Texas entered last Saturday's game against TCU with a big question mark: could the Longhorns move the ball on what most felt was the league's best defense. And the offense coached by Major Applewhite and Darrell Wyatt responded well, putting up 415 yards and averaging 5.8 yards per play.
"I was satisfied that we won," Applewhite said. "Obviously, when you can control the ball like that, had the ball I think 11 minutes in the fourth quarter, it was what we wanted to do. Just happy we were able to control the ball and the run game wasn't always explosive, but we had just as many explosions in the run as we did in the pass game. That's good balance for what we're trying to achieve."
That balance, along with the strong play of the defense, allowed Texas to run away with a 30-7 victory, and even play backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes on some plays.
"I asked him, 'Are you nervous?' and he said, 'Yeah,' and I said, 'Well that's good because I'd be ticked off if you weren't,'" Applewhite said. "You should be nervous. This is Texas. You're playing quarterback as a freshman so you ought to be. I asked him, 'Was it a little bit faster than Whitewright?' 'Yeah, coach, yeah it was a little bit faster.'
"It was good to get him in there," Applewhite said. "That was the whole reason to put him in there. As we said before we're not sure of the medical condition of David (Ash). It's week to week. This day and age, well any day and age, you've got to have two ready to play."
That uncertainty played a major role in the decision to remove Swoopes's redshirt.
"You know, just thinking this year and what happens just if Case McCoy has a cramp and he's out for two series or a half or has to have an IV … Those types of decisions," Applewhite said. "Again, it goes back to his medical condition and how great or how small that is, whether he can't ever play again or he can't play until next year or if he can play next week. We've got to leave it open ended because that's the way it's been left with us."
While McCoy has played well in Ash's absence, averaging better than 25 yards per completion against TCU, he also threw two interceptions in his final three passing attempts, the first time this year he's looked even somewhat turnover prone (he did throw a pick on a screen against Oklahoma).
"The first one, it was a very similar situation to what we had against Oklahoma when there was a play that was in dispute and we were hurrying up and trying to run a play, trying to run another pass play, we could've run another inside zone but we ran a pass play," Applewhite said. "We had a post that was going to be open and the guy kind of had a collision with Mike Davis and we didn't connect on it. We had a chance to.
"The other one was just an absolute poor decision and he knows it," Applewhite said. "It's one of those that he kind of beat me to the punch. He kind of got on the headset and he started talking before I could even really chew him out."
But while McCoy's night on offense didn't end well, it's hard to argue with the overall results. After making some slight tweaks, the Longhorns have now put up more than 400 yards of total offense in back-to-back games against two of the league's better defenses. Applewhite said that the Longhorns were starting to buy into their offensive identity.
"It's just so much about confidence and morale," Applewhite said. "That's just such a big part of sports. Whether it be a run in a basketball game or a rally in a baseball game. It's just so much about momentum and morale. And they're still 18 to 22. No matter how much we tend to forget that, they are.
"Success brings about winning, winning brings about confidence and morale and that's just what you want to continue to build and you want to try to hit your stride at the right time," he added.