Posted April 26th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football, Live

Follow along below with our live thoughts and analysis during today’s second day of the NFL Draft that will take place starting at 9:00am on ESPN and the NFL Network. You can catch our live thoughts by tuning into this page and you can also participate in the conversation.

We’ll also be embedding Twitter posts from @40AcresSports and with the hashtag #UTdraft right in with the other notes. Feel free to leave comments and questions using the live tool, but not all comments will be published. Read below for more notes on comments and how the live blog will work. Hook ’em!

Notes: Comments on the article itself will be turned off till after the game. The Writer can view all comments sent to them but only they can publish your comments for everyone to see. The “autoscroll” feature ensures you’re always shown the newest content without having to refresh or scroll your screen. Subtle sound effects alert you to new content as the writer publishes it. You can turn these features on or off by using the controls at the bottom of the Live Blog.

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Posted April 22nd, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Draft, Football

Lance Zierlein doesn’t think [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] is shooting off draft boards into the first round, but he thinks the former Longhorn tailback could have a good pro career ahead of him:

Possible Steal – Chris Ogbonnaya, Texas: He’ll be drafted late if he is drafted at all, but there are several things working in his favor. While his top-end speed is limited and he’s not the shiftiest back, his ability to play in zone schemes will create opportunities for him. He has terrific hands out of the backfield and is a willing pass protector. He’s also not afraid to put his helmet done and get physical if need be. He could be a better pro than college player.

Zierlein is also a big fan of defensive end [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] and loves his size/speed combo:

Possible Steal – Henry Melton, Texas: Melton is a former running back who has played DE for only one year. Obviously he has above average feet and quickness for the position and Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp believes Melton has a chance to be a very good pass rusher on the next level if he continues to develop. If Melton wouldn’t have crushed it at the Texas pro day, he would have been more under the radar than he is right now.

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Posted April 20th, 2009 by BT
Filed under: Draft, Feature, Football

Name: [tag]Henry Melton[/tag]
Position: Defensive End
Height: 6-4
Weight: 269 pounds
Hometown: Grapevine, TX

Strengths: Taller, heavier and boasting a faster 40 time than [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag], Melton is an intriguing prospect. Holds his ground well against the run and is can get up the field well against the pass. Has great feet for a big guy, which comes from his history as a running back. May just be scratching the surface of his potential.

Weaknesses: For all his measurables, only had four sacks in his only season as a full-time starter. Doesn’t have a lot of pass rushing moves, basically just relies on his athleticism. His initial burst is not nearly elite, so it’s totally possible he could wind up running into piles at the next level. In his former life as a running back, he seemed to prefer to use his athleticism to avoid contact rather than use his size to overpower tacklers; that sure doesn’t bode well for teams drafting him to crack heads in the trenches.

Overall: More of a prospect rather than product, Melton is simply just a talent at this point. His impressive numbers will probably get some team to reach for him, but whoever gets him will have to be patient with his development. Might be best served as in the “other guy” role, playing opposite an elite rusher like Mario Williams or Jared Allen.

Projection: 4th or 5th round

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Posted January 7th, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Bowls, Feature, Football

Senior WR Quan Cosby had the biggest game of his career in the Fiesta Bowl

Senior receiver Quan Cosby had the biggest game of his career in the Fiesta Bowl

Texas came up big in the [tag]Fiesta Bowl[/tag] to finish the season 12-1 and move to 3-0 in BCS bowl games. A good mixture of older guys and younger guys stepped up to give this Longhorn team a win that was fitting for this team and season. Nothing came easy for Texas against [tag]Ohio State[/tag], but the leadership of this team ended up being too much for the Buckeyes.

  1. [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] – I know Colt McCoy won the Offensive MVP award and it easy to give the top spot to the quarterback with the big numbers, but when Texas needed plays on third down and at the end of the game it was Cosby who stepped up and won the game. Cosby played inside more than normal to avoid Thorpe award winner Malcolm Jenkins and it paid off. Cosby had a career night in his last game as a Longhorn finishing with a career best 14 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
  2. [tag]Roy Miller[/tag] – The Defensive MVP came up huge in the second half of his last game at Texas. The Longhorn defense struggled to slow down the Ohio State run game and Beanie Wells in the first half but did a much better job in the last 30 minutes. Miller was dominant, he demanded double teams and plugged the inside holes allowing the Longhorn linebackers to run free. The big senior finished with three tackles, a sack, and a devastating block on fourth and short on a drive in the third quarter.
  3. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] – What can be said about Colt that hasn’t already been said? He should have won the Heisman, he should be playing for the National Championship, he has all the Texas passing records, he’s as clutch as you get, and he has a smoking hot girlfriend. Am I missing anything? In a game that appeared to be an inconsistent one for McCoy he still finished with a career best 414 yards on 41 of 58 including a pair of touchdowns. Ohio State bottled him up in the run game minus one 14 yard touchdown score.
  4. [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] – The best defensive player in college football was the focus of the Ohio State blocking scheme. The Buckeyes were able to keep him out of the stat book for the most part, but they weren’t able to keep him from making an impact on the game. All night Ohio State kept a tight end and sometimes even a running back in to help block Orakpo. When they didn’t he got pressure on the outside on both Buckeye quarterbacks, obliterating Todd Boeckman late in the game. It took until the second to last play for ‘Rak’ to get his sack, but the play iced the game.
  5. [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] – Thomas has quietly become one of the better players on the Texas defense. The red-shirt freshman has been the most consistent player in the secondary this year for Will Muschamp’s group. Thomas flies around the field and appears to be around the ball at all times. He also brings an attitude and swagger to a young secondary that needs it. Thomas led the team with nine tackles and two pass breakups.
  6. [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] – The Texas run game was nonexistent for most of the game, and it seemed to be more about play calling than anything else. On the first play for the Texas offense Ogbonnaya got the edge and picked up eight yards before fumbling out of bounds. For the rest of the half Texas abandoned the run. In the second half the senior running back was able to make an impact on the ground, and maybe even more so through the air. McCoy was able to check down to Ogbonnaya on many occasions to set up manageable downs and distance and to pick up first downs. He also caught the longest pass of the game, a 37 yarder. Chris ‘O’ has been the most consistent back all year for Texas and his leadership has been immeasurable.
  7. [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] – I’m not for celebrating an injury, but the hit that Muckelroy delivered on Beanie Wells ended the game for one of the best backs in the nation. Wells had run for over 100 yards on only 16 carries when the two met in the hole early in the fourth quarter. Muckelroy has led the team in tackles all year and continued to be all over the field Monday night. The junior finished with six tackles on the night.
  8. [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] – The attention has gone to Cosby because of his performance, but Jordan Shipley played a great game as well. It was clear that Ohio State spent a lot of time attempting to take away Shipley’s plays over the middle of the field. Colt’s roommate, lifelong friend, and hunting buddy (in case you hadn’t heard) finished with 10 catches for 76 yards. It appeared that Cosby’s first touchdown reception was actually on a pass attended for Shipley. The NCAA granting the medical red-shirt for Shipley next year is huge for this offense.
  9. [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] – It is amazing how far Melton has come. The Fiesta Bowl was a great showcase of Melton’s talent. The former running back is not as good of a pass rusher as Orakpo and Sergio Kindle, but he may be as good as an overall defensive end than both of those. Melton has a future in the NFL and he proved it Monday night against the Buckeyes. Melton was the best end at the point of attack all night, and took a lot of snaps away from Kindle. The senior finished with three tackles including a team leading two for a loss.
  10. [tag]Chykie Brown[/tag] – Chykie has become Texas’ lockdown corner. Ohio State tried to go to his side early but quickly abandoned that strategy. Brown has come a long way from the times when coaches worried about his practice habits and focus. Coming into the season some were wondering if the sophomore would ever live up to his athletic ability, now heading into the offseason the program will look for Brown to be a shutdown corner like Ohio State’s Malcolm Williams. The Ohio State passing attack struggled all night, and a lot of it had to do with Brown occupying the entire right side of the field.
  11. [tag]James Kirkendoll[/tag] – Brandon Collins had more receptions and yards, but it was Kirkendoll that came up with the fourth down grab that kept the Longhorns alive. On the play Kirkendoll came in motion to the inside before running an arrow to the sideline. Texas caught the Buckeyes in man coverage and took advantage of the matchup. It says a lot about McCoy and the coaching staff that they trusted one of the younger receivers on such a crucial play. The sophomore from Round Rock just got the first down and a few plays later Texas was celebrating the winning score.
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Our live stream of consciousness posted from @40acressports on Twitter from during the Fiesta Bowl is posted below:

  • It was cool when they let blind guys sing the national anthem, but wasn’t letting a blind man design the Fiesta Bowl trophy enough? #UT 25 minutes ago
  • @springnet 77 is Luke Poehlmann, a very promising true freshman lineman. He deserves to start in 09 just due to his sweet mullet. 31 minutes ago
  • @HookEmSarah as Mack said this week, gatorade baths are for 7-5 coaches. 😉 plus I’m sure there nothing but whining on #UT msg boards. 37 minutes ago
  • What a game. Congrats Horns on the big tough win. Congrats to the seniors. #UT 40 minutes ago
  • I heart Quan and Brian Orakpo. Huge sack (and good job tackling QB too.) #UT 42 minutes ago
  • ANnouncers are acting like this thing is over. #UT 44 minutes ago
  • Unsportsmanlike could be huge. OSU kicker has big leg. Come on kickoff team. #UT 45 minutes ago
  • Tressel’s challenge gives #UT much needed timeout. Horns should actually gain yards with review. 49 minutes ago
  • That was a terrible initial spot. Clearly got first down. Replay will give it to #UT if spot doesn’t. 51 minutes ago
  • #UT needs to be in bigger hurry. 56 minutes ago
  • Not sure who #77 for #UT is but that mullet deserves playing time. 57 minutes ago
  • There’s no such thing as double pass interference, whoevere initiated contact deserves the flag. #UT 58 minutes ago
  • @joneke defense has been fantastic all game long. about an hour ago
  • Absolutely terrible pass interference call. Beasley has right to ball and ball was way short. F***! #UT about an hour ago
  • Well defended? Malcolm Williams was wide open and Colt just put it too wide. #UT about an hour ago
  • 4th quarter! Wrap this thing up boys. #UT about an hour ago
  • Attaboy Colt! You too Coach Davis. All three drives this half have been good ones (sans 20 yd sack.) #UT about an hour ago
  • Matt Hasselback is the NFL qb you reference? Weird. Is Tim announcing the game? #UT about an hour ago
  • When do you think we’ll see screen and go to Shipley? Looks set up well. #UT about an hour ago
  • 4th and 36 and we can’t even punt for first down yardage. Momentum squandered. #UT about an hour ago
  • Terrible play by Colt. Has to expect pressure on RB screen call. Drive killer. #UT about an hour ago
  • Dear Greg Davis, finally a designed run for Colt and you get a beauty of a TD run for #UT. Let’s go defense!! about 2 hours ago
  • #90 for Ohio St is dirty POS. 2nd time he clearly and intentionly went high with his hands on Colt. Hit was fine, hands to helmet isn’t. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Very good effort by R Bobino to get first down when there wasn’t much room on fake punt. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Fiesta Bowl trophy is one of the ugliest things on the planet. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Crap. Holding call turns 2nd and inches into 2nd and long. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Set your feet Colt. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • @kbohls you have to be able to trust you junior QB not to take bad risk. That one is on Colt. #UT about 2 hours ago
  • Bad underthrow by Colt costs #UT chance at at least tying FG. Huge mistake and momentum killer into halftime. about 2 hours ago
  • False starts on wide receivers drive me bats***. #UT about 3 hours ago
  • @kbohls blame out of position linebackers (due to play and blitzes) more than D-line for long runs. Agree about QB contain. #UT about 3 hours ago
  • Getting the awful feeling opposing fans felt when VY was at quarterback. Glad Pryor has no clue about watching for 1st down markers. #UT about 3 hours ago
  • 2nd and goal from 17 and we run a draw to Chris O? WTF? #UT about 3 hours ago
  • Speaking of running, where’s Fozzy? #UT about 3 hours ago
  • No attempts to get Colt McCoy running yet. Turn him loose Greg! #UT about 3 hours ago
  • Better drive by #UT offense but inability to get positive yards on 2nd & short is killing us. about 3 hours ago
  • Apparently that was a token holding call earlier, some pretty blatant ones on this series but we get pressure and S Kindle gets sack. #UT about 3 hours ago
  • 1st freshman mistake for Pryor. Good run but stepped out before first down with no one about to hit him. Melton rushing out of control. #UT about 4 hours ago
  • Woot!!!! Apparently holding still exists outside the Big 12! Good sign for Rak! #UT about 4 hours ago
  • Chris Hall is playing. Retweeting @suzhalliburton: @40acressports They used the depth chart from A&M about 4 hours ago
  • Chris Hall wasn’t on official depth chart for the game but #71 is in uniform at least for the Horns. Hope he’s 100% and starting. #UT about 4 hours ago
  • RT @CedGolden: Is it me or is Barry Switzer wearing a burnt orange tie with a matching hanky? #UT about 4 hours ago
  • Score predictions for #UT vs Ohio State: http://is.gd/eEb5 All three of us have the Horns winning a pretty close game. about 4 hours ago
  • RT @bevobeat: Blaine Irby up and about. Horns’ injured tight end was out tossing the ball around in pregame. http://twitpic.com/100fd about 4 hours ago
  • Ah oh: No Chris Hall on the 3 deep at center for Fiesta Bowl depth chart: http://is.gd/eDRj True frosh D Snow gets start. about 5 hours ago

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(Side note: This is the site’s 2,500th post. Kind of cool.)

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Posted November 18th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Sergio Kindle made like Superman against KU

Sergio Kindle made like Superman against KU

Texas’ defense stepped up big posting a shutout in the first half and only seven points in the whole game. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] played another good game keeping the teams championship hopes as well as his Heisman hopes alive. Texas did what they had to do, but it may not be enough as they do not control their own destiny to either the conference or national title game.

  1. [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] – It just makes sense to have a defensive player at the top of the big board. When the game was in doubt the defense was suffocating. On three straight drives in the first half [tag]Kansas[/tag] turned the ball over twice on downs and fumbled. The reason for the success was the pressure on quarterback Todd Reesing. Sergio Kindle led the way off the edge with [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] limited in what he could do. Kindle managed a sack and a half but put pressure on Kansas all game.
  2. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] – McCoy just continues to perform at a level that none could have predicted. Most onlookers have probably waited for the Heisman candidate to come back to earth, but McCoy has done no such thing. He played good in the passing game, especially considering the conditions, and provided yards on the ground when the running backs struggled to do so. McCoy has been invaluable to this team. He controls everything the Longhorn offense does. He finished 24 of 34 for 255 yards and two touchdowns. McCoy added 83 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
  3. [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] – For all of the pub that McCoy and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] get for being roommates and child hood friends, it is Cosby that makes the Longhorn passing offense go. When Cosby went down in the Tech game it was obvious that the passing game struggled to find a new identity. Cosby puts Texas in consistent second and third and shorts and is the guy that stretches the field. He scored a touchdown in the second half while grabbing six balls for 70 yards.
  4. [tag]Roy Miller[/tag] – The senior defensive tackle is going to be the hardest Longhorn to replace next year. Miller has become a monster in the middle with the ability to play the run and the pass. He has become a leader on the team, and seemingly shows up with his “A” game every week. He recorded a half sack early in the game and made it impossible for Kansas to get anything going in the run game. The Texas defense has survived with Brian Orakpo so far, I’m not sure it would without Miller right now.
  5. [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] – Too bad Melton is a senior because he is a year or so away from becoming a dominant defensive end. His athleticism, especially his footwork, allows him to make plays despite being behind in his technique at the position. The former running back gets better every time he steps on the field as he has finally seemed to embrace being a defensive player. He finished with three tackles, a sack, and two tackles for loss in the win.
  6. [tag]David Snow[/tag] – It is hard to measure the play of the individual offensive lineman without knowing their assignments. But when a true freshman that has been splitting his time between two different positions steps in to play center on three days notice and you barely think about it the whole game somebody is playing well. Snow had one bad snap, on a short yardage play. It was hard to tell if it was a bad snap, a miscommunication, or if McCoy simply dropped it. With [tag]Chris Hall[/tag] coming back next year it is hard to see where Snow will fit in to the starting lineup. But one thing is for sure, he will get snaps somewhere.
  7. [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag] – The best thing that can come out of an injury to a key player is the emergence of the next star. It may be premature to call Jones a star, but the talent is there and a performance like his against Kansas can give everyone some hope moving forward. The former five star recruit showed his athleticism on a pitch play in the first half. He tracked down the running back in space and forced a fourth down play. His stat sheet doesn’t wow you, only two tackles, one being for a loss, and one quarterback hit. But with Melton and Orakpo being gone next year, it was nice to see Jones make an impact.
  8. [tag]Christian Scott[/tag] – It took one play for Scott to make an impact from his safety position. On the snap after Kansas running back Angus Quigley knocked starter Blake Gideon out of the game Scott came in and violently sent a message back. For the rest of the game Scott was all over the field. [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] has said Scott possesses the most physical upside of any of the young safeties. Scott is going to have to be more than just a Saturday performer to get consistent snaps however. Muschamp wants hard work in the film room and on the practice field, and if Scott can put that work in Gideon and Earl Thomas may have some competition in the secondary.
  9. [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag] – Before the injury in the third quarter Gideon was playing one of his best games all season. He was making plays in the secondary as well as putting pressure on the quarterback in key situations. The true freshman is just a solid football player that puts his nose in any and everything he can. He flies around the field and always appears to be in the right place at the right time. Gideon appeared to suffer a concussion, so it will be interesting to see how cautious the staff is moving forward.
  10. [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag] – The Texas game struggled on the day, but Whittaker found a way to contribute in the passing game. In the first half he recorded all his receptions, a total of five for 42 yards. Whittaker is the one back on the roster that can put a defense on their heels and it was important for the red-shirt freshman to show he can block and catch out of the backfield. The staff needs to find better ways to get him the ball on handoffs, but the fact he was able to play as much as he did is a good sign for the Longhorn offense.
  11. [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] – Muckelroy has been Texas’ most consistent linebacker all year long. He leads the team in tackles on the season and finished tied for second on the team against Kansas with six tackles. Kansas’ offense puts more pressure on the corners than the linebackers, but Muckelroy consistently showed up on plays. He swarms to the ball and provides support in both the run game and the middle passing game. The junior’s value, opposed to say a Jared Norton, is that he can play on every down in distance. He is no longer a liability in the passing game.
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Posted November 13th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Football, Media

Feel free to have your own opinion of what Buck Burnette’s punishment should have been and whether a mistake that destroys a team is worse than other criminal offenses, but at least don’t base it on “facts” that you made up yourself.

Read the story below from SI.com, no link because they don’t deserve it:

Crime and punishment at Texas
Bill Trocchi

Sorry if I’m late on this topic, but let me get this straight.

Texas linebacker [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag] was arrested for driving while intoxicated in the summer of 2007 and got a three-game suspension.

Texas defensive end [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] was arrested for driving while intoxicated in the summer of 2007 and got a three-game suspension.

Texas defensive tackle [tag]Lamarr Houston[/tag] was arrested for driving while intoxicated in September and got a one-game suspension. Here’s a link on all three arrests.

Texas center Buck Burnette posted a text message he received from a friend that contained a racial slur directed at Barack Obama on his Facebook page and was dismissed from the team.

Huh?

Ah, now I see. Look at the depth chart. Kindle, Melton and Houston all start. Burnette was a backup. Hmmmm.

Clearly, discipline needed to be handed out in all four cases. But the Facebook incident is by far the least punishable. Offensive? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Endangering the lives of others? No.

You can’t suspend a guy for one game after a DWI arrest and dismiss another for a Facebook racial slur. It is an insincere attempt to show you run such a clean and virtuous a program that you boot (backup) players when they post stupid, racially insensitive remarks on a Facebook page.

And then you hope nobody notices you start three drunk drivers on defense.

Let’s review those facts…

  • Melton, Kindle, and Houston received lighter punishments because they’re starters. – Actually only Houston was a starter at the time of his arrest. Kindle was a second stringer who mainly saw time on special teams while Melton was buried on the depth chart after switching to defense from running back.
  • “The Facebook incident is by far the least punishable.” – Actually, threatening the life of the President is a federal offense, but it doesn’t sound like he knew what Burnette actually said. Just today a Spring man was sentenced to 30 months in jail for threatening George W. Bush and another man faces up to 35 years in jail for threats he made on Internet message boards. Sounds pretty serious to me. The first DWI offense in Texas is punishable with up to 180 days in jail.
  • Backups don’t matter so it’s okay to punish them. – With the injury this week to starting center [tag]Chris Hall[/tag] the importance of backups is even more clear. Texas will be starting a true freshman at center against [tag]Kansas[/tag] instead of Burnette.

I can see that he’s easily confused.

I’m not sure what fact checking Sports Illustrated does of their FanNation blog, but this article should have never gone up. Despite repeated corrections to the article being posted by commenters the original story still hasn’t been updated or corrected.

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Posted November 9th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Fozzy Whittaker rushed 15 times for 77 yards

Fozzy Whittaker rushed 15 times for 77 yards

The Longhorns bounced back with a solid win against an improved [tag]Baylor[/tag] team on Saturday in front of a lackluster crowd at DKR Memorial Stadium. The student section was empty for the beginning of the game and the blue hair section emptied pretty early in the second half. Luckily the football team doesn’t front run like the fans seem to and showed up to play. With a couple of key guys down with injury some of the usual suspects and a few under the radar guys stepped up in the win.

  1. [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] – Coming into the game the thought was that Cosby wouldn’t even play. The Waco native felt good enough to go against his home town team and didn’t disappoint. Cosby got the scoring going on a touchdown pass from [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] on Texas’ first drive. When Cosby and [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] are on the field together this offense is on a different level. The senior finished the game with 111 yards on eight catches including two touchdowns.
  2. [tag]Ryan Palmer[/tag] – The smallish senior cornerback gets overlooked in Texas’ secondary because of the perceived ability of the younger guys at his position, but Palmer is a leader on this team and continues to perform better than anyone could have ever imagined. Baylor had tied up the score at 14 in the second quarter when Palmer made the biggest play of the game on a 23 yard interception return for a touchdown. It was the catalyst for the 31 point run UT would go on to put the game away. Palmer added a sack and a pass breakup to his stat line later in the game.
  3. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] – It says something about this season’s play of Colt McCoy and the expectations of the UT fan base when the junior signal caller can throw for five touchdowns and 300 yards and many still feel like he under performed. McCoy didn’t have his best game of the year but he was solid while completing 26 of 37 attempts. The Heisman contender has relied less on his legs to make yards only gaining 22 yards on the game. But he is buying more time in the pocket and keeping plays alive for his receivers. Yes he threw two interceptions, but it was a big win and a good day for McCoy.
  4. [tag]Roy Miller[/tag] – The big guy in the middle made his two tackles on the day count by recording both of them as sacks on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin. [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] gets all the press clippings, but the loss of Miller after this season will be the most costly for the Texas program. The senior dominates his gap on nearly every play and has the ability to go from run stopping to pass rushing at will. His play at defensive tackle may not even be what he does best. When Miller lines up at fullback and lead blocks on short yardage situation he is devastating.
  5. [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] – After a rough week last week Thomas rebounded to play his best game of his career. He didn’t record any interceptions or sacks but he was all over the field and made sure tackles all game. The freshman safety made a good play in the end zone on an early Baylor drive and showed how valuable he is when Baylor scored on a long pass on the first play Thomas missed with an injury. It was the only big play the Bears would get in the passing game because Thomas came back in on the next possession. It was important for Thomas to rebound and get some confidence back and he did with a team leading five tackles, with three coming for losses.
  6. [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] – Shipley makes catches when he has to. It is that simple. He is a third down catching machine. Every time McCoy needs to make a play or convert a first down it is obvious Shipley is the first progression on the route. Shipley is a senior who will most likely be back next year because of a medical redshirt that will surely be rewarded. His chemistry with McCoy is better than any receiver-quarterback combination to ever play at Texas. He finished the game with six catches for 81 yards and another touchdown. Shipley has scored a touchdown in every game this year.
  7. [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag] – I think Texas has found their running back. The staff knew they had one all along, but it was nice to see the speedy freshman be able to carry the load and get over 15 touches. Whittaker possesses a burst that no one else on the roster has, and with the type of offense Texas has moved to his ability would figure to go best with the schemes. Fozzy has struggled with nagging knee injuries all year, but appeared to make it through the game without any problems. With [tag]Chris Ogbonnaya[/tag] figuring to come back next week it will be interesting to see how Greg Davis and Major Applewhite distribute the snaps. Ogbonnaya will get the third down snaps, but Whittaker should begin to get more and more on first and second down.
  8. [tag]Roddrick Muckelroy[/tag] – Despite what the numbers show, Texas’ run defense was solid throughout the night. Baylor finished with 201 yards of total rushing, but 130 of those yards came on three runs (two on options by Robert Griffin and one late in the game by a running back). For the most part the front seven (six for most of the game) played extremely well. Muckelroy lead the team in tackles again, tied with Earl Thomas with five, but showed his speed when he chased down Robert Griffin on one of the speedy quarterbacks long runs. Muckelroy has turned into the best linebacker of the group because he has finally been able to stay healthy.
  9. [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] – Quietly Henry Melton is becoming an above average defensive end. After struggling at running back for his first few years at Texas, Melton was finally convinced to move to defense by pointing out that is where he would make money at the next level. It might not be the most noble reason to agree to move positions, but however it happen it has helped both Melton and the Longhorns. With Brian Orakpo out Melton was allowed to stay on the field on third downs, and he responded with three quarterback pressures to go along with his two tackles. The light has finally come on for the big guy out of Grapevine.
  10. [tag]Justin Tucker[/tag] – Throughout the season Tucker has done a good job on kickoffs by getting good height and distance on his kicks. Beginning last week Texas began going to the “rugby” style punts with Tucker being the man executing the duty. This style of kicking doesn’t allow for returns and also provides for opportunities to fake the punt if the opposing team doesn’t cover the edge. Texas hasn’t tried to fake off of it yet, but Tucker does have the athleticism to pull it off when they do call it. He only had to punt once, but it went for 53 yards and forced Baylor to go the length of the field.
  11. [tag]Ryan Bailey[/tag] – Somehow Bailey lost his job to [tag]Hunter Lawrence[/tag] during preseason practices. No one had mentioned it because up until the Baylor game Lawrence had been perfect on his extra points and perfect on his field goals. Against Baylor Lawrence missed both of his field goal attempts, one being a chip shot, and was replaced for the last kick by last year’s starter Ryan Bailey. Mack Brown said Lawrence’s leg was “sore”, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bailey trot out for Texas’ next field goal attempt.
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Posted November 6th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Can the Texas defense step up without Brian Orakpo?

Can the Texas defense step up without Brian Orakpo?

For the first time in over a month Texas faces an opponent that hasn’t been ranked in the top 10 at some point in the season. The players and the staff faced the challenge of staying “up” for such a difficult streak of games, but getting “up” for a game against an inferior opponent like [tag]Baylor[/tag] after a heartbreaking loss may prove to be more of a challenge. Texas appears to have an advantage at every position, even with [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] and [tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] not likely to play.

When Texas has the ball

The Texas offense found their stride late in the Tech game after struggling to get anything going in the first two and a half quarters. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] had a decent game, but it was no where near the level he had been playing at before the second half of the [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag] game. The Longhorn offense struggled after Cosby went down, but the emergence of Malcolm Williams as a deep threat could be the silver lining. When Cosby is able to get back, and he will at [tag]Kansas[/tag], Texas will finally have a three wide receiver set that scares opposing defenses.

The biggest concern coming out of the loss in Lubbock is the play of the offensive line. The big guys up front got beat up for most of the night night. They couldn’t open up holes for the run game or protect McCoy in the passing game. The ability is there, and if some of the older guys like Cedric Dockery and Charlie Tanner don’t step it up they may lose more snaps to younger guys like [tag]Michael Huey[/tag] and [tag]David Snow[/tag].

Texas’ offense has gone all year without a consistent run game and it is probably naïve to believe one is miraculously going to appear. The hope for Texas is that a healthy and utilized [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag] can provide enough of a spark to take some pressure off of Colt McCoy. McCoy proved to be human last week and in those games the Longhorns have to be able to run the ball to stay effective. They couldn’t in last week’s loss and it may have cost them a shot at the Conference and National Championships.

Texas should be able to move the ball against Baylor. The Bears defense has allowed over 30 points in five of their last six games, all of which were losses. Applying pressure and creating turnovers are the only way Baylor stays in this game and the Bears defense has not been good at either.

When Baylor has the ball

This is not your older brother’s Baylor offense. First year coach Art Briles found his future in his first year. That future goes by the name Robert Griffin. The freshman quarterback has been nothing short of outstanding. He can run and pass, and was the last quarterback in Division I to throw an interception. For the first time in a long time Baylor has a player that can scare you on every play.

The Longhorn defense played well in the second half last week. The only touchdown they gave up came with one second left in the game. The task this week will be to rebuild the psyche of the young secondary. [tag]Curtis Brown[/tag], [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag], and [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] all had a forgettable last minute of the game, and each of them may have left the field with the feeling they were the reason their team is no longer number one in the nation.

The staff and fellow players have spent a whole week assuring these guys that one play and one guy has never lost a football game. But with young emotional players no one can tell how they will react their next time out. They could turtle up and play tentative from here on out, or they can feed off of the emotion and become better football players because of it.

Texas lost their best player for the week in Brian Orakpo. Most would believe that Texas doesn’t need Orakpo to win the game, but when facing a dual threat quarterback like the one Baylor has every team would want to be at full strength.

Just like on offense, the biggest concern heading out of last game was the play of the defensive line. Texas Tech’s offensive line won the individual battles last week. Baylor won’t have the talent that Texas faced last week and it will be important to regain confidence with early pressure.

Texas’ speed should be able to nullify most of what Baylor would like to do. Even with Orakpo out Texas should be able to get pressure with [tag]Sergio Kindle[/tag], [tag]Sam Acho[/tag], and [tag]Henry Melton[/tag]. The key for this defense will be keeping Baylor out of manageable third downs. If Texas can force Baylor’s freshman quarterback into long distance plays, one would think defensive coordinator Will Muschamp can overwhelm him with schemes.

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The Texas Longhorns played their toughest game of the year last Saturday against [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag] and the match-up between two top ten teams came down the last play. Texas had to fight all game long and needed big efforts from players all over the field to pull this one out. Check out this week’s top players below:

Colt McCoy[tag]Colt McCoy[/tag]

Colt may indeed be human, but just barely. He made two big mistakes in the second half but overall considered his exceptional play at quarterback. Despite not having a running game and being under pressure from a solid OSU defensive line he still managed to complete 84% of his passes for a career high 391 yards.

Henry Melton[tag]Henry Melton[/tag]

After not playing much against pass-happy [tag]Missouri[/tag], Henry had an outstanding game this week. In addition to his nine total tackles he also had two huge sacks and a quarterback hurry for the Texas defense. He might have earned a few more snaps this week against [tag]Texas Tech[/tag] and their spread offense.

Jordan Shipley[tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag]

Like his roommate, Shipley also had a career day against the Cowboys. He continued to get open constantly for Colt when lined up in the slot and ended the afternoon with 15 catches for 168 yards.

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