Five Things I Think

Five thoughts after Texas's upset loss at home to Iowa State on Saturday.

1) For the third time, the Longhorns shot themselves in the foot. But unlike the other times, this one was a total failing against a team that, while well-coached, had significantly less talent. Oklahoma recruits at a high level, while UCLA has also had some strong classes in the past few years. The Longhorns started eight five-star players on Saturday, while Iowa State doesn't have a single four-star player on its roster. Beyond that, the Cyclones ranked dead last in both total offense and total defense heading into Saturday's contest.

2) It seems like we're beating a dead horse, but D.J. Monroe HAS to see more touches. Other backs on the roster might be better at pounding away for four yards per pop. But if this Texas team has shown anything, it's that the Longhorns don't necessarily have the personnel to win games by cranking out long drives. A big-play runner who can create the big play alleviates those problems, and Monroe fits the bill. Through seven games, he has just 12 carries, despite averaging nearly 12 yards per carry. That trend held up on Saturday, as Monroe carried once for 10 yards. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis said that the Longhorns moved away from the run as the game moved on, but his one carry came with the Longhorns trailing just 14-3 midway through the third quarter.

3) The Longhorns missed both Jackson Jeffcoat and Emmanuel Acho. It might sound like an excuse, and it's one that the Texas players and coaches didn't use following Saturday's game. But the Longhorns, typically among the Big 12's best in getting to the quarterback, grabbed just two sacks against a team allowing more than two sacks per game. That's where Jeffcoat would have helped. And there is little doubt that Acho, who thrives in space, as well as sifting through junk to find the running back, would have had an effect on the Iowa State ground game.

4) Garrett Gilbert needs to cut down the turnovers. I don't think it's any secret that Gilbert has elite-level talent. He made some excellent throws in Saturday's loss. But he also made a few poor decisions, ones that had a large impact on the final result. It appears that there are only two things holding Gilbert back from becoming among the Big 12's best: those poor decisions and an accurate deep ball. If Gilbert can eliminate the former and connect on more of the latter, the Longhorns could be awfully dangerous offensively.

5) John Chiles might have just emerged as the upperclassman weapon that the receiving corps has been missing. Don't get me wrong, James Kirkendoll is a nice player. But part of the reason that the group has struggled, as a whole, is because its two biggest playmakers, according to Greg Davis, are a sophomore (Marquise Goodwin) and a freshman (Mike Davis). In a group of raw receivers laboring to create separation, Chiles revealed himself to be a polished route runner who can get open in key situations.

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