Game Observations

Play calling issues (both good and bad), what makes Sweed so good, multiple walk-ons coming through for Texas and more. Inside Texas' Ross Lucksinger gives his observations from Saturday's Longhorn win over Nebraska.

-Being held to a field goal after a spectacular kick-off return by Quan Cosby was unfortunate for Texas, but it was perfect for taking the wind out of the Nebraska crowd. It was obviously a loud environment throughout the game, but because of the immediate momentum swing, the crowd had to build to that point instead of starting there and the return was important in the long run.

-One of the reasons for the Horns' inability to put the ball in the endzone on that first drive was the rather bizarre play call on third down, where the Longhorns tried to run an exact replica of a trick play run by Arkansas in their upset win over Auburn earlier in the year. Finding new and exciting ways to get the ball to Jordan Shipley is important for the Texas offense, but this play was not new and the result was not exciting. The play is predicated on placing a small player behind a large line who approaches the line of scrimmage hidden. Shipley is six feet tall. Not a giant, but also not 5'7" like Arkansas wide receiver Reggie Fish. Also, the play is supposed to be used in the middle of the field against a distracted defense that is simply going through the motions and doesn't see the recipient of the ball lining up behind the guard. The middle of the field also spreads out a defense and spreads their focus. In a goal-line situation the attention of the safeties, the players who can most easily disrupt this play, is more focused on the line of scrimmage and not deep. The lack of deep safeties in goal-line situations also make wide receiver screens significantly less effective inside the 20-yard-line, which Texas ran multiple times for minimal yardage.

-I would be remiss if I bagged on the coaches for questionable decisions and not acknowledge a very, very effective play call and execution. With the number of key turnovers, big stops and big touchdowns in that game, taking advantage of momentum shifts was paramount and Texas came through with four minutes remaining in the first half. After a Michael Griffin interception at the Nebraska 45, the Cornhuskers were on their heels and it was a perfect opportunity to attack and attack they did. Colt McCoy hooked up with Limas Sweed for a 55-yard touchdown pass as the Texas wideout streaked up the sideline.

-Speaking of Sweed, he once again effectively used his hands to create separation between himself and the defensive back. Was it a push-off? Eh, not really, but close. It's something we've seen on every big play for Sweed (which is quite a few) this season. He is able to separate from DBs by pushing off enough to get open but not enough to get a call. Achieving this balance isn't just a collegiate veteran move, it's something that most players don't master until the next level, if ever. This understanding will translate brilliantly to the National Football League.

-How about the hustle of Kasey Studdard? Texas does not win the game if during the final drive Studdard doesn't get down the field and stick with his blocks all the way to the whistle, allowing him to fall on the ball. And Studdard was not the only lineman getting up the field. The rest of the team was right behind him and each had a shot at the fumble as well. Once Studdard got the fumble, he laid on it for several seconds, tightly wrapping his arms around the pigskin as if to say, "No, this is mine!" They way he gripped the ball reminded me of the way Texas tight end Derek Lewis cradled the ball as he was being tackled at the end of "Roll Left" in 1996 when the Longhorns beat the 21-point favorite Nebraska Cornhuskers to win the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game.

-Last week, Greg Davis said that the main reason why Texas doesn't use a fullback very often was because the Longhorns "are a better team with one back." That's a polite way of saying that the fullbacks have not played up to snuff the entire season, which is why defensive tackle Derek Lokey has played more fullback than any other player on the team. It looks like against Nebraska the Horns finally found their fullback in walk-on Luke Tiemann. With the weather as rough as it was, it was important for Texas to be able to line-up and run straight at their opponent and they used the I-form more than expected. The 6'2", 219-pound junior from Pflugerville is now listed as a Co-starter with Chris Ogbonnaya, but since Ogbonnaya is being used primarily as a back-up halfback, Tiemann will be on the field as the Longhorns starter at the position.

-Meet Ryan Bailey. (Queue quirky dating game show music) The 6'2" 180-pound sophomore walk-on kicker for the Texas Longhorns football team went to Anderson High in Austin. At UT he's currently studying Communications and Business Administration. His interests include "Football, Baseball, Basketball, Friends, TV, Food, Hanging Out, Partying" and "Going to the Lake." His favorite kinds of music run the gambit. Ryan likes "Rap, Hip Hop, R&B, Classic Rock, Alternative" and "Country." His favorite TV shows are "Family Guy, Seinfeld and Sportscenter" (a show which appeared on for the first time Saturday night). Before Saturday, we had no knowledge of this man. Today, he's a hero. Funny how that happens in football sometimes.

Horns Digest Top Stories