Five Thoughts on Texas-Kansas State

This week's Five Thoughts focuses on the quarterbacks, the great play of the defense and a key fourth-down decision.

1) It's unfair to put the blame on one position, but it also isn't hard to imagine where the Longhorns would be with even average quarterback play. David Ash didn't just struggle with his accuracy, he set up two short-field drives that led to 10 Kansas State points. That was the difference in a game that the Texas defense totally dominated. Case McCoy came in and gave the Longhorns a nice boost, but he couldn't quite find the game-tying or game-winning score.


2) Speaking of which, the Texas decision to kick a field goal on a fourth-and-eight from the nine seemed somewhat indefensible. There's the "just get points" argument, and the "hindsight is 20-20 maxim", but neither seemed to apply. Texas trailed 17-10 with about 4:30 left in the game. At that point, with an offense that had struggled to move the ball, and had only scored one touchdown in the previous two games, there's no guarantee that the Longhorns would get back into the red zone (and they didn't). A field goal still ensured that Texas had to score a touchdown to win. A failure meant that a quick stop would have forced Kansas State to punt in a situation that would have given Texas great field position for another shot. But a field goal really didn't do anything.


3) That was the defense most of us envisioned when Texas coach Mack Brown hired an energetic defensive coordinator from Mississippi State after last season. The Longhorns harassed Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein, sacking him five times and holding him to four yards rushing. Four Longhorns had multiple tackles for loss, while nine of the 11 defensive starters made at least one stop in the backfield for the game. Texas has always had high-end defensive talent. But now that talent is paired with a scheme that allows them to play fast and aggressively.


4) On a positive note, the running backs played. On a less than positive note, they were obviously not 100 percent. Malcolm Brown averaged 3.0 yards per carry on his 11 carries, and while Joe Bergeron was at 4.4 yards per carry on his nine, he didn't quite look right. Overall, Texas rushed for 191 yards on 42 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. That's the good news. The bad news is that 55 of those yards, or more than one-fourth, came on a 55-yard Cody Johnson run that was somewhat of a fluke play. Take out that one carry, and Texas averaged just 3.3 yards per rush.


5) Could some of the answers to those offensive woes have been in the crowd Saturday? The Longhorns played host to the country's top wide receiver in Dorial Green-Beckham, and reports are that he not only enjoyed himself, but bonded well with current Texas commitment Johnathan Gray. That's great news, as is the fact that JUCO offensive tackle Donald Hawkins also had a great time. Upon enrolling, Hawkins would have an immediate spot on the two-deep supplying, at worst, quality depth. At best, he has a chance to win a starting tackle spot and bump Trey Hopkins to his more natural guard position. And Clear Springs wide receiver Marcus Johnson also made the trip. He's another player with a chance to earn one of the final few offers in the Class of 2012, and someone who could emerge as a nice weapon.


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