On Tuesday, Texas head coach Charlie Strong announced he was taking away play-calling abilities from offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and giving the duties to wide receivers coach Jay Norvell. This decision came following Texas’ horrible performance against Notre Dame that resulting in a 38-3 loss.
The big question for the Horns’ game this weekend against Rice is whether this change in coaching will make a difference. While some of the blame can go on the coaching staff, I don’t think it is 100 percent any one person’s fault. The players are just as liable as the coaches.
Starting quarterback Tyrone Swoopes was only 7-for22 on the night with 93 passing yards. Could some of that be due to bad play calls? Absolutely. Are the calls solely to blame? No way.
Regardless of what the coaches call, the QB should be able to read the field and make plays with his own discretion. A starting QB needs to have the mentality that he can convert for the first down regardless of the play call. The Longhorns did not get their first first down until after the Irish had scored two touchdowns.
As far as the lack of running game, the coaches can take the blame for that. The Horns had only 60 rushing yards Saturday. Running back Johnathan Gray accounted for 40 of those yards on only eight carries. Eight.
Gray has proved he can be extremely successful when healthy. Last season, he had 637 yards. His lack of play was probably the most surprising part of Saturday’s game. Many fans were mind blown as to why Gray only got eight carries on the night, especially when nothing else was getting started on offense.
As far as receiving, only three receivers had yards on Saturday: John Burt, Daje Johnson and Andrew Beck. Senior receiver Marcus Johnson was left reception-less and left the game with an ankle injury. D aje Johnson led the team with six receptions, but only 45 yards. Burt had 48 yards on one catch.
With Norvell as the play-caller, fans can expect more passes on Saturday. The depth chart looks the exact same for the Rice game. Marcus Johnson is still the first string receiver despite leaving the game early against the Irish. But he did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Regardless of who is making the calls, the Horns need to step up this weekend. Texas is currently dead last in FBS in total offense and tied for last in scoring offense.
If the Rice game is a repeat of South Bend, who will Strong cut or move next?