Big 12 Football: 4 Reasons Texas Is Not As Bad As We Think
The Texas Longhorns are currently sitting at 1-2 this season after an upset loss at BYU in Week 2, followed by a loss at home to Ole Miss.
Despite the shaky start, there are still signs of optimism to hold onto in Austin, including the fact that the Longhorns are ranked 30th in the FBS in total offense.
As Mack Brown and Co. prepare to host the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday night at 7 p.m., check out the reasons why Texas isn't as bad as everybody is making it out to be.
Texas Is Ranked No. 30 in Total Offense
While Texas' defense may not be much to write home about, the offense has been stellar through the first three games of the season.
Currently, the Longhorns are ranked 30th in the country in total offense, averaging 493.3 yards per game.
They've been led by running back Johnathan Gray, who's racked up 209 yards and a score on just 38 carries.
As a team, the Longhorns are averaging 206 yards per game on the ground, good for 46th in the NCAA.
Wide receiver Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis are also proving to be a quality targets for whoever is at quarterback for the Longhorns. Shipley has 228 yards receiving on 19 catches, while Davis has four touchdowns and 223 yards on 20 receptions.
If Texas wants to get off the schneid in Week 4 against Kansas State, its offense will need to show up against a Wildcats defense that has struggled thus far this season.
The Longhorns Are No. 29 in Pass Defense
Although the Longhorns rush defense has been atrocious, ranking 121st out of 123 FBS teams in the nation, Texas has boasted one of the nation's stiffest pass defenses.
Through three games, Texas is only giving up 182.7 yards through the air per game, which ranks 29th in the country.
The star of the Longhorns' pass coverage unit is undoubtedly cornerback Adrian Phillips. The 5'11" senior, who had 72 tackles a year ago, has 13 tackles and an interception so far this season.
That stout pass defense will come in handy against Kansas State. Starting quarterback Jake Waters is currently second in the Big 12 in passing yards with 673. He's also completing nearly 69 percent of his passes and ranks fourth in the conference in that category.
The Team Is Holding Itself Accountable
After the Week 3 loss to Ole Miss, the Longhorns changed the way they watch film on Sundays.
According to Chris Hummer of the Dallas Morning News, the Longhorns watched film as an offense and as a defense rather than in smaller, segmented position groups. Adrian Phillips said:
When you watch the film together, you see who is doing the right thing. Those people being called out in meetings, it forces them to do a better job, forces them to put more production on the field. We need it. We need it.
A team that holds itself accountable is certainly more likely to rebound from a rough stretch. And maybe a small change like the way the team watches film will provide the necessary spark to jump-start the season.
The Defense Still Has Talent, and Greg Robinson Can Bring That Out
While the Longhorns haven't exactly delivered on the defensive side of the ball this year, there is still plenty of talent on the unit.
There's defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who finished second on the team in tackles for a loss last year despite missing half the year with an injury.
The secondary is also loaded with defensive backs Adrian Phillips and Quandre Diggs, both quality pass-coverage guys.
Now it's Greg Robinson's turn to bring that out. The Longhorns hired Robinson after firing Manny Diaz from his role as defensive coordinator following the team's Week 2 loss to BYU.
Robinson is no stranger to Mack Brown and the Texas program. In 2004, Robinson was the defensive coordinator for the Longhorns and helped lead a unit that only gave up 23 points in a game two times.
There's plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball for the ship to turn around in Austin. It's just Robinson's job to find a system that brings that out.