Dan Neil: Making a Final Impression

This season here at HornsDigest.com, former Longhorns' All-American OL DAN NEIL, a 2-time Super Bowl winner with the Denver Broncos, is breaking down film of Texas games and telling you what he sees. Catch Dan on "Upon Further Review" on LHN on Mondays at 6 pm CT.

One guy played.

When I sit down to write this article after watching the games this season, I often have to give myself a minute to calm down.

I do not want to write something I would regret.

I do not want to criticize college athletes because they are not professional, and they are full-time students.

They have a lot going on, and we need to be as supportive as we can and be slow to criticize.

When I watch the film, I watch it like I did when I was playing.

I watch what everyone is doing as a football player and not as a student-athlete.

I hold the players on film to the standard I hold any football player to, and sometimes I get frustrated and angry with what I see.

I am glad this game was on Thanksgiving because I had to give myself three days to calm down before I wrote my thoughts on the Tech game.

After one of the OU victories over Texas under Mack Brown, he went up to Darrell Royal and said “no one played well today.”

Coach Royal’s response was “someone played well. Not everyone played a bad game.”

This was true Thursday evening.

Chris Warren came to play.

I’m not sure if I saw anyone else who did, but Warren had a great game.

Chris Warren III:

When I was at Texas, we played the Mack Brown coached North Carolina Tar Heels in El Paso at the 1994 Sun Bowl.

Our starting running backs were hurt, and we ended up starting Priest Holmes. That day, no one blocked for Priest, and he was flying through the air scoring  touchdowns. The line had a terrible day, and without help, Priest rushed for 161 yards and 4 touchdowns.

He became the 25th member of the Legends of the Sun Bowl and that game was voted as one of the greatest games in the history of the Sun Bowl.

It was all Priest that day and it was all Warren Thursday.

I’m not sure I have seen anything like that in a long time.

You may see a Barry Sanders style back make guys miss and rush for 200+ yards. I do not know the last time I saw a power running back break tackles like Warren did.

I counted 7 missed tackles on the first touchdown run. I also saw 2 of the offensive lineman completely miss their guys, and Warren broke both tackles.

One guy was free in the hole and had Warren dead to rights for a loss. WOW!

He was just getting going, and in the second half, he could not be stopped.

Tech had 8-9 guys in the box all day and in the second half it did not work. There is nothing else a defensive coordinator can do to stop the run.

That was a special day for Chris Warren, and I was very impressed with how he played.

The problem was everybody else.

Considering the injuries before and during the game -along with the poor play - I’m not sure how it was as close as it was even with Warren.

The other thing I noticed is how creative Tech was with its offense.

Tech’s offense:

I’m not much of a trick play guy. We would see some team try some gadget play in the NFL and laughed that those plays only work in college.

Tech proved that theory Thursday. I saw 4 plays that I thought were great plays by Tech and had Texas confused.

The most obvious was the final touchdown run by Jakeem Grant - The ol’ fumbleroosky with a twist.

Texas never saw Grant behind the lineman and had no idea that Mahomes had handed the ball off.

This "college play" sealed the game for Tech. Gutsy call.

I also noticed some fake screens, fake draws and fake receiver bubble screens that confused UT’s defenders and created some easy plays for Tech.

Tech did a great job on offense and found a way to score points in a game where they struggled on offense in the first half.


We all know how good Malik Jefferson is. I felt after the Notre Dame game that he was the most talented defender we had.

I still think he is and has consistently made plays for this defense.

In the first half, Texas shut down the Tech offense and reminded me of the defense that made Baker Mayfield look confused.

They were pressuring Mahomes and shutting down any run game Tech tried.

In the first half, both Peter Jinkens and Jefferson left the game with injuries, and the defense was not the same.

It is hard to be critical when commenting on the lack of depth on this team.

When you are playing as many freshman as Texas is to start the season it is pretty obvious that depth is not a luxury Texas has.

The injuries hurt this team, except at running back.


Baylor’s next on the schedule and that will be the last game for this team in 2015.

It will be two teams that have nothing to play for and will be about who wants to beat the other guy more.

I have felt all year that this could be a statement game for this program.

If I am a senior on this team, it is my last hope to put my stamp on this program.

Ending your career at Texas with a win at Baylor will be a game that fans will remember for a long time.

That should be something to play for, and I hope this team decides to play Saturday!

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