When a loss is not 100% a loss

Sometimes, gentle readers, a loss is not totally a loss. Yes, the ‘Horns now have an “L” on their balance sheet, but many things went right for them on Saturday night. Ultimately, Texas could not regain the lead and WVU slithered out of DKR Memorial Stadium with a hard-earned 48-45 win. Don’t hang your head, and for goodness sakes don’t read the Internet. First of all, people can’t spell. My 12th grade English teacher, Mr. DuBose (also one of the great human beings on Earth) would be appalled at the misuse of “your” and “you’re.” It’s a fact that lots of folks don’t like Texas and never miss an opportunity to post gems like, “your an idiot! Texas doesn’t have a defense! Manny Diaz suxxxx!” While I’m sorta on board with that last comment, I still recommend staying off the message boards for a couple of days. So, it’s a loss, and a kind of big loss, meaning something went wrong. Folks, Texas has lost SEVEN STRAIGHT GAMES to ranked opponents. Is that acceptable? I think we know the answer. Nope. How did this happen then? One word for you:

COACHING.

At the beginning of the game, the Fox announcers related an interview with Coach Brown from earlier in the week. He shared his feelings over the past couple of seasons. He said at one point a couple of years ago, he’d simply given up. Just ready to hang up his coaching spurs. Last season, though, he had a change of heart. I suspect the change came right about the time Will Muschamp said “yes” then “no thank you” to being anointed the next head coach , and shimmied on down to Florida (hope you lose, traitor!). Muschamp was a top defensive coordinator prior to his defection new position. Coach Brown ultimately hired a whole new assistant coaching crew, and here we are. A 4-1 start to a fairly promising-looking season. There’s still that nagging string of losses to ranked teams. What the cuss? As you know, we have the Red River Shootout looming on Saturday. If this trend continues, ALL the coaches may be looking for new jobs.

But, let’s lick our wounds together for awhile, shall we? Look, people, this is a loss that came down to some bad play calling by the Texas coaching staff, and some big plays by the other team. Here’s one reason you shouldn’t hang your head too much about this game though: the stats are just about dead even. On paper, these two teams played equivalent games. WVU had 26 first downs to Texas’s 21. In total yards, WVU racked up 460 and Texas a respectable 404. Remember last week? Over 1500 yards of total offense. While neither defense was NFL-esque, they played decently. Geno Smith passed for 268 yards, David Ash for 269. WVU’s time of possession was just under 30 minutes, and Texas’s was just over 30 minutes.

WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?

Again, coaching. Remember that bizarre timeout called in the first quarter? Texas had pinned WVU and they were going for it on 4th down. The defense swarmed the line of scrimmage and sacked Geno Smith! What what! Then…the whistles. Officials waving their arms. Texas called a timeout right before the ball snapped. LOLWUT? That smooth move cost Texas a sack and possession of the ball. WVU went on to score. Texas went into halftime up by one, and things looked good. But! On the opening drive of the second half, Texas settled for a field goal instead of a touchdown. I’m not sure I can even write about that bad snap or the missed field goal. My chilblains are threatening to come back. But there you have it: Texas absolutely FAILED to capitalize on a recovered fumble. The defense handed them a score on a silver platter, right on the WVU 12-yard-line. But nope. They came away empty-handed and let that cybernetic organism Geno Smith back on the field.

I’ve told you I take notes, but none of them is fit for public consumption. Here’s a small redacted sample: “S*** my d***, 40 yard TD for Tavon Austin!” Stuff like that. Don’t show the kids. My daughter, C, was not able to watch the game with me as she had to work at a fine retail establishment in another town. However, she was able to watch the game on the TV in the men’s shoe department, and called me throughout the game. So long as I was conscious, I answered. Our conversations went something like:

C: What the heck?
Me: I know, right!
C: This is freaking me out. Gotta go.

And that, people, is a great parent-child relationship.

There were bright spots, gentle readers. Texas only fell from number 11 to 15 in this week’s AP Poll. How about that defense? While I might still want Manny Diaz’s head on a platter and the play was spotty and inconsistent, there were still huge improvements and moments of real greatness. Again, Jeffcoat and Okafor are stars and playing accordingly. Sacks! Fumbles! Pressure all night on the Heisman hopeful. I was proud of them. The secondary really held their own against what is likely the most talented receiving corps they’ll face all year. Linebackers are still lagging and lumbering around without Jordan Hicks. I love Kenny Vaccaro, but he needs to get back to playing Safety. Here’s hoping Hicks is in the lineup for the upcoming game. We could use him.

David Ash continues to impress with his ice-cold maturity and leadership at QB. Again, I must harp on the coaching here. Why was Magic Mike Davis invisible in the second half? Against a very weak secondary at WVU, why wasn’t the ball in the air more often? But ohmigosh, did you see that 49-yard blaze down the field by spirit animal and glitter unicorn, Johnathan Gray? When he broke free and took off down the field, all my dreams became realities. It was so exciting, only a picture can adequately describe my state of mind:

Gray continues to show maturity well beyond his years. Texas has so many great offensive weapons, it’s a mystery why the coaches kept them in the stable all night. A few different choices, and this game goes our way. Sadly, no, we get an L instead.

Is Texas “back?” I’m honestly sick of that question, but people will keep on asking. Until Texas can beat a ranked opponent and break that ugly skid mark of a losing streak, the Magic 8 Ball says, “Reply hazy, try again.”

And who better to break a skid mark than Oklahoma. That made no sense, but you know what I mean. Work with me, people!

Hook ‘em!

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