was well above the NCAA average of 45% on all downs, with the exception of their 2nd down defense that posted a 42% SR.  The key stat for the team was their 78% SR on 3rd down, suggesting that the Longhorn defense was able to get the Baylor offense off of the field on 14 of the Bear’s 18 3rd down possessions.  
The Texas offense was able to score 38 point on Baylor; however, they have to be able to score early in the upcoming games in order to alleviate some of the pressure off of the Longhorn’s dominant defense.  Texas posted an 19% SR in the first quarter, resulting in zero offensive points during that span.  In fact, the Longhorn offense secured a NCAA average of 40% for their offensive success rate.  The Texas passing SR was 51% and the run SR was a less than average 28%.  
Although the Longhorn running game seemed to be rejuvenated with the emergence of Toneil Carter and Daniel Young, the rushing offense only produced 9 successful plays of the 32 plays conducted during the game  This statistic is disturbing considering Baylor’s rush defense ranks 114 of 129 FBS football games.  Texas must find a way to win the war in the trenches in order to win these close games they’ll be part of in the upcoming future.  

The Texas passing attack was above average throughout the game, posting a SR of 51%.  Lil’Jordan Humphrey is a definite playmaker that needs to stay on the field until he’s tired…period.  Buechele was accurate and efficient during the game, resulting in a passing SR of 58%.  Not only did he effectively pass the ball, he also ran efficiently also.  4 of his 7 rushing plays were successful, netting Shane 42 yards and a touchdown.  
This upcoming Saturday against TCU, the Longhorns need to have a faster start to be competitive during this game.  Texas needs to score early to keep the pressure off of their outstanding defense.  The running game has to be established early and often to keep the TCU defense honest.  The elephant in the room for this week is whether Shane will start again or Ehlinger will remain the starter after being cleared from concussion protocol.  Whoever the starter is, Texas needs to be successful early in order to keep the Hornfrogs from stacking the box with 8 or 9 players to key in on the run.  

Battle Quick Thoughts:

- Carter and Young need to play the entirety of the remainder of the season.  These freshmen are too explosive to keep on the bench.

- We may have seen the last of Chris Warren and Kyle Porter.

- There was an Armanti Foreman sighting….wow!

- What the hell happened to Reggie Hemphill-Mapps during the game?  He fielded punts but had no receptions during the game.  Was he even on any offensive plays on Saturday?

- DeShon Elliott…this kid is balling this season!  Is it enough for him to leave early?  We’ll see…

- Holton Hill is the best CB in the Big XII….maybe even a top 5 in the country.  

- Malik the Freak is a straight monster.  Go get your money in April son!

- Hager has slowly replaced Hughes in the starting lineup the last 2 weeks…anybody else notice that?

- Back to Holton Hill…his open field tackling is amazing…that’s all.  

 - Shane ran really well on Saturday…we might need that again this week.

- How come Texas doesn’t use Sam and Shane like Florida Chris Leake and Tim Tebow? Both guys should have a place in this offense.  

- Gary Johnson was a baller sideline-to-sideline.  Looks like he’s replaced Wheeler from here on out.  

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