Apologies to Jamaal Charles

A new set of linebackers, redzone worries, missing tight ends and a heart-felt apology to No. 25. Inside Texas' Ross Lucksinger gives his observations from the Longhorns' win over Nebraska.

I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry, Jamaal.

Yes, you can get it done in the clutch. Yes, you can hold onto the ball in the process. No, you don't bounce everything to the outside. No, aren't a weak runner.

At least you aren't any longer.

There a significant difference in the way Charles ran on Saturday, as compared to the rest of this season. He went up the up middle, he didn't fumble, he got tough yards and he made the big plays in the fourth quarter when Texas needed them to win.

Indeed, the Cornhuskers do have a terrible run defense, but so does Baylor and the Longhorns struggled to run the ball in Waco. That certainly wasn't a problem against the Huskers.

There were still a few of the same mistakes made by Charles, but 290 yards doesn't happen by accident. Hopefully for the junior runner, this game will be a turning point in his career and the point where he finally became what Texas fans, and Charles, hoped he would be.

Game Observations

-One of the few mistakes by Charles I alluded to actually occurred on his 86-yard touchdown run. He took the hand-off heading to the right and that side of the line collapsed backwards thanks to a strong rush from Nebraska. The proper move would have been to cut it up inside and get what he could, something Charles did a good job of, for the most part, during the game. Instead, Charles cut backward and made his way around the surge. Initially it wasn't the right decision, but his natural athleticism took over and he cut back up the field as he approached the sideline. That last cut is what's important about the run. Instead of getting carried out of bounds, Charles showed the killer instinct necessary to make a play.

-It was a mixed bag from the offensive line. Great run blocking in the fourth, but mostly poor protection of the quarterback. True, Texas was facing blitzes all day, but the protection still needs to improve by a lot if the Horns hope to have success against legitimate defenses. 50th in the nation in sacks allowed isn't going to cut it.

-I fully endorse the usage of Derek Lokey on offense in more than just goal line and short-yardage situations. He's still the best fullback on the team. Use him.

-John Chiles? Anybody? Anybody? Ok, hard to complain a whole lot about a running game that produced 364 yards, but Texas needs to utilize Chiles' abilities on a much more frequent basis. It almost seems like Greg Davis doesn't know what to do with Chiles, but that really shouldn't be the case. Keep in mind, Davis was coaching at Georgia when the Dogs had a uniquely-talented receiver/quarterback by the name of Hines Ward. It may be time for Davis to dust off that old Georgia playbook.

-Jermichael Finley? Anybody? Anybody? Ok, hard to complain a whole lot about a passing attack that produced 181 yards...oh, never mind. A feature that both Texas and Texas A&M both unfortunately share is an underutilization of the the tight end. A great example of this is the Aggies' loss on Saturday to Kansas. Texas A&M tight end Martellus Bennett did have eight receptions for 91 yards, but every single one of them came in the fourth quarter. Every one! Hmm, shocking. Spread it out and have your originally throwing quarterback whom you force-fed into your offense actually throw the ball to the best athlete on the entire team and suddenly you're actually able to score a touchdown. Amazing! The Longhorns do need to use Finley a lot more, but if you'd like to see true misuse of offense talent, take a look at how things are going in College Station. Texas A&M should never be a barometer of success for Texas (at least not nowadays), but it is interesting to watch things collapse in Aggieland.

-Much like the alteration of the offense to let "Vince be Vince", the Texas coaching staff has shown an ability to adjust and make necessary changes, albeit glacially slow. We saw a lot of Sergio Kindle, Roddrick Muckelroy and Jared Norton on Saturday and the results were apparent. It's been no secret that this change needed to be made, but it's been a slow, steady process to actually get to where we are. Each game we saw a little bit more and a little bit more of the back-up linebackers. It would be nice if this change had been made much earlier but the adjustment is quite welcome.

-Redzone offense remains a problem for the Longhorns. Of course, Texas didn't need a redzone offense with Charles scoring from all over the field, but the Longhorns occasional issues punching ball in are a bad sign moving forward.

-Once again, Texas needed to recover an onside kick and once again Brandon Foster stepped up with a recovery. But Foster wasn't the real hero on that play, it was all of the members of the hands team in front of him. When Foster hit the ground he lost control of the football, but he had plenty of time to gather it up because the up-men did a spectacular job of blocking the attacking kick team.

-As much as it hurt the Huskers run D in the fourth, I agree entirely with the decision to blitz on almost every down. The Longhorns have had a problem with protection all season and with Nebraska coming in as such a massive underdog, disruption was absolutely necessary. For three quarters it worked, but in the fourth the aggression allowed Charles to get to the second level and he was gone, gone, gone. Nebraska basically said, "We're not going to let Colt McCoy beat us" and put it on the Texas running game. Based on how successful, or rather, unsuccessful, the Longhorn's running game has been this season, it wasn't a bad decision, but unfortunately for the Huskers, Charles chose Saturday to the be the day he had the best game of his career.

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