Week 1 Preview: Texas vs. New Mexico State

Coaches are back. Players are back. Bevo is back. But is Texas football back?

Saturday kicks off the 16th season of Longhorn football under head coach Mack Brown, and the question on most every fan’s mind is ‘are we back?’ For years under Brown a 10-win season was commonplace. It was a given. It was the expectation. However, expectations have changed somewhat over the past three years as Texas has had to … <gulp> … rebuild. A tough pill to swallow for most fans, but a necessity that every team, even the most storied programs, goes through (see USC, Michigan). With 19 starters returning and a third-year quarterback in David Ash at the helm, expectations are that the rebuilding process for the Longhorns is over.

When asked if he wants the Texas fans to set their expectations as high as they are right now Brown said, “Yes. Expectations are always here and I want them to yell, have fun, and be loud.

“We have a better chance than we have had the last two years to be really good, and everything is in place now and we have to do it but we need the fans help and they will do a great job with that.”

Fans will certainly have plenty of reasons to cheer as football is finally back. Plus, beating the Aggies (albeit the New Mexico State version) is always welcome.

Opponent: New Mexico State Aggies (0-0)

When: Saturday, Aug. 31 // 7 PM CT

Where: Austin, TX (Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium)

Series: Texas leads 4-0-0

Last Meeting: Texas 66, NMSU 7 (Aug. 31, 2003; Austin)

Player to watch (New Mexico State): Senior safety Davis Cazares (#31) led the Aggies and the WAC in tackles last year with 116. His 9.7 tackles per game were tops in the WAC and ranked him 27th nationally. New Mexico State may not always stop the Longhorns, but when they do it’ll probably be Cazares.

Reasons to cheer: Star defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat and linebacker Jordan Hicks are both healthy after sustaining season-ending injuries last year. They return to a defense that lost only two starters to the draft and improved from the start of the year. Since halftime of the Kansas game (final 22 quarters of the season), the Longhorns allowed just 121 points. In the 22 previous quarters, opponents scored 242 points.

Reasons to panic: Texas is 10-9 in home games since 2010. Not an encouraging stat. Plus, Brown said on Wednesday that wide receivers Jaxon Shipley and Marcus Johnson were limited some in practice this week and are questionable for Saturday. And defensive tackle Ashton Dosey has decided to transfer. Depth at those two positions could be a concern.

Stat that will make you look like a genius at the tailgate:  Last year, Texas State rushed for 446 yards on 40 carries blowing out New Mexico State 66-28 in the process. If Texas State can rush for that many yards on the Aggies, just imagine what the running back combo of Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron will do.

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Post New-Mexico Review

There really aren’t any real positives you can take from the Lobos game due to the lack of talent on the opposing team. However, there were some interesting things I saw in the game film that are worthy of mentioning:

Offense:

Ash & Offensive Line fail to recognize Pre-Snap Motion by defender 7 yards away from the ball and the upcoming blitz.

In this play, Ash has already decided before the snap to throw the pass to the receiver running the GO route who is being covered by 2 defenders. At the same time, the slot receiver beat his man and is wide open for a big gain.

This was an NFL level throw by Ash and an even better play by the NM DB to break the pass up.

Again, Ash and the OL fail to recognize the blitz with the defender 4 yards away from the LOS.

This was one of the really bad throws Ash had during the first half in which he missed a completely wide open receiver.

Again, Ash has decided before the snap who he is going to throw to. The defender realizes this and almost makes an interception on the play.

Brian Harsin was pretty pissed after the Texas TD by Mike Davis.

Brian Harsin was extremely frustrated by the poor first half by the Texas Offense.

Defense:

In this play, instead of exploding through the C gap to make a tackle for a loss (green arrow), Hicks hesitates and takes the D gap which allows the QB to gain some positive yards. Cobbs (green circle), does a fantastic job in covering the NM player assigned to him (blue circle) to ensure that he is ready to make a play if the QB tosses the ball.

Again, Cobbs (green circle) does a fantastic job in sticking to his run zone assignment and watches the NM back (blue circle). However, Edmonds takes the wrong gap and this results in positive yards for NM.

Edmonds takes on the lead blocker and forces the play the to the sidelines. Instead of his sticking to his assigned run zone and watching the NM back, Cobbs takes bait and heads into the center of action (red arrow) and this results in a huge gain for NM.

 

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AT&T U-Verse gets LHN

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LHN on AT&T U-Verse

As I live and breathe, the rumors are true! The Longhorn Network is now available on AT&T U-Verse. For confirmed proof, the picture is of my own TV and I’m a U-Verse customer. AT&T joins Grande Communications as the only providers of LHN in Central Texas. If you have U-Verse, check channel 1609. If it’s not there, reset your modem (unplug, then plug back in) and look it up. The season opener, UT v. Wyoming, will be on LHN so now maybe more Longhorn fans in Austin can catch the game.

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It’s just a wet tailgate

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Toast for UT Football!

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