Inside Texas Blog: A Look Back, a Look Ahead

Inside Texas' Ross Lucksinger gives his observations from Texas' win over the Red Raiders and looks at what this game meant in terms of where the Longhorns are going.

When Texas was down 21-0, many were worried about the loss, worried about the how far Texas would drop in the polls, worried about where Texas would end up.

I've got news for you folks. This game didn't mean a thing.

At least not in terms of where the Horns are going. Texas is within striking distance of the national championship game, but that's still a long ways off. Although crazy things happen over the course of a college football season, signs still point to a meeting between the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game and the West Virginia-Louisville game. I'm not saying that's fair, just saying that's how it is. Fairness has never been a part of college football and won't be for the foreseeable future.

The winner of the Big 12 Conference has an automatic tie-in with the Fiesta Bowl and the Longhorns, being the only Big 12 South team without a conference loss, can actually afford to lose a game to anybody at this point (excepting the Aggies if A&M manages to win the rest of their games and upset Texas…but lets not get crazy).

So when Texas is down 28 points to Oklahoma State, as they invariably will be, just remember that it really doesn't matter if Texas wins or loses. That should tide you over until the Horns score 50 in the second half and cruise to another come-back blow-out.

Final ranking, program prestige, team confidence, fan pride, recruiting, etc. Yes, all of these things would be affected by a Texas loss, but where the Longhorns are going at the end of the year? Probably not. Does this reduce the overall importance of each win? Probably, but don't worry about it. Be thankful for the very comfortable gap between Texas and the rest of the conference.

Now, onto the observations from Saturday.

-The I-Formation was back in force against Texas Tech. Although the Longhorns' running attack is primarily predicated on a read-blocking scheme, where the entire line moves laterally while the running back follows, reading the defense and picking his hole, there is still a desire from the coaching staff to use more downhill running than Texas has. The issue was the performance of the fullbacks. Chris Ogbonnaya is a swing player who can play fullback, halfback, tight end, receiver and has made an impact on special teams but he isn't a true threat as a lead-blocker. Enter Luke Tiemann. The walk-on has proven valuable for his blocking abilities and has allowed the Longhorns to return to the Cedric Benson-style attack when they wish and added more versatility to the offense.

-One of the most important adjustments the Texas coaches have made…is making adjustments. One of the most common criticisms of the Texas coaching staff in the heyday of "Can't win the big one" was the perceived lack of effective halftime adjustments. Over the last several seasons, no one in the country has been better in the second half than the Texas Longhorns. From the dual comebacks against Oklahoma State to the last second Rose Bowl victories to the four consecutive comeback wins this season, Texas has shown an impressive level of grit and determination and this season has done a great deal to prove that it wasn't just Vince Young (but he sure did help).

-I left the press box and watched the last five minutes of the game from the field. I stood on the sideline and watched each of the Texas defense's fourth down stops and a few things stood out. For one, it was the right call both times. There were a great deal of questionable calls throughout the game, but those two were spot on. Of course, the Texas Tech fans were not pleased with the results and they let their ire be known. Justin Blalock told me that the Tech players actually did less trash talking than in years past. The fans, however, are another story. The mass of red and black was the writhing ball of hatred that's we've come to expect.

"They really hate us," said Blalock.

As per usual, the Red Sea also continued with its rather bizarre tradition of dismantling many of the bleachers in the student section and passing them around. Eventually, one section of seats made its way down to field level, where stadium staff calmly took the row of seats and walked into the tunnel with it. I'm sure Texas Tech parents love paying the annual student fees set aside for stadium repair.

Something else I noticed was the sound of the hits. It wasn't quite this year's OU game (which was one of the most physical football games I've ever seen), but the pops and the grunts were quite audible, even over the roar of the fans. Not to make excuses for the fumbles that Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles gave up, but it was a very physical game.

-Henry Melton was exceptionally jazzed about the game. It wasn't just the Longhorns' win, but also his getting back onto the football field. As previously reported in the Inside Scoop, Melton isn't stoked about being moved away from running back, but he was happy to be back on the field, even if it's in a new capacity. After the game, I saw Melton down on the field and he ran up to me and I obliged by giving him the high-five he requested in celebration of the victory. When I'm serving as a journalist, it's important that I don't show loyalty to either side, but neutrality be damned, I'm not going to leave Henry hanging. That's just not right.

What do you think?

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