Grading the Longhorns

We give each Longhorns position group a grade using our unique grading scale.


Throw Your Horns Up

- In Charlie Strong's world - an effort capable of winning the national title

Putting T Back in

Texas - In Charlie Strong's world - a performance capable of winning the Big 12

Sprints and Up-Downs After Practice

- In Charlie Strong's world - a performance capable of winning against North Texas but not Baylor or OU

Start Practice Over

- In Charlie Strong's world - a performance that will beat Kansas and Iowa State but...

Is This You Or Someone Else Wearing Your Number?

- In Charlie Strong's world - a performance so full of mental mistakes or weak effort that the bench is the next stop

QUARTERBACK - Sprints and Up-Downs After Practice

David Ash was 19 of 34 passing for 190 yards and 1 TD pass. He had things cooking with John Harris and Jaxon Shipley. But he didn't always lead his receivers with passes when they were wide open. He took a couple hits he shouldn't have and could have avoided by throwing the ball away. But he fumbled the ball three times, losing two - a bad exchange on a snap from Jake Raulerson and having the ball knocked out of his hands by pulling OG Sed Flowers in UT's own end zone that resulted in North Texas' only TD.

RUNNING BACK - Sprints and Up-Downs After Practice

Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown both averaged at least 5 yards per carry. Gray showed off his explosiveness coming off the Achilles injury with spin moves and a 42-yard run. Brown punched in TD runs from 1 and 3 yards and reeled off a 26-yard run. But this should have been a night in which both backs run fro 100 yards. Some of the blame rests with an offensive line under construction.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS - Sprints and Up-Downs After Practice

The breakout game of fifth-year WR John Harris (7 catches for 110 yards, 1 TD) included a couple early drops and tripping and falling at the UNT 3 after a 28-yard reception in the second quarter. Jaxon Shipley caught 6 passes for 43 yards - four of them going for first downs, including an 8-yarder on third-and-7 early. M.J. McFarland was the only TE to catch a pass (2 for 7 yards). He also had a great lead block to spring Gray on his 42-yard rush. Shawn Watson was clearly saving some things, such as WR Marcus Johnson and TE Geoff Swaim - two weapons who figure to have big years.

OFFENSIVE LINE - Start Practice Over

This group has a long way to go to establish the kind of communication and cohesiveness capable of beating four of UT's next five opponents (BYU, UCLA, Baylor and OU). That was evident on poorly blocked running plays and on sacks given up by Sed Flowers and Taylor Doyle. That was evident when Flowers inadvertently knocked the ball out of David Ash's hands pulling on a play coming off UT's goal line. Will senior OT Desmond Harrison be back from suspension this week? C Dom Espinosa is going to miss time with an ankle injury. We knew there would be concerns with this position group - more than any other on the team - and those concerns were validated vs. UNT.

DEFENSIVE LINE - Putting the T Back in Texas

Led by DTs Malcom Brown, Tank Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway (2 sacks) and DE Ced Reed, who had a team-high 6 tackles, the Longhorns front four got pressure all night against a veteran offensive line without needing to blitz.DE Shiro Davis had a quiet night. But Ridgeway certainly didn't have a quiet night. DC Vance Bedford saying he considers Ridgeway "a starter" after the game is huge. Even DTs Alex Norman and Paul Boyette had tackles for loss. Chris Rumph deserves credit for getting something out of Norman and Boyette, who were afterthoughts with the previous staff. Texas didn't have freshmen DTs Poona Ford, Chris Nelson and Jake McMillon or DE Derick Roberson dress for the game. And Strong said afterward those players would be candidates for a redshirt.

LINEBACKERS - Putting the T Back in Texas

Led by fifth-year seniors Jordan Hicks and Demarco Cobbs, this group made two plays that led to points, including Cobbs' 28-yard INT return for a TD with 3:32 left in the game. Hicks' only had 5 tackles, but it seemed like more because he was so active. Cobbs also got half a sack on one of UT's lone blitzes of the night. Peter Jinkens had 4 tackles and MLB Steve Edmond had 3. The highlights of the night were the INTs by Hicks and Cobbs. Hicks even produced a couple spin moves on his 18-yard return.

SECONDARY - Putting the T Back in Texas

A lot of this group's success came as a result of the pressure being applied up front. But this group made big plays - INTs by safeties Dylan Haines and Adrian Colbert, a half-sack by Mykkele Thompson on a blitz and some big hits delivered by CB Quandre Diggs. This group helped hold UNT to three completions for 15 yards. About the only nit-pick was Duke Thomas' personal foul (throwing a defender down out of bounds).

SPECIAL TEAMS - Start Practice Over

Nothing special was produced by the return game, and Nick Rose missing a 38-yard field goal wide right was a big ol' gulp. Rose later made a 34-yarder, and P Will Russ dropped a couple punts inside UNT's 20.

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