Texas Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Longhorns' Loss to Baylor

Jonathan Woo@woo_jonathanwooCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2013

Texas Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Longhorns' Loss to Baylor

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    The Texas Longhorns (8-4, 7-1) kept even with No. 9 Baylor (11-1, 8-1) up until halftime, but after being outscored 27-7 in the final 30 minutes, it became clear that the home side was the better team on the night.

    The 'Horns looked overmatched in almost every phase of the game as Baylor was able to accomplish virtually anything it desired on the offensive end.

    And with Texas struggling to do much of anything in its offense, the game was pretty much over after the Bears opened the second half with an easy score.

    So as the 2013 regular season comes to a close, let's take one a look back on 10 things we learned about Texas in its loss to the Bears.

Malcolm Brown Is Not Bad

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    As the game spiraled somewhat out of control in the second half, there went Malcolm Brown's impact on the game.

    With the contest knotted at 3-3 going into the half, Brown had rumbled for 118 yards on 17 carries, effectively running wild all over a Baylor defense that really tightened up in the second half.

    The reliance on the ground game turned into an afterthought in the last 30 minutes as Baylor was able to score on four of its first five drives after the break.

    The results? Brown would rush for only 13 yards in the third and fourth quarters combined.

    Still, the junior tailback ran with power and determination. And on a night when fellow running back Joe Bergeron left early with a leg injury, Brown was every bit as dominant as he needed to be when the game plan was still intact.

Case McCoy Is Simply Average

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    Minus a miracle play of sorts for Texas' lone touchdown of the night, quarterback Case McCoy really proved his mediocrity in terms of mechanics, delivery and accuracy.

    The senior completed just 12 of 34 pass attempts for 54 yards, a touchdown and two picks, hardly the kind of performance that would lend itself to capturing a Big 12 Title.

    It has been a straightforward equation for Texas this season. If McCoy plays well, the Longhorns have a good chance to win, but a poor showing means just the opposite.

    McCoy's accuracy and arm strength was already an issue even in standard weather, but the added cold definitely appeared to affect his ability to deliver catchable balls anywhere on the field.

Mack Brown May Have Coached His Final Regular Season Game at Texas

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    Credit to the 16-year head coach for delivering his team to an effective Big 12 Championship Game after the 1-2 start, but Mack Brown likely was coaching to keep his job on Saturday afternoon.

    Needless to say, Brown fell well short of what could have been one of the most miraculous turnarounds in college football this season.

    The writing was splattered on the wall after embarrassing losses to BYU and Ole Miss, but powered by a 6-game winning streak and a roller-coaster season, Texas found itself in a great position on Saturday.

    But barring a one-of-a-kind finish for Brown, which needed to include a Big 12 Title and a BCS berth, the longtime Texas coach may have sidelined his final regular season game in burnt orange.

Texas Did Not Capitalize

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    Just as Baylor had its share of missed opportunities, mostly in the first half, Texas would whiff on several chances to climb back into the ball game.

    Linebacker Dalton Santos could not corral a fumble, which gave the ball back to Baylor. A muffed punt that should have been recovered by Texas harmlessly found its way out of bounds. And when combined with several poorly executed throws from McCoy, the Longhorns would miss on plenty of offensive opportunities to chisel away at the deficit.

    Instead, Texas continued to slip and fall in the harsh cold, failing to answer the bell when the opportunities came calling.

The 'Horns Are the Third-Best Team in the Big 12

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    With the loss to Baylor, it is clear that Texas has been the third-best team in the conference this season.

    The overall body of work may not lend itself to that conclusion, but the Longhorns are still not where they used to be.

    Injuries and circumstances plagued Texas' season, which hardly helped the conquest, but there were plenty of miscues and shortcomings that pin the Longhorns exactly where they are in the final Big 12 standings.

    And in an obvious down year for the conference, the third-place finish is a poor indicator of the strength of the league.

Cedric Reed Could Benefit from a Senior Season

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    Junior defensive end Cedric Reed was virtually invisible against Baylor, posting just four tackles and one tackle for loss on the day.

    Reed has been the Longhorns' most pleasant surprise on defense as the junior has emerged as a true NFL-caliber player in his third season in Austin.

    But there are still parts of his game that need work.

    Reed is eligible to drop his name into the draft hat as a junior, but is it too early?

    Injuries to teammates this season may threaten his desire to return, which would make the jump to the professional level that much more enticing.

    But at the same time, there is little doubt that he would be the best returning defensive lineman on the team in 2014.

The UT Secondary Is Not What It Used to Be

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    The 'DBU' moniker will always get thrown around when talking about Texas' secondary, but the fact of the matter is, the days of Earl Thomas, Aaron Williams and Michael Griffin, among others, are obviously over.

    Yes, the Longhorns still have some great athletes and performers in their defensive backfield, but the lack of playmakers over the last three years has dimmed the spotlight on a once-dominant position group in Austin.

    Texas will have to replace at least two starters in the secondary with Carrington Byndom and Adrian Phillips' careers completed, and their departures will further test just how much defensive backs coach Duane Akina has been able to maintain his standing in college football.

Texas Will Sorely Miss the Left Side of Its OL

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    Left tackle Donald Hawkins and left guard Trey Hopkins have been huge catalysts to Texas' strong running game this season, and their departure will be a big blow to Texas' offensive line going into 2014.

    Without question, the left-side duo has been Texas' most consistent pairing this season, and their impacts cannot be understated or overlooked.

    Hawkins has been a mainstay since arriving via the junior college ranks in 2012, and Hopkins has been a player since he was a freshman.

    Experience is tough to replace, and that is exactly what Texas will be dealing with in the spring.

Texas Needs Good Quarterback Play

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    It's no secret.

    Texas need drastic improvement at the quarterback position to be successful.

    The pieces looked to have been there with David Ash, but his concussion symptoms have forced him to miss most of the season. His return in 2014 will be a highly anticipated one, but it will come with a great deal of expectation and pressure.

    McCoy proved to be good in spurts, but he simply was not good enough for what the Texas offense had hoped to accomplish this year.

    Texas needs better.

Jaxon Shipley Deserves Better

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    In a different time, Jaxon Shipley may very well have been one of Texas' best receivers of all time.

    Blessed with the trademarked Shipley sure-hands, the junior has fallen well below his production from a season ago, and that surely has to do with the inconsistencies at quarterback.

    We saw how Jordan Shipley fared with one of the most accurate signal callers in history in Colt McCoy. That only begs the question, what if Jaxon had a more capable passer under center?