Horns Roll Over Warhawks: Game Observations

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Horns Roll Over Warhawks: Game Observations
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

In their first outing of the season, the second ranked Texas Longhorns blasted the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, 59-20, in front of a sellout crowd of over 100,000 fans.

Offense

Heisman hopeful Colt McCoy picked up right where he left off last season, going 21-29 for 317 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Texas quarterback looked sharp for much of the game, though he did throw an interception in the second quarter. 

McCoy showed nice zip on the shorter routes and good touch, as was evident with his 78-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Shipley in the second quarter.

The sixth year senior receiver hauled in eight catches for 180 yards. Shipley will be seeing more time on the perimeter this season with the graduation of Quan Cosby, a role Shipley seems to be comfortable with.

One element that was missing from McCoy's repetoir was his famed running ability. McCoy carried seven times for negative three yards on the night. However, coach Brown must have been pleased that other runners stepped up to take the bulk of the running responsibility.

Junior Vondrell Mcgee started the game at running back, rushing 15 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. McGee looked strong between the tackles, but coughed up two fumbles, a stat that is likely to make the coaching staff question his ability to carry the load.

Sophomore Cody Johnson, the Longhorns' short-yardage back, carried 11 times for 27 yards and scored three times from the goal line. Johnson should continue to handle the short yardage situations going forward.

Mack Brown may have discovered a new offensive toy in the electric freshman D.J. Monroe. 

Monroe exploded on to the scene with an 89-yard kick return for a touchdown in the second quarter. The kid can flat out run (5A track star in high school).

Monroe also lined up at running back, rushing nine times for 64 yards. Look for this incredible talent to work his way in to the weekly offensive scheme.

Quarterback-turned-receiver John Chiles caught three balls for 35 yards and a touchdown. Chiles showed good straight-line speed on a screen pass from McCoy, as he ran it 14 yards for the score.

Chiles has earned a spot in the starting rotation, and unless he starts dropping a lot of balls, it is likely he will stay there.

The offensive line looked decent, but wasn't as dominant as expected. McCoy was sacked twice and was under some intense pressure at times.

There is some cause for concern on the line as starting guard Michael Huey was carted off the field after landing akwardly on his ankle. Texas can hardly afford a loss to a staring offensive lineman this early in the season.

The anticipated debut of freshman phenom quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, was not disappointing.

The Lake Travis graduate went 4 for 5 for 46 yards and showed good athleticism on a 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. 

Gilbert showed excellent arm strength and good accuracy while moving out of the pocket.

Defense

The defense looked strong overall.

The Warhawks were held to 298 total yards of offense. The Texas secondary, anchored by sophomore safety Earl Thomas, allowed only 197 yards through the air and intercepted ULM quarterback Trey Revell once in the red zone.

There were a few significant breakdowns in coverage assignments, but the starting secondary proved they are here to play this season.

The defensive line was tough for most of the night, stuffing the ULM run game until late in the fourth quarter. Sam Acho recovered two fumbles and Sergio Kindle applied constant pressure.

Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp could not have been happy with the fact that the Longhorn defense didn't get any sacks. Last season the Longhorns led the nation in the sack category with 47.

Senior linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy made some great plays in the middle of the field, once again proving his worth to this unit. 

Sophomore safety Nolan Brewster made a nice interception off a tipped pass deep in Texas territory. Look strangely familiar? Blake Gideon better watch his job...

The Longhorns looked good on opening night, but this team has a lot to work on.

The offense didn't seem to flow with the usual rythem, though I fully expect they will next week, and the defense, despite a solid effort, showed some weaknesses in play recognition.

We didn't really learn anything new about this Texas team. 

Offensive coordinator Greg Davis will use the pass to set up the run, though we could see some more I-formation to bolster the running attack.

As for the defense, Muschamp will continue to preach tenacity up front and composure in the secondary. This will be an aggressive Texas defense, but pressure up front will be key come conference play.

The Longhorns take on the Wyoming Cowboys next weekend in Laramie.

 

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