Taking Stock: Who's Up, Who's Down

This is the eighth in a series of post-game reports throughout the season that will evaluate players, positions, units, coaches, and any other thing that is worthy of scrutiny. No, it’s not your typical player X did well, so his stock is up. We will touch on some of those, but we want to provide a closer look at some of the less obvious and explain why the subject received a certain grade. Check back each week for the latest report. You might be surprised.

Stock Up

Total Defense -- Greg Robinson and Duane Akina did it again. The defensive duo threw a bunch of different looks at Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt and subsequently he threw the ball into the unknown. He admitted as much after the game. "It wasn't as much what we didn't do as what they did do. They pressured us a lot more than we had seen from them." Pressure was just one facet of the defensive gameplan that resulted in a performance that was totally dominant. The final numbers clearly indicate that. The most impressive number: 3 yards rushing allowed on 18 attempts, 218 yards passing allowed. When you add it all up, 221 yards allowed against a Colorado offense that gained 510 total yards -- 364 through the air and 146 on the ground -- a week earlier against A&M. It's safe to say the Texas defense is rounding into form heading down the stretch and could go a long way in securing Texas' first berth in a BCS bowl game.

Larry Dibbles -- With overall team defensive stats so impressive, the individual defensive numbers weren't as gaudy because the defense was sitting on the sideline a disproportionate amount of time. In the time the junior defensive tackle was on the field with his defensive cohorts, he was outstanding. Although he was only credited with five tackles including two solo, it's the "other" things the big tackle did that gets him some much deserved recognition this week. In addition to one tackle for loss, Dibbles was credited with one forced fumble and one pass breakup. On the forced fumble, Dibbles tag-teamed on CU running back Bobby Purify at the line of scrimmage with Derrick Johnson and Rod Wright. Dibbles' final blow on Purify's ballcarrying arm dislodged the ball only to be recovered by Colorado's Sam Wilder. The pass breakup play by Dibbles was his most remarkable play of the day because it happened so far away from the line of scrimmage. At the snap, Dibbles from his traditional three-point stance immediately dropped back into coverage in the middle of the field. When CU quarterback Joel Klatt threw the pass, Dibbles showed some nimbleness for his almost 300-pound frame as he leapt to his left and deflected the ball into the air and narrowly missed an INT.

Aaron Harris and Michael Griffin -- The defensive duo looked like a team within a team in Colorado as the two combined on a pair of plays to force and recover a couple of turnovers. On Colorado's first drive of the second half, Griffin sacked Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt for a loss of 11 yards and jarred the ball free in the process. Harris picked up the ball, headed for the end zone, and was promptly brought down by Klatt who was still lying on the ground. On the very next drive it was a role reversal. Klatt dropped back to pass, fired and Harris jumped up, deflected the pass in the air and Griffin caught the ball. These two have established that the UT defense is in good hands in the future even with the departure of the out-of-this-world Derrick Johnson.

Ramonce Taylor -- The true freshman from Temple finished with 84 yards on 11 carries for an average of 7.6 yards per carry. That's impressive enough. About half of those yards, however, came in trash time late in the game when Texas was just trying to run out the clock. But two runs -- one in the second and another in the third -- were eye openers for the Colorado defense as Taylor picked up the bulk of his yards on just the two carries. After being overpowered by the bull of a running back in Benson throughout the game, Taylor stepped on to the field and provided a totally different dimension to the Texas running attack. On the first run in the second quarter, Taylor took the option pitch from Young. Three Colorado defenders were in good position and appeared to have the angle. That is if it were Benson running with the ball. With Taylor, not a chance. Taylor blew right past the pursuit for a nine-yard gain and a first down. The second run in the third quarter was almost the exact same play. Young shifted down the line, then pitched to Taylor. Taylor got the ball and there was nothing but Buff defenders and the sideline. Instead of taking on tacklers or going out of bounds, Taylor reversed field back to the left and turned on the jets. This was 4.3 speed defined. First, second, third, and finally a fourth defender watched helplessly as Taylor turned the other way and blazed a path right past each one of them. Then, for the fifth and sixth defenders, Taylor had something special. He went right between them with the aid of a great block from Tony Jeffery. When the jets were finally stymied, Taylor had racked up 36 yards on the play. Actually it was more like 70 as he traversed the entire field. If you have TIVO, watch this play over and over paying specific attention to this kid's legs. It's amazing. It's like everything else around him is going in slow motion. And to think, he's a true freshman.

Stock Down

Vince Young, passing -- Early on it looked ugly. Young appeared to have reverted back to his Missouri game form, misfiring on several attempts and making poor decisions on several others including two passes that were thrown into areas that even John Elway would not have found success. Those two passes resulted in interceptions and one was returned for a touchdown. He calmed down from the second quarter on and made several good throws down the field but otherwise it was another a-lot-to-be-desired performance from the sophomore, who finished the game 8 of 15 for 71 yards. If this team is going to be a legitimate BCS contender and winner, the passing game must, I repeat, MUST improve.

Tony Jeffery -- While Young clearly made two poor decisions on the passes that were picked off, Jeffery didn't help on the second INT. On the play, which was truly a horrible last-second decision on Young's part, Jeffery did nothing to help. Admittedly, he probably never thought Young would throw the ball, but he never came back to Young to try and help his quarterback out and in fact, Jeffery actually stepped of bounds on his own and would have been flagged had he touched the ball first. The young Texas receiving corps has all season failed to come back to help out a desperate Young in scrambling situations and Jeffery, as the lone senior, should not be guilty of such an act. And one other knock on Jeffery -- he dropped a perfectly thrown ball on a crossing route on the first offensive series after Colorado had scored on Young's first interception. Young needs any confidence he can find in the passing game and perfect passes, which have been thrown less than a majority of time, must be caught to help.

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