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

Tyrone Swoopes did a lot of things right in Texas’ loss. He managed the offense, took care of the ball (minus the late INT with the game out of reach), and said all the right things after the game.

He wasn’t asked to do much, which is somewhat understandable, but you got the sense after the game in speaking with Swoopes that he wants more on his plate. He told us that he wanted to throw the ball deep more often – only threw it deep once – but the coaches wouldn’t let him.

He was asked to be a game manager and succeeded in that regard. But you’ve got to scratch your head as to why there weren’t more bootlegs, more designs for him to keep the ball on zone reads, more shots down the field, more jet sweeps, etc.

RUNNING BACK – Start Practice Over

It’s obvious that Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray are running behind an offensive line that just can’t do much of anything at the moment. But they have got to make due with what they’ve got, and turn two or three yard gains into four or five.

Again, it’s hard to pile on them too much considering the OL they are running behind. They’re play also has as much to do with the mundane play-calling as anything.

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

John Harris continued his rebirth with eight catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. But after him there just wasn’t much to hang your hat on.

Jordan Shipley caught five passes but they only tallied up 36 yards.

Marcus Johnson? He only had two receptions for 20 yards.

The tight ends didn’t factor into the game plan as much as we anticipated (Geoff Swaim had two receptions for 14 yards).

I don’t think this had as much to do with these players as it did the coaching staff not putting them in the best position to succeed.

It was a vanilla gameplan with no imagination.

OFFENSIVE LINE - Is This You OR Someone Else Wearing Your Number

The fight was there, the production just didn’t match.

Texas running backs just didn’t have any room to run, rushing for 106 yards on 35 attempts (2.3 yards per carry).

Everyone knows this is the weakness of the team right now but, like Shawn Watson said after the game, this isn’t the NFL and there’s no waiver wire. Texas has to work with what it has.

And for at least the next five games, the players it trotted out there on Saturday will be the players it has to roll with given Kennedy Estelle and Desmond Harrison’s now five-game suspensions, which HD was the first to report on.

DEFENSIVE LINE - Putting the T Back in Texas

It might sound funny or seem strange to give a unit this high of a grade after BYU scored gashed Texas’ defense for 35 second-half points and 429 yards of offense.

But anyone who watched this game knows that Texas defensive line more than did its job considering how long it was on the field chasing who it was chasing, with its own offense not able to sustain very many drives at all.

Texas’ defense was on the field for 11 minutes in the second quarter and yet it still only gave up six points in the first half. Field position was not UT’s friend in the second half, and BYU took advantage.

Malcom Brown proved yet again that he could very well be the top defensive player in the Big 12 with an 11-tackles performance, which included three sacks and five tackles-for-loss.

Caleb Bluiett showed signs of continued improvement with five tackles and one TFL.

Shiro Davis (1 sack, two TFL) and Cedric Reed (half sack) had their moments but left much to be desired.

LINEBACKERS - Sprints and Up-Downs After Practice

Jordan Hicks proved for the second game in a row that he is on his way to having a career year at Texas. He finished ties with Malcom Brown for a game-high 11 tackles, including a half sack and two tackles-for-loss.

At one point in the second quarter, with BYU driving, Hicks made three tackles in a four-play span that helped the Longhorns force the Cougars into a punt. The tackles came on a 1-yard gain, a sack and a 4-yard loss.

Steve Edmond was active with 10 tackles, including a half sack and two TFL.

The concern of this group has to be Peter Jinkens, who had just two tackles after making a handful against UNT. Texas has to get more out of the Dallas Skyline product moving forward if this unit is going to rise to the level that Brian Jean-Mary wants it to.

SECONDARY – Start Practice Over

There’s not much to like about this group other than the incredible interception by Quandre Diggs in the corner of the south end zone in the second quarter.

All that this group seemed to do right against North Texas just wasn’t there against BYU. The secondary only had one pass breakup – Diggs’ interception.

Otherwise the Cougars’ plethora of receivers had too much room to operate before contact was even made and there were way too many missed tackles by this unit.

Not to mention BYU’s big running backs carried Mykkele Thompson with them on a few occasions.

And we won’t even talk about Dylan Haines getting hurdled by the bionic knee on one of his three touchdown runs.

SPECIAL TEAMS - Start Practice Over

For the second straight week Nick Rose just didn’t get the job done. He missed badly on a 43-yard field goal on Texas’ second drive that would have given Texas a 3-0 lead. When will Nick Jordan get an opportunity?

Marcus Johnson showed promise in kickoff return but missed some blocking lanes that could have sprung him free for longer gains. His opening kickoff return really could have sparked the offense had Jason Hall not been called for a personal foul for fighting after the play. He very well could have been ejected.

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