Game Observations

Physical football, the development of Mack Brown's program, the future of the rivalry and random stats galore. Inside Texas' Ross Lucksinger gives his observations from the Longhorns win over OU.

-The performance of the Texas offensive line was top notch. I expected the Texas D-line, by far the strongest part of the Longhorns' defense, to consistently beat the Sooners' offensive line, but the Texas O-line played even better than expected, opening holes for Texas runners and giving Colt McCoy plenty of time to work with. The unit only gave up a single sack during the game.

-I'm looking at the notes I was taking during the game and I see here that during the first half I wrote in big letters and then under lined: Get up the field. In the second half, Texas most definitely did get up the field. Mack Brown's halftime mandate to let out the reins on his Colt made a big difference in the game, but it was also a far cry from the problems this staff suffered just a few years ago. One of the most common criticisms of Brown and his staff used to face was their inability to make halftime adjustments (back when that "Mr. February" talk was popular). Saturday showed that is not the case.

-This was one of the most physical football games I've ever seen. This is also something different from the past. Another popular criticism of the Horns was that they were "soft." Texas was not soft in this game. It's a credit to the strength and conditioning staff, but also to the adjustments Brown has made to his preseason preparations. The general perception has been that the Longhorns weren't preparing like they should in the spring and summer, but on Monday, Brown said that the opposite was the case, indicating that he previously had been working his players too hard and they hit the season worn out. This also goes in line with the extensive over-preparation that went into the Longhorns' bowl practices before the 2003 Holiday Bowl, which Texas lost to a significantly lower ranked Washington State team. It was after that season that Brown took a step back and realized the direction his team was heading in. It was the perfect time for the arrival of Vince Young. As Brown began to loosen up, he got some more nudging along from his QB. The result is the more relaxed, wiser and perceptive Coach Brown we see today.

-Oklahoma was lining up Adrian Peterson surprisingly deep in the backfield, but the strategy makes sense. Just let your workhorse get up a full head of steam and crash into the defenders. Peterson had a solid day on the ground, with 109 yards on 25 carries and the Sooners' only touchdown, but what was impressive was the Longhorns ability to contain Peterson in the second half. The Oklahoma back almost always increases his production in the second half, as he wears down opposing defenders. But the Longhorns shut down Peterson (38 yards) and the rest of the OU offense in the second half.

-Another way Oklahoma used Peterson was as a kick returner, which makes sense, considering that you want to get the ball into the hands of your playmaker. Peterson was effective, returning four kicks for 94 yards, but Texas appeared to actually be kicking the ball to Peterson, rather than away from him. Brown explained that it allowed the Horns to get a few extra shots in on the OU running back so they could continue to wear him down and reduce his effectiveness on offense. It appears to have worked.

-It doesn't have to be straight back. The word "lateral" means sideways. Just ask the Buffalo Bills.

-Oklahoma's record is now 3-2 and has fallen to No. 23 in the Associated Press Poll. Since the departure of quarterback Rhett Bomar, the Sooners have been falling in the polls, but the issue is that they never should have been ranked as high as they were in the first place. If there's one thing that Oklahoma has had an abundance of this season, it's excuses. They lost their starting quarterback and had to move a receiver back to the position. They lost to Oregon because of the referees…who incredulously gave up over 500 yards to the Ducks, causing the Sooners to lose (or was that the Oklahoma defense? I forget). Basically, Adrian Peterson is the only thing that's gone right for OU this season. This is not where you want to be as a program. OU only has two of the Top 100 2007 recruits in Texas (where most of their key contributors have traditionally come from), while the Longhorns have 19. With the continued development of McCoy and the talent level on the Texas squad, it looks like Bill Frisbie's preseason prediction of at least four consecutive Texas wins over Oklahoma may come true. The series operates in cycles, it almost always has and the pendulum is swinging the Longhorns' way.

-There are a variety of statistics that are extolled about the Brown-lead Longhorns, such as 75-1 when winning the rushing battle or 52-0 when getting more "explosive plays and turnovers" (Mack let us know about that one today), but here's a little known statistic that makes all the difference: Texas is 88-0 under Mack Brown when they score more points than their opponent.


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