Texas 21, Cal 10
- It was as if Texas woke up in the second quarter and realized, "oh yeah, we're much, much better."
- The Longhorn defense was dominant. It gave up a few yards and it had problems at times with the Cal receivers – Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones – but the defensive front didn't allow a thing and beat up Zach Maynard all night long.
- Maynard had his moments, but knock him around a bit and all of a sudden he becomes far less effective. He needs either a clean pocket or to be able to make things happen on the move, and he couldn't do either one.
- It's going to be the biggest question of the 2012 Big 12 season: Can the Texas offensive line pave the way for a great-looking young backfield? Malcolm Brown only averaged 2.7 yards per carry and only got loose once, and QB David Ash was under pressure a bit too often. Four starters are back up front, and with an offseason of maturity, this could be the team's best front five in years.
- The gushing will start over Ash after he wasn't horrible, but it's not like he showed he's ready to be the next Colt McCoy. The problem, though, is that Case McCoy doesn't appear to be the next Colt McCoy, either. In the Big 12, Texas can't get by without terrific quarterback play, and now it has gone two years with a liability at the position.
- The makings are there for Cal's offense to explode next year with Maynard, Allen, and Isi Sofele forming a nice trio to build around, but it's like the attack tries too hard to hit the home run on every play. Sofele is a special back, and the O line couldn't do anything to get him loose against the Texas defensive front.
- The best pro prospect on the field? Cal punter Bryan Anger. Texas ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat might be more talented, but Anger will be around the league longer.
If I could be one coordinator in 2012, I might choose Texas defensive chief Manny Diaz. The ‘Horns are absolutely loaded with young D talent, most of which has yet to even reach the halfway point of their college careers. This unit was the story in San Diego, flying all over the field, and harassing Cal into a slew of costly mistakes.
In the defensive back, Texas conjures up images of a less heralded version of LSU. Starting cornerbacks Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs are a sophomore and a true freshman, respectively. And sophomore Adrian Phillips, the third member of the trio, wreaked havoc on the Bears as if he was channeling Tigers All-American Tyrann Mathieu.
Longhorns ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor, assuming he put off the NFL for one more year, could form one of the country's most disruptive pass-rushing bookends in 2012. Jeffcoat, just two years removed from high school, could wind up being in the same 2013 draft class as Okafor. He was borderline unblockable this evening, and will only get better with another offseason of conditioning.
I was impressed by what I saw from Texas QB David Ash tonight. Clearly, he's made strides since the end of the regular season. However, I felt the same way about Garrett Gilbert a few years back. Here's hoping the Longhorns staff can do a better job of developing a heralded young passer.
The young Texas offensive line is going to have nightmares of Cal NG Aaron Tipoti for at least week. The junior whipped the ‘Horns front wall repeatedly with his explosive get-off and quickness moving toward the pocket. He'll be one of the cornerstones of a Bears defense that'll need to replace a slew of seniors next year.
No matter what happened at the Holiday Bowl, Mack Brown in 2012 will be a lot like Mark Richt was in 2011. No, he won't face the same win-now heat, but he has enough budding talent for fans to demand no less than 10 wins and a Big 12 title … fair or not.
Does anyone have faith in Cal head coach Jeff Tedford any longer? Unless there's another Aaron Rodgers-esque transfer lurking in the JUCO weeds, 2012 could be another season of offensive mediocrity as long as Zach Maynard is barking out signals.
Texas needs to spend a few minutes in the offseason developing new ways to get the ball in the hands of WR Marquise Goodwin. Underutilized for a big chunk of the regular season, he harbors the kind of extra gear that warrants new wrinkles designed to get him the ball in space.
By Matt Zemek
The 2012 season for the Texas Longhorns is going to be a fascinating one. Can coordinator Manny Diaz's defense – chock-full of young playmakers – wreak enough havoc to win games and not merely hold down opposing offenses? Texas is quite clearly a half-a-loaf team; the Longhorns looked that way before Wednesday night's Holiday Bowl against California, and they strongly affirmed that identity in San Diego against the Golden Bears. Texas's defense pounced on vulnerable offenses throughout the past season, and Cal's water-gun attack was the very kind of tomato can that was going to pose very few challenges to Bevo's boys. One shouldn't get too excited about Texas's performance considering the quality of the opposition, but on the other hand, the youthfulness of the Longhorns does suggest that head coach Mack Brown will field an elite defense in 2012.
It's the offense which will be a problem, and that's why the Holiday Bowl – beyond offering the satisfaction of a hard-earned victory – shouldn't make Texas fans too happy.
Texas didn't convert a third down until the 12-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Quarterback David Ash repeatedly failed to hit open receivers downfield – on one deep ball, he simply couldn't keep the ball in the field of play, and on another misfire, he was not ready to throw the ball early in the play, when his receiver was breaking open and the Cal safety was not in position to recover. Ash's lack of technique – in a bowl game, after weeks of additional practice – should make Case McCoy the slam-dunk No. 1 starter for the 2012 season opener. Yet, the very fact that McCoy didn't get meaningful playing time against Cal only raises some obvious – and unsettling – questions in Austin.
The early read on the 2012 Longhorns is that they'll need to score defensive touchdowns – plural, within the same game – to beat the likes of Oklahoma and Kansas State. That's not much of a leg to stand on for a program that should be able to recruit elite quarterbacks and offensive linemen without much of a problem. Can defense dominate to the extent that Texas can win 10 games once again? The answer to that question could very well hold the key to Mack Brown's long-term future.
By Terry Johnson
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- The Texas defensive line won this game. They refused to let Cal run the ball allowing only 8 yards on 36 carries. They also harassed QB Zac Maynard all night long, sacking him 6 times.
- More impressively, Texas forced Cal into four turnovers. The -4 turnover ratio is the worst showing by the Bears in the last three seasons.
- While the Longhorns have a plethora of talent on defense players, new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz also deserves credit for their resurgence this year. If he can continue to succeed in Austin, he will be a head coach in the very near future.
- David Ash managed to win the player of the game award by completing 14 of 24 passes for 144 yards and 1 TD. Ash's development over the offseason will determine whether or not the Longhorns can compete for the Big 12 title next season.
- Even though Cal improved this season, the heat will be on Jeff Tedford next season. After tying for the conference title in 2006, the Bears have not finished higher than fourth since then. With archrival Stanford's ascension to the top of the standings, it is only a matter of time before the natives start getting restless.
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-This is clearly not the best Texas team Mack Brown has had. That is undoubtedly a gross understatement, but Brown deserves at least some credit for the job he has done this year. The talent level has slipped a bit, and despite being unsettled at QB because of average play, somehow this team found its way to an 8-5 record.
- That being said, 8-5 is not going to cut it long term or short term at Texas. Mack Brown now has officially slipped in terms of the high standards he has set himself in back to back years. If he doesn't turn it around in 2012, let the urgent talk of retirement begin.
- The same could be said for Jeff Tedford. It wasn't long ago that his name surfaced for nearly every head coaching opportunity--he was the high riser in the profession. The standards at Cal will never be as high as the standards at a place like Texas, but things have certainly not been as rosy in Berkley since 2008. He too, needs to give the program a shot of adrenaline--yesterday.
- Okay, it's time for the Longhorn coaching staff to make a decision on the future of the quarterback position, and you may have just seen a glimpse here. David Ash was named starter and was evidently given the vote of confidence no matter what. It was clearly his job for the entire game and Case McCoy was relegated to being utilized if only in case of injury. It would be very surprising if Ash is not the clear cut starter next year.
- The MVP of this game--carelessness. There is almost no way to win a game, let alone a bowl game against a perceived quality opponent with five giveaways in the offing. Texas didn't exactly re-invent offense in this game, but thanks to the charitable contributions of the Cal offense, only a handful of key plays were needed to flip the scoreboard in its favor.
- Still, kudos to the Texas defense, it makes up for a lot of shortcomings that are still evident on the offensive side of the ball.
- In the category of things that are out of sorts--how was Texas ranked coming into this game? The ‘Horns were 7-5 and had not been able to beat any of the four ranked teams it played. Even worse there are a couple of public floggings to Baylor and Oklahoma scattered in. Call it a classic case of a team getting perception points because of the name brand.
- Cal--seven yards rushing? Really? No matter how good an opponent's defense is, you should at least garner enough yards accidentally to equate to a first down all game.
- Useless stat- Texas is undefeated under Mack Brown when it forces five or more turnovers...yeah so is almost every other team that hits the turnover jackpot.