Coach's Look: Nothing More Than A Bully

I have never been more disappointed in a Longhorn team's performance in my entire life. The 2000 Red River Shootout, the previous low-water mark, was certainly disconcerting, but this year’s debacle in Dallas takes the cake. What I once thought could never be true, I have come to realize as fact: the Longhorns are the elementary school playground bully.

They are the kids that threatened to beat up everyone and would put an occasional butt-whipping on the runt kids to show their "prowess", but there were a few kids at school that saw through the facade and called them out for what they were: a scared, feeble boy that only talked and acted tough. Well, my friends, Texas is that bully, and Oklahoma sees through the facade.

I don’t want you to think that I feel this way about every individual member of the team. I don't. There are several Longhorns that give everything they have, play tough and would do anything to win football games. It’s not the Tien Van Nguyen’s of the team that I am worried about. It’s some of the "stars" of the team. You know, the ones who turned it down a notch for the big game instead of turning it up. You know the guys:

The receiver that puts on a show with his mouth, grins after drops, and is animated with his sideline gestures yet doesn’t put on a show on the field despite his immense talent;

"One of the nation’s top defensive backs" who stands idly while the opposing player bats a ball around attempting to catch it (and he does nothing to prevent it);

The player that has a clear shot on a running back on the sideline who slows down seemingly so that he doesn't have to make contact;

The player who attempts a tackle that would be great only in a "two-anywhere" pick-up game;

The linebacker who dances around waiting to be blocked rather than seeking out the play;

The defensive player who continues to make the same mistakes week-after-week and who doesn't make an effort to make a tackle when it is in front of him (but does make a show of chasing down people once they have passed him);

One of the team's heralded recruits assuming that the play is over just because the opponent runs toward the boundary.

Those guys -- you saw the game, you know their names -- make you question the toughness and pride of a team, and make you doubly question the talent evaluation skills and, yes, toughness of the coaches who put them out on the field in the first place.

Although it almost felt like Saturday’s game was a big joke, wholly at the expense of all Orangebloods, the even bigger joke was the fact that Tillman Holloway was named by ABC as the Longhorns' player of the game. I know Brent Musberger was reaching to find anyone deserving of the award (perhaps Vince Young or even Phillip Geiggar), but Tillman Holloway? Are you kidding me? This was the worst performance I've ever seen from Holloway. It’s not that he is one of the "usual suspects" -- he generally gives decent, if not solid, effort and performances -- but if you haven’t burned the film from Saturday’s game yet, follow me and we’ll critique the first half performance (actually, the first 6 drives -- I couldn’t bear to do a film study on anymore than that) of Holloway and the rest of the Longhorn offensive line:

Drive

Play

Description

Comments

1

1

Rollout Inc. to BJ

Everyone receives a "+" on this play. Good protection, good throw, good catch. Bad refs. Greg Davis actually has a good idea here. Tired of seeing his QBs get thrown around like a rag doll in the pocket the last few years, he rolls the QB out.

 

2

Rollout complete to Roy for 5 yds

Poor effort by Scott and Blalock. Everyone else gets a "+" on this play. Another good play by the Horns. However, instead of 2nd and 5, it is 3rd and 5.

 

3

Interception

Horrible decision by Mock. Why would he make such a poor decision? It could be because a blitzer was coming in his face. Why was a blitzer coming right at him? Either it was poor communication or a poor gameplan. Tommie Harris is receiving a triple-team. Holloway should have slid out to take the man over Scott, and Scott should have been free to pick up the blitz. Instead, Holloway takes the man inside over the center, and the blitz comes free.

2

1

Benson zone play for 1 yd

If Blalock makes his block, Ced would have picked up five yards on the play. Instead, he didn’t "finish" his block (he didn’t keep his feet moving), and Kory Klein made a good play. Scott also didn’t do very well. One person did do very well on the play…watch Jason Glynn drive All-World Tommie Harris.

 

2

Inc. to Roy on Slant

Everyone did pretty well here, except Will Allen. He was too high, and he was shoved back into the pocket.

 

3

Screen to Sloan for no gain

Scott gave a poor effort, Glynn appears to not want to make a block, Holloway confuses landing on a man on the ground as a pancake block, Will Allen blocks someone behind the play, and Blalock shows too much indecision.

3

1

Option Pitch to Benson for minus-3 yds

Someone please tell me why Brock Edwards is in the game. If he is the blocking tight end, then the Horns need to give up the game of football. All of the linemen do poorly on this play, save one. Jason Glynn actually has a pretty good reach block on Tommie Harris. Maybe all of the criticism over the past two years has pushed him to be better. Let’s hope it works for Michael Huff and Cedric Griffin.

 

2

Spread Draw to Benson for 1 yd

Holloway, Allen, and Blalock look like big dancing bears. Can someone tell me what Edwards is doing? Is the play actually designed this way?

 

3

In to Roy for 30 yds

Everyone looks pretty good in the pass protection department, except Holloway. Tommie Harris takes him to school, and if it wasn’t for a well-timed arm drag, Tommie would have killed this play.

 

4

Rollout to Matthews for 5 yds

It’s hard to evaluate Holloway’s or Glynn’s play on this play. Harris was blatantly offsides on the play. Other than that, the play looked OK.

 

5

Scramble by Young for 4 yds

Hard to gauge the play, since it was mostly a creative effort by Vince. Holloway had a nice touchdown saving "tackle" on Vince.

 

6

2-yd TD run by Benson

Everyone looked good. Everyone stayed low.

4

1

INT by Vince

Good blocking, horrible effort by BJ Johnson. You have to make an effort to come back to the ball. A huge momentum killer.

5

1

Spread Option by Vince for 59 yds

Absolutely nothing to complain about.

 

2

Ced Zone for 5 yds

Great job by Scott. Holloway and Allen left a lot to be desired.

 

3

Ced Zone for 8 yds

Best job of zone blocking against a competent defense in two years.

 

4

Fumble by Vince

Good blocking on the play. Great play by OU. Funny how putting a helmet on the ball can make it come out, isn’t it?

6

1

Rollout by Vince for 12 yds

Great protection.

 

2

Long Throw to Roy — Inc.

Great, great pocket protection. Vince had all the time in the world.

 

3

Sweep to Benson for 1 yd

Holloway takes a poor angle to cut off Teddy Lehman

 

4

Vince sacked for minus-10 yds

Poor job by Holloway and Blalock.

If I were to hand out grades to the linemen, much-maligned C Jason Glynn would have received the highest mark (a B+), with LT Jonathan Scott earning a B, RG Will Allen a C-, RT Justin Blalock a D+ and "player of the game" Holloway a miserable D-.

In all honesty, I think that the offensive performance on Saturday was not as offensive as the defensive performance. But no matter, until this Texas team starts being tough on both sides of the ball, and not just talking and acting tough, it will have a tough time winning consistently in the Big 12, particularly against the likes of Oklahoma, a team actually capable of backing up its bluster.

Mark Kissinger has coached high school football in Texas and Tennessee, coaching OL, TE, WR, DT, DE, and serving as both an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. In high school, he was coached by the legendary G.A. Moore. Mark recently retired from coaching and received his M.B.A. from Rice University and is in his second season of writing for IT. His 'Coach's Look' column appears after each game during football season on InsideTexas.com.


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