until Texas vs Kansas

Thursday, September 29


In-season Report Card

As we get set for Saturday’s game at Missouri, we’ll take this opportunity to give the team a good undressing. We’ll try to do this every three games over the course of the season to track the team’s performance.

Quarterback: Save the Rice game, when he was a non-factor, Vince Young has been successful. He wasn’t perfect against Ohio State; to the contrary, he made some critical mistakes when he tried to do too much. But he was still the best offensive player in the game, and his game winning touchdown drive was one for the ages. We’ll get to see just how much he’s improved as Big 12 play begins and he gets tested week in and week out. The Ohio State win boosts his score. Grade: A-

Running backs: Selvin Young, the starter to open the year, injured his ankle in the first half of the season opener then played miserably in the first half of the Ohio State game. In the end, it might be a blessing, as his poor performance has accelerated the timetable for the debut of Jamaal Charles. Charles has been
nothing short of brilliant. He blocks blitzers like a fearless senior, wiggles through holes with Emmitt Smith-like ability, catches passes like Brian Westbrook, and has the burners to break the long one. There’s nothing not to like, and Horns fans need to hope that the coaches have the sensibility to keep him on the field, healthy Selvin Young or no. Henry Melton has proven himself to be a useful short yardage back, though he’s nothing more than a role player at this point. Charles’ emergence should spell an eventual positional switch for Melton, but there’s no urgency. Charles is the jewel here. Grade: A-

Wide receivers: Consistency is the theme here. No Longhorn receiver has performed consistently at this point. Billy Pittman is developing nicely, and our good friend Limas Sweed has
had his moments. David Thomas is still an above average receiving tight end. But the group as a whole has yet to assert itself. Brown says the team plans to throw more as Big 12 play opens up. They’re going to have to in order to avoid eight and nine man fronts geared toward stopping the run. There’s potential here, but they’ve still got a ways to go. Grade: B

Defense: Delicious. Absolutely brilliant so far to start the year. It’s no surprise that they smothered Rice and Louisiana-Lafayette, but the work they did holding Ohio State to field goals was masterful. Gene Chizik has an outstanding grasp of how an ideal college defense should operate. This is Texas’ big edge in every game, spotting the offense room for error when they struggle. Nothing not to like here so far. Grade: A+

Special Teams: Pitiful. The kicking game has been inconsistent, though David Pino looks good so far. The kick coverage has been nonexistent. The punting team has been fine, though nothing to get excited about. Texas doesn’t have a special teams coach, but it’s looking more and more like they should. Let’s hope this area of the game works itself out quickly. We can ill afford to lose a tight game because our effing special teams were miserable. That would truly be a waste. The easiest area for the team to significantly improve. Grade: D

Coaching: Only the miserable special teams keep the coaches from getting perfect marks. We’re plenty critical of Mack Brown and Greg Davis, but the fact is that we’ve won back to back big games, and if you’re going to blame the coaches when the team loses, you have to give the coaches credit when the team wins. A little more offensive creativity is in order, but we’re splitting hairs. Grade: A

MVP, offense: Vince Young / Jamaal Charles (tie)
MVP, defense: Michael Huff
Most improved: Billy Pittman
Most surprising:
Drew Kelson

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