USC? Slow start, inexperienced, beatable. Notre Dame? Very beatable. Ohio State? How about 151 yards rushing and 114 yards receiving given up to Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe? The distribution of talent across the country is surprisingly even and a very unexpected team could step up and win the title. After Saturday's games, I still maintain my preseason pick of West Virginia over USC in the national championship game, but it's anyone's ballgame at this point.
Anyway, lets get to Texas' game against North Texas.
Colt McCoy looked confident and in control. He may have had a few freshman mistakes here and there, but for most of the game it looked like McCoy was a veteran QB having to deal with a group of inexperienced wide receivers…Limas Sweed excluded of course.
Sweed showed that he's finally got the entire package of size, speed and hands that Longhorn fans have hoped for. Roy Williams 2.0 is set for a huge year. The rest of the wide receivers looked inconsistent and had trouble holding onto the ball. This was most evident in the shaky start by Jordan Shipley, who looked like, well, he hadn't played a down of competitive football in three years.
As for the running backs, both Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young had solid days, putting up 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns between the two of them, but the biggest reason for this was the strong play from the offensive line. They were a bit inconsistent in run blocking, but got the job done. The O-line's strongest suit, by far, was their pass blocking. Texas didn't give up a sack and McCoy hardly felt any pressure the entire day.
The starting O-linemen looked phenomenal, but it was very apparent what Mack Brown meant when he said he'd like to have seven to ten quality offensive linemen, but "right now we've got about six." Depth is a big issue on the line. The back-ups looked a little sluggish and Dallas Griffin, who played most of the game at center when Lyle Sendlein tweaked his ankle, had major snap issues.
It appears Cedric Dockery is going to be the fifth offensive lineman for Texas. The Horns tried every which way on the right side of the line, even putting Dockery and Adam Ulatoski on the field at the same time, but it seemed apparent that 1) Dockery has greatly improved and 2) the Horns reallyneed Justin Blalock at tackle.
There's no problem with depth on the other side of the trenches. The defensive line caused havoc the entire day, dismantling the North Texas running game and creating constant pressure. The exceptional performance of the defensive line opened up the linebackers to make plays.
The linebackers…well, did not always make the play. It's apparent they are hurting without Kindle and Kelson. Gene Chizik's defense is all about linebackers with speed who can fly all over the field and make plays and probably the two fastest in the unit were sidelined with ankle injuries. However, it is worth noting that Roddrick Muckelroy actually looked the strongest out of the LBs and, hey, what's a Texas football game without a Robert Killebrew personal foul, huh?
The Texas defensive backs are very fast and very aggressive. It was especially a great first start for safety Marcus Griffin, who tied Aaron Ross for the team lead with seven tackles. There were some minor mental errors, but the DBs were one of the stronger units on the field for the Horns on Saturday.
Texas had a lot of kinks to work out today. The Longhorns played great, but if they play at this exact level next week, they aren't beating Ohio State. This week's practices and film study will be huge for the Horns.
Center Lyle Sendlein left the game with a sprained ankle. When a trainer sat him down on table and took off his shoe and sock, there was visible swelling on his ankle. But it was clearly nothing more than a sprain, because Sendlein suited back up and tried to walk it off. He was moving around fairly easily, but was still in pain and in no condition to play. He clearly wanted to return, but the Texas coaches were wise to keep him out. I predict he still gets the start against Ohio State.
It looks like Sergio Kindle has a much better shot of playing in the Ohio State game than Drew Kelson. Kindle dressed for the game, but didn't play and Kelson spent the entire game with a boot over his ankle. Kelson ain't playing. That's all there is to it, but Kindle may be ready to go, the biggest concern is about having him come back too soon and reinjuring his ankle. Chances are, Kindle doesn't see the field, but it's a possibility.