Season Report Card: Texas Longhorns
Despite a lot of preseason hype for a "this is our time" type of turnaround, the Texas Longhorns (8-5, 7-2 Big 12) got off to another rocky start when it dropped the first two-of-three games of the season to BYU and Ole Miss by a combined 40 points.
Mack Brown was able to salvage his final season at UT by reeling off six straight wins—including a 36-20 drubbing of Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry—and a chance to win the conference championship.
But eight wins doesn’t cut it when you’re the coach of what’s arguably the best college football destination in the country—and that’s exactly why Brown and the Longhorns parted ways at season’s end.
Here’s Texas’ report card for the 2013 season:
Texas’ low grade for the offense can be attributed to the quarterback play. Between the stout sound offensive line and the production of running backs Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron, there really is no excuse for how poor Case McCoy performed at times. Colt’s little brother showed confidence off the gridiron, but his ill-advised decision-making and inconsistent throwing mechanics really cost the Longhorns in dire times; McCoy completed just 56.8 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Granted it’s not all his fault—the receivers had a difficult time getting downfield and making plays—but it really hurt this offense when he had to replace starting quarterback David Ash down the stretch.
For as poorly as the defense started out, this actually isn’t that bad of a grade. Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after giving up 40 points to BYU, and slightly improved as the year went on under Greg Robinson. But this is Texas football and the expectations to have a Top-10 defense is through the roof. Big 12 co-defensive player of the year Jackson Jeffcoat led the way with a conference-high 13 sacks and his defensive end counterpart Cedric Reed ended with 10, giving the Longhorns the best sack mark in the conference (39 overall). However, this wasn’t enough to cure an unpredictable back seven that never really lived up to its talent level.
Texas won nine games or more in each of Mack Brown’s first 12 seasons in Austin, including the famous 2005 BCS National Championship win over the heavily-favored USC Trojans. Things fell apart after his second title game appearance though, when the ‘Horns got crushed by Alabama in 2009. From 2010-13, Texas was just 30-21 and just over .500 in conference play. While he did a nice job keeping the team together after a horrendous start and competing for a Big 12 championship, no one really feared UT.
Things could have been a lot better, but they also could have been much worse. Texas wasn’t very competitive against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, which basically sums up Brown’s last four years and the current state of the program. Eight wins doesn’t cut it in Austin, and that’s why the Longhorns are looking to Charlie Strong to take them to the next era.
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