Coach's Look: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

A wise man once said that there is a time for everything (long before the Byrds), a time for peace, and a time for war, so on and so on. Usually, the first game is the time for excitement, nervousness, griping, moaning, and general disappointment. Some people will comment on how good the team looked, and others will comment on how bad the team looked. Usually, I reserve this week for a look at what is working for the team, what could work in the future, and what will never work.

I’m going to have to take a different slant this year. There are some things that need improvement, but I didn’t see anything that I couldn’t live with. That being said, it’s time to talk about the good, the not-so-good, and the bad on offense in the Horns' season-opening 65-0 win.

The Good:

  1. The most solid performance by a Texas offensive line since 1998. It wasn’t perfect, but it never is. The line appeared to pick up right where it left off at the end of last season (well, the regular season), and actually was improved. Jason Glynn had his absolute best performance, and he is twice the player he was two years ago when Brandon Kennedy of UNT had his way with him. The line appeared more aggressive and the two tackles (Jonathan Scott and Justin Blalock) were outstanding. Will Allen played well, and the experience he gained last year paid off.
  2. The hard running by Cedric Benson. Benson picked up right where he finished last season, and continues to be the type of back that he was post-Baylor (which coincides with post-Plasmagate) last year. When the blocking wasn’t superb, Benson gained extra yards by keeping his feet churning. He is about to make some people stand up and take notice around the nation.
  3. The mix of play-calling. Were there some things Greg Davis wouldn’t have done in hindsight? You bet. At least I wouldn’t have done them over if I was Greg Davis. However, I will say that he did a great job of including many people in the offense. Two tight ends, the fullback, three tailbacks, Vincent Young and others received touches in the game. It was great to see the ball being spread around.

The Not-So-Good

  1. The blocking by the wide receivers. I won’t say that it was bad, because there were some times that it was superb. However, there were times when it was really bad. So, the wide receivers average out at not-so-good. Brian Carter did a more consistent job of blocking than Tony Jeffery did, in my opinion, but Jeffery did have some outstanding blocks (the crack block on the far sideline). To achieve "good" status, the wideouts need to become more consistent.
  2. The blocking by the tight ends. David Thomas looked very ineffective at times, and above average on other occasions. The problem with Thomas is not getting to the blocks, and not sustaining a block once he gets there. He needs to move his feet and stay on his blocks. To compound the problem, he stands too upright, and he loses his leverage, which will be needed against bigger, better players. Teams with good defensive ends (i.e. our neighbors to the North) could wreak havoc on the offense if this problem is not corrected.
  3. Tendencies. Too many times the UT formation gives away a strong tendency toward an offensive play. For example, when UT lines up in the offset I, be prepared for a flare by the fullback into the flats. I’m not saying it will always happen, but if you can narrow down the play range for an opposing defensive coordinator to three plays per set, you have made his job easy. I realize, though, that it is the first game and this could be the case of not showing too many of your cards.
  4. Kasey Studdard looked like Jason Glynn did at times in the past. Sometimes he was the hammer, sometimes he was the nail. I thought he looked average for his limited experience, and he appeared to be the weakest link on the line. He will get better, though, and he showed flashes of being a very solid player on the line.

The Bad

  1. Vincent Young’s twinkle toes. I realize it is a long season. I realize that the Horns have to have him. I realize I don’t want him to get injured. But I realize that he went down way too easily. He appeared tentative, and that will generally lead to a player getting injured. This kid can take some punishment (remember the ankle vs. K-State last year?), so I think he could have done more. Is it time for a change at QB? NO! I’m not nuts…I just think he could have run harder.
  2. The lapse in the red zone before the Brian Carter catch/incompletion. A momentary lapse of concentration caused a fumble by Young. When you have 2nd and goal from the five, you have to get some positive yards. Otherwise, the defense really only has to play the pass. There is a big difference between 3rd and 2 and 3rd and 5.

All in all, the Longhorns turned in a champion’s effort on offense, and, quite possibly, the start to a great, great season. This week’s game will provide the Horns with their only real test before OU. This will be the coaches’ last chance to gauge real improvement from last year. Rice and Baylor will do nothing more than give the coaches a chance to coach depth. Well fans, I am excited, and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this comfortable with the Longhorn offense. (By the way, I took some looks at the defense, and I was pretty excited about it, too.)

If you have any questions about the game or game film, feel free to post them on the Members board. I will try to respond each night.

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 third season of writing for IT. His 'Coach's Look' column appears after each game during football season on

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