Five Thoughts: New Mexico-Texas

Following Texas’ 45-0 win over New Mexico, here are five things that stood out.

Meager first half

That was not the first half I was expecting. Texas had 50 yards rushing on 10 carries, and that includes David Ash’s 49-yard touchdown run.

The Longhorns scored late in the half to go up 17-0. Had they not, it certainly would have made for some interesting conversations at the concession stands.

Texas couldn’t produce stats because it didn’t have the ball. New Mexico held the ball for 19:50 compared to Texas’ 10:10.

Because of the time of possession, the Longhorns were never able to get into a rhythm on offense. There were not enough carries for the running backs. There were not enough passes spread amongst the receivers.

The first half of this game prevented Texas from accomplishing much of what it would have liked to accomplish in this game.

David Ash’s development

There is a dilemma inside the heads of all Texas fans. Is this all that Ash is able to do or is he playing the cards he is being dealt by Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite? He was 16-of-22 for 221 yards and two score but had a couple of short passes that went for big gainers and touchdowns.

Even if you look back at last week, 12 of his 27 passes were at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Texas has to get the ball down the field or defenses will get closer and closer to the line of scrimmage to focus on stopping the run. Ash being able to stretch and put stress on the defense is the only way to keep defenses honest and provide a full complement of play-calling options.

Bend but don’t break

Do truly dominant defenses play "bend but don’t break"?

Texas allowed New Mexico to move the ball between the 20s but the Lobos never reached the red zone. While it seems that the Texas defense was always one big play away from giving up a score, truthfully, that is the nature of the game.

The fact that they were on the field for two-thirds of the first half should give you indication as to how off the flow of the whole team was due to time of possession and the structure of the New Mexico offense.

Texas’ defense got much better after New Mexico’s third drive of the game and the Lobos gained only 84 total yards in their seven other possessions.

The jury is still out as to whether the Longhorns have a dominant defense. They will get better going forward, but how good can they be if they are bending but trying not to break?

Daje Johnson

He is fast even when it appears that he is not running hard. He took a short pass from Ash and it did not take long to understand why he seems to have a special kind of speed.

Johnson could end up being Texas’ version of De’Anthony Thomas from Oregon. Johnson is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. For an offense that is searching for explosive plays, Johnson comes at the right time.

He can line up at running back, in the wildcat formation or at wide receiver. With the personnel packages that Harsin and Applewhite like, expect to see him all over the place trying to find him advantages and space.

Stadium environment

There was a very average crowd even though it was announced at almost 101,000. The weather was pleasant for this time of year but the fan base was largely late and not very vocal when they got in their seats.

I do not think anyone can blame them for not being excited about the first two weeks of the season being Wyoming and New Mexico.

The next time Texas plays at DKR it might be the best environment of the year because the Big 12 conference newcomer, West Virginia, will come to town.

From all indication the Mountaineers are planning to invade Austin in mass and will show all Texans why they were chosen to join the Big 12 conference.

Texas will need the fan base to be strong and to create a home-field advantage.