By: Coach Venable — Take it from me winning a really physical football game is one fun way to spend an afternoon. That was a really physical game. Both teams got off the canvas several times each. It wasn’t roundhouse haymakers thrown but terrific combinations that owned the day. Baylor wore our edges out with physical blocks followed by extremely large RB’s plowing up real estate especially into the boundary. Texas got a couple of early scores and then stalled with individual mistakes killing any further opportunities. We finally settled on a tight formation (where we could find ’em) and pounded the rock with the best RB combination (Bijan Robinson 5 and Roschon Johnson 2) in the country. We liked it so well we never went back to the wild side of life.
It’s only fair to say we had major problems with our pass protection against a very organized system of pass rushing that our inexperienced interior (plus one) never solved. False starts put us behind the chains in three separate drives. Very good QB play on some drives turned ugly on several others. Poor decisions sometime occur because of a player never having been there and therefore not recognizing the proper way to navigate. Some other poor decisions are the QB’s lack of what my pop called horse trading sense making a bad situation worse.
We played solid defense but still gave up a cheapie early with a busted coverage. I still have concerns 12 games into the season thinking we shouldn’t have major breakdowns as bad as we do. When a receiver looks like he’s out to practice early you have major communication problems. We finally solved our edge breakdowns with Collins (95) and Ojomo (98) stuffing their ground game. Size and strength shut down the boundary runs. Our entire DL (Coburn 99, Sweat 93, Murphy 90, Ojomo 98, and Collins 95) played very well but lacked pass rush effectiveness. BU ran so wide it limited our pursuit from the big guys.
DeMarvion Overshown (0) played his best game as a Longhorn. He was more physical and dialed in to his assignments than any other game in his career. Jaylan Ford (41) has played a long string of games where he was the best defender on the field—either side. DTD (3) had two very good plays (one pass breakup). Morice Blackwell (37) had two active plays against the edge. Devin Richardson (30) had one strong tackle but lost the edge once. Ovie Oghoufo (18) might have BU helmet emblems tattooed across his chest—gave up too much cushion to be effective and not much pass rush.
D’Shawn Jamison (5) had a good pass breakup. Ryan Watts (6) was solid on many boundary runs. Terrance Brooks (8) made two nice plays. Anthony Cook (11) was very active but made a coverage mistake that cost six points. Jahdae Barron (23) once again made big plays but unfortunately dropped a pick six early on. Jerrin Thompson (28) was his usual self directing the back yard and filling the alleys.
The OL had a very uneven performance. Run blocks very devastating. Pass blocks against regular rushes were also very solid. Blitzes, stunts, and fake rushes kicked our concentration into bad decisions. False starts hindered at least three drives. Individually, Kelvin Banks (78) is dangerously close to becoming an all-American, freshman and higher. Christian Jones (70) had a great afternoon and will gather a few honors himself. Jake Majors (65) had his best game in a while with stinging “pull” blocks and perfect snaps, calls, and directing traffic. Hayden Conner (76) had a tough mental game with three false starts and two bad plays. Cole Hutson (54) missed two blitzes before he was injured. DJ Campbell (52) is a bull drive blocking but his mental pass protection needs a strong boost going forward.
The TE’s had good games but all three had bad plays that cost the offense. JT Sanders (0) had several receptions and a bunch of good blocks but missed two key blocks and false started in a 4th and 2 situation to kill a drive. Gunnar Helm (85) was very effective blocking but missed a key effort on a third down. Andrej Karic (92) had several winning efforts but his one boo-boo was a pass block whiff that resulted in a sack, strip, and score for the Bears.
Xavier Worthy (8) played his best game in the last four. Jordan Whittington (4) had another big game but lost a fumble to a DJ Johnson type club tackle. Keilan Robinson (7) made several good plays and was the leader on special teams again. Tarique Milton (16) had one very good block to help spring a big gain.
Quinn Ewers (3) had a mixed result game that saw him make several terrific throws, some WTF throws, and some bad decisions handling the ball securely. I believe it’s fair to mention he didn’t have the best help against the rush but at the same time he didn’t exactly make the best out of a bad predicament so it’s tie goes to the runner as to main blame.
The difference in this game is we had Bijan Robinson (5) and Roschon Johnson (2) and Baylor didn’t. They took the game over in the second half and would not be denied. It’s been a genuine pleasure watching these two play with the kind of excellence seldom seen on one team. Together they do what it takes to get the job done. I have no doubt both will continue their brilliant careers at the next level and will make tremendous ambassadors for the University of Texas throughout their lifetimes.
The best thing about a bowl game is the extra practices you get to work with the younger guys. Fundamentals and some scrimmaging tied with spring ball make the competition for next years squad much more entertaining. The next month will be very interesting.