Summing It Up

Missed tackles, a rocking press box, the best example of being the worst, a sky-kick catcher and more. Inside Texas' Ross Lucksinger gives his observations from Texas' 38-30 loss to Texas A&M.

Out-coached by Dennis Franchione.

That's it. No other introduction necessary. Let's get to the observations.

Game Observations

-You gotta love seeing a game at Kyle Field. Yes, yes, it's Texas A&M and the hated Aggies and the people can be unpleasant to deal with when you're wearing Burnt Orange, but the noise and the pageantry just feels like college football, even if some of the traditions are...weird.

-You gotta hate losing a game at Kyle Field. I stood on the field at the game's conclusion and could feel the oppressive atmosphere. It's one of the things that gives Texas A&M a home-field advantage, but it sure gives a Longhorn fan an empty feeling after another loss. It was also an atmosphere that had built up throughout the entire game. One of the most important tasks set before a team going to Aggieland is taking the crowd out of the game. This was also the easiest year to do it. Two quick touchdowns for Texas and that crowd would have turned on Franchione in a heartbeat. The boos would have begun to rain down and momentum would be squarely in the Longhorns' hands. A flat start from Texas swung control in the other direction.

-Wow, it actually does rock. I'd been to games in College Station before, but this was the first time I sat in the press box. I was informed before my trip that the press box, located at the very top of the structure, physically rocked when the Aggies did the swaying thing that they do. Well, they weren't kidding. It wasn't quite a ship at sea or anything, but the structure did move with the sways. That rocking, however, turned into thunderous shakes when A&M's Earvin Taylor cut through a couple of blatant missed tackles for his 66-yard touchdown reception.

-It was interesting to see Texas A&M beating the Horns with effective down-the-middle passing. It was almost as if this is what the Aggies should have been doing this entire time with one of the most prolific passers in the history of high school football in Texas and a legitimate threat at tight end. Also, they apparently have a large running back whom they should go up the middle with, especially against a team with such poor tackling fundamentals. Texas played poorly, for sure, but Friday's game was a perfect example of what Texas A&M should have been doing with its team the entire year.

-On A&M's first punt, Robert Killebrew took a swing at an opponent he got tangled up with. It would have been a personal foul if any the refs had seen it. I'm speechless as to why he still plays as much as he does. The interesting thing about Killebrew is that he receives a great deal more criticism than he deserves (which is still quite a bit, by the way), but it's not even because of the errors he's made this season, it's the errors that he and most of the defense have made. Robert Killebrew is not the only player making blatant mental mistakes, missing assignments and missing tackles, he's just doing it most often. Killebrew isn't the reason for the Horns' woes, he's simply the best example.

-Jorvorskie Lane is big. I know that's a rather obvious observation, but it's one to take into account because if a team can't swarm to the ball and stop those straight runs by Lane, then it isn't going to win. The big man only averaged 3.8 yards per carry in the game, which seemed much lower than it would be given his success, but the point is he was able to get his 3.8 on third and two...or 12 on third and two. His ypc was low, but I've said before that I don't care if a team only runs for 20 yards in a game, as long as they got those yards when they wanted them. The Aggies, incidentally, rushed for much more than that (171).

-Much of A&M's success running the ball and controlling the clock had to do with poor, poor tackling. It was just bad from a fundamentals standpoint. Players didn't center their bodies, they reached with their arms and sat flat-footed, receiving the hit as opposed to delivering it. It looked like a bunch of great athletes who just didn't know how to tackle properly. That falls on the coaches and there's little question about it.

-Henry Melton's found a curious niche: Sky-kick catcher. To take the ball out of Quan Cosby's hands, the Aggies attempted a sky-kick. It was a play that Texas used successfully against Texas Tech, with Curtis Brown coming up with a recovery. The Aggies, though, were not able to steal a possession away from the Horns because Melton was able to react and field the ball, keeping Texas in good field position as well. If you'll recall, Melton had an impressive sliding catch on a sky kick in the national championship game. Given how close that game was, I'd venture to guess that if Melton doesn't catch that ball, USC wins the game (just one of a 1000 plays that decided the outcome of that nail-biter). Melton, for all his struggles and inconsistencies at Texas, can definitely field a kick.

-Momma said there'd be days like this. Jermichael Finley couldn't get a handle on nearly every pass thrown his way. The sophomore tight end finished with three catches for 22 yards, but should have had over a hundred if not for the drops. After that first drop, he just couldn't get his head right and it was apparent he wasn't going to catch much.

-The injuries finally caught up with the offensive line. You can't have that many injuries to that thin of a line, you can't ask that many freshmen to have that big of a responsibility and you can't have Chris Hall playing every single position without it finally catching up. It caught up on Friday and Colt McCoy was facing pressure all day. Serious, consistent pressure can also cause a quarterback to make mistakes on plays where there isn't any pressure. Just the thought that there's somebody bearing down on you from the backside will cause rushed decisions and rushed throws.

-College football is all about getting the ball in the hands of your best player. Get it to your best athlete, let him work. It alters everything opponents have to do because they're constantly aware of what that particular player is doing, thus opening up the rest of the offense. Given the play-calling and offensive scheme used by Texas, it seems the Longhorn coaching staff is under the impression that Colt McCoy is their best offensive player. McCoy's gritty, tough and proven enough times that he's a winner, but he's not Texas' best player. Ever since the fourth quarter explosion against Nebraska, that honor definitively goes to Jamaal Charles. But on key third downs, Charles is nowhere to be found. There was also very little offense designed for him and the offense worked nearly to perfection when he was given the opportunity, namely a 62-yard catch and run on a screen pass to set Texas up for its first score of the game, which unfortunately came with only 12 seconds to go in the first half. Behind a struggling offensive line, Charles still averaged 5.4 yards per carry and managed to bury into the line for a few yards when nothing was there, as opposed to running straight for the sideline. Jamaal Charles is Texas' best weapon, but it looks like Texas doesn't know it.

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