Texas Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Oklahoma Game

Zach SheltonFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2012

Texas Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Oklahoma Game

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    Well, that just happened. The Oklahoma Sooners flat-out embarrassed the Longhorns and anyone else that has ever supported the burnt orange with a 63-21 beating that bumped the 'Horns from the rankings.

    How bad was it? Well, punter Alex King is probably the only player who had a good game with his 49.6 average for the game. Other than that, Texas looked about as bad as a team can look, especially in a game that meant so much.

    The loss not only effectively eliminates the Longhorns from Big 12 contention, but has also led to fans calling for the heads of the coaching staff. And rightfully so. This team did not have it on Saturday, and a lot of that falls on the coaches.

    I'm sure you all know what's coming, but here are the grades for all 22 Longhorn starters from Saturday's embarrassment.

Quarterback: David Ash

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    Grade: D-

    Whatever optimism Texas fans had regarding the quarterback position, and really the entire season, has likely all but completely faded after David Ash took about five steps in the wrong direction against the Sooners.

    For the first time all season, Ash looked like the quarterback that threw eight interceptions with only four touchdowns a season ago. The calm and collected signal-caller who led a game-winning drive and stood toe-to-toe with a Heisman front-runner is now a distant memory to the player who was totally overwhelmed on Saturday. 

    Ash was worse against the Sooners in 2012 than he was in 2011, and that is saying something. The sophomore completed less than 50 percent of his passes, threw two ill-advised interceptions and looked completely flat until he went out with his wrist injury.

    There is no word as to the severity of Ash's injury, but it seems a safe bet that junior Case McCoy will step in next week against the Baylor Bears. McCoy did have some success in garbage time and is the better thrower of the two, but quarterback is only the beginning of Texas' problems right now.

Running Back: Joe Bergeron

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    Grade: F

    I do not even know where to start with sophomore running back Joe Bergeron, who was unable to get anything positive going throughout the entire game.

    It is bad enough that Bergeron gained only one yard on four carries, with his long for the day being 2 yards, but he was also tackled in the end zone for a safety in the second quarter. You have to hope that Bergeron's poor play is the result of a bum shoulder that he has been dealing with for most of the season, because he is not running with the same attitude he started the season with.

    The coaches seemed to have finally noticed this issue as well, electing to go with freshmen Daje Johnson and Johnathan Gray more in the second half.

    Texas could certainly use Malcolm Brown back in the lineup to stabilize this backfield, but is he really going to find any more success with the way the line has been blocking?

Wide Receivers: Mike Davis, Jaxon Shipley and Marquise Goodwin

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    Davis: B

    After being invisible for much of the West Virginia game, junior wideout Mike Davis stepped up Saturday and had one of the few good offensive games for the 'Horns. 

    Davis finished with 89 yards on five catches, with one having gone for a touchdown. Davis' 89 receiving yards were by far the most by any Texas receiver, and the only skill position player that came close to matching Davis' total offensive output was Daje Johnson, who had 53 total yards on the afternoon.

    Davis did not get many chances, but he delivered when he got them, picking up 75 of his yards on two catches, one of which being a 44-yard touchdown pass from Case McCoy during garbage time. 

    Nice to see him rebound after last week, but it does not really matter when he is the only one of three offensive players who showed up for the game.

     

    Shipley: D

    Shipley's struggles against the Sooners can probably be chalked up mostly to an ineffective quarterback, but the junior receiver was basically shut out yesterday when the team needed his route-running most.

    One would think that when David Ash is being pressured from every direction that he would lean heavily on his best route-runner in Shipley. Well, you would hardly call one catch for three yards much to lean on as the electric junior was never able to break free.

    Shipley will really need to pick it up next week against the Bears with the 'Horns going up against the best receiving corps in the conference.

     

    Goodwin: D+

    Held without a catch and going unused in the running game, senior Marquise Goodwin is another Longhorn skill player that may as well not been on the field.

    Goodwin did have a couple of nice returns on special teams, one being a 34-yarder late in the third with the game already well out of reach. Other than in the return game, Goodwin was unable to make an impact on the game with his quarterback unable to get the ball out and the offense just being stagnant in general.

    This team needs a lot more Goodwin, and his leadership is a must heading into a crucial matchup with the Bears next week.

Tight End: D.J. Grant

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    Grade: C-

    As expected, senior tight end D.J. Grant continues to fly under the radar in this Texas offense, though he is consistently making plays in the passing game.

    Grant had two catches for 18 yards against the Sooners, but also had a bad drop in the first half after Ash miraculously escaped a sure sack. Still, I like the role the tight ends are playing on this offense and believe that they should be getting more chances as the season rolls on.

    If they can stop dropping the ball that is.

Offensive Line

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    Grade: F

    In one of the more alarming story lines from Saturday's blowout, the offensive line was completely dominated in the trenches and never gave this offense a chance to get anything going throughout the game.

    David Ash was running for his life the entire game, the running backs were running into a wall almost every time they got the ball and Joe Bergeron got stuffed at the wrong goal line in the second quarter for a safety. Yeah, it was really bad.

    David Ash was only sacked once, but was constantly under pressure and never had enough time to throw in rhythm. Even worse, the 'Horns were held under four yards per carry for the third consecutive week of Big 12 play.

    Not being able to protect the quarterback or being able to run the ball is a recipe for disaster at any level of the game, and that is exactly what took place yesterday. The Longhorn offense does not stand a chance if these guys cannot get it figured out up front.

Defensive End: Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor

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    Jeffcoat: D

    For the first time this season, junior Jackson Jeffcoat was held in control and was unable to generate the type of pass rush needed to get Landry Jones off his game.

    Coming into the game as one of the most feared defensive players in the conference, Jeffcoat was unable to get into the backfield even against a depleted offensive line and did not even record a hurry against the Sooners.

    Jeffcoat did record two tackles for a loss, but this Texas front was dominated for the entire afternoon by an offensive line they should have been able to handle.

     

    Okafor: F

    After almost single-handedly beating Geno Smith and the Mountaineers a week ago, senior defensive end Alex Okafor was also held completely in check in recording only one tackle against the Sooners.

    Okafor and Jeffcoat were each held without a sack for the first time this season, and neither was even able to hurry Landry Jones throughout the game. 

    With Texas totally unable to stop the run, these two needed to be able to frustrate Landry Jones into making critical mistakes to keep this game close. Instead, these two were bested throughout the afternoon and made minimal impacts on the game as the Sooners ran all over the entire defense.

    Okafor and Jeffcoat are the absolute best players on this defense and neither can afford to play games like this the rest of the season, especially while Jordan Hicks remains out with a hip injury.

Defensive Tackle: Chris Whaley and Desmond Jackson

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    Whaley: D

    Junior defensive tackle Chris Whaley had easily his worst game of the season in recording not even one tackle as the Sooners ran for six touchdowns and 343 yards on the ground.

    The entire Texas defensive line got bullied throughout the game in allowing 6.7 yards per rush and giving up four one-yard touchdowns to Blake Bell in the first half. Whaley generated no pressure up the middle and was bullied along with the rest of the Texas defense. He did block a point-after that Quandre Diggs returned for a safety, otherwise this is a failing grade.

    Normally, I would give Whaley and the rest of these defensive lineman a pass because of how bad the linebackers have been, but this is completely unacceptable.

     

    Jackson: F

    Sophomore tackle Desmond Jackson was another Texas defensive lineman that got manhandled by a depleted Oklahoma front, registering only two assisted tackles for the 'Horns in the trenches.

    What goes for Whaley goes for Jackson. He was pushed around all afternoon and, along with the rest of the Texas defense, put up very little fight as Damien Williams and the Sooners did whatever they pleased.

    Hopefully, this was a wake-up call for a group that had been a strength coming into this game.

Linebackers: Steve Edmond and Kendall Thompson

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    Edmond: D

    Sophomore Steve Edmond and the rest of the Texas linebackers were once again completely exposed by the Sooners, but at least Edmond is making plays.

    The young middle linebacker finished the game with nine tackles and a forced fumble, but was very obviously overmatched throughout the game. Edmond continuously made late reads and was slow to react as the Sooners waltzed all over the entire defense Saturday. 

    Still think Edmond is a good player with a very high ceiling, but he is just not the same player when he does not have Jordan Hicks at his back.

     

    Thompson: F

    Like Edmond, sophomore backer Kendall Thompson made some plays against the Sooners, but was just not able to get it done in Texas' biggest game of the season.

    The Sooners had 343 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. A performance like that falls directly on the linebackers, and that is all there is to it. Thompson was making poor reads and could not get the Oklahoma runners on the ground throughout the afternoon.

    This group has been awful and will continue to be awful until Jordan Hicks comes back.

Cornerbacks: Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom

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    Diggs: C+

    The corners were not the least of Texas' problems in this game, and sophomore standout Quandre Diggs continues to play good football for the Longhorns.

    Diggs made one of the few big plays for the 'Horns against the Sooners, returning a blocked Michael Hunnicutt PAT for a safety after the Sooners' first touchdown drive. Diggs then finished with two tackles and a pass break up. 

    Considering there was no pass rush and the Sooners were getting whatever they wanted on the ground, Diggs did a pretty good job in coverage. He was beat once by Justin Brown and certainly left some tackles on the field, but Diggs continues to be one of the few consistent contributors for this defense.

     

    Byndom: B-

    For most of the game, it was only the Texas corners that were able to get their team on the board after Byndom returned a Landry Jones pass 28 yards for a touchdown in the second half.

    Between his pick-six and 10 tackles, Byndom had a pretty decent game for the 'Horns. He did miss a few tackles on the perimeter, but corners are not supposed to be tackling running backs for an entire game. 

    Byndom certainly could have been better, but the same or much worse could be said about the rest of this defense. And it is hard to be an effective corner when the front seven cannot tackle a mannequin.

Safeties: Kenny Vaccaro, Mykkele Thompson and Adrian Phillips

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    Vaccaro: D

    Continuing to fill in for Jordan Hicks on the inside, Vaccaro struggled once again as a run-stopper and was not much help in containing Damien Williams and the Sooner rushing attack.

    We all knew this defense would suffer with Hicks out, but this is not what anyone expected. Even the ever-so-reliable Vaccaro is missing tackles and just does not look as comfortable on the field as he usually does.

    Vaccaro is not a linebacker, so I give him some leniency here.

     

    Thompson: C+

    For the second week in a row, defensive back Mykkele Thompson has stepped in and recorded 10 or more tackles for his team. But that is a big part of the problem.

    I really like Thompson. He is a tougher tackler than Adrian Phillips and is not afraid to stick his nose in there when he knows he is going to get hit. But for someone playing safety, having to record double-digit tackles in two consecutive games does not bode well in the health department.

    Thompson missed a few tackles, but he should not be tackling running backs in the open field as much as he is having to do so. Regardless, he has certainly proved his worth these last couple of games and should be very impressive once Hicks is back in the lineup.

     

    Phillips: F

    I hate to come down so hard on someone, but Phillips was awful against the Sooners and has been awful throughout these first six games.

    Missed tackles, bad reads and just a lack of effort would be Phillips in a nut shell right now. Against the Sooners, he even knocked Mykkele Thompson off of a tackle on Trey Millard's humiliating 73-yard catch and run.

    You have to worry about Phillips' psyche at this point because he seems to just be getting worse.