Friday, March 18, 2011

Texas Longhorns 2010 Review

2010 Record: 5-7 (2-6), 6th Big 12 South
2010 Bowl Game: None
2010 Schedule/Results: @ Rice, W 34-17, Wyoming, W 34-7, @ Texas Tech, W 24-14, UCLA, L 34-12, @ Oklahoma, L 28-20, @ Nebraska, W 20-13, Iowa State, L 28-21, Baylor, L 30-22, @ Kansas State, L 39-14, Oklahoma State, L 33-16, Florida Atlantic, W 51-17, Texas A&M, L 24-17


     What a mess the 2010 Longhorn football season turned into. You never would have known what was coming 3 weeks into September, as the Longhorns had started out 3-0, and had not given up more than 17 points. Granted, the schedule was softer than a freshly baked cupcake, but that's typical of a Texas September slate. Then came an embarrassment at the hands of UCLA, a team that the city of Austin is in no mood to welcome back...ever. The Horns followed up the trouncing by the Bruins with a hard fought loss to Oklahoma, but then, after an upset win over streaking Nebraska, the wheels came off of the chuck wagon. The Horns finished by losing 5 out of their final 6, and missed out on a bowl for the first time in next to forever.
    Garrett Gilbert was a central issue on offense. The sophomore QB was basically awful in his first season as a starter, as he was turnover prone all season long. Gilbert passed for 2744 yards, but he only struck for 10 TDs while throwing a whopping 17 picks in 12 games. He also only completed 59% of his passes on the season. Gilbert was all over the place, and some people blamed the failures on Greg Davis, who was forced out as OC after the season ended. remember that Davis also worked with Colt McCoy. Not thinking that Davis was the problem here.
     The next issue was the basic failure of any backs to consistently generate a threat that the oppposing defense had to worry about, allowing teams to tee up on Gilbert. Cody Johnson wound up being the leading rusher on the season with 592 yards  and 6 TDs. Gilbert did manage to rush for 380 yards on the year as well, but may need to run less and hand off more to find any kind of success. The run game did generate 150 yards per game, but that number was illusory, as the Horns were not nearly as good as that number would suggest.
     James Kirkendall became the new top target in the passing offense, but he was basically the only big olay threat that presented himself in 2010. Kirkendall ran up a line of 52-707-2. Mike Davis had 47 receptions on the season, but only had 478 yards, not coming near the productivity that Kirkendall had downfield. The rest of the corps was largely innefective, which may have been more due to Gilbert's overall struggles.
    The defense had some solid moments on the season, but also had some struggles, especially when it came to stopping UCLA, a team that teams more often than not had no trouble stomping. UCLA ran like crazy on the Horns, and suddenly, HC in waiting Will Muschamp was not looking like such a boy genius. When all was said and done, the Horns were still decent statistically, having only allowed 161 yards passing per game, and allowing 138 yards rushing per game.
     Junior LB Keenan Robinson was a busy guy, havig been the only Longhorn to have raked in 100+ tackles on the season. Robinson was by far the leading tackler with 106, averaging 8.83 per game. Emmanuel Acho was second with 81.
     Acho and brother Sam were both beasts in the backfield for the Longhorns, as they made up two of the three players to have picked up double digit TFL  numbers in 2010. Emmanuel had 10.5, while brother Sam led the team with 15.5. Junior lineman Kheeston Randall was the third with 10 on the season. Sam Acho also led the team with 8 sacks on the season, as the Horns sacked opposing QBs a grand total of 30 times on the season.
     Sophomore Kenny Vaccaro amped up his star pwoer in the secondary in 2010, as he led the team with 7 pass breakups. This was significant, because nobody else on the team had more than 3 (Curtis Brown, Blake Gideon). Where the problem was in the secondary, is a continuation on those numbers, as nobody intercepted more than 2 passes (Keenan Robinson), and the team was outpicked 17-8 on the year. The Horns will need to find new playmakers in the defense of new coodinator Manny Diaz.
      Diaz takes over as Will Muschamp left to become the new HC at Florida. Muschamp had been the HC in waiting for the eventual retirement of Mack Brown, but one has to wonder if Texas fought at all to keep their protege, after the defense struggled at times. He wasn't the only assistant to leave, as there was a massive housecleaning on both sides of the football.
     The Horns could depend on one thing for sure in 2010, and that was on the leg of Justin Tucker. Tucker nailed 23 of his 27 FG attempts as a junior, and he will try to be just as significant in 2011, his senior season. Unless Gilbert improves a great deal, the Horns may need Tucker even more than they did. Tucker also shared the punting job in 2010 with John Gold, and both had solid seasons. Gold lost 3 games to injury, but avergaed 43.63 yards per punt. Tucker averaged 41.86 yards per punt, but punted 12 more times than Gold did.


As was said earlier, the Horns were a mess in 2010, and the minute the season ended, all hell broke loose. Will Muschamp left ahead of the wave when he agreed to become the replacement for Urban Meyer at Florida. Greg Davis was forced out on offense and was replaced by a combo of Boise State's Bryan Harsin and former UT QB Major Applewhite. Expect major philosophical shifts on both sides of the football after the disaster of 2010, but lots will depend on the development of Gilbert, and if he fails to develop, the Horns will need to find someone to push him out, and the sooner the better if he is not in stride in the fall practices leading up to the first game. It certainly cannot get any worse for Texas, as they finished in dead last in the South.

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