Five Thoughts on Texas-Kansas

From the defense to the emergence of players like Joe Bergeron and Luke Poehlmann, here are five thoughts from Saturday's Kansas game.

1) The Texas defense was absolutely outstanding. True, Kansas is probably the worst team in the Big 12. But the Jayhawks had been at least passable on offense heading into this one — averaging 30.2 points per game and 405 yards per game — and hadn't been shut out since 2002. Furthermore, the Jayhawk offense averaged almost 190 rushing yards per game despite facing defenses like Oklahoma's and Kansas State's, two of the better rushing defenses in the league. Yet Texas totally shut down the Jayhawk offense and held the Jayhawks to minus-two rushing yards. If there was one area that was especially impressive, it was the way the Longhorns swarmed to the ball on outside runs, demonstrating great speed and getting off blocks.


2) Joe Bergeron may be destined for fullback, but right now, he looks awfully good as a singleback. True, Bergeron's carries came with the game already decided. But just like when you go to a high school game where a player's talent is far above his competitions, you can tell quite a bit just by watching him run. He has quick feet, decisiveness and gets his pads down for contact. His fumble came when he was breaking a tackle and he hit the ball off his knee (according to Bergeron), so it's hard to read too much into that. But in limited action, it wasn't hard to be impressed by what Bergeron brings to the table.


3) Wearing people down is what Brown can do for you. With all apologies to UPS, arguably the most effective Brown is Malcolm Brown, suited up for the Longhorns. Early in the game, the Jayhawks were flying around a bit on defense and actually made some nice tackles. But it didn't take long before they weren't filling the holes as eagerly. Probably the loneliest man in the world was strong safety Bradley McDougald, who time after time had to deal with Brown or Bergeron after they broke through the hole untouched. That's a testament to the fatigue that they got from being on the field a lot, dealing with the Texas offensive line and from having to tackle a physical 210-pound runner play-after-play.


4) Welcome to tight end, Luke Poehlmann. It remains to be seen whether tight end will be Poehlmann's true position, or whether he's only there in certain situations. The one think not up for debate, after Saturday's game at least, is how valuable he was there. Texas coaches have bemoaned the lack of blocking from the tight end position all year, with them finding it hard to seal the edges. So they turned to a non-tight end to take over the job. Poehlmann adds a sixth lineman and another 300-pounder to the equation. And while people have at times questioned his physicality. he's certainly more physical than the average tight end, and he has the mobility to track and get to guys at the second level. In fact, Poehlmann's appearance and performance was one of the more pleasant surprises coming out of the bye week. Kudos to the Texas coaching staff on this one.


5) So much for a quarterback rotation. Post-game, one writer made an observation that Texas appears to be the only team in the country that seems to WANT to create a quarterback controversy. Wouldn't it just be easier to say the following: "David Ash is our guy. We like Case McCoy, and we'll continue to evaluate the situation, but Ash is ahead?" It seems a little silly to keep talking about a rotation and only to arrive on Saturday and give all the snaps to one player. Where's the logic? I suppose somebody could say that it's to keep McCoy from transferring, but McCoy is smart enough to see who's getting the snaps. And beyond that, even if he does transfer, it likely wouldn't be until after the season since he can't get this year back. This isn't a Garrett Gilbert situation, where Gilbert is getting a redshirt.


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