Protecting Jerrod Heard on third down a priority for the Longhorns

The Longhorns have got to find a way to protect Jerrod Heard on third downs, offensive play-caller Jay Norvell said.

One of Jay Norvell's biggest points of emphasis in his post-game presser was the need for Texas to get better at protecting Jerrod Heard on third down.

The Longhorns were a dismal 4-of-16 on third downs against Oklahoma State.

“We have to do a better job of protecting Jerrod on third downs so he can drop back in the pocket and throw,” Norvell said. “That was not good at all.”

Here’s how each third-down played out for the Longhorns:

First Quarter

3rd-and-5 from Texas 30 – Jerrod Heard sacked

3rd-and-6 from OSU 24 – Johnathan Gray rush for 1 yard

3rd-and-10 from Texas 44 – Heard rush for 16 yards

3rd-and-1 from OSU 31 – Swoopes rush for 12 yards

3rd-and-12 from OSU 21 - Kent Perkins false start

3rd-and-17 from OSU 26 – Heard pass to Daje Johnson for 2-yard loss

Second Quarter

3rd-and-1 from OSU 41 – Swoopes rush for 16 yards

3rd-and-7 from OSU 12 – Heard rush for 5 yards

3rd-and-3 from UT 41 – D’Onta Foreman rush for 3-yard loss

Third Quarter

3rd-and-15 from Texas 42 – Heard sacked

3rd-and- 11 from Texas 24 – Heard to Caleb Bluiett for 29 yards

3rd-and-4 from OSU 41 – Heard intercepted off what should have been a catch by Marcus Johnson

3rd-and-11 from OSU 22 – Heard sacked for 22-yard loss

Fourth Quarter

3rd-and-16 from OSU 45 – Heard rush for 6 yards

3rd-and-10 from Texas 12 – Heard rush for 7 yards

3rd-and-9 from Texas 10 – Heard to D’Onta Foreman for 6 yards

3rd-and-10 from Texas 25 – Heard sacked

The Longhorns didn’t complete a single third down after Kent Perkins left the game with a knee injury. But Norvell didn’t use that as an excuse to mask what appears to be a pretty bid problem moving forward.

“We missed him obviously but we have to do a better job of protecting Jerrod on third down,” Norvell said. “That’s the bottom line. We told the kid [Heard] we had to learn from it. We knew they weren’t going to let him run around like he did last week. That’s just the reality. Good coaches are going to make adjustments, make you earn it. We have to make sure we can protect and give ourselves and opportunity to throw on third downs and make plays. That obviously wasn’t good enough.”

Texas is now 15-of-50 on third downs this season. Conversely, UT’s opponents are 36-of-64.

“I told the players that the one thing we’ve been talking about from the start is building accountability,” he said. “We have to watch the film and take responsibility for what happened today.”

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