Joseph Randle

Photo Credit: Cody Bubenik | Daily Texan Staff

Start:

Tom Brady

Every other analyst I’ve read has listed Brady as one of their must-sits. Don’t believe it. The Jets defense is great, but Rob Gronkowski should suit up this Sunday — expect Brady to connect with him early and often.

Lamar Miller:

No one really feels good about starting Miller on their fantasy team. He struggles at running between the tackles, and doesn’t get many goal-line carries, but if there is one week to start him, it’s this week. Buffalo’s defense has been porous all year — expect Miller to have potentially the best game of his young career.

Joseph Randle:

An obvious pick for a Week 7, Randle will get the start for the Cowboys this week. He is not nearly as talented as DeMarco Murray, and he may not be a weekly start, but he will have a strong performance this week against the Eagles. This will be a high scoring game, and Philadelphia has a weak rushing defense. Randle got a lucky draw for his first NFL start.

 

Sit:

Andre Johnson: 

I know it’s hard to bench Johnson. He was once the top dog of NFL receivers, but the tides are shifting — he is no longer a must-start. Given that Case Keenum will have his first start this weekend and that the Texans are playing the Chiefs, who have arguably the best defense in the league, Johnson is a strong sit this week.

Le’Veon Bell:

Pittsburgh’s offense is far from dynamic, and the same goes for Bell’s rushing abilities. Bell is averaging a meager 2.8 yards per carry this year, and the Ravens’ have allowed only one rushing touchdown all year.  Bell has a low floor and a low ceiling — a bad combination.

Stevan Ridley:

Last week, Ridley had the best game of his season with  110 yards and two touchdowns. Does this make him a must-start this week?  Absolutely not. The Jets defense is remarkably strong against the run, and don’t read too much into Ridley’s Week 6 performance. In the end, the Patriots have a running back-by-committee situation, and that won’t change any time soon.

Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle has quietly led the Cowboys to a 5-3 record and leads the Big 12 in rushing with 934 yards, 200 more than anyone else in the conference.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle does not receive the recognition that many of the quarterbacks in the pass-driven Big 12 do, but that does not mean the junior is not deserving of high praise. Randle leads the conference in rushing with 934 yards, nearly 200 yards more than anyone else in the Big 12. He has averaged 5.3 yards per carry and has scored nine touchdowns in eight games on the ground. While a trio of quarterbacks have put up strong passing numbers for the Cowboys this season, Randle is the centerpiece of the offense and is a major reason why Oklahoma State is eighth in the nation in points per game.

Klein likely to play Saturday

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder seems to believe that quarterback Collin Klein has a strong chance of playing Saturday against TCU, saying Monday that he “seems fine to me” after leaving with a possible concussion in the third quarter of last Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State. The quarterback has emerged as the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy with his 1,875 yards and 12 touchdowns passing and 698 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing through nine games. The senior has been the biggest reason that the Wildcats are 9-0 and ranked second in the BCS standings. Kansas State has three games remaining on its schedule, and convincing wins in each contest would likely give the Wildcats the opportunity to compete in the national championship game.

West Virginia out of Top 25

Following its third consecutive loss, West Virginia is unranked for the first time this season. The Mountaineers, who began the year ranked 11th and climbed up to as high as fifth, are 2-3 in Big 12 play and have not won since Oct. 6. Quarterback Geno Smith, once a Heisman favorite, has thrown three interceptions in his last two games after not throwing any in his first six contests. The Mountaineers will take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater this Saturday before hosting No. 12 Oklahoma on Nov. 17.

Big 12 QBs piling up stats

The Big 12 has emerged as arguably the best offensive conference in college football, thanks in large part to stellar quarterback play. Texas Tech’s Seth Doege leads the nation with 31 touchdown passes and Geno Smith is not far behind with 29. Baylor’s Nick Florence is third in the nation with 3,019 passing yards, while Doege is sixth with 2,869. In addition to registering these lofty numbers, the Big 12 quarterbacks have been extremely efficient in 2012. Collin Klein leads the nation with an efficiency rating of 174.4, and five other quarterbacks in the conference also crack the FBS’ top 20.

Printed on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 as: Randle quietly paces Cowboys

Safety Adrian Phillips and cornerback Carrington Byndom miss a tackle in Texas’ win over Oklahoma State. The defense missed 12 tackles in the game, resulting in 109 extra yards of offense and two touchdowns. 

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

For the two weeks following Texas’ 66-31 win over Ole Miss, the Longhorn defense put a heavy emphasis on tackling in practice. They worked on technique and their angles of approach to alleviate the issue, and the players were confident heading into the Oklahoma State game.

However, that attitude lasted only two plays before Joseph Randle busted off a 69-yard touchdown run on a play in which he pushed through multiple arm tackles and broke the ankles of Kenny Vaccaro in the open field.

But Vaccaro wasn’t alone in whiffing in the open field. Combined, the Longhorns missed 12 tackles, resulting in 109 yards of offense and two touchdowns for the Cowboys.

“We cannot continue to tackle poorly,” head coach Mack Brown said. “We did a poor job of stopping the run, and the inability to stop the run gave them their whole playbook. And the defense had a tough time dealing with that.”

Texas’ inability to handle the run almost solely goes back to its issues with tackling. Randle had a field day up the middle breaking through arm tackles left and right and taking advantage of Texas’ poor angles of attack. That bad technique led to Randle’s 199-yard, two-touchdown day and a combined 275 yards from rushing by Oklahoma State.

It’s not a lack of effort from the Texas defense that results in these numbers, rather it is the issues stemming from incorrect technique.

“We have to make sure we wrap up with our arms and tackle with our chest and take our extra step before the hit,” cornerback Carrington Byndom said.

The effort is there and the technique is supposed to be coming, but neither one of those fixes can overshadow a player’s lack of ability to perform — something that Brown and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz both mentioned Monday in regard to the tackling problems.

“Most of our missed tackles have been from the linebackers and the secondary,” Brown said. “We got four weeks on a guy missing tackles; we got to start looking for another guy.”

In regard to another guy, both Brown and Diaz hinted that safety Adrian Phillips was at risk of losing his starting spot for this weekend’s game.

Phillips, who has been on and off the field all season battling injuries, has had a rough time tackling this year. Quite a few big plays or touchdowns have happened in his coverage areas because he took a bad angle on a tackle, including on two of Oklahoma State’s touchdowns Saturday. His struggles were never more evident than in the first quarter of the Wyoming game.

On a play late in the frame, Phillips was able to make a huge hit on a pass over the middle, the only problem being that the tackle was on Byndom instead of the Wyoming receiver, who ended up sprinting for an 82-yard touchdown pass.  

If Phillips is replaced, sophomores Josh Turner and Mykkele Thompson would be the most likely replacements. Neither one of them has a lot of experience on the field, but their teammates are confident in the pair’s ability to step up if called upon.

“Those guys have played great,” cornerback Quandre Diggs said. “They’re going to be very good, they continue to execute and they will be fine.”

No matter who lines up beside Vaccaro in the secondary, the lack of tackling will have to be fixed. After all, Heisman front runner Geno Smith and a potent West Virginia offense will be rolling into Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

The Longhorn defense got away with a spotty performance against Oklahoma State, but they won’t get so lucky playing the Mountaineers. As of now, the tackling deficiencies aren’t a huge issue because Texas won, but the players acknowledge it would be a different story if the final drive hadn’t swung in the Longhorns’ favor.   

“If we lost, it would be a lot bigger deal,” defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said.

Senior Jeremy Hills avoids a tackle against Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert Saturday night. The Longhorns put together a narrow 41-36 victory over the Cowboys after a fourth quarter drive led by sophomore quarterback David Ash.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

STILLWATER, Okla. — Against Ole Miss, David Ash was good. Against Oklahoma State, Ash was great.

Down by two points with 2:34 left to play, Ash needed to have the drive of his life.  He did just that and led the Longhorns to a 41-36 win over Oklahoma State. On fourth and six on the Texas 29-yard line, he kept Texas alive with a quick pass to D.J. Grant for a 29-yard gain.

Two plays later, he gave Mike Davis a second chance. Earlier in the game, Davis dropped a pass in the end zone. But he caught this one from Ash and gave the Longhorns a first down at the 5-yard line.

“He came to me after he barely missed that deep throw early in the first half,” Ash said. “He said ‘Just give me another chance,’ and I said, ‘All right, I’ll give you another chance,’ and he wasn’t lying. He was ready to make the play.”

Those late game heroics led to Joe Bergeron’s game-winning 2-yard run and a win in their Big 12 opener.

The offense thrived, even without Malcolm Brown, who hurt his ankle on his first touch, but the defense struggled. Without linebacker Jordan Hicks, who missed the game with a hip injury, the defense allowed 576 yards.

Missed tackles by safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Adrian Phillips allowed running back Joseph Randle to score a 69-yard touchdown. Randle ran all over the defense and
accumulated 199 yards.

“We figured they would try to pound it on the ground and that’s exactly what they did,” senior defensive end Alex Okafor said. “At some points we looked bad, at some points we looked great at it.”          

The offense came to the rescue and evened the score on its first drive. Ash hooked up with Jeremy Hills for 15 yards on 3rd-and-14 before finding Jaxon Shipley for a 44-yard touchdown on the next play.

Shipley also had scoring grabs of 20 and seven yards.

“This last week and this week just shows that our receiver core can make plays,” Shipley said. “You can see that from today and so we’re just so excited to go out there and for the offense to depend on us receivers and for us to just be able to come through for the team.”

Against Oklahoma State last season, Ash went 0-for-8 on passes over 10-yards. 

But this isn’t the same Ash.

The Cowboys tied it at 14 with J.W. Walsh’s 44-yard pass to Josh Stewart.  Phillips was injured trying to make a tackle on the play but later returned.

Saturday night was filled with quick responses by both teams.

D.J. Monroe returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, his third career kickoff return for a touchdown, giving the Longhorns a seven-point halftime lead.

Ash threw his first interception of the season when Tyler Johnson picked him off during the third quarter. While he responded well to the turnover, the defense did not.

During the Cowboys’ next drive, Walsh passed to Tracy Moore three times for gains of 23, 19 and 27 yards to set up a 38-yard field goal. Quandre Diggs had two pass breakups on the drive, one of them a touchdown-saving play.

Ash’s third touchdown to Shipley gave the Longhorns a 28-20 lead before Walsh’s 20-yard touchdown pass to John Goodlett. Oklahoma State couldn’t convert on what would have been a game-tying two-point conversion, cutting Texas’ lead to 28-26.

But Randle continued to pick apart the Texas defense and he scored a two-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a 33-28 lead.

Bergeron’s one-yard touchdown run put the Longhorns ahead 34-33 after they couldn’t score on the two-point conversion.  Things got tight with 3:14 left when the Cowboys kicked a 24-yard field goal to take a 36-34 lead.

“We told the defense that if you hold them to a field goal, we’ll win the game,” Texas head coach Mack Brown said. “We told the offense the same thing. They’re going to hold them to a field goal and you’re going to win the game.”

Ash and the offense did just that with last minute heroics. He went 30-for-38 with 304 yards and proved he can be clutch Saturday.  But more importantly, he proved that he that he is ready to command this offense.

Jackson Jeffcoat celebrates after taking down OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh in one of the final plays of the Longhorns' 41-36 victory in Stillwater, OK.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Against Ole Miss, David Ash was good.  On Saturday night, David Ash proved that he is ready to lead this offense into Big 12 play.

Down by two points with 2:34 left to play, David Ash needed to have the drive of his life.  He did just that and led the Longhorns to a 41-36 win over Oklahoma State.

On fourth and six on the Texas 29-yard line, he kept Texas alive and sent a quick pass to D.J. Grant for a 29-yard gain.

Two plays later, he gave Mike Davis a second chance. Earlier in the game, Davis dropped a pass in the end zone.  This time around, Davis caught Ash’s pass and gave the Longhorns a first down at the 5-yard line.

“He’d came to me after he barely missed that deep throw early in the first half,” Ash said. “He said ‘just give me another chance and I said ‘alright, I’ll give you another chance’ and he wasn’t lying.  He was ready to make the play.”

Those late game heroics led to Joe Bergeron’s game-winning 2-yard run and the Longhorns’ win in their Big 12 opener.

While the offense thrived, the defense struggled.  Some of the issues were due to injuries and illness, but the defense allowed the Cowboys 576 yards.  Jordan Hicks, who was out with a hip injury, was sorely missed and the Longhorns’ problems with missed tackling weren’t solved over the bye week.

The defense’s woes began on the second play of the game.  Missed tackles by safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Adrian Phillips allowed running back Joseph Randle to score a 69-yard touchdown.  Randle ran all over the defense and accumulated 152-yards during the game.

“We figured they would try to pound it on the ground and that’s exactly what they did,” said senior defensive end Alex Okafor. “At some points we looked bad, at some points we looked great at it.”-         

The offense came to the defense’s rescue and evened the score on its first drive.  On third and 14, David Ash passed to Jeremy Hills for a 15-yard gain to continue the drive.  The next play, he threw a 44-yard pass into the corner of the end zone to Jaxon Shipley.

“This last week and this week just showing that our receiver core can make plays,” Shipley said. “You can see that from today and so we’re just so excited to go out there and for the offense to depend on us receivers and for us to just be able to come through for the team.“

The Ash to Shipley combination aided the offense all night and Shipley had three touchdown receptions of 44, 20 and seven-yards.  Against Oklahoma State last season, Ash went 0-for-8 on passes over 10-yards. 

But this isn’t the same Ash.

The Cowboys evened it up at 14 with J.W. Walsh’s 44-yard pass to Josh Stewart.  Phillips was looking for the big tackle on the play, but instead, was injured.  He returned later in the game.

Saturday night was filled with quick responses by both teams.

D.J. Monroe answered the Cowboys score with a 100-yard punt return for a touchdown, giving the Longhorns a 7-point lead heading into the second quarter.  This was Monroe’s third punt return for a touchdown in his career.

Malcolm Brown sprained his ankle on his first touch of the night and the Longhorns only had 59 rushing yards in the game.

But Shipley and the wide receivers took control of the offense.

Ash threw his first interception of the season when Tyler Johnson picked him off during the third quarter.  While he responded well to the turnover, the defense did not.

During the Cowboy’s drive following the interception, Walsh passed to Tracy Moore three times for gains of 27, 23 and 19-yards.  Quandre Diggs had two pass breakups on the drive and one prevented a touchdown by Moore.  The Cowboys ended the drive with a 38-yard field goal.

After not being able to score in the second quarter, Ash finally broke down the Cowboy defense with his third touchdown pass to Shipley, giving the Longhorns a 28-20 lead.

But, once again, with the help of a 36-yard punt return, the Cowboys responded with a quick touchdown drive.  The Cowboys only needed to plays to score.  Walsh sent a 20-yard pass to John Goodlett in the end zone.  They failed to score on the two-point conversion.

Randle continued to pick apart the Texas defense and he scored a two-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a 33-28 lead.

Joe Bergeron’s one-yard touchdown run put the Longhorns ahead 34-33 after they couldn’t score on the two-point conversion.  Things got tight with 3:14 left when the Cowboys kicked a 24-yard field goal to take a 36-34 lead.

But, head coach Mack Brown was fine with that.

“We told that defense that if you hold them to a field goal, we’ll win the game,” Brown said. “We told the offense the same thing.  They’re going to hold them to a field goal and you’re going to win the game.”

Ash and the offense did just that with last minute heroics.  Ash’s first start last season was against Oklahoma State.  He went 22-for-40 with 139 yards.

On Saturday, he went 30-for-38 with 304 yards and proved he can be clutch.  But, more importantly, he proved that he that he is ready to command this offense.

Longhorn running back D.J. Monroe returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Texas and Oklahoma State both entered the game as top 10 scoring offenses nationally, and both teams lived up to that billing in the first half.

The Longhorns lead the Cowboys 21-17 at the break, and explosive play after play led to those points.

Oklahoma State kicked off the scoring on its second play from scrimmage when Joseph Randle broke off a 69-yard touchdown run with a burst through the left side.

Texas responded quickly however, the Longhorns converted on three straight third downs, and then a few plays later David Ash threw a beautiful 44-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Jaxon Shipley.

On the next Oklahoma State drive Texas’ defense responded after its poor first possession. Kenny Vaccaro jumped a curl route for an interception deep in Oklahoma State territory, leading to another Shipley touchdown.

However, missed tackles continued to plague the Longhorns in the first half. Randle had 147 yards in just the first two quarters, and Texas’ front four had a difficult time containing quarterback J.W. Walsh from scrambling around in the pocket.

But, the Longhorns still enter the half on top thanks in large part to the speed of D.J. Monroe. The senior speedster juked, jived and forced his way to a 100-yard kickoff return late in the first quarter. A touchdown that sits as the biggest difference in the score thus far.

Longhorns lead against the Cowboys 21-17 at halftime

Longhorn running back D.J. Monroe returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 
Longhorn running back D.J. Monroe returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

Texas and Oklahoma State both entered the game as top 10 scoring offenses nationally, and both teams lived up to that billing in the first half.

The Longhorns lead the Cowboys 21-17 at the break, and explosive play after play led to those points.

Oklahoma State kicked off the scoring on its second play from scrimmage when Joseph Randle broke off a 69-yard touchdown run with a burst through the left side.

Texas responded quickly however, the Longhorns converted on three straight third downs, and then a few plays later David Ash threw a beautiful 44-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Jaxon Shipley.

On the next Oklahoma State drive Texas’ defense responded after its poor first possession. Kenny Vaccaro jumped a curl route for an interception deep in Oklahoma State territory, leading to another Shipley touchdown.

However, missed tackles continued to plague the Longhorns in the first half. Randle had 147 yards in just the first two quarters, and Texas’ front four had a difficult time containing quarterback J.W. Walsh from scrambling around in the pocket.

But, the Longhorns still enter the half on top thanks in large part to the speed of D.J. Monroe. The senior speedster juked, jived and forced his way to a 100-yard kickoff return late in the first quarter. A touchdown that sits as the biggest difference in the score thus far.

James Franklin, sophomore Quarterback:

In recent years, Missouri has produced quality quarterbacks starting with Brad Smith who played from 2002 to 2005, Chase Daniel in 2006 and Blaine Gabbert who followed him. With all those players in the NFL, James Franklin has taken over the position with high expectations. Franklin is much more of a dual-threat passer in the mold of Smith. He is averaging almost 67 yards per game on the ground, with a 100-yard game against Oklahoma. He is averaging 243 yards per game passing with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Most of those interceptions came in a three-game span against Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma State. In three losses to Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, he completed less than 55 percent of his passes and threw five interceptions. Franklin is a dangerous player who can be effective in a variety of ways and can thrive in an offensive shootout.

Henry Josey, sophomore Running back

Josey is fifth in the country in rushing, and is the leading rusher in the Big 12 this season by a wide margin, averaging 127 yards per game this season. The next closest runner is Oklahoma States Joseph Randle with just more than 100 yards per game. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in all but three games, with a 263-yard game against Western Illinois. Kansas State is the only team in conference play to hold him to less than 100 yards. He is averaging 8.5 yards per carry this season, and has had at least one 20-yard run in the last eight games. At 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, he is more of a speed runner who will be getting his yards in space and off the edge.

Brad Madison, Junior Defensive End

A preseason All-Conference selection, Madison had his biggest game this season against Western Illinois where he posted four tackles, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a sack and a quarterback hurry. He had his best in-conference game against Iowa State, where he recorded five tackles with a tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry, a sack and even an interception. He has had some positive numbers in their wins, but he needs to be able to apply pressure against higher quality teams if the Tigers are going to win and become bowl eligible. Against a running team like Texas, he will have to be able to get penetration to keep the runs contained in the middle and take advantage against the few times that Texas drops back to pass.

Brandon Weeden, Senior QB:

After tossing the pigskin 367 yards in the air last week, the Texas pass defense doesn’t catch a break this week with Weeden coming to Austin. The 28-year-old senior has experience to spare and enough arm strength to make every pass seem like a casual flick. He threw for a season-low 288 yards against Kansas on 24 of 28 passing. He threw five touchdown passes against the Jayhawks and has 15 on the season. He does have six interceptions this year, but all of those came in the first three games of the season, with half of them coming in game one against Louisiana-Lafayette. Last year, he had one of his three 400-plus yard games against Texas, passing for 409 in Austin.

Justin Blackmon, Junior WR:

The Cowboy’s have began to form a bit of a reputation for producing NFL talent at receiver. Following Dez Bryant, Blackmon won the Biletnikoff award last year as a redshirt junior. Along with being named the best receiver in the country, he was a unanimous all-American and received Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year honors. He lit up Texas last season, catching 145 yards on just nine receptions, including a 67-yard catch and run in second quarter. He had at least 100 receiving yards in 12 games last year, and has three so far this year. Against the young Texas corners, he has a chance to have a big game on Saturday.

Joseph Randle, Sophomore RB:

With so much attention being paid to the Oklahoma State passing attack, Randle has quietly put together a good season having rushed for almost 500 yards so far. His 484 yards this season is already higher than his entire season total last year at 452. After rushing for 378 yards in the first three games, he has been held to 106 in his last two, including just 23 against Kansas. He may be the most important “X-factor” in the game this weekend. With the Texas defense preoccupied with stopping the high-powered Cowboy’s passing attack, he could take advantage of the lack of attention to get some yards on the ground against the Longhorns.