There is some good news and bad news for Texas Longhorn fans after their 41-36 win over Oklahoma State.
The good news: You've got yourself a quarterback.
The bad news: Your defense has more holes than a chain-link fence.
Sure, Oklahoma State has a prolific offense. But Arizona, a 4-8 team last year, must be feeling pretty good that it only allowed 38 points in its 59-38 spanking of the Cowboys.
One or two plays where the defense gives up big yardage is slightly acceptable. Consistently getting confused on draw plays, crossing patterns, wheel routes, seam routes and...well, you get the picture...is not only frustrating but alarming as well.
It wasn't just confusion, it was youthful inexperience. Head coach Mack Brown has to be looking at his defensive coordinator with steely eyes and demanding some answers.
Texas quarterback David Ash went 28-of-35 for 304 yards. On the road. Impressive. Very impressive. Unfortunately, the Longhorn defense gave up 307 passing yards. That (lack) of defense puts your offense in a precarious position, especially when you're breaking in a new quarterback.
To be fair, Texas was without two of its defensive starters—linebacker Jordan Hicks (hip) and tackle Brandon Moore (illness) didn't make the trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma. Hicks is the team's leading tackler.
But it wasn't just about the interior defense, it was about the secondary. Over and over we saw defensive backs give the Cowboys' speedy receivers too much of a cushion.
How did the defense do against Oklahoma State?
Big chunks of yardage were gained on passing plays. J.W. Walsh, the backup quarterback to Wes Lunt, completed a 44-yard touchdown pass to Josh Stewart in the first quarter because cornerback Adrian Phillips didn't wrap up. You can't blame that on a starting tackle or linebacker not playing in the game. This was a failure in football fundamentals.
The rushing defense was just as horrific.
On just the second play of the game, Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle galloped through the Texas defense on his way to a 69-yard touchdown. He finished the day with 25 carries, 199 yards and two touchdowns.
Should Longhorn fans be worried? Yes and no. David Ash's poise in the last two minutes of the game was off the charts. I'm a fan. That was a big-time performance in a hostile venue, and the kid has an arm.
But the defense?
It faces West Virginia next week. Geno Smith must be salivating.