Spring game: offensive grades

There was a lot of head scratching going on shortly after kickoff of the Orange-White scrimmage between the second-team offense driving right down the field and scoring on the first team defense to open the game, and the first-team offense ending its first drive with an interception from the second-team defense.

Confused? Join the club.

We've got the offensive grades from Saturday's scrimmage, including some positive, some negative and some in between.


Grade: C+

Analysis: If there was ever a time to press the reset button it would have been Tyrone Swoopes smashing it repeatedly after he threw an interception to conclude a dismal drive from the first-team offense.

It didn't get much better for a while as Swoopes began the game 2-for-9. On his second drive he was sacked and went 1-for-2 for 7 yards. He was 0-for-2 on his third drive, which was a three-and-out.

Three plays were all he could muster his fourth drive too. Same for his fifth drive.

Remember, he was doing this against the second-team defense.

Swoopes was much better in the second half, throwing for two more touchdowns and completing 9-of-12 passes. But it's hard to shake how he performed in the first half against the second-team.

He was even showed up by converted wide receiver Miles Onyegbule early on, who led an opening drive touchdown against the first-team defense, scoring on a 1-yard run.

That drive included a nice 30-yard throw-and-catch from Onyegbule to Montrel Meander. Outside of that drive, though, Onyegbule performed like you'd expect someone who doesn't have that much experience at the position in college to play.

Running back

Grade: A-

Analysis: Like the quarterback position, what you saw Saturday won't be all that you see this fall. Granted, the Texas coaching staff wouldn't mind if Malcolm Brown ran like that all season.

Brown was arguably the best player on the field Saturday along with Jaxon Shipley. He carried the ball 20 times for 82 yards and 1 touchdown, running with the type of downhill force you've come to expect from him. His touchdown came on an 11-yard spurt right up the middle. Brown also scored on a 20-yard dump down from Swoopes.

Jalen Overstreet showed that he's improved after rushing 20 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns last season. But there is still a ways to go with him. From a physical standpoint, he's one of the first players you want coming off the bus and he ran like it too. He got downfield in a hurry and ended up with 55 yards on 12 carries.

Joe Bergeron didn't play due to personal issues and Johnathan Gray was held out while he continues to recover from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last season.

Wide receiver

Grade: B+

Analysis: Given how up-and-down Swoopes and Onyegbule were, Texas' receivers were consistently productive Saturday.

Shipley caught everything thrown his way and ended the day with six receptions for 95 yards and a 44-yard touchdown. He could have had at least one more as Swoopes overthrew him on a slant route 23-yards out from the endzone.

Marcus Johnson (1-11) and Kendall Sanders (3-10), Texas' second and third best receivers, had quiet days. But you know what to expect from them, and should fret when looking at their production from Saturday. One of Sanders' grabs showed off his athleticism when he reached back behind him to make a difficult grab from Swoopes.

Daje Johnson hauled in a 44-yard touchdown from Swoopes to close out the first half. He won the jump-ball battle with Adrian Colbert.

Meander showed off his athleticism with a 30-yard grab over Thomas on the first drive to set Texas up inside the 5-yard line. Jacorey Warrick had two catches for 18 yards.

Tight end

Grade: B

Analysis: In this game alone it seemed like Texas targeted its tight ends more than it did for most of last season.

Geoff Swaim, not known for his receiving prowess, showed that he was capable by making two nice catches for 24 yards. One of those came with a sliding catch right near the sideline, which was easily his best play to date from a receiving standpoint.

The only other tight end to make a catch was Blake Whitely (one catch for two yards). I expected to see more from Whiteley in the passing game but that could be due to the Longhorns not wanting to show what they have in the juco transfer, who should be UT's top receiving threat at the position.

M.J. McFarland, who didn't have a catch last season, didn't catch one in this game either but he did do a decent job with his hand in the ground. Greg Daniels didn't play due to injury.

Offensive line

Grade: B-

Analysis: This unit was a little more behind the curve than I'd envisioned even though they were just returning one starter in center Dominic Espinosa. He was probably the most impactful player on the line, which should come as no surprise given he'll start at center for the fourth straight season.

Outside of Espinosa, though, there wasn't much to really wrap your head around from a positive standpoint. Sedrick Flowers did have his moments at left guard and was overall consistent.

But left tackle Desmond Harrison was beaten on consecutive plays by backup defensive end Caleb Bluiett. That's not at all encouraging considering Harrison didn't live up to his billing as one of the top juco transfers when he arrived in Austin last season.

They did have their moments, though, and were a big reason for Malcolm Brown having a solid day with 20 carries for 82 yards and a rushing touchdown (he also had a 20-yard TD reception).

The second unit, which Joe Wickline hopes will provide depth, struggled too. But there's promise there in redshirt freshmen Darius James and Rami Hammad, as well as center Jake Raulerson.

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