Once again, a heavily-favored Texas team played down to its competition, struggling at times to move the football against a Baylor team that was ranked 11th in the Big 12 in defense. Yes, a win's a win. Yes, it was a three-touchdown win. However, leading Baylor only 10-7 at halftime is not Texas football.
Are the expectations too high? Does the talent just not match the hype?
Perhaps the expectations for Texas, as they always seem to be, are lofty, but the stomping of Iowa State showed that the Longhorns a dramatically more talented team than most of their opponents. The issue, as admitted by Texas coaches and players, is consistency. Nowhere has this been more apparent, especially against Baylor, than on offense.
Once again, turnovers kept Texas from dominating an opponent it should have. Three giveaways, including two Colt McCoy interceptions, kept the Bears in the game up until a Deon Beasley interception in the fourth.
Texas head coach Mack Brown announced last week that the Longhorns are "going to do whatever scores points," regardless of whether it's through the air or on the ground. But Texas still hasn't figured out what that "whatever" is. The problem is Texas doesn't want to be what its personnel dictates. With an inconsistent and turnover-prone running game, no fullbacks, persistent offensive line issues preventing the Horns from using long-developing passing plays and a deep group of fast receivers who run clean routes, Texas basically has the personnel to be Texas Tech, but Texas doesn't want to be Texas Tech.
Texas Tech isn't state school football. Texas Tech isn't what Texas does, but unfortunately for Texas, that's what Texas does best this season.
Understandably, execution is just as important as identity. The Baylor Bears, for example, know exactly what they are and it did help them much. But an offense that understands what it is tends to be much more successful.
Most games this season, Texas has been inconsistent on offense, both from a scheme standpoint and a performance standpoint, which has contributed greatly to quarterback Colt McCoy's sophomore slump, at least compared to his freshman year. McCoy has 12 INTs this season, well ahead of the seven he tossed all of last year to go with his school record 29 TDs.
One of the things that offensive coordinator Greg Davis has prided himself on is his ability to change offensive systems based on personnel, but for the most part of 2007, the Horns have lacked any sort of definitive offensive identity. Being able to be unpredictable is one thing, but the Longhorns aren't unpredictable, they just don't know what to go to in a pinch, what takes the most advantage of the personnel.
Identity gives a team confidence and a direction both in practice and on the field. One of the problems for the 2007 Texas Longhorns is that they still don't know what that "whatever" is.
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