Culpepper's Commentary: Oklahoma State Game

Now, this Texas team could challenge Ohio State! Finally! What we should understand is that Oklahoma State is a good football team. At the end of the first quarter the score was Longhorns 3, Cowboys 0, and the reason for that was a tough defense by Oklahoma State.

Whatever football coach ever came up with the ridiculous strategy of the quarterback, the receivers and the running back all getting set on the line of scrimmage or the backfield ready for the ball to be snapped, then raising up and looking for signals from coaches on the sideline, must have never played the game!

Texas defensive coach Gene Chizik made the most of such foolishness by delaying the show of his blitzes, some of them using safety Michael Griffin up on the line of scrimmage, and thus was able to put pressure on signal caller Bobby Reid of the Cowboys.

Reid looked good on the zone read and rollout passes but anything inside was stone cold stopped by the front seven of the Longhorns.

There is no doubt about the Texas defensive front. Only against Ohio State, when the Texas safeties were making most of the tackles, has there been a question about their play. Since that game that group has played with pride and with such an intensity that the Longhorns are now one of the nation's top defensive teams up front. From what I've seen, LSU, Texas, Michigan, Ohio State are the best overall defensive units, with Auburn and USC close behind.

That makes such a difference. All those 100-yard rushers across the line suddenly find the door shut. Opposing offensive linemen get knocked sideways and the space for running gets small. Believe me, the work that coach Mike Tolleson and Oscar Giles are doing with the Longhorn front is outstanding.

It also helped the Texas D to get linebacker Robert Killebrew back on the field. He can make the open field tackles that halt the gains after the catch on the flat pass that every offense likes to throw. His spirit is vital. He comes to win and knock your head off, which is not so good in tennis, but works well in football when properly harnessed.

Rashad Bobino makes at least one good hit per game that sets a tone and gets the crowd into the action.

Michael Griffin made a beautiful interception and generally had his head into this game from the start. His mistakes are easier to see than any other defender, but so are his big plays.

If Aaron Ross doesn't make the All-American team it will be a joke. Here is the gameplan from Kansas State and Texas A&M: throw away from #31's side against Texas!

In general, with the exception of the second half against Oklahoma, this was UT's best defensive effort of the year.

Bobby Reid came in as the third best passer in the country and ended up looking like a B-teamer pulled up to the varsity.

What was impressive about the Texas offense was the eight different receivers catching passes from Colt McCoy. Nate Jones took off his "decoy" jersey and showed speed downfield.

Jordan Shipley on the reverse adds a dimension of deception to the Longhorn running game.

And Jermichael Finley is beginning to demonstrate the big-play capability that he showed in the 2005 Texas High School All-Star football game.

I love to watch the Texas offensive line at work. Tackle to tackle and including Neale Tweedie, they are a top-notch zone blocking unit and give Colt McCoy enough time to check multiple receivers.

Speaking of Colt, what I notice is how he looks off the secondary so well now before he turns to his primary receiver, something he didn't do earlier in the season, particularly versus Ohio State.

In my opinion, when it was 30-10, Jevan Snead should have been in at quarterback. The development of a back-up quarterback is necessary and it seems to me the Longhorn staff has missed several chances to give Snead some quality playing time; not versus OU, Nebraska or Tech, but most certainly against Baylor and Oklahoma State. What happens if Colt gets knocked down and hurt? Are we sure Snead could rally the troops? I really don't know, and his teammates might not, which is what matters.

Forget Louisville in the championship game; the Cardinals are playing subpar on defense. In my mind, it's Florida, Texas, USC or an Ohio State-Michigan rematch in the title game. The next three-four games will tell the tale.

This I know: except for Lubbock, no town gets "up" for the Texas team and fans like the good folks in Manhattan, Kansas. Quarterback Josh Freeman, who is another outstanding freshman signal caller in the Big 12, has helped the Wildcats get bowl eligible.

I enjoy the Wildcat tailgate gala and will glad to be in the Burnt Orange because this Texas team has its second wind. The goal is in sight. Texas 35, Kansas State 13.

Pat Culpepper played for The University from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.


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