Each week Sean Adams takes a look at some topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.
First Down: Don't overreact
I have heard everything from “Texas is going to finish 7-5,” to “Manny Diaz is on the hot seat” to “Mack Brown needs to go."
After I stop laughing I have to remind everyone to tap the brakes. Texas is 4-1 and ranked No. 15. While every goal set before the season might not be possible, one loss in the Big 12 does not take Texas out of the running for the conference 12 championship.
Texas fans have been cautiously optimistic since 2010 because they have been let down so much. Texas fans err on the side of caution and save their pride whenever they can.
We do not know the ceiling for this Texas team but you can always bank on the talent. The talent is there. It has to be frustrating to have all of that talent and not have a corresponding defense that plays at that level.
The best players for Texas have to outplay the best players for Oklahoma and that is possible. Texas fans see what could have been in the West Virginia game and are overreacting to the loss.
Stop it. Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas State will give Texas plenty of time to make good on their talent. Or fall flat on its face.
Second Down: And the young child shall lead them
The young guys need to get their time between the chalk. The Red River Rivalry will be a new environment for them but they are not freshmen anymore and Texas needs them.
Daje Johnson is electric and can score whenever the ball is in his hands. Texas has to figure out how to get Johnson out in space and down the field. He can play a number of positions and Texas has a number of needs with the requirement on the offense to score more.
Johnathan Gray, especially with Malcolm Brown likely out again, might be the best option for the mixture of speed and power in the backfield. While the power, strength and strain applied to a defense is huge by the running of Joe Bergeron, Gray could be the home-run hitter that Texas needs to break free on Saturday against Oklahoma.
Malcom Brown was one of the stars of the 2012 recruiting class and he is starting to show his skills at defensive tackle. He has the low-pad level and leg strength to make an impact. With the need for Texas to shuffle in players to manage the tempo offenses of the Big 12 conference, Texas needs Brown to keep fresh and strong legs in the game.
Third Down: Change of focus for the defense
Everyone knew coming into the season that West Virginia had an explosive offense with huge stars on that side of the ball. The plan going into that game last Saturday was about stopping the passing game, getting pressure with the front four and really not thinking about the Mountaineer running game. But the running game killed the Longhorns.
Against Oklahoma the plan changes completely. Stopping the run is at a premium and the goal is to pressure the Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. Pressure has caused him to turn the ball over and make mistakes. The Texas defense is in strong need of the confidence that comes from forcing turnovers.
While every defense wants to start out by stopping the run, forcing Jones to beat Texas is the best way to initiate and force turnovers by the Sooner offense.
Fourth Down: Adams’ Big 12 Power Poll
Kansas State (No. 1 last week): It was hard for me to move West Virginia past the Wildcats because of the Mountaineers defense. They are still on top.
West Virginia (2): It beat Texas. It is great on offense. But the Mountaineers are terrible on defense. Can’t wait to see them play Kansas State.