Culpepper's Thoughts on the KSU Game

First, the positives from the Horns' fourth quarter, come-from-behind win:

1. Texas was forced to play Vince Young at quarterback and he came through with a clutch performance. Chance Mock, continually harassed by the K-State pass rush, was playing volleyball as his passes were being rejected at the line by the Wildcat defense and the Longhorns were, simply put, going nowhere after the break. The redshirt freshman, though, ran, threw and led the Horns to victory. Without Young's play, the Longhorns lose, no question.

2. In Aaron Harris, Texas found an inside linebacker with enough firepower to knock back a ball carrier when he makes a tackle. Texas has not had one in some time, but Harris might be the answer in the middle, freeing up Derrick Johnson to wreck havoc from the outside, where he belongs.

3. Although injuries have affected the team's depth at the spot, the Longhorns seemed to find a solution to the puzzle at defensive end. Kalen Thornton, Tim Crowder and Austin Sendlein rotated in and out and made big plays throughout the game.

4. Texas' "other" receivers made outstanding plays. Sloan Thomas took a deep strike from Mock just before halftime for a touchdown and Tony Jeffery made the biggest play of the game on offense by out-jumping a Wildcat defender to catch a 52-yard bomb from Young that gave Texas possession deep in KSU with the opportunity for the go-ahead score.

5. The Texas defense played its best game of the year. The tackling was better, the conditioning was improved and the pass coverage was tighter. Michael Huff's lay-out-and-put-your-body-on-the-football punt block that gave the Horns their first score was the best defensive play of the game.

6. In the fourth quarter, Coach Mack Brown went for the win. The game was on the line and a field goal would have tied but Coach Brown trusted his offensive line and rookie quarterback to score with fourth and inches.

Now some questions, issues and concerns heading into Oklahoma:

1. Can Texas find a way to use Roy Williams before he graduates? He touched the ball just five times in 74 plays Saturday. With Texas' "other" receivers running outside patterns, Roy Williams in the slot position over the middle would be like Texas Tech's Wes Welker, who touches the ball many, many times every game (and far more than Roy). I'd also love to see him line up at the slot position so he could come in motion to be the pitch man on the option with Cedric Benson as an arc blocker, like the old Wishbone days.

2. Who is Texas fooling about playing quarterback? Under the microscope of tough competition, Vince Young is the difference that Texas needs to have any opportunity to move the ball against Oklahoma. Unless his ankle is too tender to practice, I would love to see Texas unleash an option and passing attack at the Sooners, an attack which is obviously suited for Young.

3. Nathan Vasher has to learn to fair catch shorter punts to prevent the rolling football, which almost always means bad field position. Poor judgment in that area could cost the Horns dearly vs. Oklahoma, where literally every yard of field position is critical.

4. Does Texas have a goalline offense? At the end of the Kansas State game, the Longhorns looked confused and disoriented before Vince Young made it over the goalline by inches on fourth down. Perhaps it was because Young had not had experience with the first unit in that type of situation. (For some insight on this, see Roy Williams' comments on Vince in last week's Scoop.)

My prediction for Saturday is Oklahoma 27, Texas 9 with the Longhorn points coming by way of field goals. I hope I'm wrong!

Pat Culpepper played for The University from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary will appear regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at

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