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For the second straight year, Texas will make an appearance in San Antonio for the Valero Alamo Bowl. But this time the focus is fixed on head coach Mack Brown.
After announcing earlier this month that he would step down, the Longhorns look to finish Brown’s storied career at Texas with a victory against No. 10 Oregon.
“There will be no doubt or no question if we're going to go out there and fight and play hard,” senior quarterback Case McCoy said. “There's not going to have to be a whole lot of motivation for that. Everybody is going to want to go out there and finish this thing right.”
The Longhorns (8-4) will face a difficult test in Oregon (10-2), which has been in the national spotlight since the beginning of the season. The Ducks, expected to be a national championship contender, have averaged 573 yards per game and a total of 75.4 plays per game.
“I know the preparation we put in week in, week out, that's not going to change going into this game.” McCoy said. “As we saw who we were playing, we were all in the film room the next day. This is a big game for us, no doubt about it, playing a top‑10 team that's well‑coached. Five weeks ago they were in a hunt for the national championship.”
The Longhorns will conclude their season against the best quarterback they have faced all season. Marcus Mariota has completed 227 of his 360 passes and averaged 9.5 yards per passing attempt. In addition, Mariota’s ability to scramble adds another dimension to the Ducks’ option attack.
Texas has had difficulty with mobile quarterbacks, notably in losses against BYU and Ole Miss earlier this season. The Longhorns have missed 71 tackles this season -- down from 112 they missed last season -- and dual-threat quarterbacks have been a main source of those misses.
“This guy has good wheels,” said defensive coordinator Greg Robinson. “He can move around. He can run the ball up the field. But he can maneuver in the pocket, as well. He's pretty good at trying to stay alive so he can chuck that ball downfield.”
Oregon will be a tough test to send off Brown with a win at the Alamo Bowl. But the team is prepared for Brown’s last stand.
“If you came to this university, you accepted a job, you accepted a scholarship, you want to play here, you all have that pride,” McCoy said. “There will be no doubt or no question if we're going to go out there and fight and play hard. Everybody is going to want to go out there and finish this thing right.”
Texas’ 30-10 loss to Baylor ended the Longhorns’ hopes of a Big 12 title and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Here are four takeaways from Saturday’s loss to the Bears:
Texas failed to find a rhythm on offense throughout the game, managing just 217 total yards in the contest. The Longhorns earned just 12 first downs in the contest and struggled mightily on third down, converting on just 2-of-17 attempts.
Senior quarterback Case McCoy turned in arguably his worst performance of the season, completing just 12-of-36 passes for 54 yards, an average of 1.6 yards per attempt. He also threw a pair of interceptions.
“We didn't hit any passes,” head coach Mack Brown said. “We just weren't consistent on offense at all. It was just an ugly night for us offensively. I'm very disappointed.”
Defense scuffles in second half
After limiting Baylor’s top-ranked offense to just three points in the first two quarters, the Longhorns failed to maintain their stingy effort in the second half.
Junior quarterback Bryce Petty threw touchdown passes on each of Baylor’s first two possessions in the half, with the Bears adding a field goal on their third drive of the third quarter.
After managing 62 rushing yards in the first half, Baylor exploded with 159 yards on the ground after halftime. The Bears also improved their third down offense considerably in the second half, converting on 6-of-11 attempts after going just 1-of-8 in the first half.
“You have to give (Baylor) credit,” senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said. “They came in the second half and made adjustments and plays.”
Difficult finish for seniors
Saturday’s loss was especially tough for the Texas seniors, as it marked their final opportunity to win a conference title at Texas.
Texas controlled its own destiny for a Big 12 championship going into its matchup with Baylor thanks to Oklahoma’s 33-24 upset win over Oklahoma State earlier in the day. Texas finished conference play at 7-2, with its lone losses coming against Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Seniors like McCoy and Jeffcoat maintained their goal of a conference title, and they were admittedly upset that they were unable to clinch the championship after coming so close.
It's disappointing for the seniors who played for this team and the coaches,” McCoy said. “It's a hard loss to take when it was so close. It was something we fought for and worked for to get to this point. It's just a disappointing feeling.”
Big day for Malcolm Brown
Junior running back Malcolm Brown provided the lone bright spot for the Texas offense, compiling 131 rushing yards on 25 attempts.
The game marked Brown’s second consecutive 100-yard rushing performance and his fourth of the season. He finished just four yards shy of his career-high, which he set as a freshman against Oklahoma State in 2011.
Brown also led Texas with four receptions for 19 yards, and he accounted for the Longhorns’ lone touchdown with a 2-yard catch in the fourth quarter.
This weekend, Texas players and fans alike must do something they probably never imagined they’d have to — root for Oklahoma.
The Longhorns can clinch a share of the Big 12 title with a win over Baylor, but the only way they can earn an outright conference championship and trip to the Fiesta Bowl is if the Sooners defeat Oklahoma State.
“I’ll be rooting for them,” senior quarterback Case McCoy said of the Sooners. “It makes me sick to my stomach to think about, but I hope they play well.”
Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State share identical 7-1 records in conference play, but the Cowboys control their own destiny for a trip to the Fiesta Bowl due to their wins over both the Longhorns and the Bears. Should Oklahoma upset the Cowboys on Saturday, the winner of the Texas-Baylor game would clinch the conference crown.
Texas figures to have a good idea of whether it remains in contention for the Fiesta Bowl by the time its game against Baylor kicks off at 2:30 p.m., as Oklahoma versus Oklahoma State begins at 11:00 a.m. Despite this, head coach Mack Brown wants the Longhorns to remain focused on their own game and nothing else.
“The game before us is something that’s out of our control,” Brown said. “Let’s worry about how we play. As a team, we talked about the championship run with Oklahoma State. We didn’t play well. We’re going to talk about us playing well, the preparation, practice. We’re going to talk about the things we do.”
McCoy seconded this, saying he would rather not even know the outcome of the Bedlam game before he takes the field.
“I don’t want to know at all,” McCoy said. “I don’t think it will change the way I play. In this situation, you can’t control everyone. All I can control is how I play, how I get my team ready to play.”
Other players, like senior cornerback Carrington Byndom, would like to know the outcome of the morning game as soon as it ends, but he agrees the team’s focus should be on beating Baylor.
“It wouldn’t hurt to know,” Byndom said. “Obviously we’ll be getting ready to take the field. Our main focus is winning the game. Everything else will play out as far as that.“
Regardless of what happens before they take the field against the Bears, senior defensive Jackson Jeffcoat believes the Longhorns should be proud of how far they’ve come this season.
“It’s great that we’re in this position,” Jeffcoat said. “Starting the year off 1-2 was frustrating. To be able to work our way back up here, to be able to get a conference championship, is special. Only two teams are normally battling for it. We’re going to be working hard for it.”
A win over Baylor allows Jeffcoat and the rest of the seniors to earn at least a share of the conference championship for the first time, but they need some help from their hated rivals to earn their first BCS bowl appearance too.
In its second game without the Aggies on Thanksgiving, Texas was able to run past Texas Tech 41-16 in the final home game of the season. With a game against conference-leading Baylor remaining, here are four key aspects to take from Thursday’s game:
Texas has had its struggles on defense this year, but, since defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has taken over the play calling duties from Manny Diaz, much has improved on the defensive front. So far this season, the Longhorns have recorded 35 sacks with nine of those coming against the Red Raiders. All of Texas’ sacks this season have come in its eight wins.
Senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who played more of a linebacker role Thursday, recorded a career-high three sacks in the game. Junior Cedric Reed added to the pass rush with two of his own, while also adding five tackles.
Senior quarterback Case McCoy played in his last home game of his career Thursday coming off his worst performance of the season against Oklahoma State. McCoy tallied three interceptions with no touchdowns against the Cowboys, while Oklahoma State broke Texas’ six game winning streak.
McCoy threw for 180 yards against Texas Tech as he passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. The Graham native completed 10 of his 19 passes for an average of 7.3 yards a play.
“I understand I didn’t give my team a chance to win last week,” McCoy said. “Your job is to take care of the ball and manage the game, like I said I did tonight. It’s good in this stadium to bounce back and have a game like that.”
Texas still strong without Johnathan Gray
Junior running back Joe Bergeron wore No. 32 Thursday night in honor of injured sophomore running back Johnathan Gray, but, instead of just taking his number, he also took his identity. Bergeron, who has had limited playing time this year with fumbling issues, ran for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Red Raiders.
The Longhorns had two 100-yard backs on the night as junior running back Malcolm Brown recorded 128 yards himself. Texas’ running game took a shot when Gray got injured against West Virginia earlier this month. The remaining backs for the Longhorns have been able to fill the hole in the ground game without Gray, as Bergeron and Brown have held up their end of the work.
Big 12 title hope remains intact
After Texas started the season 1-2 for the first time since 1998, many laughed at head coach Mack Brown when he said a hope for a Big 12 title still remained. Eight games later, that faith is still intact. The Longhorns no longer control their own destiny after losing to Oklahoma State two weeks ago, but their rout of Texas Tech brought back some hope.
Texas needs to beat Baylor on Saturday for at least a share of the conference championship, and, if Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, the Longhorns have a chance for the outright title. Look for Texas fans to root for their Red River rivals this weekend as they watch the Longhorns take on the Bears in their last game at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Senior quarterback Case McCoy played as big a role as anyone in Texas’ six-game winning streak to kick off conference play.
After entering the second half of the Longhorns’ Big 12 opener against Kansas State on Sept. 21, McCoy started and won each of Texas’ next five games, throwing for 1,141 yards and seven touchdowns against six interceptions over that stretch.
The senior was unable to replicate this success against No. 12 Oklahoma State in his last game, though, throwing for a season-high three interceptions while failing to connect on a touchdown pass in Texas’ 38-13 loss. McCoy accepted the blame for the loss after his season-worst performance, but he remains confident in the Longhorns’ ability to finish the season strong.
“I, being the quarterback, I being the leader on this team, have to take full responsibility for that,” McCoy said. “From my position, I didn’t play well enough to even give us a chance to win... We’re two weeks past that now. These guys haven’t given up. We understand that if we win two more ballgames, we’re putting numbers on the wall and we’re still sharing a Big 12 title.”
McCoy addressed the team following the loss and admitted that he needs to play better moving forward. Following his subpar performance, head coach Mack Brown said McCoy remains as vocal as ever in the locker room.
“Case has really stood up and he’s accountable for our team, as a quarterback should be,” Brown said. “He’s been a very good leader with this group and he’s been very honest with them. He stepped up after the game the other day and he’s been very vocal at practice.”
Senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat appreciated McCoy’s accountability, but he said the rest of the team was quick to assume much of the blame as well.
“We told him ‘Hey, it’s not on you,’” Jeffcoat said. “‘You’re not there only person out there playing. It’s on all of us. It’s on the whole team; defense, offense, the whole team.’ We told him we just need to get that stuff corrected.”
The most pressing thing that needs to be corrected is the turnovers. Texas lost the turnover battle, 3-1, for the first time this season against the Cowboys, and McCoy knows the importance of keeping the ball out of the opponent’s hands.
“I understand I touch the ball every play,” McCoy said. “I understand that you have to make plays as a quarterback to win games, but also your No. 1 job is to take care of the ball. I didn’t do that. That shows, when you lose the turnover battle like that, the score doesn’t usually go in your favor.”
Texas maintains the ability to win at least a share of the Big 12 title this season, but it needs to defeat Texas Tech to keep its hopes alive. To do this, the Longhorns likely need a big performance on offense to keep up with the high-scoring Red Raiders, and no player figures to be more important in this
Junior David Ash announced Monday that he will not play again this season. Texas will continue to start senior Case McCoy, who did not throw any interceptions in the first five games of the season. He has thrown nine in the last five, including a three-interception performance in Texas’ 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State on Nov. 16. McCoy’s numbers may improve against a Texas Tech defense that has only forced seven interceptions on the season in opposition to OSU’s 19. Freshman quarterbacks Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield have split starts in Texas Tech’s current four-game losing streak. The two have combined for over 4,000 yards passing and 28 touchdowns in a season that included a 7-0 start. Texas will most likely game-plan for Mayfield, who threw for 314 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in Tech’s 63-34 loss to Baylor on Nov. 16. The walk-on from Lake Travis high school has struggled against the top defenses in the Big 12, throwing five combined interceptions against TCU and Kansas State.
Advantage: Texas Tech
Carries are limited for Kenny Williams in a Texas Tech offense that has ran the ball almost 300 times less than they have passed. But the junior from Hendrickson high school has 439 yards and eight touchdowns rushing on the season. Sophomore DeAndre Washington provides 4.3 yards a carry with 388 yards on the season and four touchdowns. Neither back has rushed for 100 yards in a game this season, but provide a pass threat, combining for over 400 yards receiving on the year. The Texas run game produced 151 yards and a touchdown in their first game without sophomore Johnathan Gray against Oklahoma State. Junior Malcolm Brown started with a 55-yard, one touchdown first half and added 28 yards in the second half. Junior Joe Bergeron averaged 4.9 yards a carry in a 49-yard performance that demonstrated the Longhorn backfield was still intact. With the recent performance of the pass game, perhaps there will be a leniency on the running backs against a Texas tech defense that gives up 186 yards a game on the ground.
The Texas receiving unit has yet to produce a 300-yard game this season and will be compared to a Tech receiving core that has never combined for less than 300 yards in more than one game. Senior Mike Davis surpassed Jaxon Shipley as the team’s leading receiver in the 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State with nine catches for 112 yards. Davis and Shipley have been in tandem as McCoy’s most consistent receivers, combining for 328 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. The Texas receivers may pick up on a few pointers from Tech’s 63-34 loss to Baylor, where the secondary allowed 335 yards through the air. Junior tight end Jace Amaro has been the main target this season for the Red Raiders and surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in just nine games with a 174-yard, one touchdown performance against Oklahoma State. Senior Eric Ward leads the receivers with eight touchdowns and has accumulated 381 yards and five touchdowns in the last four games. Sophomore Jakeem Grant is third in receiving with 707 yards on the season, and provides a deep threat with five receptions of over 30 yards. Tech will provide the toughest matchup the Texas secondary has seen this season.
Advantage: Texas Tech
Texas Tech has given up twice as many sacks as Texas, but has passed almost twice as often, so, the proportions even out. Sophomore Le’Raven Clark was named freshman all-America a season ago and has since moved to left tackle. Clark will have the duties of protecting his quarterback from Jackson Jeffcoat, who has seven sacks on the season. The Red Raiders gave up three sacks to Baylor in their last game, and will face the third-ranked pass rush in the Big 12 against Texas. The Longhorn offensive line has only given up three sacks in the last six weeks, and had an unblemished record against Oklahoma State until freshman Tyrone Swoopes was sacked on the last play of the game. The styles between Texas and Tech vary completely when it comes to offensive line, but the Longhorns have given up 10 less tackles for loss, including both the pass and the run. Protection has come from left guard Trey Hopkins and left tackle Donald Hawkins, who together maintained a four-game stretch of sackless football ball from the left side.
The Red Raider pass rush has emerged mostly from the linebackers, but the key for Tech will be stopping the Longhorn run game. Tech has struggled recently against the run, allowing almost 300 yards a game in their last four match-ups. They will face off against an offensive line that has paved the way for almost 180 rushing yards a game for Texas and has given up three sacks in the last six games. Seniors Dartwan Bush and Kerry Hyder will battle for the line of scrimmage and each have two sacks on the season. The Texas defensive line was shutout against Oklahoma State a week after the line had a six-sack, five-forced fumble performance against West Virginia. It was the first time since playing Ole Miss that the d-line did not have a sack in a game. The Cowboys allow the 10th fewest sacks in the nation. Tech’s offensive line has allowed 14 more than OSU. Sophomore tackle Malcolm Brown stood in for the injured Chris Whaley in an impressive seven-tackle performance against Oklahoma State, but the key to success against Tech will fall upon defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed, who each hold the second-most sacks in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 38-13 win over Texas, including an 18-yard scamper for the game’s first score. Mayfield is not as much a dual-threat player, but Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington will provide an issue to a Texas linebacker group that has struggled in the open field. Incomparable to West Virginia’s Charles Sims, who had 135 total yards and three touchdowns against Texas earlier this season, Williams and Washington present a style of play that the Texas linebackers do not excel against. The linebackers provide the defensive pass rush for Texas Tech, with 11 sacks split between their four starters. Senior Will Smith leads the team with 3.5 sacks on the season and had a career-high 16 tackles against Baylor on Nov. 16. Their top concern will be against the run after being a part of a rush defense that has given up over 1,000 yards in the last four games. The Texas backfield will be limited with Johnathan Gray out for the season with a torn Achilles and Daje Johnson suspended for violating team rules. Facing less offensive firepower, Tech will be able to gameplan in less variety.
Advantage: Texas Tech
The Red Raider secondary was torched against Baylor, where Bear quarterback Bryce Petty threw for 335 yards, three touchdowns and averaged almost 20 yards a completion. The Texas passing game ranks 43 places behind Baylor nationally, but possess the threat of depth and talent with wide receivers Mike Davis, Jaxon Shipley, Marcus Johnson and three other receivers who all have touchdown receptions of over 50 yards. Their success will be dependent on the performance of the recently struggling Case McCoy. The Texas secondary has struggled after facing passing offenses that are ranked in the top four in the Big 12, giving up 487 yards and three touchdowns to Oklahoma State and West Virginia. They will now face their toughest matchup yet against the top passing offense in the nation. The defensive backfield will look to exploit the youth of freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has thrown an interception in each of his last five games.
Advantage: Texas Tech
Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert marked for the sixth kick return of over 40 yards against the Texas kickoff team this season. The Longhorn kick-coverage team is fourth-to-last in the nation in yards given up per return, and their punt coverage team is eight-to-last. Field position will be key against the top ranked passing offense in Texas Tech, whose return team has six returns of over 30 yards on the season. The Red Raiders’ kick return team averages 23 yards a return behind freshman wide receiver Reginald Davis and junior defensive back Austin Stewart. Tech’s kick and punt coverage teams both rank in the bottom half in the nation. Their field goal team has been sound as junior kicker Ryan Bustin has made each of his last eight field goal attempts.
Advantage: Texas Tech
Overwhelmed by mental mistakes and poor execution, Texas became its own enemy Saturday afternoon.
After winning six straight conference games, the Longhorns had flashbacks to the beginning of their season, as Oklahoma State overwhelmed them 38-13. The Cowboys were able to handily give Texas its first conference loss of the season, adding another obstacle to the Longhorns’ road to a Big 12 title.
“They won in about every way you can,” head coach Mack Brown said. “They rushed for more yards than us, they won the turnover battle three to one … and they also won the kicking game.”
Once again, the Longhorns started slugglishly as the Cowboys grabbed an early 14-3 lead before Texas could enter the end zone. The Longhorns cut the deficit to four after a strong 75-yard drive, ending with a touchdown run from junior running back Malcolm Brown late in the first half.
Things turned disastrous for Texas with minutes to go before the break, as Oklahoma State drove 67 yards to post its third touchdown of the night. Almost immediately after, senior quarterback Case McCoy threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, signifying a rough three minutes for the Longhorns.
“It’s unacceptable,” senior defensive back Adrian Phillips said. “We can’t do that against a high power offense like that. They were clicking on all points and we weren’t. Pretty much they showed up and we didn’t.”
Texas and Oklahoma State exchanged field goals to start the second half, but it was all Cowboys from that point on. McCoy and his offense were shut out for the last 30 minutes of play and tallied just 151 yards on the ground the entire game.
The Longhorns gave up 95 yards rushing to Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf, who totalled two rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State was able to tally 380 yards of offense to keep its hopes of a Big 12 title alive.
“Give a hand to the Oklahoma State team,” senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said. “They played well. They were executing really well. They were doing some stuff and just making good plays and getting good key blocks and getting open and getting into space.”
McCoy threw three interceptions, and this was the first time the Longhorns lost the turnover battle all season.
“The quarterback goes out and throws three picks, you’re not going to win the ballgame,” McCoy said. “It’s very rare that happens. So it’s on me. My team knows it’s on me, and we’re going to get it fixed and go win.”
Texas has experience in regaining momentum after a tough loss. The Longhorns were able to win six straight after losing back-to-back games earlier in the season. Texas still has a small hope of a conference title, but it must win its final two game.
“If there’s nothing to play for, it’s a very difficult thing,” Brown said. “But we’re still in November with a conference championship sticking right in our face. So we’ve just got to go play better.”
For any Texas football fan, the names McCoy and Shipley go together like peanut butter and jelly. But this isn’t the older McCoy and Shipley sibling combination. Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley are gone. Instead, the aerial attack is led by the younger duo: senior quarterback Case McCoy and junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley. They are the pair could make or break the Longhorns’ Big 12 title chances, and Case McCoy always seems to look to Jaxon Shipley when he needs a completion, especially in third down situations.
After taking over for junior quarterback David Ash, McCoy had trouble converting on third down. He completed only 9-for-17 passes on third down against Kansas State and Iowa State, and only a few of those resulted in first downs. What’s more telling is that he only completed one of three passes targeted at Shipley, his supposed safety blanket.
Since then, McCoy seems to have settled into his starting role. He has completed 13 of his 17 attempts to Shipley in the games since Iowa State, including a perfect 4-for-4 against Oklahoma and Kansas. But this revamped McCoy-Shipley duo never looked better than it did Saturday, as the pair made a multitude of crucial plays in the Longhorns’ overtime win against the Mountaineers.
The Longhorn offense sputtered well into the third quarter of the game, converting only 1 of 11 third down attempts. McCoy especially struggled, completing only 1 of 10 passes on third down. With the game and Texas’ Big 12 title hopes hanging in the balance, McCoy adjusted and threw to Jaxon Shipley. The two put on a clinic as the game wound down, converting three straight third down conversions, including a beautiful pass-and-catch for a 10-yard touchdown on third and goal midway through the fourth quarter.
No completion was more important than their last. With barely more than a minute left in the game and the Longhorns facing fourth-and-seven, McCoy found Shipley 9 yards down field, extending the game and giving Texas the opportunity for a game-tying field goal.
It is obvious how comfortable these two feel playing together. Against West Virginia, McCoy was 5-for-8 on third down when looking for Shipley and 2-for-9 when throwing to anyone else. But this trend isn’t an isolated. This season, McCoy is 13-for-20 when looking for Shipley on third down, and 22-for-42 throwing to all other receivers — a 13 percent difference in completion percentage.
Mack Brown wants to lean on the running game to pace the Texas offense, and he should. But with talented sophomore running back Johnathan Gray out for the year with a ruptured Achilles, the Longhorns will likely have to take to the air more often. When they do, be sure to keep an eye on Shipley — McCoy will.
Coming into the season, the Longhorns faced a bevy of questions at the wide receiver position.
Veteran wideouts Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley missed time in training camp with nagging injuries, while sophomore receivers Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson were each inactive for games early in the season. These concerns are nothing but a distant memory now, though, as Texas’ now healthy cast of wide receivers form perhaps the team’s most dynamic offensive unit.
“The depth at wide receiver has really helped us,” head coach Mack Brown said. “I’m not sure this isn’t our best group of wide receivers top to bottom that we’ve had since we’ve been here.”
Texas’ starters at wide receiver both played well in the Longhorns first eight games, with Shipley leading the team with 39 receptions for 445 and Davis setting the high mark with five touchdowns. But Shipley and Davis hardly stand as the Longhorns’ only consistent threats through the air.
Sanders racked up 28 receptions for 286 yards and a score in his first seven games this season, while Johnson places third on the team with 301 receiving yards. Adding to the depth are sophomore running back/wide receiver Daje Johnson, who has 14 receptions in six games, and junior wide receiver John Harris, who has two touchdowns.
“I think we’ve really developed two-deep at the wide receiver position, and [wide receivers coach Darrell] Wyatt has done a really good job of getting us blocking and getting us to do all of our assignments,” Shipley said. “We’re really excited about the wide receivers.”
Senior quarterback Case McCoy continues to enjoy the depth at wide receiver, as having a number of viable options in the passing game allows him to spread the ball around without having to zero in on a single target.
“Those guys are stepping in and can play,” McCoy said. “When we have our four wideouts on the field, that’s a good group right there. I can throw the ball to any of those guys and I know where they’re going to be.”
Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite believes that the injuries to Texas’ veteran wide outs early in training camp prepared the younger receivers for increased playing time, as players like Sanders, Marcus Johnson and Daje Johnson received extra reps with the first team offense.
“Even though it was frustrating when Jaxon and Mike weren’t practicing and then you lose Kendall Sanders with an ankle and then Marcus with a knee, all those other guys started getting reps and now it has started to pay off,” Applewhite said. “Now all those reps that aren’t seen in the stat lines that are given out in August, now all those things are starting to come and you got top-to-bottom depth.”
Brown expects the Longhorns receivers to continue
producing in the upcoming games, as teams figure to stack the box in an attempt to stop a torrid Texas rushing attack that has produced 221 yards on the ground in its last three games.
“Those guys should be in one-on-one situations, because more people are going to be trying to stop the run the next four weeks,” Brown said. “It should leave some one-on-one shots. We need to do a better job of getting the ball in their hands in space or hit some deep shots.”
The Longhorns know that maintaining a balanced offensive game plan is necessary if they hope to remain in the driver’s seat for a Big 12 title. This calls for McCoy to maintain a strong connection with his wide receivers, and unlike at the start of the year, he has plenty of options to throw to.