With all the hype and build up before the LSU game last weekend, many fans left the stadium discouraged and upset. To be fair, there were some calls that were pretty inexplicable, bringing the house on 3rd and 17 in the 4th quarter, but overall Texas proved for 60 minutes that they can in fact play with the best teams in the country. LSU has one of the best defenses in the SEC and one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country in Joe Burrow. Our offense put up 38 points on that defense and our quarterback went toe to toe with Burrow. Yes, we lost, but if you are a true fan you have to be happy with what our team showed moving forward into the rest of the season. This was a week 2 loss against a NON-CONFERENCE opponent! In the past few years with the playoff system, there has never been a bracket with all undefeated teams. The first year of the playoffs, Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech week 2 and then ran the table to ultimately bring home the first CFP Championship. What I am trying to say is everyone needs to chill out about this loss. The season has just started and if Texas can get back to full health and clean up a few things, we still have a very legitimate shot at running the table.
Now, let’s get back to football. Junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger has almost 700 yards and 8 touchdowns through 2 games. He has shown clear improvement in the pocket and his decision making has been pretty flawless thus far. The most impressive thing I have noticed about our offense has been Devin Duvernay. Not only did he show up in the box score against LSU, 12 receptions for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he played physical football away from the ball. LSU star defensive back Grant Delpit, viewed by most as a lock for a top ten draft pick, found himself on the receiving end of a pancake block from a 5’11 210 lb wide receiver. Duvernay seems like a man on a mission through the first two games and I expect that to continue this week against a pretty below average Rice secondary. Along with Duvernay, Brennan Eagles has stepped up in a big way this season and should continue to find successful as most teams will be focused on Collin Johnson in the receiving game and Ehlinger on the ground. Which brings me to my next point, Collin Johnson. Johnson has been pretty quiet so far. Now, it is important to acknowledge that defensive coordinators are keying in on him the entire game to limit his involvement, but after watching him play two games inn person he looks pretty soft. I haven’t seen the same physicality and precise route running that he showed all last season. I would love to see coach Herman find some creative ways to get him the ball this week and boost his energy level before we get into the meat of our schedule. In terms of the ground game, Ingram has played well, but the real story is former quarterback turned running back Roschon Johnson. For only playing running back for a few weeks, Johnson looks really good and comfortable out of the backfield. With how beat up our backfield is right now, injuries to Daniel Young, Jordan Whittington, and Kirk Johnson, I am pretty pleased with what we’ve been able to do on the ground so far. Oh, and Rice has given up 430 yards to opposing running backs after 2 games. Look for Ingram and R. Johnson to get going early and often Saturday night.
The battle for DBU last week ended with both offenses posting almost 900 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, and… 1 interception (off a deflected pass). Wow, what a statement for both programs! Until our secondary can back up their claims, I don’t want to see those DBU shirts during warmups again. Throughout his career, Hermann has always made a point to have his players refer to former teams as “they” instead of “we” even if they were on that team. Texas has a rich history of phenomenal defensive backs that have seen a lot of success in the NFL but let’s remember that none of those players are listed on the 2019 roster. We have a very talented and young secondary and I am excited to see them reach their full potential but making shirts that say DBU doesn’t change anyone’s opinion on the subject. What will change people’s opinion’s is shutting down opposing offenses in the Big 12 that boast some of the best quarterbacks and receivers in the entire country. Now that I have addressed that, I would like to comment on the rest of the defense. I have been extremely impressed with our line backers and defensive line over the past two games. They held their own against a BIG LSU offensive line and backfield and pretty much shut down La Tech. Ossai and McCulloch have been extremely impressive, and the rest of the defense has done a much better job wrapping up and finishing tackles compared to how our defense played last year. Rice may throw us some weird looks on offense, but I don’t expect much trouble from them. This should be a good week to clean up our defense and prepare for Big 12 play.
Texas is back. The offense is playing at a high level, the defense is looking better, the recruiting seems to be continuing to have success. Tom Herman is doing something really special right now and every fan who goes to a game or watches on TV can feel it. I am not saying they are going to win the CFP, but last season and these past two games should have Longhorn faithful excited and ready to see how far Herman can really take this.
Written by: Shaw Butler