Everybody got to play and everybody played well. Saturday's 58-14 crushing of Rice served as a good warm-up and confidence builder for a Texas team that had seen its share of struggles to start the season.
Texas is now 4-0, but it hasn't been easy. The Horns have been less than stellar against a couple of lightly regarded foes and got shut out in the first half against TCU. But the Rice game was where the Longhorns finally got a chance to get the backups into the game and get a nice, light workout in so they could prepare for conference play.
The real challenge begins next week. The Longhorns start with the team that knocked them out of championship contention, the Kansas State Wildcats, and follows up the next week with the annual Red River Rivalry in the Cotton Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners, a team which has been red hot in 2007.
The real season starts in a week, but for now the Horns are riding high after playing in sync and looking like the team that they were expected to be before the season started.
-Limas Sweed showed why he's pretty good at that whole football thing. Sweed got a career-high 139 yards and two TDs on five catches. Even when he was in tight coverage, it didn't matter. He's just bigger, stronger and faster than any defender the Owls put on him.
-Wow, Jared Norton can hit. Norton was tied for second on the team with five tackles and had a sack in the game, he was all over the field and, again, laid some crushing blows on his opponents. In general, it was another great game for the Longhorns' backup linebackers. Roddrick Muckelroy chipped in three tackles of his own to go along with an interception. But the most impressive statistic may simply be Sergio Kindle's three solo tackles. Despite leaving the game in the second quarter with a right knee injury, he racked up more solo tackles than all of Texas' starting linebackers combined (one for Rashad Bobino and one for Scott Derry).
-DE Eddie Jones, like Kindle, also left the game in the second quarter. Jones suffered a shoulder injury and went to the locker room. He returned to the sideline later with his arm in a sling, but it obviously wasn't giving him a massive amount of pain since he was bouncing around with teammates during the game.
-Marcus Griffin did a spectacular impersonation of his twin brother, Michael Griffin, with a leaping interception early in the game that looked a lot like Michael's game-changing pick against USC in the BCS Championship Game.
-Colt McCoy looked like the Colt McCoy we saw last year, throwing for 333 yards, three TDs and no picks on 20-of-29 passing. This is what happens when you give a very accurate quarterback time to throw. He picks the defense apart.
-Hey, south end zone fans. Shut up. I'm trying to listen to the MOB. Secretary of defense...seven points. Heh. That's pretty funny.
-This has been addressed previously, but it deserves mentioning again. When Texas trotted out the back-ups in the third quarter, the offense was composed entirely of freshmen, either redshirt or true. At wide receiver it was James Kirkendoll, Brandon Collins and Montre Webber. The offensive linemen were Kyle Hix, Britt Mitchell, Buck Burnette, Michael Huey and Tray Allen. Blaine Irby was at tight end, Vondrell McGee at running back and John Chiles took the snaps at QB. While this generates a lot of excitement for the future, it also shows how limited this team is in terms of depth. The main backups at a lot of positions are freshmen, but they're also really good freshmen. They were playing Rice, true, but if you put an entire squad of freshmen on the field, you're typically going to see a lot more mistakes than we saw on Saturday, especially on the offensive line.
-Kirkendoll really shouldn't be allowed to wear that number.
-Ryan Bailey kicked a career long field goal of 52 yards with plenty to spare. Bailey is really earning that scholarship he was awarded before the season because he's been a huge part of Texas' scoring, racking up 46 points over the first four games. If he continues at this pace, he'll crush the Texas single season record for points by a kicker, held by David Pino with 113 in 2005. Yes, it does seem odd that no kicker at Texas has put up more points in a season than Pino, but it helps being the kicker on a team led by Vince Young, since 71 of those were extra points. Bailey would still be a ways off from the team scoring record, though, which is 168 by Ricky Williams in 1998. Gonna be hard to catch a guy who scored 28 TDs in one season.
A Good Warm-up
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